Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
I’ve never been a true Star Wars fan myself, all that space blurb never managed to appeal to me… and probably never will. Add to this that TV series or movies transformed into games hardly managed to please me and you can imagine my first impression of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was all but good. However, after my first hours in the wonderous world of Star Wars I couldn’t care less about this. KoToR is simply said a magnificent game and in this review you’ll read just how great it’s been made. Of course, we won’t skip the little downpoints that are present.
To not ruin everything I won’t be digging into the storyline but what I can say is that it’s got lots of pleasant plot changes and your answers during conversations are of extreme importance for the further flow of the story. What makes KoToR really interesting is that you yourself can choose whether you’ll fight for the forces of darkness or for light. You’ll get multiple possibilities to go over to the dark side but if you choose to go that path you’ll also meet forgiving jedi’s and such which will try to get you back with the good guys. The choice is completely up to the player which adds a very high replay value to KoToR.
You’ll constantly be wondering how the game would have evolved if you would have chosen the opposite eside.
By completing quests and such you’ll meet characters that want to join your party. There’s a limit of 3 people who can play the game at the same time so the rest have to wait in your quarters. You would think that members which often have to stay in will get a backdrop and have a level that is very low compared to the rest but the developers have fixed this in a very smart way as if such a character goes outside, it will rise a couple of levels until it gets equal to the rest of your party.
An RPG wouldn’t be an rpg if the player wouldn’t have to make choices in skills and such. Good news for the newbies amongst us; you don’t need an extensive rpg past for this game as it’s very beginner-friendly. You can use the skills and features that have been predefined and horrendous submenu’s are also not present.
When I first heard that the battle-system of KoToR would be turn-based I started to spontaneously throw up. I am absolutely no lover of this concept but in this game it luckily has been worked out very well. Members of your party who die during combat will re-emerge after a fight with a minimum on health point. The game isn’t over until your complete party has deceased but since you can save at any time this is not a big problem.
Graphically KoToR can be described in one word: drool… The lighting effects, the moving grass whan walking through the country, the character details, etc. Everything is very beautifully worked out. Of course the opposite side of this is heavy system requirements and sadly this results in a regular framedrop. However, since this isn’t a first person shooter, the frame drops won’t give you a headache.
The soundtrack is very faithful to Star Wars and contains a lot of atmosphere. Of course, light sabre sounds are not lacking. Also the voices are very realistic and chosen very carefully. The only thing that slightly bothered me – next to the framedrops – are the small AI flaws. It regularly happens that you’ll have to wait at an elevator because one of your party members are stuck on a wall. Of course we’re used to worse these days and we all know the concept of patching.
Also on the side of variation KoToR doesn’t have any problems. There are several nice and well-designed mini-games present like the swoop-racing. These can also earn you money and experience points (xp). The changing of planets also adds to a nice change of background.
KoToR has surprised me very pleasantly. Recently I’ve also gotten the chance to compare the pc version with the one for Xbox and I can say that the interface and graphics have been nicely ported towards PC standards. KoToR is both for RPG lovers and non-RPG gamers. For the Star Wars freaks this game is a wet dream but also the normal human being (;p) will get to appreciate this game. As you can read above, it isn’t for nothing that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was chosen as Fragland’s PC game of the year 2003. Buy it !