Overdue Reviews: Jedi Knight 2

Screenshot of Jedi Knight 2 showing, well, dull gameplay, frankly.

Overdue Reviews is an occasional series in which I appease my younger self's brief desire to be a videogame journalist by ranting or raving about part of or all of a game I've played in the past. This week: Jedi Knight 2 on PC.

Jedi Knight 2 was like getting into a supercar to find that the seats are uncomfortable. Jedi Knight 2 was like biting into a delicious looking apple to find it a bit soggy inside. Jedi Knight 2 was like meeting your hero only to find out they're not very interesting.

In short, Jedi Knight 2 was something of a disappointment.

Jedi Knight 2 had amazing graphics. It had lightsaber duels aplenty. It had improved Force powers that could make you feel like the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy; 'Force push' could send entire rooms full of stormtroopers tumbling like ragdolls, while 'Force speed' made everything go into slow motion. It had the Star Wars music and sound effects. It had Billy Dee Williams.

What it didn't have was good game design. As each new level of Force power was attained, everything simply got harder; 'Force jump' let you leap ever higher, but every time it was upgraded all the platforms you wanted to get to simply moved out of reach again. The levels were bland and uninteresting, often a flimsy wrapping around a contrived platform jumping puzzle; a far cry from its predecessor's fascinating routes through rich and believable Star Wars environments. The world was desperately uninteractive; despite being able to carve glowing gashes in the scenery the lightsaber was barely if ever utilised as anything more than a weapon.

Despite all of this, I had some fun with Jedi Knight 2, playing multiplayer capture the flag. Here players were granted (almost) the full powers of the Jedi and matches rapidly devolved into manic attempts to Force push opponents off ledges into bottomless pits. It was silly and over the top and totally not in keeping with the po-faced attitude of the single player game.

It got good reviews and a lacklustre sequel and I think I only played it through once and in the end gave my copy away. That was a long time ago now, way before Lucasarts were sold off in the big Star Wars fire sale. Is it possible it's time for another Jedi Knight game? I'd be mildly interested.


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