Star Wars titles continue to make their way onto store shelves left and right and they’re not all flight combat titles anymore either. With the latest Star Wars game being an RPG (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), it is now definitely time for a Star Wars title all about the Light Saber. Well now you have Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy for the Xbox and it’s a pretty solid game all the way around.
If there was one type of Star Wars game I look forward to it’s not the RPG’s or the Flight Combat titles but it’s definitely the light saber titles where you can really use the force and show the true greatness of Star Wars (in my opinion). In Star Wars Jedi Knight Jedi Academy you no longer play as Kyle Katarn (like in the previous versions of the game) but now you will be playing as a new student of the force Jaden. You start the game by selecting the type of character you are (gender, race, ect.) and then you go to pick a light saber in which you want to use.
In Jedi Academy you are given a story, it’s a pretty basic one, and then you’re basically left in the open to do what you choose. You are given the choice of what missions to do and when to do them, and really how to go about completing them. The game does feel like Jedi Knight II in that it uses the same type of third person to first person views throughout the game. This works pretty well and if you are used to it from the previous games then Jedi Academy will just be a nice easy walk in the park for you.
One of the most welcomed changes for Jedi Academy from Jedi Knight is that you actually start with the light saber and abilities at the start of the game. Unlike in Jedi Knight where you had to get through a big chunk of the game just to get to the light saber, in Jedi Academy you come equipped with it right from the get go which is definitely a good thing. This is not to say that the other weapons are never used or needed but for the most part you can make your way through the game by just using the light saber.
Most of the game revolves around you gaining abilities and points for different areas. The game starts you off with the basics and from there you will go back to the academy and gain new ones. Some of these abilities will become very useful in the later parts of the game and will help you complete the game.
Jedi Academy starts with pretty basic levels with pretty basic enemies. These first few levels that you take part in won’t be much of a challenge and I personally was starting to get bored. But if you hang in there the enemies’ abilities start to grow stronger and therefore the game really starts to heat up. Using the light saber trying to defeat strong Dark Jedi’s is really where the thrill of the game comes out, and even if it takes a while to get there it’s a pure joy to take part in.
One of the things I have been looking forward to in Jedi Academy was the Live support which allows you to really take your Jedi skills online and face them off against other Star Wars enthusiasts. The Live support that Raven gave us in Jedi Academy isn’t anything out of the ordinary. They gave us the basic game modes and basic Live options that gives you the average Live experience. I personally enjoyed the Deathmatch mode as it allows you to really duke it out with others using the light saber, which is quite enjoyable. The Live support is quite good and doesn’t really show a lot of lag while playing. What I really liked is that the same tricks you used in the single player game do not work in the multiplayer portion of the game, so the strategy really does change quite a bit from what you may be used to offline. The competition is also quite fierce online so you do get quite a bit of challenge while playing online.
The gameplay of Jedi Academy is pretty solid all the way around and really just does everything pretty well. There is nothing overly wrong with how the game plays out, just that you still wish there was more done to really refine the gameplay and make it more accurate and crisp. There is just something missing from the game that doesn’t feel like it lives up to all the potential it could have, but with that being said Jedi Academy gives you a pretty good light saber action adventure title.
Graphically is where Jedi Academy really starts to hurt and this is really where the problems happen for the game. Star Wars titles have never been a graphics friendly series even when you even look at the better Star Wars titles like Knights of the Old Republic they really aren’t easy on the eyes. Well unfortunately Jedi Academy follows that path and ends up being a pretty poor looking title.
Jedi Academy has one major problem that does not only hurt the graphics department but also hurts the gameplay as well and that’s the frame rate issues that really show throughout the game. During the game you will see a lot of signs of slowdown that really gets quite annoying and should have been fixed. There are also a lot of camera issues that get in the way of the gameplay and are an annoyance throughout the game.
What really hurts the graphics is that everything in the game just seems so dull and scratchy. There really isn’t much detailed placed on any of the characters or the environments which I think hurts the game in the long run. Overall the graphics aren’t anything horrific, I just wish they had put more time and effort into making a better-looking game.
Once you get past the first few missions of Jedi Academy you will in for some real light saber duels and that’s really where the game starts to become fun. The game starts to pick up the pace, and although there are some levels that can be a tad boring the majority of them are quite entertaining. Throw in the multiplayer portion of the game with Xbox Live support and you get a game that will be extremely fun for casual and hardcore Star Wars fans.
If you are looking for a new Star Wars game for your Xbox where the light saber is main weapon of choice then Star Wars academy is a great choice for you. As long as you are not one who critiques games solely on their graphics, then you should definitely think about picking this one up, if not then this makes a perfect rental.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.