Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
The Final Say!
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: December 2003
Distributed By: Activision
"There are two paths to become a Jedi
master... the dark side & the light, the choice is yours!"
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy has finally
arrived in the console world and promises XBox owners the same excitement that
was experienced by PC gamers. Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (now know as Academy
for this review) is based in the "Jedi Knight" universe of Star Wars that is
about ten years after the Return of the Jedi. Unlike previous Jedi Knight
games, Academy allows players to design their own unique character that
includes race (human, Rodian, Twi'lek), gender, appearance and even what style
of light sabre they will wield.
The story revolves around your character
called Jaden Kor, a powerful and upcoming Jedi who is the focus of this
current Jedi Knight game. On the way to the Yavin to continue with your Jedi
training, the ship that you are travelling on crashes onto the surface of the
planet, killing everyone but yourself and another rookie. Upon gathering your
bearings, you both team up to make your way to the Jedi council but
unfortunately along the way, you encounter the Imperial Remnants who threaten
your journey to the Jedi council.
This first level is a basic tutorial that
allows gamers to master the control system of the game but once you reach the
Jedi council, there are some more traditional tutorials that you must engage
in. Jaden Kor soon learns that the crash was sabotage and that there are dark
forces at work here. The game is about destiny & choice and whether your
character can be tempted by the dark side of the force.
The game also throws some familiar
characters in the foray that include Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca and even Kyle
Katarn, the previous hero from the Jedi Knight series. You also visit familiar
locations in the Star Wars universe that include Hoth and Tatooine plus some
brand new areas that are extremely reminiscent of the Star Wars universe.
You basically start the game as an
apprentice Jedi but as you progress through the game, your Jedi powers soon
grow until you become a formidable Jedi. As with all good games, Academy gives
your character a variety of force powers that they can use such as jump,
speed, heal, choke and absorb that make this a truly entertaining game. The
missions of Academy are varied and entertaining that all link up to the main
storyline of this title, whether your character can be tempted to turn to the
dark side of the force.
Having played and finished this game of the PC, I must say that
the XBox version (even though a PC port) is a much more sturdy gaming
engine than the PC version ever was. The reason being is that the frame
rate remains at a more constant speed on the XBox version, even though
it does shutter every now and then. The control system is much more
suited for the console world, especially when you are running around in
third person mode that was a little tricky at the best of times on the
PC. The only down side to the control system on the XBox is the first
person view (I've never been a huge fan of this view on consoles)
because it is not accurate as with a mouse. The game also supports XBox
Live that really adds to the playability of this title and I had a ball
playing this title online.
Academy is almost up there with the PC version and contains the same 3D
designed characters and textures that appeared in the original version.
The backgrounds of the game pay homage to the Star Wars universe and
when you are walking through the jungles of Yavin or the sand swept
dunes of Tatooine, you almost feel like you are really there. Probably
one of the most impressive areas in the game is the Hoth level that
truly gives you a perspective of how huge this icy planet really is. The
characters in the game have also been professionally recreated and when
you are talking to Luke Skywalker or Chewbacca, they look almost
identical to their real-world movie counterparts. Although this game
doesn't look at polished as Knights of the Old Republic, the game still
looks quite acceptable with today's standards. There are also some
beautiful special effects in the game such as the lighting effects of
the light sabre and some amazing shadow effects. It should also be
mentioned that there are a few glitches in the game that was evident in
the PC version but it is nothing too dramatic and won't interfere too
much with the gameplay of this awesome title.
The soundtrack of
Academy is brilliant and once again uses a combination of John Williams
original Star Wars music with a few new tunes to help immerse the gamer
into the world of this magnificent universe. The game also boasts some
professional voice acting that doesn't sound too contrived or forced and
even Luke Skywalker's voice sounds "almost" like Mark Hamil. The game
also supports the awesome sounds of the deadly hum of the light sabres,
the sounds of lasers and of course people getting shot, cut and maimed
by the deadly Star Wars universe of arsenals. Last but not least, the
developers have also included various background noises such as forest
creatures and other sounds that give that game that magical feel.
If you've played
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on the PC, than you probably will not want to
revisit the world on the XBox but I would highly recommend this game to
people who love the Star Wars universe as this game does the world of
George Lucas justice. With a well-written storyline, amazing graphics
and of course Jedi Knights, this game has it all. Although the game
won't hold you till the new Star Wars movie is released, it will keep
you entertained over the Christmas holidays. Recommended!
- Andrew B
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