Category: Video Game Review

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Jedi Knight II Jedi Outcast

-Spoiler Review-

Before Knights of the Old Republic became Star Wars fans’ and non-fans’ favorite Star Wars game, there was Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Developed by Raven Software (who are based out of my home state, Wisconsin) and released in 2002, Jedi Outcast follows two years after the events of Mysteries of the Sith, chronicling the further exploits of the bearded Kyle Katarn and his fight against the Reborn Empire. While it doesn’t inspire much faith from the slow to plodding opening, it’s once Katarn puts a lightsaber back in his hands where this game transforms into what I’d happily call the second best Star Wars game (for now). Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast”

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith

Mysteries of the Sith cover

Three months after Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II released, its expansion was ready for fan’s attention. Mysteries of the Sith continued Kyle Katarn’s adventures, but with a little twist: the game was primarily played through the eyes of the Legends/EU starlet, Mara Jade. Set just 5 years after Dark Forces IIMotS finds Mara under the tutelage of Katarn, who disappears while on a mission to Dromund Kaas (something The Old Republic fans know a little about). With some slight graphical improvements, new multiplayer modes/maps, a wider array of Force powers, and some killer final levels, it’s hard to argue against purchasing Mysteries of the Sith, especially if you enjoyed Dark Forces II. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith”

Video Game Review: Telltale’s Game of Thrones, Ep. 1: “Iron from Ice”

Telltale's Game of Thrones

– Spoiler Review –

Telltale Games has proven with some of their most recent titles like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Tales from the Borderlands, that they can adapt material and keep true to its tone and world. The first episode of their Game of Thrones series, “Iron From Ice,” deftly assuages any fears they wouldn’t properly adapt the bloody world of Westeroes, setting itself up to be a worthy extension of the franchise. That all being said, since the game starts towards the end of the show’s third season, if you haven’t been watching the show or reading the books, it’ll be a little hard to understand everything that’s going on. And if you’re a spoiler-phobe, you best turn back now because this review (and the game) spoil quite a lot.

(UPDATE: I won’t be reviewing this series any more, nor its finale, which I finally completed two years later. It, like much of this series, was rather lackluster, and left me feeling like most of my decisions didn’t matter as there was an outcome planned anyways. The North Grove? Not explained beyond there being creepy magic to help slay the White Walkers. By the end, at least for me, the Forrester family has less members alive then the Starks and they are no where near as important. There will be a second season, so if you enjoyed this then don’t fret there’s more to come, but I’d be doubtful to return as I’ll be too busy watching the show or re-reading the books (or reading a new one, if George R.R .Martin ever gets one out!). Good luck playing and thanks for checking out the Manor; stay awhile for our primary focus, Star Wars, if you’d like!)

Continue reading “Video Game Review: Telltale’s Game of Thrones, Ep. 1: “Iron from Ice””

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

Dark Forces 2 cover

Kyle Katarn’s inclusion in the Expanded Universe might have started with Dark Forces, but he was cemented in fans hearts and minds when the sequel arrived two years later. From the debatable FMV cutscenes, the inclusion of Forces powers, a lightsaber, dark/light side endings, and multiplayer (which is still supported to this day) Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II significantly expanded from its predecessor’s now seemingly measly offerings. While not all the additions are executed well, I’m looking at you FMV and Force powers, Jedi Knight shouldn’t be passed up, especially if you’ve played any of the successive games in the Jedi Knight series. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II”

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Dark Forces

Dark Forces cover

The First Person Shooter (FPS) had just gained momentum in 1993 with the release of Doom. Many games attempted to emulate it and were quickly labeled as ‘Doom-clones.’ But as much as LucasArts wanted to make a FPS like Doom, they also wanted to make additions to stand out. Thus, in 1995, came Star Wars: Dark Forces. The game added (what was revolutionary at the time) the ability to look up, down, duck, jump, swim, and it also contained levels with multiple floors. All the above was thanks to LucasArts creating the Jedi engine basically from reverse engineering the Doom engine. In 1995, all those new features made Dark Forces a good game. In late 2012/early 2013, it’s goodwill from said features has pretty much worn out. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Dark Forces”

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike

Rogue Squadron III Rebel Strike cover

We’ve all heard the following saying at least once in our lives: “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” But what should you do if you’ve already succeeded? The success was Rogue Leader and Factor 5 had to find a way to answer that question by beating a formula they largely perfected. In 2003, two years after Rogue Leader’s release, fans and gamers alike got to find out if they managed to succeed again. For the most part, Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike outshines its predecessor, but for every step forward, it occasionally takes two steps back. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike”

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

Rogue Leader cover photo

– Minor Spoiler Review –

If you ever played the N64/PC game Shadows of the Empire and felt like the Hoth level was the best thing in it, you were not alone. Factor 5 and LucasArts felt the same way and thus created Rogue Squadron, released in 1998. Critically acclaimed and a sales juggernaut, it warranted a sequel not only in the developers eye’s, but also the fan’s. Three years later, and on the start of a new console cycle, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader was made as a flagship title for Nintendo’s newly released system, Gamecube. Frustrating, fun, and a tad short, Rogue Leader makes me never want to actually have to get caught in a real space battle and happy I can pretend to do so from the safety of my basement. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader”

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Republic Commando

Republic Commando

– Spoiler Review –

With the Prequels focusing on Force users good and bad, a lot of people missed the focus on the little guy/gal rising up against a bigger enemy. In the prequel era, the clones were the little guy(s) and not much had been told from their point of view regarding events like the Clone Wars (until Emmy award winning The Clone Wars, of course). Several novels started giving them major roles while LucasArts secretly toiled away on their own addition to the clones’ ever evolving story. Releasing a few months before Revenge of the Sith, LucasArts decided to make their version of giving the little guys a voice with a tactical first-person shooter named Republic Commando. While it doesn’t avoid every pratfall of the FPS genre, Republic Commando’s tactical side saves it from true monotony. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Republic Commando”

Video Game Review: Star Wars: Bounty Hunter

Star Wars Bounty Hunter

– Minor Spoiler Review –

Though Boba Fett didn’t have much dialogue, his demeanor, armor, and capture of Han Solo left quite an impression on Star Wars fans. Sure, he kind of went out like a punk in Return of the Jedi, but his EU/Legends presence is profound and shouldn’t be missed. So when Attack of the Clones revealed Boba’s father and origins, things got even more interesting. Lots of new fans (and old) couldn’t help but be interested in Jango Fett as much as, if not more than, his son. Seeing the potential in uncovering some of the hazy backstory on how Jango became the clone template for the Republic’s army, LucasArts went ahead and made 2002’s Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. The third-person shooter will test your trigger finger and your patience, but it’s an overall fun romp as one of the most feared men in the galaxy. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: Bounty Hunter”

Video Game Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2

The Force Unleashed 2

– Spoiler Review –

Despite the protagonist’s death at the end of the first The Force Unleashed, but thanks to its large commercial success, a sequel was quickly announced and put into development. To build the hype train, LucasArts started reassuring gamers they had heeded the criticisms leveled at the first game. Then Haden Blackman, writer and executive producer on both games, said the sequel would tell a more personal story about Starkiller and the early days of the Rebel Alliance. But it was when the developers stated the sequel would be their Empire Strikes Back, several hundred eyebrows raised in either terror or hope. Could this game ever be anything like one of the most revered Star Wars films of all time? On October 26, 2010, with the release of The Force Unleashed II, the answer to that question was finally revealed: Nope. Even though the game looks great, its overly repetitious gameplay and levels, a dismissible story, and short length make for an underwhelming experience. Continue reading “Video Game Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2”