How’s your lightsaber technique? Let Jedi Academy upgrade your skillsJedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the second installment of Raven Software’s “Star Wars” series, gives gamers some new and improved features over last year’s surprise hit, Jedi Knight: Outcast.
Jedi Academy allows the player to create everything from his virtual persona to the color of his lightsaber. Characters embark on five short training missions and a few other short exercises before tackling the meat of the game.
It is all incredibly open-ended. But therein lies the problem that plagues Jedi Academy: The inevitable disassociation of players from the plot. The missions are just too loosely structured and the required customization is tedious.
Regretably, the brooding antihero of Outcast, Kyle Katarn, is missing from Jedi Academy. The new protagonist, Jaden, is practically a Boy Scout, with nothing on his mind but saving the galaxy from evil ― and getting through school. The complexity of the internal psychological conflict that drove the Outcast storyline is gone.
So, why the four stars? For starters, the detailed environments, including floating industrial plants like Cloud City from “The Empire Strikes Back” and the abandoned rebel base from the same film, are crucial to the plot and incredibly rendered. Key characters from the films interact with your character without exerting too much influence on the action.
The crown jewel of Jedi Academy, however, is the lightsaber options that become available during the game. Players eventually are able to use two lightsabers simultaneously or one double-bladed saber, enhancing the cinematic grace of the combat sequences.
This game provides solid, action-packed entertainment.
The novel lightsaber techniques alone are worth giving the game a go, and for skirmish-happy players, Jedi Academy is full of opportunities to mix it up.
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Publisher: Lucas Arts/Raven Software
Rating: * * * *
by Phil Chang
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