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Role-Playing Game









T (Teen)



Q4 2003



- Great story-driven gameplay

- Lots of extra things to do

- Create your own character

- Just plain fun to play

- Looks and sounds very nice



- Might take a while for non-D&D types to get into

- Some reported bugs



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

Review: Jedi Academy (PC)

Review: Star Wars - Galactic Battlegrounds (PC)



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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Score: 9.1 / 10


At this point, youíve probably read the reviews and played the game, so whatever I write about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is pretty much moot Ė youíve already made up your mind as to whether KOTOR was worth your money.  But for the few that havenít been exposed to either the Xbox version (released way, way back in the Summer of 2004) or the PC version, I can sum it up with, ďBuy it!Ē


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But if you want to know a little moreÖ


Role-playing game (RPG) purists Ė classified by the rabidity of their passion for the genre Ė seem to have more negative things to say about KOTOR than the typical gamer.  I canít really address their complaints, as I tend to fall into the typical gamer category.  Then there are complaints leveled by reviewers regarding technical deficiencies (a.k.a. bugs).  If I may make broad, seeping generalizations, these are people that donít have the wherewithal to download available patches.  Is KOTOR playable off the shelf?  Yes.  Are there a few glitches?  Sure, but name me 




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one PC game that has shipped with no bugs.  I encountered a couple of bugs and one crash for no particular reason (that I could figure) but after installing the patch I didnít have any problems.


Most gamers will be too caught up in the awesome story to dwell on technical glitches or the strict observance of D&D Rule Sets, especially if youíre a Star Wars fan.  After creating your character in the typical role-playing fashion, you 


wake up on starship under attack 4,000 years before the events portrayed in the Star Wars movies, which makes the setting familiar and new at the same time.  The Sith number in the thousands and are making war with the Republic.  I donít want to get into the specifics of the story because itís fun to unravel as you progress. Needless to say, thereís a lot riding on you and your actions.

As any Star Wars geek will tell you, there are two sides of the Force: Light and Dark.  Your actions along the way determine your alignment.  You can try to walk the neutral ground, but itís hard not to be swayed to either extreme.  And thereís never any doubt as to your alignment as your character physically changes.  Be a complete bad-ass jerk and watch your portrait become slightly demonic.  Be a goody-two shoes and your portrait becomes angelic.


Most of the RPG standards are here: collecting cool doo-dads, lots of side quests, increasing your stats, team building, wasting bad guys.  Itís all done in a hybrid real-time/turn-based presentation that really does work, although the control takes some getting used to.


When youíre exploring, everything is real-time but once you jump into combat KOTOR shifts to turn-based action.  While turned-based combat may seem weird considering all the Star Wars action games that have been released, it works.  And really, it was the only way to go as you can have a party of four characters.  Managing everything is, surprisingly, a snap. (Swapping items, issuing commands, etc.)


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KOTOR is a good-looking game and sports the now-standard-heap-some-praise-on -John-Williams musical score and accented by Star Wars sound effects.  During the height of combat itís always a treat to pause the game and just appreciate the scenery.  If you have the minimum hardware requirements, youíll have to tone down the details, but if youíve got the recommended requirements KOTOR can occasionally look spectacular.  Besides the music of Mr. Williams, every line of dialogue is spoken (even the aliens Ė with subtitles, of course).  With so many voice actors thereís always the risk of crappy acting, but by some BioWare miracle thereís hardly any ham-fisted delivery.


An easy learning curve, excellent presentation and a story that will keep you coming back (multiple times), make Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic a worthy purchase.


- Aaron Simmer

(January 23, 2004)


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