Review by earlnoli

"KOTOR - Nice but not perfect"

Introduction

As an PC RPG fan, I could not help but anticipate for the coming of KOTOR in my good old P4 1.7, 512 MB RAM, GF4 FX5200 PC. I have been anticipating for this game for about a month now and now that I have got it, I want to share some of my insights about the game. I have finished quite a lot of RPGs to name a few of them: FF5,FF7,FF8,FF9, Baldur’s Gate 2, Neverwinter Nights, Diablo 2, Fallout 2 and Morrowind so I can’t help but compare this game to them.

Story – 8
You’re a Jedi – which is quite expected from the title. But it starts first being just a ordinary combat person depending on your class with an added twist of having a strong inclination to the force. Just to cut the story short to avoid spoilers, you became a Jedi after doing such a good job of rescuing a Jedi. Your fate will be decided by you – light or dark – your choice and will definitely affect how you play and finish the game. All speech are in audio which really adds to the atmosphere. But story wise, it was ok but I don’t think I will shed a tear in this one. Just basic standard plot – nothing really fancy that could really get me off my seat and ponder how good it really was. Fallout 2, Baldur’s Gate 2 and FF5 I think offer the best stories in the RPG realm.

Gameplay Combat - 8
It plays like Morrowind (3rd person but with companions) but has more variety in terms of combat controls. Using different Jedi Force Powers really adds more depth to combat compared to Morrowind’s almost unlimited spells but utterly the same once you tend to think about them. Strategy wise in combat, once again better than Morrowind because you can pause in combat and queue the actions you want like use the Push Force then attack the next character then proceed with a Cure Force to heal your entire party (droids not included). But how I wish KOTOR had an eagle’s eye view during combat. It could really help a lot in terms of strategy.

Gameplay Quest -8
You could say you can compare it to Baldur’s Gate 2 with your henchman to back you up. But unlike BG2, you can only have 2 of them at a time but you don’t need to leave them in a tavern and come back again to just pick them up. You can switch from one party configuration to another in most areas where combat tension is not that much. Kotor has a lot of quests and most of them with choices to go neutral, light side or dark side which could affect how you can use your Jedi Powers later on. The more inclined you are to a side, the less force you need to execute a force power. You also have an adequate quest organizer to keep you up to date on the stuffs you still need to follow up and gives you the necessary updates on how to finish the quest.

Graphics – World – 9/10
Its really quite nice but I think in terms of richness, nothing beats Morrowind. Morrowind is a city compared to KOTOR which is more of like a village but with good map. Unlike in Morrowind which is assured to give you lots of pain in finding places, KOTOR’s good mapping style will make your trek a little bit easier. I also like the graphics with the grass, the trees and the other world stuff. Makes you awe in ponder for a minute or two.

Graphics Effects – 7/10
Lightsabers and blasters are quite nice but for whatever reason, I have many color issues like my lightsaber being red but its really blue. Even some of the trees are pure red or pure neon green. Some of the door frames have the same problem. Don’t know if it’s my video cards fault but it’s already GForce FX5200. It maybe the settings but I have been tweaking it and have different random responses. Regardless, when I played my latest game Age of Mythology it was quite OK. Anyhow its really a minor irritation.

Sound – 7/10
I think it was ok but I also think a lot of my gaming problems arises from this one. I Don’t know if its my hardware’s problem but I just use my motherboard’s audio and I just bought it last month and the fact that I have use it also in other games and it was ok. For some reason I seem to have a problem going to tight rooms making my characters run wild and I have no choice but to exit the program and load my game again. The only time I can enter such tight rooms is by turning the audio off in the configuration which really bad. I think KOTOR has quite a lot of hardware issues especially when you see their manual. But regardless, I hope they could fix this in the next patch. But aside from the bad Jedi going wild, the games is quite stable – only had about 2 to 3 crashes in 10 hrs of gameplay compared to Morrowind having 1 per hour during bad days. During my Jedi running wild stunt – it was still ok because I was still able to save my game.

Reply / Conclusion – 9/10
KOTOR is a good game with a few minor blunders. Worth my 50+hrs before I get tired of it but I think its not to be compared with Baldur’s Gate II which is definitely has my 250+ hours mark I still haven’t finish KOTOR but when I’m through with it, it goes to the closet definitely unlike in BG2 when I have restarted it countless time searching for the all the best configuration of all. I think KOTOR just offers a few possibilities in character creation and its effect to the game that replaying it gives you just the same gameplay.

Tweek – 10/10
Buy this game – worth your time considering only a few RPGs get on the market these days that offer decent 50+hrs game time. I don’t think you will be disappointed which is a merit on its own.

Final Result – 8/10
Good game definitely but the Star Wars genre I think made it quite less flexible for a RPG, but was nicely done. Well Im looking at an RPG perspective not a Star Wars fan but regardless, cheers for Bioware for making such a nice game!


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/03


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