on July 17, 2004
Ah, the realm of Star Wars... Filled with so many good - and bad *cough hayden christensen cough* things. And to not name Knights of the Old Republic amongst the good should be punishable by law. To be blunt, this is game is simply phenomenal.
As it should be in any good RPG, KotOR features an insanely good plotline. You'll begin your journey at one of three "professions." Soldier, Scout or Scoundrel - all either male or female. It's up to you as to whether you'd like to customize each aspect of your character or just have the computer create a quick one for you. You're stationed on a Republic Battle cruiser - the Endar Spire. From here, it's up to you to escape your doomed ship and make it off to Taris - the planet you're in orbit around.
Right from the first minutes of the game, you're choosing your side - or path if you will - which will ultimately result in your fate and place in the galaxy. It comes down to you to choose through your actions and dialogue whether you will side with the Republic - or the Sith.
Those who are not very familiar with RPGs (as I've noticed in some of the other reviews) sometimes find the combat style of Knights to their disliking. I myself am a fan of first person shooters like Halo. You'll soon find that Knights in the COMPLETE opposite of Halo when it comes to combat. Combat is turn based and auto- targeting and while you might formulate a picture of a slow tedious time watching the computer aim, fire,miss aim, fire, hit... it's quite the contrary. Utterly unlike Halo, combat doesn't resolve around pumping your opponent with as much lead as fast as possible (which is awesome, don't get me wrong) but around strategy. You main characters and accompanying party members each wield different skills. A Jedi might use a skill like force choke to mercilessly drain the life from an opponent while a soldier might use grenades and the rapid fire skill to take out targets. Trust me, if you're willing to try it and get into the game, combat is far from a con.
On top of the stellar storyline, combat, and the ability to decide how the game's going the end - Knights wields additonal positives. One thing I was impressed about right off the bat - before I even got into the storyline - was the sound and graphics. The voices of each of the main characters are performed by actors who do a great job with tone and rate. The sound of a lightsaber springing to life or a blaster going off are instantly recognizable. On one particular planet, you can hear the breeze blowing across the plains. The music is decent. The most important things is that it doesn't get really annoying after a lot of gameplay time. It changes accordingly during exploring time and time spent in combat. The graphics are impressive. Those displayed during the various movie clips are better than the in-game ones, though the in-game graphics are still satisfactory.
Finally - plus the graphics and sound, Knights features great replayability - something that sometimes hard to find in XBox games. The variation of games you can play are stunning. You might play your first game as the Light Side male soldier while you take a couple side quests because you're still getting the hang of things. Then you may go back and play the game as a Dark Side female scoundrel with a completely differnt set of powers and storyline. You may take a few more side quests - opening up further possibilities. Depending on the side quests you take, game might anywhere from 24 hours to 40 hours.
Overall, I'd go back and shell out $100 dollars for this game. I can't say enough about it - as is obvious by the above.
Hope I've helped give you some insight into one of the best games I've ever played! (BTW, look for the sequel on December)
on July 12, 2004
First off: this game is awesome. Best Star Wars game I've ever played, surpassing even Bounty Hunter, which is saying a lot.
Now, here's the thing that prompted me to write this "review" in the first place. I decided to take a look at some of the less flattering reviews for this game, and what do I find but pages of reviews in which a bunch of [people] neglected to actually rate the game (Number one on the review list, people! Wake up!). What really irked me about this was that a good deal of these no-star reviews were positive, heaping nothing but praise upon this excellent game. Please, prospective reviewers, I beg you, I implore you, RATE THE GAME. Its overall rating is down because of those who neglected to do so.
Yeah, well, anyway, KotOR pwnz j00z. "Savior, conqueror, hero, villain. You are all things, Revan, and yet you are nothing. In the end you belong to neither the light nor the darkness. You will forever stand alone." Best line in the game. Doesn't that line pwnz j00? I thought so.
on June 30, 2004
This game has one highly original idea that's a lot of fun to mess around with. You can move towards either the dark or light side of the force depending on your choices throughout the game. The game plays quite differently according to your choice (it's fun to be evil).
The battles are sort of interesting but also frustrating. They're kind of hard to describe; they're turn-based and action-based at the same time. You can only use one item per turn, and enemies frequently drain your health faster than it's possible to restore it.
Graphics are fair. Texturing is hit-and-miss, and animation is only passable (this is kind of surprising, because there isn't much of it).
Almost everything in the story is taken from the various Star Wars movies, which is fine. The elements taken from the films are tied together in different ways and you end up with a better story than the new movies. The characters are fairly likeable (my favorite's HK-47, who calls humans "meatbags").
There are some sidequests, including a racing game that uses the exact same sound effects as the pod racers in Episode I. All quests are kept track of in a handy logbook.
There is a TON of voice acting, probably about 10 hours' worth. Most of it's quite good. After a few hours through the game, though, you'll probably just read the text and skip most of the voice clips. Cutscenes (especially the "battle" ones) look lame because all of them play out inside the game engine, with the normal battle animations and calculations. It may look lame, but it's usually different each time. For example, sometimes a Jedi may whiff a few times where they once took down an enemy with one hit.
My conclusion: you'll enjoy this game, especially the first 20-30 hours or so. Eventually, though, you'll get tired of it. It's worth 30 bucks or so.
on June 25, 2004
Star Wars at its best!
Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is the best RPG you will find on your Xbox, PLUS it probaly is one of the best games around on the Microsoft Console.
Story: 10 out of 10.
Absolutely awesome. KOTOR is well scripted, has great plot twists and gives you the possibility of roaming both sides of the power in the best way any Star Wars game ever did. Forget Jedi Knights, if you liked that game, you will LOVE this game.
Furthermore, KOTOR is the best thing that happened to the Star Wars franchise since "The Empire Strikes Back." In my humble opinion, this game would have been a great movie and is BY FAR a better movie than the last two we have seen at the theatre.
Graphics: 10 out of 10.
Yo-hoo, go along in this awesome graphics bonanza. The Star Wars universe is wonderfully recreated in many of its aspects. Cities are wonderful to visit and explore, character skins and movements are close to perfection. Jedi powers are rendered in the best way ever, giving you the uttermost feeling of wielding the force in all its forms and ways.
Sound: 10 out of 10.
Compelling soundtrack is well blended into your actions, passing from mellow to upbeat themes as the action gets more frenetic. Sound FX are incredibly well done.
GamePlay: 10 out of 10.
Behold, this is an RPG. So it's not a first person shooter or a beat'em up. Combat has been a sort of an issue for fans of the latest Star Wars games (such as Academy). The Bioware Combat system is however the BEST I have ever seen on an RPG. You get all possibilities of deciding your tactics, but there still is the action flavour to what is going on.
Other Cool Things:
1)You get a bunch of NPCs (non playing characters) who will tag along, All have their own background and powers. Furthermore, you can talk to them whenever you want, ask suggestions, info or opinions. Plus, they will be actively part of the story and sometimes you will see them chat or discuss with each other. VERY REALISTIC.
2) Character creation is well done, decently customizable. Plus, the game uses the basic rules of Dungeons & Dragons for attributes and power building, so any old time RPG fan will get in gear quite easily.
3) One of the NPCs that will follow you is a psicotic war version of C3PO. It curses and hates everything, plus he considers you a "meatbag." It's the funniest thing ever.
4) You get to travel around the galaxy in a retro style Millennium Falcon callled the Ebon Hawk. The ship is so well done you will think you're in a movie.
I'd go on, but there are WAY TOO MANY COOL THINGS TO THIS GAME.
Folk, this game is Fanta-freakin-tastic. This is a MUST BUY for anybody.
on June 16, 2004
I give this a full five stars. The reason is that this is simply the best game I've ever played. When I wasn't playing XboxLive, I was playing this game. If this game was on Live, then this would be the best Live game. The storyline is absolutly breathtaking. The first time I played though the game, after the ending, I just said "Wow". This game is just like a movie that you control. You control what your reactions are and everything. Their are two bad things about this game though: The annoying, constant bickering between Mission and Carth, and the fact that Bastila thinks she is the smartest, best Jedi in the world, and she thinks she's the only person that will never fall to the Dark Side. That get's annoying at times. Everything else is perfect. Another thing i dont like about the game is that Darth Malak, at the end, he keeps on using lightning, and in the middle he keeps on running from you after you find out that.....Well, I'll let you figure that out on your own. Bottom line, if you want a game with stunning graphics, an amazing storyline, and you can make your own Jedi character, this game is your game. If anyone says this game is bad, then they either: Simply don't like Star Wars games, or they are a complete nutcase.
on June 13, 2004
BioWare has, as usual, cranked out a fantastic game. KotOR is one of the best games I've ever played. For an RPG, it has a fantastic storyline, immersive gameplay, and certainly some of the best realtime turn-based combat I've ever seen. The results are astounding, and the difficulty of the game increases logically and in a way that means it's never TOO tough, but never way too easy, either.
However, this game's real strong point is its universe. Everyone has always loved Star Wars, at least up until EP's 1 & 2, where George Lucas' screenwriting abilities came into serious question - wasting excellent actors and whatnot. But this game does what Lucas himself cannot, capturing perfectly as it does the feel of the original movies and remaining true to the universe while telling an epic new story.
This game is, quite literally, heaven for a fan of the "expanded universe" of Star Wars, with so many ways to play out a storyline as just one of a multitude of characters in the galaxy. It just doesn't get any better.
on June 8, 2004
Before buying KotOR, I had gone through all the reviews. They were all good, and praised this game unlike any I'd seen before. Most of them mention that this is "the best Star Wars game ever". Well, they're right. Being a Star Wars geek since around '96, I've seen my fair share of games from the franchise. And we all know how bad most of them are. Knights of the Old Republic easily takes crown as the best Star Wars game to exist on any console.
Unlike 99% of RPGs out there *looks over at almost everything Squaresoft has made*, KotOR has actual character development. Sometimes you'll be walking around a town or base, and two of your party members will get into an argument. You can join in and take sides if you want, but it's moments like these that really have that Star Wars feeling that's missing in the other games. Of course, how some of the characters develop depends on if you're going toward the light or dark side. But every character will go through changes, and depending on the gender of your character, you can even have a romantic relationship with some of your party members. It's great the way some of them react when you give them a compliment, only to call them a pervert a few seconds later.
There are a lot of cool plot twists here and there, especially one regarding the origin of the main character, so I won't ruin that. Even I didn't see that coming and I can usually predict what happens to who in RPGs. No characters get left out here, which is something most games of the genre miss out on. And there are hundreds of side-quests for you to take care of if you're one to complain about games with lack of replay. KotOR isn't as bad as Morrowind, you'll actually enjoy doing the different side-quests. You can help out the Jawas and put an end to the Sand People, reunite a party member with his lost son, help another one get her revenge, save a Wookie village from slavery, and much more.
Combat is a little confusing for some people at first...I know it was for me. While it seems like it goes in real-time, it's really turn based. But it moves fairly fast. You can stack attacks with 'x' if you want to use the same one over and over for one character, while switching to another to heal them if necessary. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be getting in fights just to have some fun since it's so enjoyable.
The whole light side/dark side thing is nice. You don't want to help an old man pay a debt he owes? Then bust caps in 'em. You want to not be banned from a town? Then do the right thing in a given situation and you'll be fine. What's really cool about the light/dark side affiliation is that the more you lean towards one side, the stronger you'll be with powers from that side. Force Lightning and Choke are dark side skills (duh huh poridge), but if your character is high on the light side rank, it'll cost more force points to use either skill. While if you used Heal/Cure, it wouldn't cost as much. Of course, you could always not be light or dark and remain neutral (like my neutral character: Mr. Switzerland). It's all up to you. And yes, some of the decisions drastically change the story. You can kill off some of your party members at one point if you really want to go down the dark path.
I only have a few small complaints: the level cap is set at 20...so you won't be wanting to level up a lot in the beginning of the game. If you level up more after you become a Jedi and get your lightsaber, you'll be able to get more Force powers. The "difficulty setting" just changes how much damage you take (though I wasn't expecting much from it), which is kind of stupid and lame (stupame even) because you can set the difficulty to 'easy' during a boss fight and waste 'em in 2 hits. Yes, you can change the setting at any point in the game. Also, the endings suck...the dark side ending in particular. It isn't that dark of an ending, and not a whole lot happens. The characters you let live to get it don't even show up. The light side ending is at least enjoyable since it's similar to the ending of A New Hope.
Either way, Star Wars fans will love this one. It takes around 23 hours to complete without getting every-single-thing, and from what I hear, it takes 60+ if you want to complete all the side-quests. But then again, you'll still want to try out the different ways to do things. I'm on my 5th play already and it still hasn't gotten old. This is one game that's going to last a long time.
on June 3, 2004
It's just after the Sith Wars, thousands of years before the movies take place. Darth Revan and his apprentice Darth Malak have been causing a stir in the Jedi order, a conflict that threatened to throw the whole galaxy into peril once again. The Jedi send a strike team to eliminate this threat, one of whom is Bastila- known for a meditation skill that can turn the tide in any battle. Malak turns on Revan, and becomes the master himself when Revan disappears. The game opens with you waking up on a damaged ship heading home not long after this conflict.
Quick note: This game uses the classic Bioware RPG systems. You talk through menus, you fight by issuing commands, you level up when you obtain experience. It's a system that most people love, but if you're the kind of gamer who wants direct control over the action- a la fighting games or shooters- you might want to look into the other Star Wars titles.
-Massive worlds- Each planet you will visit (yes, multiple) is massive and completely detailed. The game's graphics are top-notch, making for some mind-blowingly beautiful vistas.
-Customization- You choose the way your character looks, the way your character develops, and what skills your character will have. When you equip weapons or armor, they actually show up in-game, meaning you may sometime find yourself scrapping better armor for better looks if you're picky about that.
-Star Wars authenticity- Blasters sound right. Ships sound right. Lightsabers are perfectly done. You couldn't ask for more.
-Everything you've ever wanted in a Star Wars RPG- You will become Jedi, you will craft your lightsaber, you will gain force powers. You will see a Wookie, and his name is Zaalbar (okay, so it's not Chewbacca). Tour famous planets, see famous sights.
-You choose- Don't like good? Be bad. Don't like your lightsaber? Change its color and properties, or just use another weapon. The game can be completed with blaster pistols or vibroswords. You will also encounter nine party members who you can mix and match when you go out into the world.
-Seperate endings for dark and light sides means this game is worth replaying at a minimum once more just to experience both sides. If you play through as completely evil or completely good, it's hard to recognize it's the same game for perhaps the final third of play.
-A little linear. Endings are different, and you're very free to roam the massive worlds. But in the end, you're being pulled toward one final conflict.
-Loading times, framerate jumps- The game really pushes the Xbox to its limits. Loading times are a little on the lengthy side, and some of the more massive locales can lend themselves to skippy framerates when you get into battle. Very minor annoyances, overall.
The end: KOTOR isn't perfect, but it's close. This is simply the best Star Wars RPG I've ever played. Alongside the Jedi Knight and Rogue Squadron series, it represents the best in Star Wars gaming.
ALSO: Game has a downloadable addition if you have Xbox Live.
on May 23, 2004
This game is awesome. It is so open and you have to keep playing to see what comes next. The weapons and armor and items are awesome. You can choose tons of party members like wookies and even jedi's. I've never seen a star wars movie and don't get star wars at all, but this game is sweet. I'm gonna watch the movies. I have been playing the game for about 5 hours and i haven't beat the first world thing. It is a very long game and i can tell it will be very playable after a beat it once. I am on a quest to get off the first world, so im almost done with the first world.
People are complaining about the turn-based battling, but its not a problem at all. I actually like it a lot, but for people that dont think it sounds good, listen to this. You can set attacks ahead of time so you can fight them without having to chose your attack later, and there are lots of other things. It's not like Final Fantasy where you go into a battle sequence and your just stuck there battling people and chosing attacks after attacks until you kill them. You can run around, chose new attacks at any time, and switch to other people in your party, so you aren't confined to certain places or people. You can barely call it turn-based. You can also switch between targeted enemies at any time and you dont have to attack one enemy at a time.
The only flaws are how much loading the game has in it, and it has kind of a lot of glitches and sometimes freezes for a few seconds, but it is an rpg, which means it needs to load a lot and sometimes, because of the massive environments and such, freezes. Those are the only bad things!
This game is a must have. I think its better than Halo! You have to get this if you like star wars, role-playing games, or if you dont like star wars or rpg's. You should get this game if you have an xbox!
on May 11, 2004
Is it possible to have a game and a movie set in the same universe, and love the game more?
In this case, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic harkens back to an era even earlier than the Star Wars movies. Thousands of years earlier to be exact.
The Mandalorians (the originators of the armor that Boba and Jango Fett wear) were still in power then. Just as the Jedi were fending the Mandlorians off, a major upset in the balance of power took place when Darth Malak and Darth Revan turned on their allies and returned from the Mandalorian War with a Sith fleet. Only one Jedi's "battle meditation" saved the fleet and now the Jedi are in shambles, the Sith run rampant, and Mandalorian bandits abound. Your mission is to find the disparate "Star Maps" that will ultimately lead to a world crushing machine of Armageddon proportions: the Star Forge. You must beat Darth Malak before he uses the Star Forge to destroy the Republic.
In this mix of high adventure are a host of characters (nine in total) range from Mandalorians to Wookies to druids, assassin and otherwise. Each character is carefully crafted and voiced by professional actors who do an excellent job with the material. And by professional, I mean movie talent: Ethan Phillips (Neelix of Star Trek: Voyager) and Ed Asner (uh...ask your parents). Given the number of possible responses in the dialogue, it's a truly massive task.
The game system should seem familiar to many - it uses the d20 pen-and-paper role-playing game system of the Star Wars RPG, with tweaks to make it easier to use for a computer game. The abilities blend seamlessly with the game play itself. I never felt at any time that I was playing a pen-and-paper game on a computer. Additionally, the game system uses Bioware's ever-evolving game engine used in Neverwinter Nights, which makes everything easy to use.
With multiple worlds that you can fly to at any moment, multiple characters (up to three active at one time), and a dizzying number of side quests, you simply can't get to them all. It doesn't matter though, because the metaplot rumbles along in the background every time you find another Star Map on another world.
The graphics and sound are exceptional. Sun glare flares on the game's camera and darkens your character's shadow. The controller trembles when large beasts are afoot (or worse, in combat!). The sounds are all taken from the movies, so lightsabers sound like lightsabers, aliens speak in their native tongues, and starships roar just like their cinematic counterparts. This is about as close to playing a movie as it gets.
The character development is worthy of mention. Your own character can be customized by body type, gender, and appearance. Your gender modifies the plot (males can fall in love with Bastila, the pretty Jedi mentor). All this uniqueness and yet the game never falters in dealing with it - your character's head never looks out of place in any of the cut scenes. Speaking of the cut scenes, they are all done with the same in-game animations, marinating the feel of the overall game play without stepping out of the action. And of course, your own character's background has a twist.
The NPCs have their own range of personalities. Unlike the current crop of Star Wars movies, there is a careful balance between the elegantly serious Jedi and their adventuring counterparts. Bastila provides a dose of class in the group as the somewhat taciturn Jedi master, but Carth is her balance, a gravelly-voiced war veteran who believes in the power...of a good blaster, that is. My personal favorites include Canderous Ordo, a grizzled Mandalorian of too many wars who loves a good fight. And of course, everyone loves HK-47. Like AK-47, only with an "H." That's right, HK-47 is an assassin druid with a mind of his own. HK-47 is fond of calling people "meatbag," except for his master...when he remembers his place.
There are plenty of old favorites too: Sand People, Banthas, Krayt Dragons, protocol druids, it's all here. If the characters don't remind you of Star Wars, the soundtrack will. It's true to the original score and in some cases, IS the original score. It's impossible for even the mildest Star Wars fan to resist.
All that, and there's a good old-fashioned subplot involving romance and betrayal, Light Side and Dark Side. This is the story Lucas dreamed but never truly brought to life.
The game is amazing in its flexibility. There are Light- and Dark Side choices in every conversation. You can solve puzzles or blast your way through plots, help NPCs or set them against each other. There are even logic puzzles that require the player to think, something I haven't been accustomed to doing in a long time.
There are flaws, but they're minor. In one case, I ended up killing a major NPC twice. There are puzzles that result in instant death failure, a no-no in game development. And combat is turn based: the player doesn't really determine very swing of the lightsaber, but rather the battle freezes and resumes as the player provides real-time strategy. Also, the game uses the same engine as Neverwinter Nights, which means it involves a lot of walking around talking to people. A LOT.
Still, this is one of the best computer role-playing games I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I was thrilled when my character's romance with Bastila flourished, devastated when I saw a father-son argument between Carth and his son Dustil, and I laughed at loud at some of the spontaneous character interactions.
Can a game be as good as a movie with the same setting? Nope.
It's BETTER. I got far more bang for my buck playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic than I got after two hours of special effects in the movies. In this game, the special effects at least had a heart.