Nine years after Jedi Knight you once again take the role of Kyle Katarn, a rough cool ex-Jedi turned mercenary. Ex Jedi? Yes well, you see in the previous game (Jedi Knight) our hero Kyle almost joined the dark side of the force and who wouldn't? Who wouldn't want to use those strong power to conquer the world, YES OBEY ME!!
Hrrm anyway, to get back into the game everything starts when Kyle and his partner Jan Ors are send on routine mission to check out a remote planet from where an Imperial transmissions have been intercepted. Of course everything changes from a routine mission to a complicated mess and You must now sort this out and eventually guide Kyle back to the Jedi path. This is all explained in the initial missions briefing/intro of the game.
So what about the actual game itself?
You are faced with huge levels, indoor as well as outdoor maps. Combine that with a lot of action and some puzzles. None of the puzzles are TOO hard but I would be lying if I claimed that I never had to think twice on one and two occasions. But you could be sure of not getting too stuck, I promise, You think I could write this otherwise? And NO, I didn't cheat ;-) Some other people claim that the key searching or puzzles slow down the pace of the game but i only think it adds to the game play. I had great fun trying to figure out where to go only to find out you had to jump, crouch and so on to get to an overhead pass that was hard to see ... excellent!
Each section of the game is set off by the standard cut scenes, and nothing unusual with the exception that these cut scenes look absolutely great and no, they are not too long either. You get briefed some info and thats that. No time for popcorn, just head out to next rendez-vous point.
Yes there are plenty and o'boy are they plenty good as well. Raven put the Quake3 engine to its full use and they can be proud of their achievements, after all they have some Q3 engine experience from developing Elite Force. The in game movies are flooded with items from the Star Wars movies and you will easily recognize them, everything looks absolutely finger-licking good. The new additions/items have the same shape and style as the old items (excellent work there Raven) so its like a belated home coming. Your eternal enemies, the Stormtroopers, are never far away and of course you can expect some evil Robots to attack you as well.
As usual the enemies are not that bright, in many occasions they never notice you until you fire the first shot, although dont take that for granted. Some enemies will actually hide behind corners and wait for your approach or run away and hide for cover (or just plain hide because they fear the force!), so be aware. You also have the usual secret zones to explore will can grant you extra ammo, health etc. What is certainly a positive development is the enemy animations. The Stormstroopers flip flop and drop dead in a very well animated sequence which makes it fun to watch. Also worth mentioning is the fact that in the game it is wise to "conserve" ammo and sometimes it is advised to take an easy and stealth approach rather than going in all guns blazing. A carefully aimed head shot kills enemies instantly and it is proven that taking your time is worth the risk of getting shot rather than going full force and wasting ammo.
The sounds in the game are the all familiar Star Wars audio sounds. Your weapons actually sounds like the original weapons and isn't the light saber just the coolest thing? I just couldn't stop using it, especially when you can make certain cool moves while using it! The game has cameo appearances from Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian and the original voice from Billy Dee Williams as in the original. Very nice!
You start off the game with a simple blaster but as you advance in the game more weapons will become available to you. In all there are over 10 different weapons such as the Heavy Repeater, Golan Arms FC-1, Electro-Magnetic Pulse 2 Gun, Disruptor, etc... and the weapon everybody loves, the light saber... Each has its own specific functionality and some are slow but powerful while others are spitting out fire but inaccurate.
Of course it would be too easy if you were able to use the light saber right off the bat. It actually takes quite a little while until you get to the point where you can yield the almighty saber. The effects of wielding the saber look best when you change the game perspective from first person to third person and you get a full view of Kyle handling the saber, VERY nice to watch. You are not "just" swinging the mighty saber around, oh no, it has several "special" moves such as : Flip Forward & Attack Downward, Horizontal Swipe Attack, the Stab Backwards and a few others (a total of 8). Each of those specific attacks are unique and split up in 3 "Combat Styles" : Fast Light saber Combat Style, Medium Light saber Combat Style and Strong Light saber Combat Style. Each have their own qualities either being suited for shot range, a heavy damage degree, slow repeat and so forth.It is fun when you chop off Stormtrooper's arms or legs (no gore involved) or leave scorch marks on basically anything you touch with the light saber.
One of the main goals during the game is achieving/finding the "Force Powers". In combination with the light saber the force powers are what make you or break you. It will take you some time to handle them properly but once you got it all figured out they will allow you to be a much powerful/competent player! In total there are 7 single player "active" force powers to master ( such as Force Heal, Force Push, Force Mind Trick etc...) and the multi player part of the game has an additional five others (such as Force Seeing, Dark Rage, force Drain and others). Needless to say that each power has its own purpose and capabilities, for example the Mind Trick Force allows you to either slip by a single enemy or group of enemies unnoticed (providing you don't make to much noise), or trick an enemy into fighting on your side for a short while (all dependant on what level of mastery you have achieved).
While we are at it ... the multi player aspect of the game is a GREAT addition in terms of game value, as is with every game that has or should have multi player support these days. There are 12 specific multi player ONLY maps and no less than 6 multi player modes. The usual death match, king of the hill, team play but also an interesting mode called "Holocron" where its all about Force Powers spread over the map and abusing those puppies to the max! And last but not least Capture the Salami err i mean Capture the Ysalamiri. There is some serious battle going on so my advise is to master the single player before you enter the ring or you WILL be slaughtered ;)
This game is beyond any doubt one of the top titles and a contender for First Person Shooter of the year. Having a strong brand name in regard to the Star Wars franchise, this title is sure to hit the big sales numbers. This game is deemed WORTHPLAYING, and then some ...