A long time ago, in a living room far, far away (couldn't resist) I found myself with a fresh copy of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. For those uninitiated, Outcast is third in line in the Dark Forces franchise, a fantastic and pedigreed line of first-person shooters published by Lucasarts, developed by Raven.
I got my start late in the game, and I've never even finished three levels of the single player, but I still boot this game up weekly.
I had played Dark Forces, but skipped Dark Forces 2 before getting into Jedi Knight II (JK2 from here out). JK2 was recommended to me by a friend, a friend who knew I thirsted for little more than high-level lightsaber combat. The game had a few patches since release, a dedicated mod community, and a competitive player base ready and waiting for me to jump right in and start swinging.
And swing I did.
The game is intense, if you've never played it. It's a wild ride of Force Push and Pull, Jump and Dash where very few servers have weapons besides the lightsaber. I settled into a Lando Calrissian skin with a fancy golden blade, and spent the next few days getting trounced repeatedly. It was not easy. "Switch to single player," I thought. "Use it to train for multi-player," of course. Doesn't work like that. The single player adventures of Kyle Kattarn were stale compared to the level of competition I was enjoying on the servers.
I found a Chicago based server (I was living in St. Louis at the time) that was recruiting. I can't remember the server's name for the life of me, but they ran me through some tests of skill: pitting me against other players in their clan to see if I was skilled enough to run with them in inter-clan combat. If you've never been in an FPS guild/clan before it can be a strange experience. Here's a group of players so dedicated to their skills in the game that they test each other, carry a common banner with a common ideology and vehemently challenge anyone who would mar their honor. Impressive, for a Star Wars game back in 2002.
Even though I didn't play the game all too long I enjoyed it. I think I clocked about three to four months of solid play before I gave it up for something fresher, newer. But I always came back to it. I can pick a random server and jump right into a game in minutes, and the fact that it's nice and old means my janky machine can run it just fine on most days. I can't get that kind of reliability out of newer games on my PC sadly, not until I overhaul a computer I mostly use for writing and internet browsing for gaming.
If you haven't, give the game a chance. It's really fun for those of you who like a challenging and wicked fun multi-player game. And maybe some day I'll finish the single player game...someday...