Star Wars Jedi Knight Jedi Academy

The Xbox box art for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy!

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is a 3rd person, action shooter game released for the Xbox and PC in 2003. The game's plot follows Jaden Korr, an initiate who has just joined Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy on Yavin IV, and who has just begun to study under Kyle Katarn, Luke's partner and the hero of the previous games. Jaden, who starts out completing missions as part of his training, soon becomes involved in the plot of the Disciples of Ragnos, who seek to restore the millenia-old Sith lord Marka Ragnos to wipe out the Jedi and dominate the galaxy.

Jaden must battle through Sith, as well as his best friend Rosh (who temporarily turns to the dark side), in order to confront the leader of the cult, a villain from Kyle's past.

I was so stoked to get this game, and although the list price was $30.00, I was able to get it on clearance at Gamestop for $8.00. I'm very glad I was able to get it for this price, as it's worth about that much in the long term.

Now I want to be clear that the game is not bad; it has a great story, concept, gameplay, etc. The thing is that while this is a good game, there are many ways in which it could have been better.

Let me start out with my biggest problem. They didn't you name your own character!

A lot of you out there probably think that doesn't matter, but wouldn't ot me cooler if you yourself were the one fighting the evil Sith? I just think that some system should have been worked out of incorporating specific names into the game, perhaps an algorithmic systems of translating certain letter combinations into sounds made by the voice actors when they say your name. That's just my opinion.

Secondly, the styles of combat were a little bit too blocky at times. The saberstaff and dual blades worked perfectly as far as offense goes, but there were issues with the single saber. With the single saber, you had the option of a Fast, Medium, and Strong style that you developed over time and could switch between. This was a great feature, but it didn't feel smooth enough; occasionally, the moves would be harder to execute than they should have been, and the strikes should have been faster in all the modes. Basically, the combat would occasionally feel a little bit too unrealistic for me. What's more is that you couldn't even block in any of the styles, which doesn't make any sense to me at all.

The biggest problem I have with the game is that while it claims to have a huge amount of customization, that's not so on the Xbox. I've seen all sorts of pictures of various hilts, swords, and even templates of well-known characters in the universe that would let you create your character with complete precision. However, that's only on the PC. On the Xbox, you can only choose from a few options from all the five or six things you can adjust, so you have to go with a ballpark resemblance to what you actually want. With the amount of customization they actually allow you to work with, I'm wondering why they even bothered releasing the game on the Xbox in the first place.

Still, there are some good aspects of the game. For example, the first person weapons they allow you to use are amazing. If you wanted to do a multiplayer death match with weapons only, you would have a spectacular time. My only real wish is that they had put a little more work into the lightsaber combat; the fact that the guns and explosives tend to work better that the actual lightsabers removes the Jedi from Jedi Knight and Jedi Academy to a certain extent.

The other HUGE plus is that you have the option of using dark side powers (namely, lightning, choke, drain, and rage) without having to turn to the dark side or worry about possible consequences. You actually choose later in the game whether or not you want to turn to the dark side. This means that you can be as destructive as you want with the dark side without drifting towards evil involuntarily, like in Knights of the Old Republic. The only thing missing from this is the ability to use both light and dark side powers in multiplayer. Aside from that, this front is basically without issue.

This game is, as I said before, a good game. However, it's far from an extraordinary one. There are so many small holes in this game that need to be revised that it's almost ridiculous. If this game gets a modern sequel at any point, then it will probably be easy to recommend, but not at the moment. Basically, this only worth buying on the Xbox if you can actually play it, and if you can get it for about $5. Given that the level of customization and options is likely way higher, you should definitely get that version of the game if you can find it and play it. Otherwise, just skip it.