Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy suffers from the rose tinted glasses effect. It's a game fondly remembered and critically lauded back in the day, but this Switch port remains a little too warts and all to be an effective re release in 2020.
Reviewing a remastered, remade, or re released title is always a tricky proposition; there are a lot of variables to consider, with the most pressing being distance from original release and what's been done to bring it up to speed.
Comparing a game like Jedi Academy to Capcom's recent Resident Evil remakes is immediately unfair, since they are systemic, from the ground up re imaginings, whereas this is a straight up port.
However, there's a reasonable expectation that said port should be more than a copy and paste effort. Preserving the feel of a title in its original form is a lofty and commendable goal, but ironing out long standing bugs and giving the whole thing a nip and tuck in the right places can also elevate it to a position of modern relevance.
We cannot deny the ambition of Jedi Academy, with its charming character creator, [mostly] strong voice acting, and vast array of weapons, force powers, and gadgetry.
There's a lot of love for the license here, and there was a palpable satisfaction to seeing the original LucasArts, Ravensoft, and Activision logos greet us during loading, evoking memories of playing Star Trek: Elite Force all those years ago.
Aspyr will have likely had to navigate extremely choppy waters to get this off the ground at all, let alone make any kind of meaningful adjustments.
However, that doesn't negate the fact that this is a bare bones port, inheriting dreadful A.I., combat that encourages wildly flailing your way to success, and a multiplayer component that is too scrappy to be enjoyable. There has been no attempt made to iterate or improve, which is extremely disappointing.
Visually speaking, the graphics are crisp and retain their art style, but there's glitches aplenty. The controls aren’t mapped particularly well, with some counter intuitive usage of the thumbsticks and bizarre button swapping that really doesn’t gel.
Sound design is all over the place, with some dialogue mixed to be aggressively loud, while other narrative sections are completely drowned out by effects and spontaneous bursts of music.
The big takeaway from all of this is that the game hasn't aged well at all. Ultimately, Jedi Academy on Switch, while immensely faithful to its original form, is, to quote Jean Luc Picard: "A failure of imagination".
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is available now, for PS4, Switch, and PC.
Review copy provided by Aspyr.