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PC Reviews: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy

 

Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Screenshots



 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
9.8
Graphics
8.9
Sound
9.2
Value
9.5

Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 29 September 2003
Review Score: 9.5/10
Distributed by Activision

Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is the latest instalment of the highly popular Jedi Knight series that is set a few years after Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi and features the amazing universe created by George Lucas. Unlike the other titles from the series, you no longer play as the reluctant Jedi, Kyle Katarn but you are now a novice Jedi called Jaden.

Before you actually begin your adventure, you must create a character that will be your avatar in the Star Wars universe and this character can be from a variety alien races, including human from either of the sexes. Once you have selected your race and sex, you can then tweak your characters appearance and even personalise your very own lightsabre.

The game starts with the "Trade Mark" Star Wars introduction writing that sets the story for this new saga of Jedi Knight and has you aboard a Jedi star ship that is headed towards the Jedi training academy on Yevin. Unfortunately for Jaden, something happens to the craft as it approaches Yevin and the pilot must force an emergency landing. After being knocked from your ship, you eventually meet up with another fellow Jedi rookie called Rosh and by working together, you eventually find your way back to the Jedi Academy.

Something sinister is happening in the grounds of the Jedi Academy that not only see the risings of a new faction of the Dark Lords but also that of the Imperial Remnants and the deadly Cult of Ragnos. Fortunately for Jaden, he has some help in solving this mystery that includes our favourite Jedi Master, Luke Sky Walker and the hero from the previous Jedi Knight series, Kyle Katarn who together help you unravel this dark mystery.

The main gameplay modes in Jedi Academy are mission based that has you travelling to various destinations around the Star Wars universe such as Tatooine and Coruscant. The missions in the game are varied and challenging and range from a variety of objectives like destroying Imperial Remnant troops or recovering lost items. The first few missions in the game is basically a training course that teaches you to use your Jedi powers and helps you master the noble and deadly lightsabre. As the game progresses, the missions gradually become harder and you soon face more competent opponents such as the Dark Lords and Imperial Remnant elite storm troopers.

The beauty of Jedi Academy is that the game isn't your average first person shooter but far from it actually. The gameplay is beautifully split into a variety of modes that include puzzles, first person, third person, various jumping missions, one-on-one battles, controlling a variety of Imperial vehicles and of course, using your force powers.

The game also contains a variety of weaponry from blasters to assault rifles and a plethora of force powers such as speed, jump, push, hold, sense and lightsabre throw to name a few of the powers. As you progress through the game, your force powers slowly become more powerful and you even have access to the powers from the dark side. Easily two of the most useful powers in the game is the force grab that basically lets you choke your opponents and heal which is needed on a few of the later missions, depending on what difficulty you have set the game to. Another impressive feature in the game is that depending on what force powers you have selected during the game, will actually change the outcome of the ending. This also helps increase the playability of this addictive title.

The gameplay of Jedi Academy uses a combination of mouse and keyboard controls to move your character through the star wars universe. When you use a blaster type weapon, the game switches to first person view that makes aiming and shooting much more easier but while you are walking around normally, the game switches to a third person view. These views can also be overridden, depending on what is your preferred view but the program does a great job at selecting these views so I left this option up to the software itself. The combat is varied in the game and range from one-on-one duels with dark Jedi, a variety of monsters are included in the game and of course our favourite enemy, the Imperial Remnants. For those that love multiplayer options in games, Jedi Academy has a variety of maps and gameplay modes (such as capture the flag, death match) that both LAN lovers and internet users will get a treat out of and will also greatly increase the playability of this game.

Graphically, Jedi Academy is a visual treat that uses a modified version of the Quake 3 engine and is extremely detailed. The backgrounds are extremely detailed and contain a variety of different textures for that extra realism and I must admit that some of the outdoor levels are quite simply perfect because of all the added little touches such as grass, plants and trees. The characters themselves contain a fairly high polygon count with some realistic texture details placed on top of these polygons so that when you are looking at Luke Skywalker, it looks almost identical to Mark Hamil, the actor who played him. As soon as you start playing Jedi Academy, you will soon fall into the world of Star Wars as the developers have done a great job at recreating this amazing universe.

The soundtrack of the Jedi Academy is simply superb and uses the brilliant musical score of John Williams that helps draw you into the world of Star Wars. The voice acting in the game has been professionally done and Luke Skywalker, even though not played by Mark Hamil sounds almost spot on. The sound effects of Jedi Academy seem to have been taken directly out of the Star Wars movie with accurate light sabre sounds and blaster sound effects that have been flawlessly incorporated into the game perfectly.

In conclusion, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is a beautifully created game that not only pays homage to the Star Wars universe but proves that once again the Star Wars universe lives on. With a highly addictive storyline, majestic graphics and an awe-inspiring soundtrack, Jedi Academy is truly the perfect game. The beauty of the Jedi Academy is that because it uses the Quake 3 engine, a variety of different gamers will benefit from this as it works on just about any computer. The presentation of the game has also been professionally done and comes with a 50 plus page manual, two CD's, a real Star Wars Hasbro Jedi Academy Action figure and a Star Wars themed box.  Highly Recommended!

- Andrew B

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