It has been just about a year and a half since I did a retrospective review on Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, concluding:
Jedi Knight II has aged very well. The graphics scale nicely on new systems, but it also performs as you would expect an 8 year old game to run – flawlessly. The gameplay is missing some of the new mechanics such as sprinting that have become commonplace, but otherwise retains a tight and modern feel. The melee combat feeling Raven software developed has yet to be surpassed in any game in any genre since. For a game available for $10 on Steam or Direct2Drive that occupies only a single CD worth of space and will run nicely on just about any computer available, this is an easy recommendation for any gaming fan who missed this one the first time around.
This week I noticed something – Jedi Knight II has appeared in the Mac App Store for $9.99!
Jedi Knight II was released at the end of March 2002, and was instantly enamored with the game, playing and replaying literally dozens of times over the years. The game was intense and gorgeous, with immersive Star Wars gameplay … and a ‘swamp’ level near the end that brought the graphics cards of the day to their knees!
As a laptop gamer I was churning through alternating yearly upgrades on both Mac and PC to keep current. I had gotten a new PC just before the release of Jedi Knight II, and a few months later grabbed a new Aluminum G4 Powerbook (AlBook). In both cases I was getting the fully loaded, best possible mobile gaming platform.
In November of 2002 the Mac version of Jedi Knight II landed, and of course I bought it on ‘day of release’. The game ran on the Quake III engine, and therefore used the OpenGL renderer – which made it right at home on the Mac. Everything looked and played great … but I was stunned when I came to the Yavin Swamp – on the PC I had gotten used to dropping the graphics settings just before that level, but on the Mac I left them set to maximum and it looked and played perfectly! It was the absolute best possible experience, and fully allowed me to enjoy Raven Software’s vision for the game!
Well, now that the game has come to the Mac App Store I really didn’t know what to expect. The PC version on Steam runs very well, but on a widescreen laptop it needs special tweaking to work at widescreen resolutions and even then is a bit stretchy. But when I loaded up the new Mac App Store version, it was immediately clear it wasn’t a lazy port – the launch window offered me options to run full screen or in a window, and in full screen the game jumped to 1600 x 1050 resolution with maximum settings, and as the screens here show, it is the best looking version of the game I have ever played!