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Knights of the Old Republic II Review Continued

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Platform

PC

 

Genre

RPG

 

Developer

Obsidian

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

ESRB

Teen

 

Released

Q1 2005

 

 

- Wide Variety of Problem Solving

- Good Mini Games

- Excellent Voice Acting

 

 

- Abrupt, Disappointing Ending

- Storyline Poorly Edited

- Not Much New

 

 

Review: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II - Sith Lords

Review: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)

Review: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (XB)

 

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The remaining gameplay aspects of the Sith Lords offers almost nothing new. Battles, talking to characters, equipping your characters, upgrading items and your dialogue choices are handled just like in the first game. One thing new about upgrading items is the ability to now create and breakdown items. For instance, depending on a characters skill level in the different skills available, there are items that that character will be able to build from components, which are the basic building blocks to create items. You can also break down existing items into components. This is great as you now have the option of not only selling items you don't want, but of breaking them down and creating a new item. This process of course requires a workbench, which are scattered throughout the game. While this is a nice addition, I still didn't find myself taking advantage of this process as the best items and weapon upgrades were still to be had by finding them, or by buying them. A new aspect to battles in the game is the Form and Behavior of your characters. You can set your characters to perform different actions as their default such as acting as a support grenadier, or attacking with ranged weapons. Also, the Form choice is a selection available to the main character and can affect bonuses and saves based on the form chosen. Some forms are better at ranged defense, while others are better at the strength of the melee attack. Again, I found myself taking advantage of this addition very seldom, and it did not seem to really affect the gameplay when I did use it. The mini games are the same as before with Swoop Races, Turret Battles and Pazaak games. Pazaak is like blackjack, Swoop racing is like pod racing, first introduced to the Star Wars universe in Episode 1: the Phantom Menace, and the Turret Battles are the closest thing to a first person shooter in this game. The Swoop Races this time allow you to jump your Swoop Bike as there are obstacles that you will need to jump over. One course even has oncoming bikes to further throw you off.

 

Throughout the game you will also encounter a few logic puzzles which I find absolutely fantastic. The greatest example of this from the first game was a murder mystery where you had to use deductive reasoning and logical arguments to find the best solution. The Sith Lords offers a few of these moments but not enough for my tastes, however where they are included, I spent a lot of time trying to solve 

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these. The inclusion also of math problems has also been carried over from the first game, and again, this was both surprising, yet highly cherished by me. While some gamers may hate the logic puzzles and math problems, the beauty in the game design is that these are optional, as are the mini games, so you need not complete these to enjoy or to move forward in the game.

 

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Getting back to the storyline, the weakest aspect of the game is likely not a fault of the developer as the game was no doubt rushed for the holiday season. The last portion of the game that leads to the climax is basically a series of repetitive battles. The final battle against the last Sith Lord is difficult, but in the end, not that hard, which is reflective of the difficulty level of the game as a whole. The climax of the game is likely one of  the most unsatisfying endings I have ever encountered. There is a Dark Side and a Light Side ending; however both are equally bland and unrevealing. There are many loose ends to the storyline, and in doing some investigation on the game, I came across some fan research that revealed that there was dialogue and event scripts that were included in the code of the game but that were not used. Had the storyline been properly edited, these loose ends with some of your characters could have been avoided, either by including the story development fully, or excluding it completely. Some of the characters and antagonists will seem out of place by the end of the game, as their purpose by the end seems trivialized.

 

While some minor additions have been made to the formula of the first game, the Sith Lords plays very much like the original. While in many ways this is a good thing, the weaker storyline detracts from its overall enjoyability. The production values are also almost identical to the first Knights game, with excellent sound and voice acting, and serviceable yet bland graphics. While the original is destined to become a classic, the sequel will be remembered, but only because it follows likely one of the best RPG's of the last 10 years.

 

- Mark Leung

(June 4, 2005)

 

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