Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic…oh boy I feel bad for reviewing this game. It’s at times like this where I hesitate. That’s why I didn’t post this earlier, because I still had a hard time believing what I wrote in this review, but I want to assure people that opinions aren’t exactly wrong, so long as people properly explain what they think is wrong about the game, or just their overall viewpoint/attitude about games like this. I just want to say this game is not a bad one. However, that doesn’t mean that I like the game because of this. Every game has faults anyone can point out, and I just want to do that. Just wanted to say that so I don’t end up with a thousand troll comments…granted I would have to have a thousand people reading this to begin with.
If anyone remembers this game, or at least hearing about it, you might be familiar with the hype it caused back then. Years ago, I remember that this was the game series that made me wish I owned an Xbox, since as a kid, I was a very big fan of Star Wars. I even liked the prequel movies, though now I can see the faults they carry, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it does others. Thankfully, I had other games to play, such as the Battlefront series, but I was more interested in playing as Jedi. And Knights of the Old Republic seemed like just the game I wanted.
Unfortunately, the game failed to satisfy me. Now believe it or not, the story isn’t bad, and definitely has the feel of playing a movie. Sadly, my love for Star Wars was replaced with the likes of the Mass Effect series (excluding the horrendous ending for the third game, which made me play Star Wars even more), and after playing that, Star Wars became far less appealing. Not only that, but as I played, it felt like I would like the game more if I was a Star Wars fan, or at least someone who knows of the species and such that actually exist within the game’s universe; it worked for Mass Effect series, and made me more curious to learn. Here, I just wanted to to skip on to the next plot event.
Not only that, but the game’s choices really didn’t click with me. I wanted more neutral options, but choices were more geared to going either fully good or fully evil. It does open the door to new dialogue and choices on how to handle things, don’t get me wrong, and it was cool to see how to solve different conflicts. Even so, I wanted to take a more neutral approach, because as I played the game’s story, I was really torn on which side to take. Obviously, I wanted to stay good, but not a complete paragon of justice. The game’s end choices did help, but that was more towards talking to the final boss. Believe me, there was much I wanted to do and not enough opportunity. Yes, Mass Effect didn’t offer much of that either, but that game didn’t get me nearly as angry as this one did. And actually, you could make certain decisions in that game, like sacrificing the Council and such, or being able to shoot the guy you are talking to, sometimes.
But again, while I didn’t care for some of the game, there were some well done missions and plot events that really did catch my attention. More importantly, they made me care more about the game and want to know what was going to happen, and what I could do about it. The character development was also done really well, giving insight to the characters’ past with missions and seeing them overcome the obstacles presented to them. Being able to converse them was also on of the traits I have gotten used to when it comes to Bioware, and it’s done pretty well for the most part. True, not all characters could be explored fully, and some even require progress through the game.
So in summary, if you are a Star Wars fan, you’ll find the story way more enjoyable. Unfortunately, if you aren’t a fan, then you may wanna pass up on this game for just story reasons.
The sad part is that the story was the favorite part of the game for me, and I didn’t like it that much. In some sections of the story, I tried to rush myself in order to beat this game while doing all the side-quests. That is because the gameplay is kind of outdated. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. In fact, combat is easy to follow. For the PC, you use the mouse to access the menus on the upper-right screen. And combat is pretty straight forward, with combat freezing while you select what your team does. There are also a variety of actions, from setting up mines, playing stealthy, throwing grenades, and targeting different enemies for your party members as well. However, once you exit that screen, battle becomes real time until you face another squadron of enemies. You can also equip different armor and weapons, as well as additional gear depending on the types of feats you gain. Feats are gained through leveling up, and can offer either different attacks or boosts to your character’s stats.
When you level up, you can also apply skill points to different sections, depending on how much you have stored up, such as gaining more health from med-packs, being able to hack into computers much easier, or even being able to persuade/talk your way out of a situation. Jedi have more options, since they can also gain points to learn new Jedi talents, such as Force Lightning, throwing a lightsaber, etc. And depending on your alignment, some skills may be easier to use. However, Jedi have a disadvantage with armor, meaning if you put them even in light-armor, they can’t use some abilities. This makes not only upgrading blaster talents for your main character useless, but also armor types if you plan on using skills.
And there is more customization with weapons and armor, allowing you to buy parts for them to upgrade the stats and gain new abilities. Lightsabers have the most customization of all gear, as you can not only put up to two crystals into them that give different benefits such as damage upgrades, there is also a slot for being able to change the color of your lightsaber, with up to five colors; this is just for more appearance than beneficial. The same goes for your character as you can customize his stats, backstory, etc, but in the long run, it didn’t really matter in terms of story.
Now you may ask the problem with the gameplay then. The answer is simple: poor AI. Enemy AI is fair enough, as you expect them to pull out every attempt in trying to fight and kill you. Rather, it’s your ally AI. They don’t make the most of what you give them, and this can lead to them dying if you don’t manage all of them. In fact, if you don’t give them orders, it will take them a few seconds before doing anything at all. But even worse? They can often get lost during nearly any map. Half the time, you will be wondering where they are, and you can’t advance to the next part of the map without finding them. They do know where to find you, but the wait can sometimes be annoying. This is especially frustrating when you run into a fight and can’t find them, leaving you handicapped. That isn’t frequent, but annoying nonetheless.
Perhaps my biggest gripe was ship battles. Basically, whenever you travel to other worlds, or during events in the story, you man a turret on your ship and shoot down enemy fighters. That one turret is the only weapon while fighters surround you, and your ship moves perfectly still. You have to make use of both your keyboard and mouse in order to aim, as doing it with just a mouse is impossible, unless the ships fly towards you thanks to its very slow movement. More noticeable is the fact that not only does your ship have only one gun, which I have come to accept over time, but the segments just feel pointless as there is no reward, and there is no way of customizing your ship. All it does is pad out the game.
Mini-games include things such as Pazak, a card game I never bothered to try, and swoop racing, which is basically pod-racing, but driving on one path only, using speed-markers to help boost your pacing. The latter mini-game is harmless enough, not too bad and a good way to make money in the game.
Now I realize my arguments are not much, but still, these were things I both liked and hated about this game, and made me that much more hesitant to actually give this game a good score. I have no desire to play through the game a second time, and would rather put it off for lesser games. And this is because the game cannot appeal to someone like me. If I was more of a fan, I could appreciate it. But I am not anymore. Still, it was interesting to say the least. And you can probably beat the game in about 20-30 hours or so.
Overall, Star Wars KOTOR gets a 3 out of 5. My advice would be to wait for some kind of sale before ever making a purchase, or watch some YouTube Let’s Play’s before deciding.