As you all may or may not remember, in my Look at Bioware I mentioned that I had never played the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Well, that has finally changed. Thanks to a friend of mine who happens to be a Star Wars fanatic I was able to get the first KOTOR for the Xbox and played it on my 360. Having recently beaten it, I decided to give my thoughts on the game.
The game takes place over four thousand years before the events of the Original Trilogy in an era where the Sith wage open warfare on the Jedi and the Republic under the command of the Sith Lord, Darth Malak. In it, you play as a solder, who happens to be sensitive to the Force and the Jedi, being scarce on members these days, decide to let you train in the academy on Dantooine.
(Trivia Fact: Dantooine was also the planet Leia told the Empire the Rebel base was located but had been deserted for some time). For some reason, you have a strong connection with another Jedi named Bastila but exactly why is not revealed until the end. This allows you to share visions and this in turn leads you to these things called Star Maps which in turn makes you aware of a kind of space station called the Star Forge, which is apparently the cause of the Sith's seemingly limitless army. And so, you gather a band of rag-tag followers who are a mix of mercenaries, fighter pilots, and droids to find the Star Forge and destroy it before the Sith can solidify their victory over the Republic.
As far as the plot goes, I have to say, this one was pretty damn good. It had elements from the original Star Wars within it but at the same time took its own direction. Placing it 4,000 years before A New Hope was a brilliant idea, mainly because it gave the writers free reign to do just about anything within the story and not have to worry about it effecting the cannon of the film series and only now do I realize how much Mass Effect owes to the plot of this game.
It had everything; mysterious alien technology with seemingly extinct races behind it, bigotries between races, a good number of twist, and alternate endings depending on your character's decisions. Some even go so far as to say that the plot of this game was better than the plot of the Prequel Trilogy but that's like trying to compare the characters of Michael Corleone from the Godfather films to Charles Foster Kane from Citizen Kane; they're two completely different things. But I do have to say that the plot was more enjoyable then the plot of the Prequel Trilogy. Why you may ask? Well let me ask you this: do you prefer the bad guys take over through political corruption or through open warfare? Think about it.
Then you had the supporting characters. As far as villains go, Darth Malak was badass. He was ruthless, efficient, didn't care how many people died for him to win, and could easily stand toe to toe with any of the other Star Wars villains. Bastila was a good supporting Jedi character who wasn't beyond human emotions and yearnings the way most other Jedi are in the series. Carth was also a good character who never entirely trust the Jedi and with good reasons. It was also kind of cool to see and hear aliens speaking in a language other than English and I thought this was a good idea for the games.
The rest of the cast was good for what they were but my personal favorite was HK-47. A droid assassin, HK was just hilarious in the way viewed organic creatures and had line after line that turned his hatred towards organics into comedic gold. My personal favorite being this: “Query: Can I kill him now master? I'd like ever so much to crush his neck. Just a little. It's a long time fantasy of mine.” Just hilarious.
There were a few things to criticize about this game, however. The first mission took way to long and I think you spend about ten hours on Taris before finally moving on. There was one character who looked and acted just a little too much like Yoda for me not be distracted by it. For as awesom of a villian Darth Malak was, I didn’t care for the way he looked and the creators could have put a little more work into his appearance. The game was also prone to slow down and glitch when whenever lightsabers were in use and that pissed me off beyond belief. The general gameplay was a little too much like that of Dragon Age: Origins and Final Fantasy XII and made for some slow and dull fights.
I tried hard not to think about it, but I couldn't entirely get past the outdated look of the game and some people may not like this game for that reason and that reason alone. For as much as I liked the fact that the aliens spoke another language they tended to say the same words over and over again, even if they were clearly meant to say completely different things. Then there was the big twist towards the end of the game. I won't spoil it for those who haven't played the game but it isn't a big blind side. Throughout the game, it's kind of obvious that the Jedi Masters know something you don't so it's obvious that there is a twist coming and that irritated me.
All around, however, I did enjoy this game. It had a great plot with great characters and great twists. If you like Star Wars and you like RPGs and can play an older game then I say check this one out. Is it the greatest Star Wars game of all time? Well, that's debatable but it is a great one.
Until next time this is The Illusive One saying, may the Force be with you.