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XBox Reviews: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy


Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Screenshots


The Final Say!


Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: December 2003
Review Score: 8.8/10 
Distributed By: Activision

"There are two paths to become a Jedi master... the dark side & the light, the choice is yours!"

Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy has finally arrived in the console world and promises XBox owners the same excitement that was experienced by PC gamers. Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (now know as Academy for this review) is based in the "Jedi Knight" universe of Star Wars that is about ten years after the Return of the Jedi. Unlike previous Jedi Knight games, Academy allows players to design their own unique character that includes race (human, Rodian, Twi'lek), gender, appearance and even what style of light sabre they will wield.


The story revolves around your character called Jaden Kor, a powerful and upcoming Jedi who is the focus of this current Jedi Knight game. On the way to the Yavin to continue with your Jedi training, the ship that you are travelling on crashes onto the surface of the planet, killing everyone but yourself and another rookie. Upon gathering your bearings, you both team up to make your way to the Jedi council but unfortunately along the way, you encounter the Imperial Remnants who threaten your journey to the Jedi council.


This first level is a basic tutorial that allows gamers to master the control system of the game but once you reach the Jedi council, there are some more traditional tutorials that you must engage in. Jaden Kor soon learns that the crash was sabotage and that there are dark forces at work here. The game is about destiny & choice and whether your character can be tempted by the dark side of the force.


The game also throws some familiar characters in the foray that include Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca and even Kyle Katarn, the previous hero from the Jedi Knight series. You also visit familiar locations in the Star Wars universe that include Hoth and Tatooine plus some brand new areas that are extremely reminiscent of the Star Wars universe.


You basically start the game as an apprentice Jedi but as you progress through the game, your Jedi powers soon grow until you become a formidable Jedi. As with all good games, Academy gives your character a variety of force powers that they can use such as jump, speed, heal, choke and absorb that make this a truly entertaining game. The missions of Academy are varied and entertaining that all link up to the main storyline of this title, whether your character can be tempted to turn to the dark side of the force.

Having played and finished this game of the PC, I must say that the XBox version (even though a PC port) is a much more sturdy gaming engine than the PC version ever was. The reason being is that the frame rate remains at a more constant speed on the XBox version, even though it does shutter every now and then. The control system is much more suited for the console world, especially when you are running around in third person mode that was a little tricky at the best of times on the PC. The only down side to the control system on the XBox is the first person view (I've never been a huge fan of this view on consoles) because it is not accurate as with a mouse. The game also supports XBox Live that really adds to the playability of this title and I had a ball playing this title online.

Graphically, Academy is almost up there with the PC version and contains the same 3D designed characters and textures that appeared in the original version. The backgrounds of the game pay homage to the Star Wars universe and when you are walking through the jungles of Yavin or the sand swept dunes of Tatooine, you almost feel like you are really there. Probably one of the most impressive areas in the game is the Hoth level that truly gives you a perspective of how huge this icy planet really is. The characters in the game have also been professionally recreated and when you are talking to Luke Skywalker or Chewbacca, they look almost identical to their real-world movie counterparts. Although this game doesn't look at polished as Knights of the Old Republic, the game still looks quite acceptable with today's standards. There are also some beautiful special effects in the game such as the lighting effects of the light sabre and some amazing shadow effects. It should also be mentioned that there are a few glitches in the game that was evident in the PC version but it is nothing too dramatic and won't interfere too much with the gameplay of this awesome title.

The soundtrack of Academy is brilliant and once again uses a combination of John Williams original Star Wars music with a few new tunes to help immerse the gamer into the world of this magnificent universe. The game also boasts some professional voice acting that doesn't sound too contrived or forced and even Luke Skywalker's voice sounds "almost" like Mark Hamil. The game also supports the awesome sounds of the deadly hum of the light sabres, the sounds of lasers and of course people getting shot, cut and maimed by the deadly Star Wars universe of arsenals. Last but not least, the developers have also included various background noises such as forest creatures and other sounds that give that game that magical feel.

If you've played Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on the PC, than you probably will not want to revisit the world on the XBox but I would highly recommend this game to people who love the Star Wars universe as this game does the world of George Lucas justice. With a well-written storyline, amazing graphics and of course Jedi Knights, this game has it all. Although the game won't hold you till the new Star Wars movie is released, it will keep you entertained over the Christmas holidays. Recommended!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2003 www.impulsegamer.com