Review by DeuxHero
"Poor combat, pathetic story, poor dialog, and a bad camera don't add up to anything special."
Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic, was a cRPG released by Bioware in 2003 for the Xbox and PC... but do I really need to explain this? I doubt this is the first time you have heard of the game, so can I just skip this and focus on the review? I have been a gamer for years and I found KotOR highly overrated, KotOR has some pretty blatant issues that for some reason, are rarely brought up by most reviewers, but kept me from fully enjoying the game.
For gameplay, lets focus on 2 of the more important aspects of cRPG, combat and dialog
Combat is, unfortunately, the meat of the game, yet it is uninvolveing and unbalanced, there is little any more involvment on the part of the player then him/her to selecting attack (or a chosen special attack mode), and the rest of the players job adds up to taking care of the AI, who will run after distant targets to leave you alone in combat to get killed, then let you die because you don't have all of your characters in the fight. Compared to Jedi, non-Jedi characters are almost worthless in combat (and as characters have minimal use outside of combat, non Jedi characters are worthless entirely). Lightsabers are the most powerful weapons in the game, by far (there short range is nulifiyed by the fact that almost all of the game is set in small cramped areas), and Jedi Characters can freely use the completely broken force buffs, while non Jedi characters have no advantages except the ability to wear armor freely (not really an advantage, as robes have better armor class then heavy armor) . This means you will not be useing 6/9 of the NPC characters except to activate NPC specific quests (only a few involve combat anyways, and the ones that do are for the Jedi, or single encounters).
Dialog is an even more imporant aspect to cRPGs then combat is, and KotOR fails here just as, if not more here then combat. In dialog, the player is given 2 types of choices that attempt to let him steer the conversation, the first type is a set of 3 or more options, each one is the same item, the most common variants are one phrased politely, one phrased to request clarification, and one phrased to be rude for no reason other then being rude, no matter what option the player chooses, the conversation proceeds the same. The 2nd type is the "moral" "good"/"evil" choices, but these are poorly thought out and noticeably become predictable, "good" is to give away money (that like most games, isn't really worthwhile, so it doesn't matter) help people with whatever they ask, or sometimes, killing people because they are evil. while "evil" is asking for more money, randomly threatening people, randomly killing people, randomly insulting people, randomly being rude and refuseing to help people. These Lawful Stupid/Chaotic Stupid choices are silly, and fail to be interesting. Rarely do the players choices have any real effect on conversations either, as even if you don't tell the man you met you are going to kill him (for no reason other then being evil) he attacks you at the end of the conversation anyways. While fans of the original trilogy will smile at the plentiful references to the movies in the dialogue, they do not make up for the average script and poor player choices.
There are plenty of issues with the gameplay in general that are not directly related to combat or dialog .The camera is placed awkwardly over the shoulder with minimal controls (the player is limited to rotateing on the horizontal axis with no zoom or vertical control) in a game mainly set in cramped interiors with hoards of enemys, makeing it hard to target some enemies.Skills are worthless, heal injury is outclassed by the free force heal, traps can just be walked over and the damaged caused can simply be healed by force heal, computer use and repair simply eliminate a few opponents who aren't a hassle to fight in the first place, stealth simply means you get sandwiched between multiple sets of enemys (without any help, as you left your NPCs beyond to use stealh), presaude is slightly more useful, allowing the player to get some extra rewards, but most of these rewards are credits, and money, and like in most games, money is worthless endgame (while some nice items exist near the end, they are not that much compared to what you have by that time, and most are armor for non jedi characters, and do little to close the massive balance gap)
Story is a Cliche storm. Find the 4 plot coupons to fight the big bad and save the galaxy from the evil Empire. The players motive and goal never change from what they are at the start, nor are any twists present except that one you may already know about..The self contained storys for planets are slightly better, but are nothing spectacular themselves.
The NPCs are not much in the way of personality, except 2 all have unimpressive stock personality, they have uninteresting and generic background, and have no real development beyond an improving view of the player character.
Graphics/sound were (aside from some great soundtracks) never something I really ever thought was something to judge a game by, however, one nice thing in KotOR is the battle animations, that unlike most games, are varied enough to not be repetitive.
Play time is fairly decent, with upwards of 30 hours, and might be worth a 2nd go if you can stand to pick all of the randomly evil options to be an "evil" character.
In the end KotOR while highly overated IMO, is worth a go if you like Star Wars games, espically if you can find the "Best of PC" collection, as it is an excellent deal. If you finish the game, you might want to check out the second game (and/or my review, accessible on GameFAQs) as it fixes a great deal of the issues present.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 09/04/08, Updated 03/30/10
Game Release: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (US, 11/18/03)
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