Well, I think I'll just come out and say it: Star Wars: Jedi Knight -- Dark Forces II just isn't that great. (I hope I'm not hunted down by the legions of Star Wars fans for not liking this game!)
First of all, the graphics have been completely redone since Dark Forces. This isn't necessarily a great thing, because the visuals in Jedi Knight are completely uninspired. Its engine uses bland and boring textures for walls, floors, ceilings and characters, which themselves are very blocky and look quite stupid. What detail the characters do have doesn't help out much from their looking like the rest of the game: uninspired. A 3D graphics accelerator helps out a tad, but characters still remain similar in texture.
On the other hand, the FMV story sequences are nicely done, with a solid story for any Star Wars fan. High in production quality, they also actually feature good acting (for the most part).
The gaming engine is one of the worst since 3D Realms' Build Engine. It never emits any kind of real feeling -- other than shallowness. Maybe that's not the right word, but there's just something about it I cannot explain. (Stiffness perhaps?) The game itself controls well and precisely, with fully customizable button configurations.
One thing Jedi Knight does have going for it is innovative level design. It looks like the developers actually spent some time and care building them. They're very big and complex with lots of puzzle solving, clue searching and item collecting needed to complete missions. It's a shame that ugly and uninspired textures were laid over top of them.
Your impressive arsenal includes a lightsaber, thermal detonators, a bowcaster (great for sniping), sequencer charges and several other weapons. Also spiffy are the different Jedi powers you can obtain throughout the game. The powers you get depend on your choice to join the light side or the dark side of the Force. Light side abilities include healing and purer powers, while the dark side consists of more destructive and evil forces such as lighting and destruction.
In the end, I just couldn't get into Jedi Knight. Maybe it was because I'm not a big Star Wars fanatic that I found it quite boring and uninspired, but there was nothing here that grasped my interest. However, there's no doubt in my mind that Star Wars fans will love this game regardless of what I've said. Non-fans, though, should probably stay away from Jedi Knight and spend their money on a much better 3D shooter like Unreal.
Graphics: The colorful textures are ugly and uninspired. Enemies and characters are quite blocky-looking, though they have lots of detail. The FMV scenes are nicely done.
Sound: There are lots of ambient effects like ships flying around in the background. Gun effects sound very realistic. The acting is pretty good as well. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is your typical Star Wars fare. Nothing too new or exciting about it.
Enjoyment: Maybe it's because I'm not a Star Wars fan, but I found this game dull. The level designs are very good, but weren't capable enough to hold my interest.
Replay Value: There's a nicely done multi-player feature that adds quite a bit of life to the game. New mods and deathmatch levels are constantly being made for it.
People who downloaded Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 have also downloaded:
Star Wars: Dark Forces, Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, Star Wars Jedi Knight 3: Jedi Academy, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D
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