Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Review
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You don't need to be a fan of Star Wars or of RPGs to appreciate all the impressive qualities of this game--but if you are, all the better.
Canadian developer BioWare is well known for producing high-quality role-playing games, thanks to its successful Baldur's Gate series, and offers up what is in many ways its finest such game to date in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. LucasArts wisely delegated the task of producing a deep and involving Star Wars-themed RPG to BioWare, which has done a remarkable job of making Knights live up to the Star Wars name. In fact, Knights arguably lives up to the Star Wars name better than any other Star Wars property in years, including the last two theatrical films. The game's greatest accomplishment is its focused yet open-ended plot progression, which gives you the freedom to play as either a morally good or evil character, or shades in between. The struggle between good and evil is of course central to Star Wars and manifests itself extremely well throughout this outstanding game. For good measure, Knights features hours and hours of top-notch voice-over (all the dialogue is spoken), so you'll certainly be impressed by how different characters respond differently to you but also by the sheer size of the game.
The Xbox needed another great RPG--one that was more accessible than last year's great but sometimes-bewildering Morrowind--and it's finally here. Those who've played BioWare's computer RPGs--either the Baldur's Gate series or last year's Neverwinter Nights--will recognize the influence of those games on Knights of the Old Republic. In fact, the main difference between the gameplay of Knights and BioWare's previous games is superficial. This one is played from a third-person perspective and thus resembles a 3D action adventure game rather than one of BioWare's older isometric RPGs.
Other than that, gameplay is similar. You create a main character and then explore many different areas, interact with many different characters, settle many different disputes, solve many different puzzles, and engage in plenty of combat. Combat appears to be real-time but actually uses a turn-based system "under the hood" just like Neverwinter Nights, which means your character's statistics and attributes (and your strategy) make all the difference, and your personal reflexes and hand-eye coordination have no bearing on the outcome. Most importantly, Knights is very different from the typical console RPG in that you'll always be an active participant in the storyline, rather than a passive observer. You don't just read, watch, and listen to a lot of text, cutscenes, and dialogue--your character is constantly invited and required to make difficult decisions, and that's ultimately the most entertaining, impressive, and rewarding aspect of the game.
Knights of the Old Republic actually takes place thousands of years before Star Wars Episode I, though you'll still see many of the same sorts of alien creatures and technology in the game that you probably associate with Star Wars. The story begins in the midst of a power struggle between the Republic and the Sith, an evil imperial power that's encroaching on Republic space. Your character seems to be just another Republic trooper, and at the beginning of the game, you manage to avoid certain death as your spaceship is attacked and destroyed. Your escape pod lands on a world that's been put under quarantine by the Sith, so your first order of business is to find a means of escape, and also to find out what happened to Bastila, a gifted young Jedi who is key to the Republic's war efforts and who also managed to flee your doomed ship. Later, you'll be charged with uncovering the secrets of an ancient relic called the star forge, apparently the key to the Sith's seemingly limitless supply of weaponry.
You'll end up visiting a number of key Star Wars locations, including the wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk and the desert planet Tatooine, in what's by all means an adventure of epic proportions. The game's main storyline isn't remarkable and eventually boils down to squaring off against your standard bad guy, and the main plot twists along the way don't really seem plausible. But you'll encounter so many great little subplots and characters along the way that this really won't matter. You'll investigate murders, become a bounty hunter, resolve cultural disputes, find a cure for a deadly disease, take sides or play both sides against each other in various ambiguous conflicts, and find out how life really treats both citizens of the Republic and followers of the Sith. There's just a lot to see and do in this game, and it'll last you a good 40 hours or so from start to finish, yet you'll never see all that the game has to offer if you finish it only once.
Is it really THAT good. I'm collecting old Xbox games, and I'm looking into this one. It looks good and it's praised ALOT... I might buy it.
@DeadMan1290 I JUST finished this game earlier today and I can say without a doubt one of the best games I've ever played. I like it better than Mass Effect personally (not saying ME's one of the best games ever, but this and ME are very similar, considering they're from the same company)
Still playing this game in 2012 because it's that good. There's a reason why fans keep screaming for a KOTOR 3. I'd even take a HD remake for the first two. Even though it's not likely to happen, I'll just have to keep playing Mass Effect in the mean time.
- Player Reviews: 715
- Game Universe:
- Star Wars Episode I: Racer (GBC, N64, DC, MAC),
- Star Wars: Yoda Stories (PC, GBC),
- Star Wars: Demolition (DC, PS),
- Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC, GC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Starfighter (PC, PS2),
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (PS2, GC),
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars Galaxies (PS2, XBOX)
- Number of Players: