Review by FalloutX
"The greatest Star Wars game. Period."
For many, many years I've been an avid fan of Star Wars. Not as long as some, but long enough. Also, for many years, I've played a plethora of Star Wars games. In fact, there are only a rare few that I haven't played either because I couldn't or just didn't want to. From Jedi Knight to Yoda Stories to Pit Droids to Rogue Squadron, I've set my hands on a LOT of Star Wars games. However, not a single one of these games compares to the sheer volume of quality that is produced by Knights of the Old Republic.
Ironically, it's a game that takes place at a period of time where there were no Star Wars movie characters or events to use that turns out to be the best one. Also ironically, I've given this game 10/10, had it for only a few days and already dedicated over 12 hours into it, am barely even what seems like 1/3rd into it, and I don't even like RPGs!
All in all, I can't sit and play an RPG. My style of game is more tailored to what many other gamers prefer: action, fast-pased and constant. Which is why I prefered many of the other Star Wars games. However, with KOTOR, you'll find that not only is the game full of action and excitement, but the flow of the story and the endless side-quests more than makeup for whatever ''lack of action'' there possibly could be in this RPG.
As I said, I'm only 12 hours into it, so I haven't even come close to completing the title yet, but I've completed enough that I know that if you're a Star Wars fan, an RPG fan, or just someone who enjoys a GOOD GAME, you'll love KOTOR.
This game plays very simply - and even though the breakdown of controls can appear a little daunting from the instruction manual - it's easy enough to play this game with the mouse and a couple keys. The shortcuts help, but you can tailor them accordingly. KOTOR is also very easy to navigate through. Bringing up specific menus is simple enough, and finding the right place to go is just a click away. With one key touch, you can reference your team's inventory, your personal inventory, your missions and related items, a brief dialog archive, and your map. It's that easy.
So, while interacting with the game is easy, interacting with the environment is even easier. Just point and click. A door, a container, a character.. Just click on them. The simplicity of the interface for navigating throughout the game and in the environments is a big plus for this game.
Another part of the gameplay which is very well done is the combat system. As this game is an RPG, the battle system - as well as other facets of the game - are based off of the d20 rules for a genuine pen-and-paper Star Wars RPG. So, combat is determined by rolls - none of which you see - and progresses from there. While you have no rolling to do, your involvement is still pretty critical. KOTOR uses a turn-by-turn based combat system, which - however - can appear to be real-time in it's flow.
When entering combat, you can pause the game to choose up to four actions to take place on your enemy or enemies. When unpaused, your character will carry out the tasks on the quere and use basic attacks on the enemy until you choose another action for them. Actions consist of attacks, speciality attacks (i.e. advanced attacks), using items, throwing grenades, etc. It's all done smoothly, and once you get the hang of it, you can just avoid the pause part alltogether and just point and click away until your victims are dead.
One of the best parts about KOTOR is the underlying Force theme. Of course, the Jedi are very prominent. And while this is an RPG - and there are a few endings and multiple directions you can take to get there - I've only explored the Jedi path so far. However, all gamers will have points relative to Light Side or Dark Side regardless of use of the Force. Certain responses and actions with NPCs will determine how your character stands. Of course, you can always change your mind. Personally, I started off as a moderately light-side fellow and, upon becoming a Jedi, began my decent to the Dark Side.
It's these aspects about KOTOR which make it such an incredible game, and so much fun. Definitely the best Star Wars game I've played, and easily one of my favorite games period.
While, of course, your graphics are limited to the quality of your graphics card, everything is delivered - according to me - spectacularly. The environments are huge and detailed, the alien characters are excellently done, and even your fellow humans look pretty good - though not the best human models ever. One of the most well done things in this game is the motion of the characters mouths. It's one of those few games which accurately seems to portray the proper movement of a character's lips to what they're saying. That impressed me. And I'm not easily impressed. Hey, look! A Jawa!
Another one of this games mammoth strong points comes in it's audio presentation. Sound effects, the key element to any Star Wars game, are flawlessly executed. You know a blaster bolt when you hear it, just as you know the roar of a ships engines, the hum of a lightsaber, and the blast of hyperspace as your little vessel roars into it. These are usually well done in Star Wars games. But, the biggest element in which KOTOR succeeds is it's voice acting. It's not often where you find a game that so successfully delivers well-acted voiceovers. This game does it on many, many levels. The actors are so talented that you get a very good idea about who the character is simply by HOW they say what they have to say. Kudos to the voice-over crew at KOTOR.
I'm sure you see where this is going. Anyway, for overall presentation, this is Star Wars at it's finest. While games are good at capturing the Star Wars landscape, Knights of the Old Republic manages to offer up numerous WORLDS of Star Wars environments. Each of which is designed beautifully. The many different places your character will go feel, from top to bottom, like they belong in Star Wars. And isn't that what it's all about?
REPLAY VALUE: 10/10
KOTOR wins this crown on it's numerous endings, hands down. Not to mention that every single thing your characters says can have a tremendous impact on how the story will flow from point A to point B, as well as how your character will develop. While, for all intents and purposes, the story does follow a linear path to get to it's ultimate ending, the roads you take to get there are where the fun really lies. In fact, I made sure to have numerous save game points so that I can replay parts of the game as a Dark Jedi and a Light Jedi, and even in-between should I want to. KOTOR, while it lacks an online feature - which would have been great - makes up for it with one of the best single player games in years.
OVERALL (not an average): 10/10
See? I knew you saw where this was going. Yes, KOTOR deserves straight 10s across the board. And while some gamers may have problems with this game, due to the fact that any game which requires a lot of horsepower to push it can prove taxing on some machines, it shouldn't be turned away from. If you have any way to do so, try KOTOR on your computer so that you know it works. And if so, BUY IT. You will not regret owning this game. I can assume that because you took the time to finish reading this review, so you must like something Star Wars. Either that, or your a glutton for punishment. Even so, that's a greater excuse to buy this game! What better than a game you wouldn't like to punish yourself with? Erm.. It appears I've gotten off on a tangent. Anyway, I'll leave it at this: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic will be the most fun you've ever had with Star Wars gaming in a long, long time. Period.
Away, tangent! AWAY! ::rides off on tangent::
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/31/03
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