I never thought it was possible for someone to like Star Wars too much, until now. I feel like I’ve got to take counter-point here, because JKII is an uncommonly good game, and deserves to be recognized as so.
As far as I’m concerned, LucasArts made some excellent decisions with this title. They didn’t waste time and money developing their own proprietary engine, instead taking existing, proven technology. They also gave their game to Raven, who have repeatedly shown themselves to be capable of making amazing Quake-based games, and who have also shown to be respectable stewards of other peoples’ intellectual property. To that extent, I also feel that Raven did just about everything right with this title, and I’m mighty glad they did. Gabe & I both agree that the single player is a lot of fun, so I won’t waste time trying to elaborate on that. Suffice to say, however, I found the gameplay and level design to be interesting, and the story thus far has been pretty compelling (admittedly, I’m only a few hours in). The single-player is worth the price of admission.
The multiplayer, however, is where we differ. Gabe refuses to play it, because he considers it blasphemous to see a stormtrooper with a lightsaber named “Wookiekilla”. I also think his ideas for an objective-based Star Wars action game are pretty cool (who knows, maybe this is accomplishable in an expansion?)... but dammit, this game is NOT a “kick in the balls to hard core Star Wars fans”, nor is it a slap in the face of any kind. I feel that kind of attitude is essentially sacrificing fun for the sake of idealism. If you’ve ever wondered how a pitched battle between Jedi might be appropriately represented in a video game, now’s your chance to find out. Saber fighting has been drastically improved in this outing, and I’d go so far as to say it must have been the focus of the developers, because it is TIGHT. There are a variety of new attacks and moves depending on your stance, which direction key you’re pressing, and your relative position to other players and objects. There are even 3 different saber styles (light, medium, heavy), that have their own moves, speed, and damage. The other weapons are balanced, the levels are extremely well done and a lot of fun to run around in, there are a variety of gametypes, the force powers are easy to manage and change in-game… I could go on and on. Trust me on this: You have not lived until you have stopped an escaping flag-carrier by grabbing them with the Force, and dropping them into a VERY deep pit.
I don’t feel that every single gametype and every single match in a Star Wars multiplayer game needs to be official canon… sometimes, it’s fun to just whip out a lightsaber and hack at each other. Hence, I’ve had a lot of fun with this game in only one short day, and I think you will too. Raven and LucasArts have done a great job, and I hope that this game enjoys the commercial success it deserves. This is exactly the type of game that needs to succeed before something even more compelling and original can exist.
(PP)Safety Monkey out.