Star Wars Jedi Academy
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is a third person action title that takes place following the original Star Wars trilogy. Determined to bring the Jedi Order back to their original glory, series protagonist Luke Skywalker invites the player to his prolific Jedi Academy. Playing as Jaden Korr, a young student, the player must battle through a series of exciting missions as a new Jedi recruit. Along with your trainer Kyle Katarn and your friend Rosh Penin, you'll explore new worlds and further your training as a true Jedi Knight.
Before you start the game in earnest, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy allows you to customize Jaden to fit your preferences. You can pick various facial presets, as well as costumes and color variants. In addition to personalizing Jaden's avatar, you can also craft your very own lightsaber! You get to choose not only the color of your saber, but the style of hilt as well. This upfront customization makes your experience with Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy feel more personalized. It's also awesome to see your personal Jedi in action, as your powers begin to grow.
Gameplay in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is mixture of third-person and first-person action, depending on which weapon you are wielding. After a brief tutorial mission that teaches you the ropes, you're free to choose from a list of assignments. As part of your Jedi training, you're required to travel to various planets and help those in need, which usually requires a hefty does of Jedi powers. In this way, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy gives the player a welcome choice in which mission they want to select first. The missions offer a good variety in objectives and settings, including recognizable planets from the film series. Before starting a mission, players are able to choose between a handful of blasters to equip, as well as a gadget of their choice. Each gun provides a unique playstyle, and the gadgets add a fun boost in utilty.
Missions are fun and exciting, mainly due to the quick-paced combat. As previously mentioned, the game switches between third-person and first-person action, which is an interesting feature rarely seen in the shooter genre. When you're wielding your custom lightsaber, you'll battle in third-person mode. Lightsabers can be upgraded, and additional fighting styles can be learned as well. Slashing down troops makes you feel super powerful, and engaging in one-on-one lightsaber duels are consistently entertaining. The first-person perspective comes up whenever you switch to a blaster or grenade, making aiming a bit easier. It's fun to experiment with the various weapons and gadgets, striking a balance between gunfire and lightsaber use. In addition to these tools of destruction, you can also employ the use of force powers. There are over 10 different force powers to unlock and use, and include both dark force and light force powers. For example, you can enter a buffed state using the dark Force Rage, or choose to heal yourself with the light Force Heal. The choice is entirely yours.
In addition to the main single player adventure, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy also has a nice suite of multiplayer options. There are a slew of modes and maps to battle on, and multiplayer can be enjoyed locally, on Xbox Live, or with computer-controlled bots. Multiplayer matches are fast and frantic, and tons of fun to experience.
Overall, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is an awesome action title that really puts the power of the force at your fingertips. The lack of a map or guidance system and occasionally confusing objectives only slightly mar the experience on an otherwise fantastic Star Wars romp. If you dream of becoming a true Jedi and undertaking the grueling training required, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy will let you live out that fantasy in full. It's a fun and quick-paced game that's excellent in short bursts or extended play, and will have you returning time and time again.
Download Star Wars Jedi Academy
Trying to recapture the success of, picks up where Jedi Outcast left off with Kyle Katarn helping Luke establish a Jedi training facility. This time around however, you'll be controlling a new Jedi recruit and Kyle will be the Jedi Master training you. Unfortunately, there are far too many similarities between Jedi Academy and its predecessor. There have been improvements and tweaks made, but the gameplay and graphics in particular seem tired.
Although the gameplay in Jedi Academy doesn't have any major changes there are a number of small improvements that add some separation between the two titles. In Jedi Academy, you have the ability to build a character ranging across five species and two genders. Other options are available as well such as light saber handle and blade color. Unfortunately, this feature is small is scope compared to other games and is almost a waste of time. You can rarely see the handle of the light saber in any detail for instance during the game so selecting one is rather useless.
The biggest disappointment is the lack of significant changes to the gameplay and graphics. It plays almost identically to Jedi Outcast and looks similar as well. Had I not played, this might have been less of a factor but Jedi Academy feels like Jedi Outcast repackaged with a different story line. The other issue is that the story line isn't near as engrossing as Jedi Outcast which is also disappointing. That may sound bad, but Jedi Outcast was a great game with solid gameplay and graphics. Just don't expect anything revolutionary and be prepared for dated graphics.
Overall, Jedi Academy is a solid game that will appeal to those who wanted more from Jedi Outcast. It isn't going to blaze any new trails however so make sure you align your expectations before purchasing.