Much like Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens, I've been away from the Jedi for quite some time. However, I'm back and I've finally done it. With the completion of Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, My path to Jedi Knighthood is completed.
Jedi Academy is Raven's second crack at the Star Wars franchise and the final entry in the Jedi Knight series. Seeing as how this entry came out just a year after Jedi Outcast, it has the exact same engine which means the same gameplay and visuals. While there are many similarities between Academy and Outcast, there are two key differences. The mission structure of Jedi Academy is quite different than the previous entries; allowing the player to choose which missios to go on and in what order. However, the second difference is what truly makes Academy stand on its own and that is the change of the protagonist.
Kyle Katarn is now a Jedi Master in the rebuilding Order and the player controls one of his students, Jaden Korr. Jaden is customizable and can be male or female and a variety of alien races. You also get to customize your starting lightsaber and evolve your style to incorporate a twin blade, a la Darth Maul, or a second saber, a la everyone's DeviantArt Jedi OC. I made my starting lightsaber a yellow blade and my Jaden was made to resemble Katarn as closely as possible, because I desperately wanted to keep playing as him and I liked the saber he took from Yun in Dark Forces 2 the best.
The game starts with Jaden being transported with a bunch of other force sensitive students to the fledgling Jedi Academy. On this trip we see Jaden has already crafted his lightsaber, earning the envy of Rosh Penin(voiced by Max Goof from the Goofy movies! Weird, right?) who expressed his disdain for having to use a training saber. Rosh complaining and being a shit head is a central theme to the story of Jedi Academy(which is actually very similar to Max in the Goofy movies. Weird, right? Talk about typecasting).
When Jaden arrives at the academy Luke explains that since there are a shortage of eligible masters take on Padawans, the students would have to double up. Jaden is lucky enough to be paired with Rosh, who does his best to try and kill you as soon as possible when he unleashes a training droid on you at the academy. After that little scuffle Katarn sends you both on random missions for training. While doing these missions, a story unfolds behind the scenes where a cult led by Tavion, Desaan's apprentice from Jedi Outcast, is gathering dark side energy from familiar locales from the films in order to resurrect a powerful Sith lord.
This same cult, titled Disciples of Ragnos, is able to sway Rosh to the dark side, because he is a whiny lil' shit that wants to be strong without doing any work. So on top of trying to stop Tavion, you have to deal with Rosh. Ultimately this leads to a decision at the end of the game where Rosh apologizes and wants to come back to the academy and Jaden can either forgive him or kill him. As much as I hated Rosh, a true Jedi would never kill an unarmed man. I forgave him and that led to a duel with Tavion's apprentice Alura, who cuts off Rosh's arm in the process; which was more than enough redemption for Rosh's general shitty-ness.
After defeating Alura and getting Rosh to Katarn in order to get his arm sewn back on like Woody in Toy Story 2(Hey, that's a doozy of a reference) Jaden goes to Korriban to stop Tavion from raising the dead. The actual battle with Tavion isn't a tough ordeal, but then in her death throws she finishes summoning Ragnos' ghost and things get weird. Jaden has to fight Tavion while she's possessed by the ghost and after beating her the ghost leaves her body and returns to wherever ghosts go and the temple explodes, killing Tavion.
The game ends with Jaden, now an accomplished Jedi Knight, receiving commendations from Luke, while Rosh gets a stern lesson in humility. Kyle joins in by giving Jaden more missions to go on, leaving the door wide open for sequels that would only come in the form of novels. Roll credits and the journey is done.
After months of work and taking two protagonists from zero to hero, I feel that this Jedi Knight journey couldn't be any more solidified. I feel like my midichlorean count has skyrocketed in the time since I first booted up Dark Forces. I'm on top of the world, I feel like a Jedi Master. I'll take these experiences and move on, better than my previous self, to strive for a higher K/D ratio in Star Wars Battlefront. May the Force be with you.
Read up on How I brought Kyle Katarn back from exile in Jedi Outcast
Read about how I fell to the dark side in Mysteries of the Sith
Read about how I discovered the way of the force in Dark Forces 2
Read about my merc work in Dark Forces