There once was a time when Star Wars games were prevalent and shipped out complete, this was the early 2000’s when the Prequel Trilogy was dividing the fanbase and before EA was shipping out hot, unfinished garbage! That fanbase, however, could agree that the games LucasArts was pumping out were pretty damn good, this one being a Raven Software developed title. The Jedi Outcast games were some of the better games that were being released, and the OG Xbox and GameCube were privy to having Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Jedi Academy released on the systems. I’ve had the Xbox version for a very long time, but in the early 2000’s I was a really crappy gamer. I never even passed the first mission in my youth, Xbox Live released the game as a free title in February and I’ve been successfully playing my way through the campaign and being all that I can be as a Jedi.
You start the game in a ship headed towards one of the first Jedi Temples when suddenly the ship goes down. At first everyone thinks that it was just mechanical failure until you reach the Temple, where a band of marauders are causing havoc and fighting the other Jedi students. As you progress through the tutorial mission you find out from the man himself, Luke Skywalker, that a Sith Cult called the Disciples of Ragnos. Seeing as you have little concept of the Force and are only in training Luke thinks its a good idea that you follow Kyle Katarn into these missions to root out the Cult. What is sweet about these missions you get to pick is that you get to travel to mainstays of the series and meet fan favorite characters now and then, all while destroying a cult.
For an older title that includes Force powers, I really dug the controls; they were almost as good Knights of the Old Republic. When you first start out you are only armed with a Lightsaber, which is brandished by the Right Trigger, you can also throw the Lightsaber with the Left Trigger however throwing it reduces your Force meter. When you need to jump, which is A LOT, press A; oddly enough there is a lot of platforming in this game. During your missions you will see things to interact with, whether that be doors or barrels that will replenish your health, ammo and shields you will have to press Y. When you’re not using your Lightsaber you will be thrust into FPS mode which plays like a dream; if you’ve played any FPS in the past fifteen years you’ll master this game immediately. I like how the Force powers are done, you press the d-pad and can chose what Force power you want, to activate them you press the left thumbstick down. Pretty easy and it makes it simple to Force push or Force lightening some unsuspecting cult member.
Raven Software really captured the feel of the original trilogy with the title. Hunting down cult members on Tatooine felt like I was in the movie, the look, the music the sound effects and of course the cameos from The Original Trilogy characters really hit me in the feels. This is a mission based game which is a structure that I’ve never liked. Instead of seamlessly moving from level to level in this game you are allowed to pick what mission you want to play. You can pick what two weapons you want to use and an explosive, I always went with the Thermal Detonator because it was the most useful in the missions. The graphics are great, yes I played on the Xbox One so they were upgraded a bit, but I figure that’s the only way you would want to play now; even though my OG Xbox is nicely set up still. Playing on the Xbox One is the easiest and cheapest way to play, so I highly suggest it.
I’m a huge Star Wars fan, I have been since Return of the Jedi came out way back in 1983; I remember seeing it with Mom in 1983 and then again in the same theatre with Dad in 1997. I remember both times very vividly, which makes games that take me back to those memories even more special. Jedi Academy does just that, inclusions of favorite characters and a storyline that follows the end of Return of the Jedi make younger me giddy. That is one of the biggest reasons I loved playing this game, not only does it play well, look great and is super fun, it takes me back quite a few years to better times. At this point in my life nostalgia is a big thing and this game drops with it. Don’t take my word for it though, download it onto your Xbox One, you won’t regret it, like you regretted pre-ordering EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront.