Platform: PC, Xbox

Genre: Role-Playing

Publisher: LucasArts

Developer: Bioware

ETA: Late 2003


Related Links:

Review: Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (Gamecube)

Review: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC)

Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Playstation 2)





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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

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For the longest time it seemed as though RPG developers were shying away from making games that embraced science fiction, you couldn’t walk two feet in the genre without bumping into a level 3 mage, someone saying, “Well met!” for the umpteenth time, or some boob ineptly trying his hand at alchemy.  Titles like Phantasy Star and the occasional PC gem (Septerra Core and Anachronox spring to mind) have done a magnificent job of bringing science fiction into role-playing, helping it step away from its more commonly used swords and sorcery.  Those wanting more robots and ray guns in their role-playing adventures should be happy to know that the Star Wars franchise is making its way to the Xbox and PC with Knights of the Old Republic.  Taking place 4,000 years before the events of the movies, players will get an interesting look at the Star Wars universe almost from a historical perspective, as opposed to taking place in the periphery of the current Star Wars saga as most games in the genre tend to do.

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- First major Star Wars Role-Playing Game

- Visit numerous locations on seven different worlds, using your own starship the Ebon Hawk

- Non-linear single player story allows the player to create his or her own legend

- Separate and distinct paths for light side and dark side characters

- Play the role of intergalactic smuggler, infamous bounty hunter, high stakes gambler or legendary Jedi Knight

- Dozens of extensive sub- plots and over 40 hours of gameplay    

- Hundreds of unique NPCs to interact with

- Immursive action-packed real-time combat with pause and play options

- Choose from nine customizable and evolving playable characters, including droids, humans and Wookiees

- Multiple fighting styles, including blaster combat and lightsaber duels

- Wide range of enemies to defeat, including fearsome battle droids, alien monsters and merciless dark Sith

- Use a wide variety of skills, feats, and powers to overcome challenges, such as using stealth or persuasion on enemies, or destroying them with over 50 Force powers such as Force choke, telekinetic push and Force lightening

- Participate in fast-paced mini-games -- such as racing swoop bikes, or manning turret guns

- Adventure in a party of up to three characters

- Full voice acting and lip-synching on game characters      

- Features music from the movies, as well as an original soundtrack composed by Jeremy Soule  

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It’s nice to see that KOTOR is going for a non-linear approach to gameplay, as well as allowing players to make their own ethical decisions.  Developers often still seem to insist upon not incorporating either of these into their games, but to see it being utilized in a Star Wars game of all things is very refreshing.  Hopefully this will prove a nice change of pace from the usual, “Use the force Luke” be the good guy and save the day mentality most Star Wars games embrace.  

Just looking at the sheer amount of things Bioware is trying to cram into KOTOR, there certainly appears to be plenty for Star Wars fans to sink their teeth into.  From the choice of character classes, the very involved level of Force powers, varying enemy types, and the fact the game takes place on seven different worlds; it appears KOTOR is trying to cover all the bases.  

Bioware has really established itself over the last few years in the role-playing genre thanks to games like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights.  It’ll prove very interesting to see how the final version of KOTOR turns out with so much talent behind it.

- Mr. Nash

(April 6, 2003)