Review by Mechwarrior 02
"One hell of an RPG"
Ever since it was released on XBox, SW:KotOR received high praise and reviews from gaming sites all over the net. I always wondered what all the fuss is about, and now that it's layed it's grace on the PC, this is indeed Game/RPG of the year 03. As a long time RPGer, this game has a solid and original storyline definitely worthy of the Star Wars name. Despite some performance issues, the graphics also brings the most out of this grand adventure. Tired of the old Star Wars music scores? Nearly all songs in the game were originally composed just for this game by Jeremy Soule, music composer for the Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. Although the songs are brand new, they still have that Star Wars feel. Add the fact that this game has multiple endings and you've got your replayability right there. This game has no online play whatsoever, but that's probably what Galaxies is for.
The storyline is the best I've seen that even rivals the original Star Wars Trilogy. Add the fact that you as the main character create yourself from the face down you've got a pretty involving plot. It is 4000 years before the events in A New Hope, an era were the Sith number in the thousands waging war with the Republic for control of the galaxy. As with most RPG's you can pretty much guess that you are, ''The One''. Question is, what is ''The One's'' destiny in this case? Not to give away anything from the storyline, but it just simply comes down to this: Do you save the galaxy, or conquer it? Not only is the main storyline compelling but the party members that you meet along the way add more to the story too. Everyone has their own background, their own reasons for joining you in your fight for the galaxy, rather it be a loyal, trigger happy assassin droid or a spunky 14 year old Twi'lek girl. Not only does the game have many side-stories going on but every bit of dialogue is spoken, except from your main character but that's not entirely a bad thing because you still get your say in conversations. Because of this, this just brings out a personality from everyone from droids to bartenders.
You as the main character have more than enough to do in a game like this. It's not as open ended as say Morrowind but not as linear as Final Fantasy. As the story goes along, you eventually get your own ship the Ebon Hawk. You go from planet to planet, checking out locales such as Tatooine and Kashyyyk all the while kicking bad guy butt to put it bluntly. How exactly do you kick a bad guy's butt in a RPG like this? Well here on the PC to some extent it's simply: See a bad guy, click on him, watch a fight and see him go down. As the game goes along you will need to start tweaking your fighting style. One thing the game does as an asset is an in game pause. While paused in game you can set your characters to unleash a series of moves, up to 4 per character. You might wanna go for Jedi Speed, Force Lightning and Power Attack and maybe afterwards Force Heal. With most fights most guys are push overs, but come bosses you will need to use pause strategically or you will find your characters face down. You will need to plan your attacks, you will need the time to heal, and you will need time to place your characters where you want them. You will go through many fights in this game, and to offer relief you've got some mini games for back up such as swoop racing and a card game called Pazaak which comes in handy because you can wage money. But of course if you don't have the skills or deck you will end up at a loss.
Even running at low settings this game is nice to look at, even more better on a high end comp. Lightsabers spark when clashing, environments are full of color, texture, and lighting. One thing I find amazing are the facial expressions of characters. They are one huge step up from say Jedi Academy, rivaling those of say Final Fantasy X or Kingdom Hearts. When someone gets angry, they show it. The only problem with the graphics is that they are too demanding, even those of us that have 1.4ghz and above. After checking message boards even those with 2.4ghz have trouble just playing the game at a acceptable frame rate. It may just be some compatibility issues, but that can always be addressed with a patch. If not, a PC better at least meet the recommended system requirements to run the game it was meant to run.
You can't have an involving game without a great music score and sounds. Music is upbeat when it needs to. Say you are in a star ship under attack, the music definitely suits the tempo. Traveling through grassy fields will move you with ambient sounds and music. In battle, every area has it's own unique combat theme backed by the sounds of battle such as blasters firing and swords parrying. The voice acting is excellent as well, whether you are just in a cantina or just exchanging words with the enemy prior to a boss battle. Surround sound does the game justice, nothing else will.
Multiple quests and multiple conclusions will want to make you play this game over and over. No 2 games are ever the same, for one game you can have your character go through the light side of the force and the other dark. Multiple endings adds more to the mix. For one run the time required to beat this game with one rushing through would be maybe 20 hours, +40 if one takes their time to complete sidequests and paces themselves. For a game that lacks online support there is still plenty to do.
Just simply this is a great game to play, as a Star Wars fan or a RPGer. With such a great storyline, graphics and music score I now see why this game makes a strong push for Game of the Year, for it raises the bar in terms of RPG's.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/30/03
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