Monday, December 17

Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Review

I played on: PC
I paid: £6.99
Available on: Xbox, PC
Notes: Hey, this is my first Star Wars game review… surprised it took me this long, to be honest.

Jedi Academy brings the common dream of training to be a Jedi Knight to life. You play as Jaden Korr, a student at Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi academy. This is set in the old expanded universe (EU) and as such is no longer canon. It’s still a campy yet fun plot even if no it longer serves to further the lore of the films. It’s also worth noting that due to this existing within the old EU no characters or plot details from the new films make an appearance. Fans of Disney’s new lore will not find any of it here.

The game plays as both a first-person shooter and a third person adventure with lightsabres. This is retro shooting at some of its best. You don’t need to reload, guns feel powerful and each of them has an alternate fire option. Honestly, this is a game where the guns feel as stratifying to use as the lightsabres and that’s impressive. Mostly because of how great the Sabres are. You can cut off limbs, clash swords with Siths and deflect laser fire back at the enemy. Midway through your adventure, you will be able to build your own sabre and this is amazing. You can choose from the traditional single sabre, a double sided sabre or two sabres. Each style feels different and varied but I prefer to go with having two lightsabres. I find while holding an enemy you can then throw your spare sabre and hit them in the back and that’s amazing. The combat is fantastic in this game as it really makes you feel like a Jedi. The only major issue with the basic gameplay is that now and again you will need to do some platforming. This is where the game feels very dated with floaty jumping and a camera not designed for the task before it.

Jaden is a custom character and as such can be male or female as well as a number of different alien races. I’m always a sucker for any game that lets me make my own character and Jedi Academy doesn’t disappoint. Sadly this is only for cosmetics, each race plays the same. That’s not to say you don’t level up your character. You can upgrade your force abilities as you complete missions. You’re able to choose from 4 light sides and 4 dark side powers. The light side offers you force absorb, force heal, Jedi mind trick and force protection. I would recommend everyone take force heal because this game gets really hard at points. Then the dark side gets force drain, force lightning, force grip and force rage. Each of these can be upgraded up to 3 times each. These abilities are on top of your 6 core force powers which are force jump, pull, push, speed, sense and light sabre throw. You don’t need to worry about upgrading these as after each set of 5 missions they will level up naturally. This is a simple but effective system that lets you feel yourself growing more and more powerful. By the end of the game, you feel like a true Jedi.

That’s not to say that you’re invincible because you’re far from it. A well-placed sabre strike and you’re dead so it’s important to play cautiously. Stormtroopers and other ground forces are very rarely a threat but after your first set of missions, you start to fight dark Jedi. These can be deadly so remember your quick-save and force abilities. On top of this difficulty, you also have some dated level design with it sometimes being hard to find where you’re supposed to be going. I only had this problem twice during this playthrough but for those not used to retro gaming, it may be worse.

As well as dated level design you also have dated graphics. During gameplay, I think the game looks great with characters, environments and weapons all looking just like they did in the films. Watching a Sith duck under your thrown sabre or using force lightning on a room full of enemies looks awesome. This is backed up even more by the top-of-line sound design and music. The dated visuals come up during cutscenes with faces barely moving and characters feeling stiff. The wonderful voice acting helps to carry the plot but it’s far from perfect in terms of presentation. By today’s standards, it’s rather poor. However, I find the graphics carry a nostalgic charm and as such, I have a soft spot for them. This is true of a lot of games from this era. If you grew up playing these then odds are you will be as taken with the look of this game as I was.

Jedi Academy is a great game that despite some ageing still holds up when it comes to the gameplay. Very few games capture the feeling of being a Jedi like this one does. The best thing I can say about this game is that I spent 10 hours replaying it for this review and it felt like half that time. It’s an absolute blast to play and one of my favourite Star Wars games!

Recommendation Rating: 9 out of 10.

No comments:

Post a Comment