One of the best out there.
As i write this, i am currently replaying through KOTOR for around the 7th or 8th time. I remember first playing it on my birthday as a very impressionable 12 year old in 2003, being a fan of the 'good' trilogy of Star Wars films as a kid, i tended to lap up Star Wars games like children would lap up fizzy pop. I played all of them, even the bad ones. So to me, at the time, this was no different to any Star Wars game i'd have played and so wasn't exactly hyped. I was just a child, i didn't really look at reviews and didn't really know about developers. I just bought a game i liked the look of and went with it.
Right from the get go it starts out well, you get this very Star Wars-esque epic opening cinematic with the brilliant Star Wars music motif playing. Then when you start the game, you get the opening crawl complete with John Williams' masterpiece. Right off the bat, it just feels like Star Wars.
You then open to a ship under fire after selecting your impressive range of skills and abilities, it throws you in at the deep end but it is a relatively friendly tutorial.
At this time, i was only used to the RPG gameplay of JRPGs like FF VIII and FF IX so this game was mind blowing to me. The combat system is round based and uses the D20 system, also used by Dungeons and Dragons. Whilst this went over my head as a child, all i knew was that if i equip the best weapon, armor, implants and shields and keep plugging away, i'd get through all right. It is a combat system that Obsidian stuck with for the sequel (another time, another review), so obviously must have been a hit with the players.
The game does a great job of immersing you into the player. At the time, the player is you and has the identity and skills you give. You can also mould the personality of the player. he/she can be dark as a Sith Lord., a holier than though Jedi Knight or a sit on the fence neutral. This can be through conversational options and decisions. Usually accompanied by a piece of Star Wars music and a red or blue shroud emanating from you respectively.
The amount of time spent playing the game is extraordinary. the game's main story is long enough but mix in enough side quests and you can spend around 50+ hours playing the game. But its finding the all elusive Star Forge and
In my personal opinion though, the real genius to this what Bioware have gone onto to make their trademark. Its their brilliant gripping story and characters. I love the characters. It can be argued that it (and Bioware's later titles) follows pretty stringent tropes and story ideas but it just so happens i love that storytelling. I love assembling a rag tag bunch of misfits and watching them interact with the player and with each other. You get attached to these characters and don't want to see them die in any way. You have Carth, a republic war hero with trust issues, you have Bastila, a powerful young Jedi who is bonded to you and acts as a romantic foil if you play as a male character, you have Mission, a streetwise urchin who has street smarts and is constantly travelling with Zalbaar, a huge Wookie exiled from his home world who swears a life debt to you. You have T3M3, the R2D2 of the group, you have HK47, the homicidal alternative to C3PO if you will and is one of my favourite fictional characters in any medium. Rounding off the cast is Jolee Bindo, a famous old curmudgeon Jedi who toes the neutral line but is good at heart, Canderous Ordo, a Mandalorian struggling to find glory in the present day so hooks up with you for great battles, again, another personal favourite of mine. Finally, you have Juhani, a jedi who you meet who has temporarily turned to the dark side until you turn her back, or not.
There are plenty of side missions and minigames to keep you going. If you like gambling, you can play Pazaak, a Blackjack like game with a twist. If you like more exciting means of enjoyment, you can try Swoop Racing, an Old Republic equivalent to pod racing.
Complete with the one of the most class OMG WTF moments in gaming, this game is sure to immerse you into the fantastic world of Star Wars and give you real bang for your buck.
I definitely give this a 9.0 out of 10. I think it loses marks for certain glitches and unexplained dead avenues in certain areas of the game, likely due to time constraints. Also the combat could be considered an acquired taste. Its not totally free hack and slash but its not fixed turn based either.
Overall i'd highly recommend this for anyone who loves Star Wars or immersive RPGs.
Hope you enjoyed reading this. :)