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Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by PorkyThePaladin, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    I usually play Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast once every few years, but haven't played the original Jedi Knight since late 90s probably. I did love it at the time, but wasn't sure how the 16+ years in between would affect my nostalgia goggles. So started playing it a few days ago, and holy shit, I am in love again. This game is so damn good, it's a shame it never got the recognition it deserves, compared to games like Half-Life.

    As I am playing it, the way the great design comes together is just a pleasure to experience. The graphics are obsolete now of ourse, but the art direction was pretty good with all the Star Wars stuff, so it's still workable. Shooting mechanics are also a bit old-school with strafing and stuff, but enjoyable overall. Where the game absolutely shines is the level design. Huge levels that feel open, and have all kinds of obstacles besides enemies, like moving parts that you have to navigate, organic puzzles to solve, secret areas full of valuable equipment that give the game a feeling of exploration more commong to RPGs and action-adventure games. Then you have character development with C&C, the ability to go Light or Dark Side with unique powers for each path, lighsaber combat against bosses, variety of interesting and fun weapon against everyone else, cool collection of Star Wars enemies. The pacing is also great, with healthpacks, armor packs and ammo being rare and valuable, with looting enemies and finding secret stashes feeling very rewarding.

    Cannot recommend this game strongly enough. An extremely underrated gem.
     
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  2. Gersen Educated

    Gersen
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    Jedi Outcast mostly suffered from its 3D engine (re-used IDtech). While the new engine was much better than JK from a technical point of view, it also had a few limitations, and that made big outdoor areas impossible to render.

    And the level design shows, sadly, because Jedi Knight used a lot of huge open air levels. That feeling of immensity really helped JK: it had huge puzzles (infiltrating a ship through the gas pipes, after emptying them, and finishing with a ~1 min elevator ride to the ship), lots of secrets areas, etc. What was remarkable is that while it helped rendering a proper Star Wars game, it had far more importance in the gameplay.

    The sequel was on a much smaller scale, which was really disappointing. The lightsaber duels were fun though.

    I really miss the days when shooters had proper level design, corridors are an abomination.
     
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  3. Mynon Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Mynon
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  4. Freddie Savant

    Freddie
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    Stormtrooper blaster was IIRC hilariously inaccurate over long distances, nod to films perhaps.

    IIRC trick was to use different weapons, not forgetting that you have grenades etc. and on some sections just the get hell out of there.

    But it was one of the games that made me almost as good impression as Doom. What I recall from the reviews, journos didn't really understood that it didn't even tried to be a Doom clone, and there were things were engine features went totally unnoticed. Players too, including me and my friends needed some time to figure out the lift puzzle (or elevator puzzle) which was quite early in the game. It was playing with feature mentioned in article, there could be rooms on top of rooms and some things were far more interactive than in Doom. Was the puzzle that hard? No, it simply wasn't something anyone expected. :D

    I think other reason for at least some for the less glowing reviews was that it was actually long game with a pretty good plot, which was perhaps bit too much for journos who expected a Doom clone.

    Playing through DF was one of the most memorable moments in my gaming history. It held it's momentum very well trough it's campaign and finale in doom trooper factory was exciting, and atmospheric.

    DF and DF II: Jedi Knight were not only good SW products, far better than prequels that came from the Lucas film empire of shit, but actually good games.
     
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  5. Mynon Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Mynon
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    DF's tech is definitely interesting, as it kinda anticipated Build engine.
     
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  6. Mark Richard Arcane

    Mark Richard
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    Didn't even know about the light side/dark side stuff until the split ending. I slaughtered aliens indiscriminately because I'm so used to games telling me if what I did was good or bad, the notifications have replaced my moral compass. :hahano:
     
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  7. zerotol Arcane Patron

    zerotol
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    I love Jedi knight and finished it again like 2 years ago. Great story, great levels (that falling ship though, difficult level), great boss encounters.

    Could not get into jedi academy. Something is off with the controls, the aiming just feels off. I guess i might try again.

    Dark Forces was just too old for my taste.

    Pretty bummed i was too late for the Jedi Knight Big Box limited run release, bought Academy then to have something anyway.
     
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  8. DalekFlay Arcane Patron

    DalekFlay
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    I never got into academy much either. Honestly even with Jedi Knight I mostly prefer the earlier FPS levels.
     
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  9. AW8 Arcane

    AW8
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    I finished Jedi Knight again this week. The first time I completed it, I remember using the lightsaber sparingly due to thinking it was weak compared to the ranged weapons. It... kinda is; the blaster deflection is very limited, your swings are sluggish and taking damage can cancel your attack mid-swing (not frustrating at all). But I used it all the time this playthrough after figuring out the ancient trick of the Jedi Masters: Speed-running so fast the enemies can't hit you while Force-pulling their weapons from their hands, upon which they can't do anything. I'm currently playing Mysteries of the Sith and they've actually corrected this oversight by having disarmed enemies turn to melee instead.

    But it's a theme for these games - as balanced the lightsaber is to your ranged weapons (instant kill, costs no ammo, but making it to melee distance without losing HP is an obstacle), your Force Powers are all over the place. I picked the Light Side path and was awarded Protect, which essentially makes you invulnerable to blaster fire (which makes up for ~97% of incoming damage types) for about 50 seconds, which trivialized the final levels.
    I used to have to frantically dodge everything to survive, now I could just charge most enemies head on and tap them with the lightsaber. And since it lasts so damn long, the Force Points spent casting it has been fully replenished once it runs out, allowing you to simply cast it again for limitless invulnerability.

    From my Dark Side run ~10 years ago I remember, conversely, a lot of useless powers. Force Lightning caused minimal damage (a real letdown after playing Outcast/Academy first) but the most pathetic one was Force Throw. It allows you to throw a few select objects in some levels (this is 1997, so it's not exactly Ravenholm) onto enemies to cause damage. What a dull and so called "dark" """power""". Just because Darth Vader did it in that Episode V scene doesn't mean it's a good idea for a video game power.

    Another problem with the powers is that they are unlocked too late (this is a problem shared with Outcast, where the really fun stuff is only made available in the very end). The last weapon is unlocked halfway through the game, but the Dark Side/Light Side powers only start unlocking in the final third. I wish the powers had been treated like weapons and unlocked earlier, allowing us to play with them for a longer time than just the last few levels.

    The real legends among the powers however, are Jump and Speed. Forget for a moment their amateurish implementation that causes you damage when you run into things or jump into low ceilings, and focus on the fact that they're optional. The developers have actually made sure a normal human can get through the game, start to finish. These powers just makes the game faster which makes putting points in them rewarding, as opposed to the mandatory jumping in Outcast/Academy. There are plenty of elevator rides you can skip with Jump, and Speed makes you go so ludicrously fast that you have to see it to believe it. It's a shame it was changed to a slow motion power in Outcast/Academy.
     
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  10. Nito Educated Patron

    Nito
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    The great tragedy is that whenever you bring up Jedi Knight, people normally think you're talking about Jedi Outcast or Academy, or immediately tell you how much they loved Outcast/Academy for the saber combat. The later two games are good, but overall I think Jedi Knight and Mysteries of the Sith are much stronger. They had better and more varied level design, a strong 90s expanded universe feel, great FMV cutscenes and more varied enemies. People overlook them because they are more visibly dated and because Outcast has more intricate saber combat, and that's a real shame.
     
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  11. udm Arcane Patron

    udm
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    Yeah Dark Side powers were shit in JK1. Force Destruction was the only one of real use, and even then, it ate force energy faster than I eat pussy.

    Since we're talking about saber fighting too: I was very active in the JK1 multiplayer scene (yes it existed), back when Gamespy Arcade was a thing. The trick to sabers is to always use secondary attack against other saber users, and primary attack when hitting enemies with ranged weapons. Unfortunately most noobs got turned off the game because they didn't know how to use RMB attacks properly, and assumed saber combat was broken. In a way, it was less dynamic than JK2's and required more precision (RMB attacks could only damage other saber users when struck against their flanks), but it was fun nonetheless.
     
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  12. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    The level design in Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight is absolute top tier. Most of the levels made me go "whoa" and even though the graphics are more dated than most other shooters of the era, they still look good because of the great level design. Vericality, baby!
     
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  13. Nito Educated Patron

    Nito
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    Yes it's sort of terrible that JK is often left out of the pantheon of mid-90s shooters, probably because it was a licenced title. Coming only a year after Quake, the sort of granddaddy of fully 3D shooters, its environments were far bigger, more vertical as you say, more complex and intricate and more resembling lived in spaces; but normally not discussed when talking about design lineage in FPS games. Somewhat similar to Dark Forces in that regard, in the sense that it's only often mentioned as being an Doom clone or an (apparent according to the legend) reverse engineering of Doom's engine, and not how it advanced 2.5D environment design.
     
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  14. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    People talk about Half Life this, Half life that as if Half Life was the first shooter with a story and "realist" level design, Dark Forces 2 had an excellent story without sacrificing the level design by making it terribly linear. Dark Forces 2 had everything Half Life had and much more, the reason it was forgotten is because it didnt age well and wasnt full of scripted bullshit trying to ape Hollywood. People always prefer flash over susbstance, it is a pity.
     
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  15. Morpheus Kitami Novice

    Morpheus Kitami
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    I remember thinking about Jedi Knight back in the day that it was just like playing a Star Wars movie, in a good way. You get to play through the action scenes yourself and then deal with the quiet parts. It was one of my favorite games back in the day. (along with Galactic Battlegrounds) The last time I touched it, probably 6 years ago, I felt it still was the best. The 3D aged a lot better than other 3D of the era, imo. I still have yet to touch the expansion, but I will...someday. I find it funny that people here are also saying that the darkside powers were lame, because I remember when I was looking up a walkthrough to get all the secrets, the guy said the lightside powers sucked against the bosses. Guess the guy never used Protection, because that made the final boss easy enough for me to kill him on keyboard controls. Which was what I was using at the time, since mouselook was too much for my tiny brain.
    I never played Academy either, but Dark Forces I was too easy, except for that one level, and Outcast had some weird levels. I also recall the mouselook in Outcast had some funny issue last I played. Shame, because I generally feel Outcast had the best weapon selection.
     
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  16. Nito Educated Patron

    Nito
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    You know I think you're right, in the sense that Half-Life is over-credited with being the first "shooter with a story", that's definitely not true. I think what Half-Life does have going for it, and why it resonated at the time (and still resonates now) is not so much that it did any one particular new thing, but rather combined a lot of things (environmental storytelling, one long seemless experience, horror aspects, crypticness, npcs that for the time felt very reactive to the player etc etc) in a masterful way to make a very coherent journey for the player. I think it deserves praise on its own terms for that. That said I do think you're right that a lot of other games that came out round 96-98, particularly fully 3D ones that were just awkwardly finding their feet, sort of fell down a hole, and it's only recently that some of them have gained more of a cult following (eg Blood).
     
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  17. Nito Educated Patron

    Nito
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    Deffo try Mysteries of the Sith if you can. Massively underplayed. Possibly the one of the biggest love letters to the Star Wars EU.
     
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  18. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    There are a few intense shooting sections in there on the first half of the game, I was having a great time until they remembered light sabers exist and you are supposely to be a force user, forcing you to use that for the rest of the game, then my fun boner was gone. Hate lightsabers in general, and light sabers on Jedi Knight in particular, hated even more that they became the focus of the sequels.
     
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  19. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    Man, a Star Wars shooter with you visiting a series of planets would be awesome but there is no hope in that. Unfortunately, we live on the age of ball less men where those corporate retards bend backwards to catter every whim of a mentally unstable minority that on the past would be sent to seek a psychiatrist so they can get their good boy badges while at same time selling gambling games desguised as video games to hook children and clueless teenagers, what an irony.
     
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  20. Nito Educated Patron

    Nito
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    I thought for sure when they announced that Respawn Entertainment were working on a Star Wars game, that it was a shoe-in for a new Jedi Knight or a game resembling one. The creators of MOHAA/COD/Titanfall? That's gotta be an FPS. I liked Fallen Order, but it's not what I would have predicted from that particular studio. I think EA's mismanagement of the licence has really killed any chance of a (good) Star Wars singleplayer shooter. Certainly not JK in any case; I think that IP has little to no brand recognition among a modern audience.
     
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  21. Morpheus Kitami Novice

    Morpheus Kitami
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    EA's failure was not throwing out dozens of Star Wars games instead of just remaking Battlefront. There was almost something for everyone when Lucasarts was making the games. You had educational games, shooters, RPGs, flight sims, strategy games. What's EA do? Two shooters and an action game. They're not even good games, they just exist.
     
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  22. Scarlet Lilith Learned

    Scarlet Lilith
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    Disney is going to Disney, and EA is going to EA. Even if they did branch out, which would be weird for them, you wouldn't get a new Jedi Knight (which is the peak of 90's shooters) or TIE Fighter game. Maybe if they let a retro studio like Voidpoint have a go you might get something similar, but it's not going to be as great. These games were a product of their time, which was very PC-centric. Nowadays smartphones and tablets rule and that's where an educational game or whatevs will end up, with the big AAA online things with seasonal passes are made for consoles and must follow the profit winning formulas of the day. You won't even get simple things like the marvelous Star Wars games for the SNES. You won't get another Galactic Battlegrounds, Empire at War or Rebellion since those genres are pretty much dead compared to what sells nowadays. Big singleplayer shooters are gone too, so you will get two rehashes of the already console focused Battlefront multiplayer games, but not another Republic Commando. And again, kids uses tablets and smartphones, so another Droidworks is a no-no. That leaves us with the question of a space combat sim, but again, those are also not really a thing anymore since they don't really work on consoles without a joystick and a keyboard. But I do think it's weird that they didn't even make something along the lines of Rogue Squadron or Battle for Naboo for current gen consoles, which are more arcadey than the old X-Wing games.
     
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  23. Morpheus Kitami Novice

    Morpheus Kitami
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    I suppose you're right. Just another sign of decline, really. Checking what EA publishes these days that isn't some indie they picked up are the big shooters, racing games and sports games. I'm sure the audience for any kind of Star Wars sports game wouldn't be enough to justify the massive amount of dosh EA would put in it.
     
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  24. Scarlet Lilith Learned

    Scarlet Lilith
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    Hah, don't say that, I would love to play a Star Wars themed football or handegg game, something like Blood Bowl but more casual. Although that might just be me. You'd think that would be an easy sell to the top though, "Tonnes of people buy our football games, tonnes of people buy our Star Wars games on brand recognition alone, what if we combined those two audiences and got the Star Wars geeks hooked on sports games and the sports nerds hooked on Star Wars?", it sounds just like the kind of stupid thing they'd go along with.
     
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