Star Wars: Dark Forces III: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is a game from a bygone era. A game from before the Force was manufactured by not-quite-bacteria, from an age when the phrase “Expanded Universe” didn’t leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
I said a lot of less than complimentary things about this game in an older re-review. And, well, I still completely agree with most of my comments there — it’s not a game without foibles, and unfortunately it’s not perfect enough to have Deus Ex, Unreal Tournament or Drakensang‘s “Get Out of Criticism Free” card.
But I want to temper those comments with some love. Because for all it gets wrong, this game gets something — possibly the most important thing of all — so, so right.
The most striking thing about Star Wars: Empire at War is that it doesn’t kick seven shades of pain out of the original trilogy lore, unlike secret-Sith-apprentice-but-actually-a-pretty-cool-guy-unprecedented-force-powers-self-insert-central The Force Unleashed. Having said that, characters like Mon Mothma and Han Solo do crop up, and R2-D2 and C3-PO seem to form the entire Stealth and Infiltration division of the Rebel Alliance.
Luckily since it’s a little bit old (but not that old), it runs beautifully at maximum power. It’s a very pretty game, with all the usual dramatic Star Wars scenery. While the game itself seems a bit lacklustre in places, the expansion pack Forces of Corruption is rather satisfying…
It’s cold and dark outside — of course we need some kind of psychological crutch to help us through the winter, and what better excuse to have a giant fuck-off party? Put up the tinsel, slam on the crimbo tunes…
As a child, my main crimbo gift from Santos was invariably a Lego model. From my earliest memories of the Spyrius Mighty Mogul (is this where my love of giant robots began, or was it just a symptom of some genetic/instinctive desire?) to collecting (almost) the entire Insectoids range, I’ve been around quite a lot (though not as much as you might imagine, nor as much as I’d like). Of course, as an old man I was told in no uncertain terms to grow out of it a while back.
So it was with great delight that I cast aside all inhibitions this year and asked Santos for the bastion of bad-ass that is General Grievous’ Starfighter (8095), and it was with even greater delight that I did find it nestled beneath the tree…
I must have been a good boy this year. Continue reading
Or “The Expanded Universe Unleashed”. Or “The Author Self-Insert Unleashed”.
I had to pretty much crawl on my knees like a dog to survey the pitiful PC game selection at Game, but at least they had a single full-height wall rack (even if the top was padded by being the top ten chart) instead of the five games stuck on the end of the counter I found last time.
There wasn’t much to look at, and I’m not particularly interested in Fallout: New Vegas (could be a candidate for a cheap GOTYE once they stop releasing DLC, though… call me in two years) or StarCraft II or any god damn MMO, so this one game that looked almost like it might be worth playing was a hard-won victory. And I’m well over-due some playing instead of modding.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition. I dread the Expanded Universe, especially when it dares to stamp all over the glorious films that do actually exist as this one so gleefully does. For some reason, I still picked this game up and braced myself for impact.
Some spoilers ensue, but the terrifying implications the plot applies to the original trilogy will remain unprinted.