Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is essentially the closing chapter on the story of Kyle Katarn and his journey as a New Republic mercenary and Jedi Knight; wrapping up the stories from Dark Forces, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and its expansion Mysteries of the Sith. While Kyle appears in Jedi Academy he is no longer the main focus and is passing on the torch to a new group of Jedi. Like the two titles before it the game has elements of a FPS while the action with a lightsaber all takes place in the third person; creating a more Action-Adventure feel.
The mechanics and gameplay in this title were seriously re-written to grow from the first Jedi Knight; this game got much more than a graphical update in the five year gap between the two titles. Sadly the sweet cinematic cut scenes with real actors did not return from the first Jedi Knight, instead we get standard cut scenes using in game models. It isn’t a real down fall, it is just unfortunate to not see those actors and type of cut scenes again; at least there is still full voice acting.
Like the start of Jedi Knight and the entirety of Dark Forces, the beginning of Jedi Outcast starts out as just an FPS. Besides a little update for more modern controls not much has changed here from the first Jedi Knight and it plays like a lot of late 90s early 2000s FPS titles. It is still fun as can be and though the game obviously shifts to being more focused on your Jedi skills you can still play it as a FPS if you so choose for the majority of the game (except when you fight dark Jedi). You’d be doing yourself a disservice though if you didn’t play this game through as a full fledged Jedi using your lightsaber is almost every encounter; the developers really ramped up the force powers and lightsaber action for this title and there are some really fun things you can do with both.
You can use some force powers like lightning, grip (choke), push, speed, throw saber and many more. Your saber also automatically blocks (granted you aren’t swinging it away and facing the enemy to a degree) all shots fired at you, making running into a group of Stormtroopers a lot different than if you were just able to shoot back. In the original Jedi Knight saber battles were pretty primitive just amounting to random swinging for the most part. While this game isn’t anything super realistic it does add a lot more moves and acrobatics; you’ll find your self rolling and stabbing, doing large aerial spins over enemies, rolling sweeps and much more. Add those awesome acrobatics with your force powers and you have some awesome battles to win.
It has aged surprisingly well and is still a blast to play, the graphics can obviously only go so far but they don’t look horrid just classicly basic, relevant to the time of its original release. Sounds and music are still great, using mostly the same tunes you have heard in any Star Wars game since there were Star Wars games. You can play the game on PC, Xbox, and Gamecube; but I really suggest getting the PC port as it still runs well on modern machines. I originally played it on Gamecube and loved it so I wouldn’t say that is a bad choice if you want to go the console route. No matter what you want to do, you should check it out!