“A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…”
A war rages between The Republic and The Sith. ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ throws you head first into a fantastic recreation of the Star Wars universe filled with lightsabers, Sith Lords, and political intrigue, in an immersive, gripping tale of Good vs. Evil which - more than a decade on - stands tall as one of the best RPG’s of its generation, and probably the finest gaming interpretation of the iconic Star Wars franchise.Campaign:
Released in 2003 by Bioware | Lucas Arts, and set 4000 years before the events in ‘Star War’s - Episode 1: The Phantom Menace’, ‘SW:KOTOR’ tells the tale of a relative unknown caught up in events of cosmic proportions. The opening credits thrust you into the midst of an inter-galactic battle between Republic forces and a Dark Sith Lord, which finds you crash landing onto an alien planet, trying to stay alive and escape an inter-planetary Sith blockade. An unusually strong connection with the Force catapults the player from by-stander to protagonist, as an engaging, story-fueled campaign takes you across the galaxy from the mysterious water-world of Manaan, to the desert planet of Tatooine among many others. A lovingly crafted universe is filled with lots of recognizable faces to include – the treacherous Hutt’s, Bounty Hunter’s, Sith, Jedi Knights, Wookies, Protocol Droids, Rancor’s, and Sand People - amongst a broader cast of nearly 300 distinctive alien races.Gameplay | Graphics | Sound:
A Third-Person RPG in the classic mold, gameplay in ‘SW:KOTOR’ is built around the 4 pillars of ‘Character Development and Customization’, ‘Inventory Management’, ‘Combat’, and ‘Dialogue-driven Story-Telling’. You choose to play as one of three character classes (Soldier, Scout or Scoundrel – with both male and female options available), and then as one of three Jedi sub-classes (Sentinel, Consular or Guardian). A deep inventory system allows you to customize and equip your character with a multitude of clothing, weapon and armor options as well as assign XP to level-up in a variety of areas from Attributes, Skills, Feats, and Force Powers. Combat is based around the ‘D20’ RPG rule-set popularized in ‘Dungeons and Dragons (D&D)’, and while round-based, players are able to queue up actions and run them simultaneously in real-time. Finally, Character interaction is via a dialogue menu that is rumored to contain over 2000 lines of text, clearly geared toward maximizing player choice across multiple playthrough’s. While the broad strokes are seemingly representative of standard RPG fare, three elements serve to distinguish this title from the rank and file – 1. The ability to switch to | customize | play as any character in your group provides for great overall variety 2. The campaign is well-paced with ‘Third Person’ gameplay broken up by ‘Rail-shooting’, ‘Stealth’, ‘Racing’, and ‘Gambling’ mini-games and 3. Deep customization options, lots of side-quests and the sheer glee of roaming the Star Wars universe adds great replayability to this title. Sound Design is also particularly noteworthy, with voice-acting, sound effects and background score composition all top-shelf. Well optimized K&M controls round out a well polished title.Flaws:
There is little to gripe about here, and perhaps the game’s biggest ‘flaw’ is its dated graphics - which have not aged particularly well - but it’s a testament to the overall strength of this title that it remains not only playable, but immensely engaging, despite this. Other minor issues include somewhat repetitive combat, and some minor character pathfinding issues.
Overall, ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ is an erstwhile classic from another time, rich in Star Wars lore, with a deep, engaging campaign, a fantastic background score, compelling combat mechanics, high replayability and filled with iconic characters, plot twists, and moral complexities. This is a title you could easily lose yourself in for 50-60 hours on a single-playthrough, and that’s even before player-choice dictates your ultimate path to the Light or Dark Side. The Force is all around you, Padawan. What is your Destiny? – Highly Recommended! – (Rating 9/10) Want More Recommendations?
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