The years have been alright to the Star Wars games. Some good, like The Force Unleashed and Battlefront, the LucasArts ones. Some really bad ones, such as Star Wars Kinnect and Battlefront, the EA ones.
But few Star Wars games captured the spirit, the universe, and the lore, quite like Knights of the Old Republic, A.K.A. KOTOR. I mean the game had enough to work with to later create a full-fledged MMORPG, and a decently deep one at that.
You had all the magical ingredients to make a high Jedi pie. You got Sith lords, you got your lightsabers, Wookies, and even motherfucking hot-ass Twi’lek bitches. What the fuck else you need in a video game?
Oh, you want some fucking stories with real consequential outcomes depending on the choices you make in multi-layered conversation with amazingly voice-acted NPCs? This game has got you covered on all them bases.
A few dashes of turn-based/real-time combat, a leveling system that allows you to create the greatest of all Jedi, or the darkest of all Sith, fuck me, you have one of the greatest RPG’s, Star Wars, licenced game, shit, you pick.
And the thing was, we knew it was special when it came out. It held the world in close and whispered, “I love you”, and gifted us this game. Bioware had done not just a service to Microsoft, but to humanity as a whole.
I played this game 15 years ago. It really makes me feel old saying that. But damn it, I played this game when it came out. It was amazing at the time. We hadn’t had a good Star Wars game since Pod Racer on the N64.
So have the years been kind to this once-famed and renown rpg, or will it fade with the rest of Star Wars, into the ever-blackness that is an over-saturated market fed the fuck up with its bullshit?
Should we even care about the relics of a long-abused and degraded franchise? Or does it still hold something of value, of entertainment, of lessons?
I played around 25 hours of this fucking thing, and I can say that I don’t regret it. Shit, I might have enjoyed it more this time than the first time, half a life ago.
Let’s start with that final twist of the game. Now if you don't want fucking spoilers or that kind of shit, then go the fuck away.
You are the Dark Lord Revan, secretly saved during your last major battle, and have had your memories erased, your identity changed into a nameless servant of the Republic. Or enlisted, whatever they want to call brainwashed servitude.
I wasn’t down for that this playthrough. See, I remember all those years ago the 2nd act twist that prepared me to complete my destiny and accept my role as ruler of the galaxy.
With that in mind, I began to slaughter folks for fame and fortune, race a swoop like a bantham jockey, and kill anything that either did not agree or could not be manipulated by my powers in the force.
So a lot of people died. People die all the time. At least these ones didn’t die by the hands of a peon or child with their parents' handgun.
Playing the bad guy, a follower of the dark side in this game is entertaining. Some of us have to deal with the public’s shit day in, day out, so it’s nice to tell a random alien to fuck off simply because they didn’t give a better price on bantha fodder.
And those were some of the most fun I’ve had in a game in some time. Sure, you can pick the usual good answers, become a beacon of hope and justice throughout the galaxy. Or you could be like your Sith Lord Garbage Man and slaughter them, SLAUGHTER THEM ALL!!!
But I wasn’t a ruthless killer, oh no! I also had the guise to use people, even when that led to a light side increase. See, a true dark lord needs to know when to kill and when to use until they are no longer useful. And a person is always useful, even more than just sexually.
This led to some interesting twists, some uninteresting twists, and some straight-up game breaking glitches.
I had one simple wish. A desire, I didn't even know existed, or had at least forgotten about. And that was you could force persuade Zaalbar, your Wookie companion, into murdering his long and best friend, on a moon of the Star Forge, right after I ascend to the dark lord title.
Every time the command was issued, it just reset, as if I had done something so dark, so unprepared, that the developers hadn’t actually put it in the game, figuring no one could be that depraved, that unforgiving, that just plain mean, fuck man.
But try and try again did I, the Dark Lord Gaming Garbage Man, and time and time again did this game refuse my commands.
Zaalbar just roars like a retard, and that’s it, back to the LucasArts logo staring me in the face, saying, “hey, hey, we know you didn’t know about this choice in the game, and we’re really glad that you chose it, it’s just, well see, you can’t really do that. We put it in there humorously, like we weren’t expecting anyone to be that big of a fucking dick.”
Well you must not of heard of me, you Bioware fucks, because I’m the Gaming Garbage Man and I wanted to fucking choose to have the Wookie tear the limbs off his still-breathing friend.
I did a couple of different things, but it seems the only way would have been to go back hours and hours prior and maybe selected some more dialogue choices, or changed up some weapon and armor selections.
See, while I might be a dark lord of the Sith, I’m not someone who likes to replay content that I’ve just played. Like a watching a movie back to back. Not the greatest thing in the world. Can kind of ruin it, actually. You won’t even have time to make decision of whether you liked it or not before the fucking thing starts right up again.
From there, things got a little dicey. Like more glitchy than Korriban. Endless waves of enemies, causing significant slowdown in combat. It got to be the Dark Souls of rpgs. I was sailing along, having a difficult battle here and there, but nothing required such fine-tuned attention as those final few sections on the Star Forge.
And the fucking robots. If the Curator hadn’t been there, you would have seen this go on even longer than it did. I thought there was some pattern you had to kill the robots in, not fucking walk up to their creation control panel and shut the fucking shit down. But it was down, and Malak was eventually defeated, allowing me to rule the galaxy, unopposed by the Republic, Jedi, or glitched out battles that fuck you all up.
The combat is one of the weaker aspects of this game. While it’s fun to choke and sling lightsaber’s, it’s not fun to have retarded team members who shoot only what they decide is fun at the moment, before switching to another random target, all to ensure as many enemies are alive as possible. So much fun.
The friendly AI is frustrating even outside of combat, forcing you to wait in the event the hit a pole or just decided to stop following you any number of reasons. Fuck that.
Thankfully you are given on-the-fly character switch, so if one of your slightly slower team members has difficulty going around a corner, you can manually navigate them. Bioware thought of everything.
Speaking of everything, the thing they could of dumped was the weak upgrade system. Not many options, excepting lightsabers, but nothing that stood out as truly game-changing. They needed much, much more upgrade options for it to be taken seriously, of which they did not.
But that’s not why anyone has ever played or praised KOTOR. It’s true heart lies in its rich characters and engrossing stories. Bioware was already known for excellent world making, and their take on a Star Wars universe thousands of years before its big screen take, was and still is a breath of fresh air in an industry that praises games like Life is Strange.
The choice in dialogue are unique and branching, making a Telltale game look like a coloring book for children. From helping widowed wife get off a shithole planet like Tatooine, to killing two Jedi knights trying to stop the evil corruption of the galaxy, no decision is taken too lightly and each carries weight through the playthrough.
Rating: 4 out of 5. I really enjoy this game. It holds up along with the nice touches of polish that are delivered in this near re-release of the original. The game is beautiful, and the effects they use add to its charm and character, taking nothing away in terms of gameplay and finesse.
Microsoft was always proud of this game, and it shows in their patches for it to run on the Xbox One, looking better than the FMV sequences in the game, and something has to be said to that.
There was only one thing that kept this from getting a perfect score: The glitches. 15 years is long enough to fix any long-standing bug and provide the gamers with a buttery smooth experience, not like a choppy, ice-cubes-in-a-blender experience. We need more slop and less chop!
I recommend this game to anyone who likes story-based gameplay, Star Wars, Sci-Fi rpg’s, or fans of Bioware back when Bioware was good. While it may not be flawless, it was the best at the time, and the force is strong with it even 15 years later.