Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 08.04.2020

Review for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on Nintendo Switch

Another LucasArts classic has found its way to the Nintendo Switch, this time in the form of 2003's Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. Operating as a direct sequel to Jedi Outcast, this galaxy-spanning tale that follows padawan Jaden Korr was well received when it first launched and remains a fan-favourite for many. Developer Aspyr has done a good job capitalising on nostalgia with many of their recent Switch ports, and this is no doubt a further attempt to do just that.

At one point in history, the Jedi Knight series was at the pinnacle of lightsaber combat in video gaming. It has since been dethroned by the very good Fallen Order, but it nevertheless retains many of its charms. While the Switch's Joy-Cons are no match for a traditional keyboard and mouse, the controls are nevertheless intuitive and easy to pick up, and some smart hot-mapping has been implemented to quickly switch between the multitude of force powers available. Motion controls are another addition worth mentioning, which are extremely useful for fine-aiming when using a ranged weapon.

Jedi Academy is positively steeped in Star Wars nostalgia, the effectiveness of which is enhanced by its entertaining gameplay. The lightsaber scorching walls as it passes by them and droids ambling about throughout the missions are examples of this firm rooting in the lore, which serves to give life to each familiar environment. Combat hasn't aged tremendously well, but it is nevertheless not only still playable, but enjoyable too: it can be extremely satisfying to side flip into a group of enemies, lay waste to them with a few quick lightsaber swings and well-timed force throws, and side flip out again. There are also more duels with other lightsaber-wielding enemies than in the previous games in the series, which are by far the best combat encounters in here. These confrontations are often exciting as you dance around your foe, attempting to find a sizeable gap in which to attack.

Screenshot for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on Nintendo Switch

The arsenal of attacks available to Jaden only grows throughout the course of the substantial campaign, making these fights progressively richer in the mechanical sense. Speaking of protagonist Jaden Korr, Jedi Academy features character customisation like none of the Jedi Knight instalments before it did. One can choose Jaden's gender and pick from a handful of races, including human, Twi'lek, Zabrak, Kel Dor, and Rodian. Jaden's lightsaber is also customisable from the get-go, serving to personalise the experience in an endearing - if shallow - way. As always in the series, multiple endings exist depending on which force affinities Jaden leans towards during missions.

The plot is serviceable if not good, managing to keep things ticking despite being rather predictable in its treading of familiar beats. Jaden, a padawan at Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy, travels around the galaxy while training to become a full-fledged Jedi, battling the sinister Imperial Remnant all the way. The voice acting herein trapezes between being decent and outright laughable, but it's undoubtedly good for its time. What is most praiseworthy is the fact that Jedi Academy feels like a genuine Star Wars experience despite being non-cannon; it's not ashamed to introduce many familiar faces and lore components throughout the campaign, which is ultimately one of its main strengths.

Aspyr have done a commendable job on this port, as is to be expected on the basis of their previous work. Aside from including the original game's multiplayer component, which is a welcome addition as it was missing from Jedi Outcast's Switch port, the game runs very well on the Switch with only a few FPS stutters during busy action sequences. While the visuals and animations are still very 2003, textures are smooth and pleasing to look at. The sound design is where Jedi Academy truly shines - few properties are as distinguishable as Star Wars by sound alone, so it has to be pitch-perfect. Thankfully, it is.

Screenshot for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is a welcome addition to the Switch's ever-expanding repertoire, and a great adventure set in the Star Wars universe. Its seldom dull thanks to its enjoyable lightsaber combat, even if it's not terrific by modern standards. Fans of Star Wars and those looking for an action game with good variety will enjoy this. Aspyr has done a great job with the port, further cementing their reputation as one of the best developers for bringing fan favourite titles to Nintendo's flagship system.

Developer

Aspyr

Publisher

Aspyr

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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