The action of this game takes place 6 years after the events shown in the previous part of the Star Wars Jedi Knight series. The player has the chance to become a student at the Jedi Academy located on Yavin IV and led by Luke Skywalker (assisted by Kyle Katarn – the protagonist of the previous parts of the Star Wars Jedi Knight series). The single player campaign includes a training session, during which the player learns the ways of the Force along with numerous fighting techniques. The training section of the game is followed by a number of interrelated missions.
Before jumping into the whirl of adventure, one has to appreciate a new element that has been introduced to the series, namely character creation. Player can choose the race, sex, clothing and physical appearance of his character. Moreover, one has to construct his or her own lighsaber, either a single or a double bladed one (like the one utilized by vicious Darth Maul). It is also possible to wield two single bladed lighsabers. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy also teems with more “conventional” weapons such as blaster pistols, energy rifles, electromagnetic launchers, etc., however only about 30% of the playthrough requires players to utilize them. The remainder of the game (app. 70%) focuses upon lighsaber combat.
Apart from the aforementioned character creation and the amount of lightsaber combat, the game introduces new Force powers and the ability to combine these powers when fighting the opponents. The player can choose what powers to develop and which path to follow – either the light or the dark side of the Force. The last few missions of the single player campaign, along with the game ending itself, differ depending on the chosen path.
The Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy single player campaign offers approximately 30 hours of gameplay, during which missions can be completed in a non-linear manner – after each of them a player can choose one out of a couple available missions to start, thus players can enjoy unprecedented in the Jedi Knight series freedom. Each mission takes place in a separate location (in Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast certain missions are located within the same location), allowing players to visit a number of places we all know from the movies, books and comic books, such as Tatooine or Hoth. The game has been built on a significantly modified and enhanced version of the “Quake 3 Team Arena engine”.