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Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Score: 9.6 / 10
No, this is not an error. Lucasarts has
finally decided its time to release Star Wars: Knights of the Old
Republic (KOTOR), after years of delays. In fact, KOTOR has been in
development for so long, that the game made yet another appearance at E3
this year, even after netting the best in show award…in 2001. Yes, the
delays have kept gamers away from this much anticipated game for a very
long time, leaving gamers with thoughts of KOTOR being an over hyped
idea bound for failure, or a complete waste of time. If anything, KOTOR
is one of the best games ever produced.
Behind the development was long-time RPG developer Bioware, whose titles
before KOTOR live amongst us as some of the most in-depth RPG games on
the PC. One of which, Neverwinter Nights, quickly engraved itself in the
RPG world as an instant classic. Their next task would not be an easy
one, for the Star Wars universe can
be gruelling and demanding when broken
down. From every creature, character, vehicle, and light saber crystal,
Bioware's mission was to reproduce all with sheer perfection.
KOTOR is set 4,000 years before Han Solo, Jabba the Hut, Yoda, and other
characters seen in the current films. The story takes place during a war
between the Sith and Republic, in a battle for
control of the universe. The commander of the Sith, Darth Malak, is a
gaunt and malicious commander who used to be a Jedi for the Republic.
Your character starts off aboard a ship during one of Malaks attacks,
and is forced to escape from the crumbling craft to save a Jedi master
known as Bastila. After crash landing on a nearby planet, Taris, the
real journey begins to find Bastila and restore peace in the Republic.
Restoring peace is an option, and is not required. Your actions
throughout the game will swing you towards either the dark or light
side, and affect the possible outcome of the game. Every conversation,
person killed, and credit taken will, in someway, change the story in
favor of the “evil Sith, or the “peaceful” Republic.
Before starting the game, you must first create your character. There
are three different classes: Soldier (strength), Scoundrel (wisdom), and
Scout (stealth). Each character class has its unique advantages and
disadvantages, however adjusting your strengths can be done through
experience points. For example, starting off as a Soldier gives you more
power and weapon mastery, but not much of Wisdom and Intellegence.
Nonetheless, through experience, every attribute can be adjusted to
create a better all-around character. Once finished creating a
character, a player portrait and distribution of experience points is
done. After that, the long awaited game begins.
Following watching the opening cinematic, I was left in awe at the
spectacular graphics and even more astonishing sound. The lights and
explosions seen in the cinematic left me expecting the same graphics
in-game, due to the immense power of the Xbox. Though not to the
potential of Xbox power; the in-game graphics are still very well done.
Since the game relies on world exploration, plenty of detail went
towards the realism of all objects. From the flying cars overhead to the
slight ripples in water, Bioware took advantage of the Xbox power. The
character detail is also well done, as for the many people and creatures
you come in contact with. With over 10,000 lines of spoken dialogue,
every single character is detailed and animated, always having something
Aside from the graphics, the sound of all that dialogue is where the
game shines. The voice-acting is amazingly conducted, with a list of
underrated actors who know how to act. Rarely will you stumble upon a
character that has nothing to say, with even robots and differing
species carrying dialogue. Keep in mind not all characters speak a
common language, with Wookies, Twi’leks, and other characters sporting a
different dialect and language. Star Wars has always been known for its
music, and the games would not be complete without the same method of
music. Lucasarts dishes out some of the same tracks we’ve heard hundreds
of times in the movies, as well as subtle, but noticeable new music
sporting the same style. The sound effects of blasters, vehicles, and
lightsabers bring out true authenticity to the Lucas name. The sinister
voice of Darth Malak and reassuring voice of the behemoth wookie Zaalbar
bring the story to life, and create unforgettable characters.
The one factor of the game that can be deemed perfect, revolutionizing,
unique, fun, addictive, and challenging, has to be the gameplay system.
Bioware has created a different type of RPG, for the non-RPG types. The
combat system is played in real-time, though contains many of the same
RPG elements. When engaging with an enemy character, the game is
automatically paused, allowing you to make any adjustments to your
attacks, list of moves you want carried out, and various changes to help
you win the battle. After your commands have been queued, the game is
unpaused and the attacks are carried out in real-time resembling RPG
damage and gameplay. Attacks and force powers can be altered in
real-time as well, even after already choosing your specified actions.
The system might be awkward during the first preliminary battles, though
is easy and becomes more challenging as the game progresses.
Though KOTOR is played through a tangible storyline, there are hundreds
of submissions to keep you running around and help gain experience.
Submissions are found almost everywhere and on every planet through
communicating with people and creatures within the world. Some missions
include working as a Jedi lawyer, killing as a bounty hunter, gathering
information as a spy, and countless others that have their own unique
rewards. Completing the submissions will not affect the story, but will
shed more light on general story ideas, clearing up questions that may
have popped into your head. The submissions also sway you towards or
further from the light, depending on what you decide. With all of these
aspects in play, the submissions alone had 10-20 hours to the games
Once finished playing KOTOR, replaying it isn’t an option, but a
priority. There are so many areas to explore on the beautiful seven
worlds, tasks to be done, and different ways of altering the story, that
playing through the game 3 times would truly be considered “finishing”
Though specifics on downloadable content haven’t been revealed,
Lucasarts made the announcement of weapons and items to be the most
likely matter to be downloaded. Both the weapons and items will be
attainable using Xbox Live and will not affect the outcome of the story
in any way.
Star Wars: KOTOR is easily one of the best Xbox games to ever be
released, game of the year nominee, and possibly, the best RPG to ever
hit any console. If you’re looking for an RPG that will last eons upon
eons, KOTOR is the right game for you, no matter what preference you