Lit The Dark Forces Saga

Discussion in 'Literature' started by DigitalMessiah, Nov 6, 2013.

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  1. JediKnight75 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2011
    star 4
    So I started Dark Forces 2 a couple days ago; I just beat the level after you beat Yun. It's a pretty fun game. The cutscenes are cheesey, but at the same time they feel very much like Star Wars. While I have yet to connect with any characters, I am enjoying the story. I actually haven't noticed the bad graphics much. Yes, it does look bad, but whole playing they are very easy to look past. The gameplay is pretty interesting too. I like how special the lightsaber feels. That whole situation is weird to me because this is the forts game where there are many situations where I'll choose a gun instead. Lastly, I want to mention the level design. They're very creative and unlike anything we see in modern games. I'm not sire they are what I'd normally prefer, but I can say they are pretty fun. I do appreciate the creativity behind them.
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  2. Zorrixor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    It's nice hearing other people also enjoy the fact the lightsaber wasn't the ultimate weapon.

    That's something I really, really wish they'd do in another game, instead just having characters like Starkiller always just wanting to push the limits of the newest game engines and consequently just being stronger and stronger characters every time. But Kyle had class, and his lightsaber felt real.

    This is why I'll never be able to choose if I prefer JK or Outcast. Academy though I definitely felt was a step downhill, as I never felt anything for Jaden and using anything except a lightsaber was redundant by that point.
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  3. Rogue Five Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2014
    star 2
    But that double bladed light saber though. And dual sabers. Academy's story was laughably bad,sure, but I'll be darned if it wasn't fun. Although to be fair, the main story was always far too easy, even on Jedi Master. Of course, modding fixed that. Mods mods mods. God, I had hours of fun modding Outcast and Academy. Great games for doing that.
    Last edited by Rogue Five, Jul 18, 2014
  4. Zorrixor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    Outcast I still felt the need to use rockets and things sometimes. Academy... it just felt like they could have left the guns out completely.

    Which is what they then went and did in Force Unleashed... so I guess even LucasArts realised afterwards how redundant they'd made guns.
  5. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    I like the game design of Academy because you're basically training to be a Jedi.

    I don't think there is inherently an issue with that. I think JK is the best of the bunch though.

    I first played TFU at SDCC before release and I remember expecting JK series gameplay and it was disappointing that it was a God of War action game.
  6. JediKnight75 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2011
    star 4
    Is the lightsaber in Outcast closer to JK or JA? It's been a while since I played that game and am thinking about doing so eventually. I probably won't play JA again. While it was fub , the story was horrendous. The lines were bad, in a way where I couldn't take the game seriously.
  7. Zorrixor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    The lightsaber in Outcast is basically the same as JA, just without the double bladed or dual saber modes.

    I still found it rewarding to stick to guns sometimes though. Maybe it was the level design, maybe it was the Force Powers not being as inflated, I'm unsure... or it was just me thinking "Kyle Katarn has a Bryar pistol and should use it", dunno.
  8. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Damnit I want JK3.

    I'm gonna do a search to see if there's any good JO or JA mods that are single player campaigns later today.
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  9. Rogue Five Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2014
    star 2
    Re using guns in Outcast, there were several scenarios where you had too. Other than the opening levels, there are the large outdoor sections on Nar Shaddaa with all the snipers. No lightsaber is gonna save you there, you gotta counter-snipe those suckers. There are quite a few on Bespin as well. From Carin onward though, they start to become a lot less relevant, except against AT-STs and those little robots. And once you get level 3 force lightning, it's over.

    In Academy, there never is any reason to use them though, save for the one short level where you lose your saber, and even then you still have all your powers. No snipers in Academy, and you can have level 3 lightning three levels in. That game was so unbalanced...Although I thought I read once that at one point in development, you were only allowed to put one point into force powers for the the first tier of missions ie you could have a point in heal and choke, but not two points in choke. Then you could put two points into one once you reached the next tier (post-Hoth) then finally three point powers would be unlocked once you reached tier three missions. That wouldn't have saved the campaign's balance, but it would have made it a little less ridicules.

    Did anyone else ever read that, or I am crazy?
    Last edited by Rogue Five, Jul 18, 2014
  10. blackmyron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2005
    star 5
    But Jedi Academy also had missions where there was little or no combat - there was the Dune planet where you just dodged sandworms, and that warehouse with the rancor that was unkillable with weapons...
  11. Rogue Five Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2014
    star 2
    Oh God that Tremors planet actually gave me nightmares. To this day I literally cannot play that level. Stupid worms.

    But yes, I did like that Academy occasionally tried to mix up it's missions. I just think they coulda done a bit more. Like the rancor chase level. Dodging it was stupid easy, it was so slow, and at the end you kill it by pulling a switch. If there'd been, say, a little puzzle involved in killing it, and if it'd actually been a threat, that mission might have amounted to something. As it stands, it wasn't that fun.

    I did love that Swoop level though. Especially modding Walkers and stuff onto it. And wampas driving swoops...good times.:)
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  12. Alixen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2003
    star 4
    So, from a storyline point of view, are we to assume the Valley of the Jedi is why Kyle is quite so powerful around JO and to JA? The reason I ask and propose it is this. Playing through Dark Forces, with what we know of force sensitives now (such as having precognition, and not even always realizing, and the force manifesting as incredible instinct and luck) I can believe that Kyle could (with concessions to gameplay) pretty much accomplish what he does in game. In Jedi Knight and MotS, he basically self trains as a Jedi, but to a believable level. As has been noted, the lightsaber is something you typically pull out for a bit of deflection, and boss fights. We can probably assume all but Jerric are rather skilled and powerful adepts, rather than OJO-level duelists, and it's not unbelievable that with the force on his side Kyle might win his duels. Still, I never got the feeling that he was anything more than a typical Jedi. This is before the whole 'chosen one' gene became a factor, and before we looked at a Jedi in comparison to people like Anakin, NJO Luke, Mace, and Yoda.

    Jerric felt, even in normal difficulty, like a true dark Jedi or even Sith adept. Plus, he had used the Valley. His defenses are harder to penetrate, his force attacks more powerful, and so forth. We know from the novella the force, and Lord Hoth, intervene, and help Kyle. In gameplay, this can actually be seen in the respawning power up that gives you basically unlimited force-points, so you can basically just take Jerric's hits and force-heal the damage away. But even then, unless you have done it several times, it can be a long and pretty epic fight.

    MotS Kyle feels much the same, with improvements to skills, more force powers, and what could be argued to be a change in what weapon he reaches for first. Rather than an afterthought ('0' key) the lightsaber is now drawn by '1', instead/before his fists. It is now the first weapon a new player discovers as they go through the keys. An odd way to look at it, and it can be argued away as gameplay, but I personally think there was some thought behind that choice. On a none-gameplay front, Kyle is still not the invincible 'chosen one' style Jedi he arguably becomes later, even if he can spank Mara at the end.

    In Outcast we find him having renounced the force, and a less cocky and cheerful character. He does his commando missions, arguably slightly less effectively than in his dark forces days, and then gets beat down by Desann. He uses the Valley of the Jedi to re-power himself, rather than training the 'Corran' way, due to his girlfriend not being conveniently held in stasis. But I think this is the game changer.

    After the Valley of the Jedi, his power and abilities skyrocket. It doesn't just give him his old abilities back faster. He reaches many of his old limits ('good but imperfect', or level 2 in gameplay terms, blocking/deflection for a start) within the first few days/weeks afterwards and passes them. Rather than having to focus before he uses telekinesis, it all comes naturally (i.e. a button tap, rather than holding down push/pull with a Stormtrooper under the crosshairs). Rather than being rooted to the ground and using footwork, he begins to use flips and more elegant swordsmanship. Rather than having to concentrate on enhancing his agility, using the force to leap slightly higher becomes something he doesn't even need to think about, and does second nature. The biggest telling point is actually his performance against common Stormtroopers when at his max ability for each game; in Dark Forces we swap to normal weapons, because we know we will take damage trying to melee even a couple blaster wielding Stormies with our lightsaber. By the end of Outcast? We are using force push to send missiles back at their firer, blocking every single bolt that comes our way with deadly accuracy, can even to an extent block flechette, and mowing through entire bases TPM/TCW style.

    By the end of the game we have gone from what Return of the Jedi told us a Jedi Knight is to what the Phantom Menace told us a Jedi Knight is. Obviously, we know the change of portrayal is to blame. However, in the same way Luke's (and Kyle's) lack of long term formal training is used to rationalize why he isn't doing the same stuff as Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon in RotJ, I feel the Valley can be used more than as a simple plot point as to why he gets his skills back so quickly, but surpasses them by a large margin. If you look at his performance in JK2 and his abilities, and how he uses them, pitting his MotS self versus his Jedi academy self really would be like putting ROTJ Luke up against Mace Windu. Or Coleman Trebor against Obi-Wan.

    So, rather than just retraining him super fast, my firm belief is that the Valley either turned him into a 'chosen one' or unlocked his deepest potential. Preferably the latter, as I like Kyle, and I don't like to cheapen his accomplishments and abilities.
    Last edited by Alixen, Jul 18, 2014
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  13. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    The Valley is an interesting subject, because I thought he dispersed the imprisoned Jedi so their Living Force could reunite with the Cosmic Force, but apparently it's still a locus of the Force afterward. I think the implication in Outcast is that by using it, Kyle was able to remember how to use the Force, more or less. It seems its power was lessened by Kyle freeing the spirits at the very least. Abel's Dark Forces Saga piece suggests that the Sith spirits are still present, including Jerec, but I doubt Kyle used their power -- but then given the circumstances, he may have?

    My theory is that it's a metaphysical grand canyon, so to speak. Kyle removed the dam that was keeping a lot of water flooded in the canyon, but its historical presence left a metaphysical gradient that still draws Force energy to that locus.

    But what do you think the distinction is between a Jedi Knight as defined by Return of the Jedi, and a Jedi Knight as defined by The Phantom Menace?
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  14. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I think Academy worked really well. I wouldn't want every JK game like that, but the mission story/level structure allowed for some really amazingly varied level design that visited a ton of locations. The game felt big and wide-ranging and captured the sense of actually being a Jedi student going out on all kinds of missions. And I didn't think there was a big problem with the characters or story. Jaden wasn't Kyle, but he was enough for what the game needed.
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  15. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    I feel like Jedi Knight 3 could have worked with Kyle by returning to more varied gameplay with emphasis on non-lightsaber weapons, maybe using the Yuuzhan Vong as enemies to feed into that along with the peace brigade filling the more traditional role since the Yuuzhan Vong are supposed to be really tough.

    Maybe throw in some new wrinkle to the start of the war with some sort of either continuation or new sect like the Reborn and Disciples of Ragnos taking advantage of the chaos, or even being manipulated by Nom Anor to occupy the Jedi early on. And having the Yuuzhan Vong as enemies would allow for Kyle to be more powerful to start the game, and maybe return to the more varied Force powers of Jedi Knight and the broader Expanded Universe for advancement.
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  16. Riv_Shiel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2014
    star 2
    What I didn't like about the Academy story was that most of the levels really did absolutely nothing to advance the plot. They didn't matter. There was a reason that you could skip one of them every tier - you weren't missing anything. I like what they tried to do with letting you do missions in different order (even okay with letting you skip one), but the way it came off didn't work for me. Maybe if you get a piece of evidence in each "tier" level that eventually leads you to the next "core" level when you put enough of them together? I don't know, difficult to execute without being cheesy or irrelevant, but the story just didn't work for me.

    As far as comparing Kyle and Jaden - there really is nothing to compare, they are different types of player characters. Jaden is written as a blank slate that the player can insert their own personality into (see: Revan-KOTOR) whereas Kyle has a personality written into the game and the player only controls his actions. There is nothing wrong with either approach, but trying to compare stand-in-for-the-player Jaden's character to Kyle's is missing the point.

    As far as the level designs, the thing I miss going from JO to JA is puzzles. Where did they go?

    One more thing that needs to be mentioned in any JA discussion - Rosh Penin, that is all.
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  17. Zorrixor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    @Riv_Shiel the lack of story in the missions was my big disappointment too. I'd loved how deep the story pervaded the previous JK games, and just felt like I was passing time between the main levels in Academy, and on subsequent playthroughs often just cheated to skip the filler levels after I'd done them once.
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  18. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I like the fact that not every mission advanced the plot. It allowed them to be varied. Instead of Nar Shaddaa, and more Nar Shaddaa, and more Nar Shaddaa, and chase the bad guy, and chase the bad guy some more, and board the ship, and keep boarding the ship, and board the ship some more keep going, we got investigate over here, and investigate over there, and stop this crisis and hey Wedge wants to borrow you to blow up a depot. Everything usually tied back to the central story element of the Disciples of Ragnos, but the story didn't have to be linear because you were running all over the galaxy shutting down their operations and poking around for evidence rather than chasing them through a set sequence of locations.
  19. Zorrixor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    You can be varied and advance the plot, though. It just takes a bit more work to come up with ways to do it.

    Sadly, though, this was always another reason why I felt Academy was the start of the downhill slide for LucasArts' games, as it never had that same magic touch. (Although maybe it not being JK3 was a sign they themselves knew it was only a spin-off.)
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  20. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    I agree with Havac -- the story of Jedi Academy was becoming a Jedi, and going on disparate assignments was a part of that. Some of them were connected with the Disciples of Ragnos, some of them weren't, and most interestingly a lot of them are ambiguous in that connection because you never get the whole story. It's a narrative like Jedi Outcast but it plays out from the perspective as one of the many Jedi, rather than some uber important Jedi like Luke or Kyle. However, the connection to Kyle and Rosh give it some added meaning and a personal element for Jaden.

    It doesn't play out like a traditional Star Wars story where you go from A to B to C as the protagonist goes through the rigors of the plot, like JK and JO do, e.g. Nar Shaddaa to Sulon to Ruusan, or Nar Shaddaa to Bespin to Cairn to the Doomgiver to Yavin 4. But I find that refreshing because it allows for a much greater diversity of environments than that sort of story could allow. You get to see a lot more of the Star Wars galaxy.
  21. Riv_Shiel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2014
    star 2
    And I did appreciate that in and of itself. I just wished they had found a way to make the side missions feel like they carried some significance to the main plot other than Jaden is becoming a Jedi and this is a Jedi mission - oh maybe there are some Disciples or something. If they really can't figure out a way to make these missions (and I DO like that they are non-linear and don't directly lead into each other) tie into the main plot or collectively lead into the next main mission, then I would have liked to see them make more of a focus on a strong character arc. They could have even gone as simple as giving us debriefing cutscenes in the temple between missions where Jaden discusses where he is at as a Jedi with Kyle or even Rosh. The optional missions could lead into significant character epiphanies or background reveals that would be a good payoff story-wise for taking the extra mission. With the Jaden-as-the-player model, I don't feel like we got Jaden learning to be a Jedi. Just Jaden going on a bunch of random missions. Revan worked because we had a solid (albeit non-linear) plot to build the character on. With JA we got neither tight plotting nor strong character arc. We didn't even get an exciting character that doesn't develop that we could enjoy just being along for the ride. We just got a bunch of side adventures that don't follow any kind of overarching plot, four or five missions that actually contain the story line of the game (which wasn't a story that particularly worked for me, but that is another discussion entirely), and a Rosh Penin arc.
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  22. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    I guess I wasn't really looking for a character arc or strong plot in Jedi Academy, just a game where I explore the Star Wars galaxy.

    Dark Forces is kind of the same, although it follows a chase the MacGuffin formula.
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  23. Riv_Shiel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2014
    star 2
    Academy was fun enough, just coming off of JK and JO the story was disappointing.
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  24. Zorrixor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    What @Riv_Shiel said.

    The idea of going off on missions around the galaxy? Cool. But when that consisted of "Help! There's a giant mutant rancor! Stop it!" umm... that's the best they could come up with?

    That one might be an extreme example, but the majority were little better. Even one on... I think it was Corellia, where you were on a hover-train or something, and had to stop a bomb going off. Sure, that was better, but like @Riv_Shiel suggested, it'd have been so much better with some debriefings and stuff, rather than them just feeling like downloadable custom levels with no surround.
  25. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Having just completed a replay of Academy, I can say that it is true there is nothing that really connects the three tiers of planets with the general plot of the game–but at the same time, it doesn't feel totally random, either, especially the latter two. The Tatooine missions both involve rumors about the Sith cultists. The other three tier one planets are pretty random–the train on Corellia, random bomb threat on Bakura, and crashed merchants on Blenjeel. Even so, the former two still end up tying to the overall plot because the cultists are involved on Corellia and the Imps who planted the bombs on Bakura are tied to them, as well. The tier two planets involve investigating the cultists. The guy on Coruscant has ties to them, the Wedge level is capturing a cultist base, the Zonju V level is talking to an informant about them, the Nar Kreeta level...I can't remember how that ties in; it might not. Dosuun is investigating a cultist base. Then tier three is stopping the cult (the exception being the level on Ord Mantell, which exists only to allow Boba Fett to make an appearance). Yalara, you keep them from getting a cloaking device. Byss, you are following up on Rosh being there earlier (and blowing up a Dreadnaught). Chandrila, you keep them from draining the Force from a tomb. Tanaab, you stop the mutant rancor they release.

    The thing with Jaden is, he's not intended to be some super Chosen One-style Jedi. Unlike Kyp, or Kyle, or Corran, whose stories hinge on them being the one to fulfill the quest, Jaden's could've been accomplished by anyone. This becomes apparent when you realize that you going to Hoth isn't some big mission, because the other Jedi go other places, too–Rosh to Byss, Corran to Wayland, Kyle to the Valley of the Jedi, etc. Jaden is just one of many Jedi, and he happens to be investigating the planet where Tavion's apprentice shows up. On Vjun, it may seem more contrived than Hoth, because how is it that you and Kyle happen to be the ones who go to the place Tavion and Rosh are? But it makes sense, because Vader's Castle would be higher on Tavion's list than other places, probably. If Corran and Raltharan had come to Vjun instead, they would've encountered Tavion and Rosh. Those two being there didn't hinge on Jaden and Kyle being there. Taspir III is the only place where Jaden is truly the only one who could've accomplished that mission, due to it being specifically to rescue Rosh. Then, on to Korriban, I still didn't get the feel that Jaden had to be the one to confront Tavion. There are countless other Jedi there–in all likeliness, Corran, Kyp, Tionne, and many other "big-name" Jedi were there. We know Kyle and Luke were. It just so happened that Jaden got to Tavion first. If he had been held up by the Disciples of Ragnos, Luke might've gotten there first and ROFL-stomped Tavion. I actually applaud the game for that, in a way, because you get to be the big hero of the day without being Mr. Super-Important Destiny. You're just (as Kyle said) a terrific Jedi. There were other terrific Jedi that could've done the same–but you were there, and they weren't. So bravo, Jedi Academy. =D=
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