SW: KOTOR Review

Duke Ferris
SW: KOTOR Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 1

Publisher

  • LucasArts

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC
  • Xbox

rating

There is another.

A few months ago, I popped a new disc into my Xbox and had the pleasure of

playing the best Star Wars game I have ever seen. The epic story fit perfectly

into the Star Wars universe, was longer than all five movies combined, and if

you ask me, was better than three of them.

Since

that time, Knights of the Old Republic has never moved more

than six inches from my Xbox. Whenever I wasn’t forced to play some revolting

excuse for a game
because I had to review it, I would return to the Ebon

Hawk, practice my Pazaak, or try to win that last swoopbike championship.

Now, even those of you without an Xbox get a chance to experience the KOTOR

adventure, and it’s not one to be missed. A lot of this is taken from

my Xbox review, because other

than different controls and a few bug fixes, this is the exact same game.

It all takes place 4,000 years before a young farmboy from Tatooine asked

old Ben Kenobi for the truth about his father. In this ancient past, the galaxy

is reeling in the aftermath of the Mandelorian Wars. Two of the Republic’s greatest

generals disappeared, taking much of the victorious Republic fleet along with

them. When they returned, it was as Sith Lords, and they have come back not

as returning heroes, but as conquerors.

Your ship is attacked by the Sith fleet, and the few survivors’ escape pods crash to the planet Taris. You and a fellow Republic soldier, Carth, are left alone to fend for yourselves in the teeming cities of Taris and to search for another survivor, the mysterious Jedi Padawan known as Bastila.

But

first,

you

must

figure

out

who

you

are

going

to

be.

Knights

of

the

Old

Republic


uses

a

tweaked

version

of

Bioware’s

Aurora

engine



the

same

one

used

to

make

Neverwinter

Nights




so

fans

will

feel

right

at

home

making

their

first

character

since

the

system

of

stats

and

D20

rolls

is

almost

exactly

the

same.

There

are

three

classes

to

chose

from:

Scout,

Soldier

and

Rogue.

Each

features

different

balances

of

“feats,”

like

two-weapon

fighting

or

sniper-shot,

and

“skills,”

like

demolitions

or

repair.

I

won’t

give

anything

away,

but

let’s

just

say

that

later

there

are

three

classes

of

Jedi

to

choose

from

as

well.

Your party can consist of up to 3 people at any one time, so you can focus

further to have a heavy combat party, a mix of skills or an all-MacGyver squad

of sneaky tech-spies. There are 9 possible teammates you can enlist during the

game, ranging from a clever teenage Twi’lek to a psychotic assassin droid.

The action gets frantic, with blaster bolts flying and plenty of fancy lightsaber

moves, but underneath the glossy exterior, it’s typical RPG combat: your skills

and stats vs. theirs. You can pause and unpause the combat at any time to give

your characters specific orders and queue up to three combat moves. However,

if that sort of micromanagement isn’t your style, your party actually fights

pretty well on its own and you can just sit back and watch the show instead.

It

all depends on how you want to play the game, and there are truly a lot of ways

to play KOTOR. Want something from inside that room of enemy droids?

You could (a) burst in with guns blazing and try to destroy them all, (b) use

your stealth skills to sneak in and steal what you need, (c) use your computer

skills to hack the system and turn off the droids, or (d) use your repair skill

to refurbish some droids of your own to do the fighting for you. This is only

one example; the game is simply chock full of choices in tactics, conversations

and even morality.

But no matter how you want to play, you’ll look good doing it. KOTOR

has moved the Neverwinter camera in closer, giving the game

a more action-oriented feel. And for the most part, it looks great. Character

models are much more detailed and animated than in Neverwinter,

but they’re still a little blocky around the edges compared to games like Max

Payne 2
. With a high-end video card, everything will be nice and smooth,

but be prepared for some chunky framerates during the battles if just meet those

system requirements.

Also, there just aren’t quite enough faces in the game. You’ll soon notice that a lot of people look the same. One green Twi’lek in particular seems to be following me around the galaxy assuming different identities. These little problems are noticeable, but forgivable when you observe all the little pretty details and the sheer number of people or aliens that might be walking around a given area, like a busy city street. On the whole, the game looks great.

And the sound might be even better. The classic John Williams scoring can

be heard here and there, but for the most part the soundtrack is excellent original

work. The sound effects are taken straight from the movies, so they can’t fail

to please. And the voice work is simply exceptional. A whole cast of professional

actors (including Ed Asner)

was used to give voices to every single person in the game. That’s right – every

single line of dialogue (other than your own) is spoken. Every shopkeeper, every

person in your party, every main character and even random people you accost

in the street all speak aloud. Aliens speak in their respective alien languages

with subtitles below. When you consider that most conversations have a few different

ways to go based on your responses, KOTOR must have more hours of dialogue

than all five Star Wars movies put together.

It’s your actions and dialogue choices that really define your character in

every sense of the word. KOTOR lets you be as good or as evil as you

like. Recover the serum for the dreaded rahkghoul disease and you can turn it

over to the clinic to help the sick and needy, or you can sell it to crimelord

Davik who will supply the cure only to those rich enough to afford it. Your

choices will move you towards the Light or the Dark side, and even change your

appearance.

My first time through on the Xbox, I was so evil I could have made Darth Vader

cry. This time, I have kept to the Light side (mostly) and am exploring quests

that the dark-side-Duke never saw.

KOTOR

is truly epic in scope as well, spanning seven planets you can visit using your

own starship, the Ebon

Hawk
(which for some reason, is not black). Bioware claims KOTOR

has 40 hours of gameplay, but I’ve played it far longer than that. Those

guys must have been rushing through as fast as they could.

Which, by the way, is the wrong way to play KOTOR. There are dozens

of side quests you might choose to undertake. There are mini-games here as well,

like Swoopbike racing, arena fighting, or a collectable gambling card game called

Pazaak. There’s more extra stuff here than you can shake a light saber at.

The Xbox had a few major bugs, some of them game-enders, which was a real

problem for those unfortunate to run into them. The PC version seems to have

fixed those bugs, but if you check the Bioware message boards, you’ll

see that it has several new ones of its own. Most of them seem to be performance

issues and some hardware incompatibilities. However, I am happy to report that

it runs great on my machine. Of course, there are always the inevitable PC patches.

The PC controls are clearly different since they use the keyboard and mouse,

and I thought they were awkward at first until I grew to appreciate them. Rather

than just trying to emulate the Xbox controller, they took full advantage of

the ability to point with the mouse and use smart contextual popups, which was

the right way to do it.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the deepest foray

yet into the Star Wars universe and well worth the price of admission. Obviously,

if you already have the Xbox version, there is no reason to get this one, too.

But if you have ever looked across the room at a cold beer and tried to use

the Force to bring it to your hand instead of getting up (one of these times

I know it’s gonna work), this should be an easy decision. Go

out and get it now. Just do it, there

is no try
.

 

 

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

4.5
Rating
Good graphics
Epic plot
Feels like Star Wars
Seven planets
A myriad of ways to play
Moral choices
Typical Bioware gameplay
Still some bugs issues