Friday, March 1, 2013

Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (1997) Review

Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2
is a 1997 FPS/TPS video game and a sequel to the 1995 Dark Forces. Unlike the first game, the focus wasn't on the regular FPS guns and ammo, but rather Kyle Katarn's journey towards becoming a Jedi. The game has much more advanced engine, and thus a more complicated gameplay and story. This is also the only game in the Kyle Katarn saga to have full motion video cutscenes with real actors.

The story takes place a year after Episode VI(and about two-three since the last game). Kyle Katarn, now with a beard and his signature costume(his jacket from Dark Forces does appear though), is trying to find out who is responsible for the murder of his father. From this premise we can easily see that this game is much more personal to both Kyle and the player. This isn't Rebels vs the Empire anymore, it's Kyle vs Jerec. He finds out that his father was killed by a Dark Jedi and soon after has a vision and finds out that he too has Force potential and so decides to track down the Dark Jedi and his evil minions(aka bosses) whilst learning his own powers. He discovers that Jerec is after the Valley of the Jedi, a nexus of Force energy(containing thousands of ancient Jedi and Sith spirits) that would give him omnipotence if he gained it. Ultimately, it's up to Kyle to take down all the Dark Jedi and showdown with Jerec in the Valley.

Much of the gameplay has changed, there is the addition of the lightsaber, the growing amount of Force powers(of which there are many to choose from). The mission briefings have been entirely replaced by cutscenes, explaining the story more directly and personally. The game is understandably longer and complex, there are more enemies, more stuff, more everything.

The decisions in the game ultimately decide whether or not you remain on the Light side and struggle to save the Valley from Jerec or become corrupted on the Dark side and take the Valley's power for yourself and rule the galaxy as Emperor Katarn which makes the gameplay even better.

The level design has marginally improved since the first game. The complications in the first game have been thankfully toned down and it's doubtful you'll get lost too much in this one.

The FMV cutscenes really get you into the story well and as I've said a few times before, makes it very, very personal for you. Overall, this is one of the best games ever made and if you want to really take part in the sequel trilogy, I think this is it.

I recommend it to, once again absolutely all.

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