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

In a list of games with confusing titles, this one has to rate decently high. Most people assume that that Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is the sequel here, for obvious reasons. The fact is that Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is not only the sequel, but is technically the fourth game in this series. It’s also, in my opinion of course, the worst of the bunch. Not that it doesn’t so some things right, especially combat-wise, but everything else feels rushed and small-scale. Then there’s the story which falls on the annoying side of nonsensical, a sadly reoccurring trait of Star Wars stories.


Your first order of business in Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy to customize your blade, the wet dream of most Star Wars fans, yours truly included. They’re just so damn cool.

First, the great things. Lightsaber combat is phenomenal, a clear step-up from Jedi Outcast. The biggest additions are weapon types and styles. You start off the game with the standard single saber, but during the campaign you will unlock both duel-wielding and double-bladed variants. Each come with their own set of styles that affect attack speed and moves available. This, combined with the new custom character creator, allows you to build your Jedi in a way few other Star Wars games allow. It should be noted that there’s also the ability to use a variety of ranged weapons, but nobody plays this game like that. You get your lightsaber at the start of this game, and most people use it exclusively until the end. You’re not a merc anymore, you’re a Jedi. At least on paper.

There’s many highlights of the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight games, but the best has always been Kyle Katarn. Over the course of the franchise we’ve seen him develop from a hardened mercenary into a true Jedi Master. Secret Dark Trooper projects, family revelations, Dark Side crises, he’s been through it all and become the better for it. Which makes Jedi Academy’s decision to switch from him to a blank slate custom character an unfortunate one. It makes sense, as the whole theme is centered around building your own Jedi, which couldn’t be done with an established character, but the game is sorely lacking Katarn’s sarcastic tone and insulting jabs. While he does make an appearance as your Master, he’s relegated to tutorial and exposition delivery, which is a disservice at best.


There are some unique combat encounters in here, but they don’t happen nearly often enough for such a combat focused game.


The story is pretty much the same. While each entry previously was a very slow burn of a personal journey, Jedi Academy jumps straight into the action. Dark Side users are waging a war against Luke Skywalker’s temple on Yavin IV and you are caught in the middle of the mess. In the meantime though, you’ll fulfill a variety of mercenary contracts across the galaxy. In between each of the main campaign missions, you have five contract missions set across the galaxy, although you only need to finish four to progress. They can also be completed in any order you wish. While on paper this sounds like a great idea, its implementation is poor at best. Each level feels very similar design wise, and because they have to be completed at any skill level, that means they play the same too. They basically can all be summed up as running through a very linear level and killing everything in sight. Which is hardly very Jedi either. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack”, unless it’s a band of Jawas, in which all bets are off.

The real thing people remember about Jedi Academy though was the multiplayer. It was fun and chaotic, with a high skill level that epitomized easy to learn, but hard to master. It remains intact here, with the modes and functionality that made it a blast to play. There are a few issues that hold it back, but it still remains fun as hell. There was the biggest issue of imbalance due to crossplay between PC and Switch, but that has since been fixed. Mainly though is the inability to join matches with friends. You can either start a solo game with bots (a fantastic feature which I miss in modern gaming) or join matchmaking. Nor is there the ability to host a server or change server side options. If you simply wanted to start a duel with a friend, you’re out of luck. This really matters because the biggest issue here is the complete lack of players playing. There’s enough people for a duel or a small match of Free For All, but if you want a game of Siege or CTF, no luck. As sucky as crossplay was balance wise, at least there were games available at all times.

Sith Party

It’s for this reason that the Sith used the Rule of Two. Three is just a crowd.

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is a real mixed bag of a game. The combat and character customization is superb, but the campaign doesn’t feel worth it. Amazing multiplayer with lots of depth, but not enough people are playing to make it worth it either. There’s also a variety of glitches and technical issues in both modes that aren’t game-breaking, but can still be annoying. It’s still fun, without a doubt, and for those who found Jedi Outcast too obtuse or felt it delayed lightsaber combat too long, it may be the answer. For me personally, it’s just a missed opportunity.

Graphics: 6.0

It’s a 20 year old game that looks better than you wouldd expect, but not by much.

Gameplay: 7.0

Lightsaber combat and customization is peerless in terms of options available.

Sound: 8.5

The music and sound effects may feature your typical Star Wars greatness, but the voice acting is questionable at best.

Fun Factor: 6.0

Combat is always fun, but overly-linear level design, a nonsense story, and some multiplayer issues bring it down.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is available now on PC, Xbox, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy was provided by the publisher.