Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Brief Description

Approaching a planet One of many cut scene animations.

Are you looking for a Star Wars experience? One that has a good story line, lots of action, the opportunity to became a jedi all mixed in the one package? Then you must take a much closer look at this game.

The Old Republic is set in the Star Wars universe thousands of years before the time frame of the movies. At this time, the Sith are becoming powerful because of something two fallen Jedi, Revan and Malak have found. Your destiny is to retrace their path and find the source of their power. You'll need to visit a number of planets, talk to the locals and learn some secrets. You'll also have the opportunity to talk to the people who will join your quest, learn their histories and perhaps solve some of their problems. The ship that will take you on this journey bears a strong resemblance to one in certain Star Wars movies.

The Ebon Hawk Your ship, which bears a striking
resemblance to another smuggler vehicle.

Notable achievements of this game include gorgeous animations, a good array of the Star Wars species with appropriate voices and languages, great voice acting, good music and sound effects. It is as close to living temporarily in a movie as you are likely to find.

Game play and hints

The control panelThe control panel for the game.

The basic screen on the PC version of this game has information in each of the four corners. In the upper right are the controls for your party inventory, access to party member details, your log of quests and the basic game controls. On the upper left is the mini-map which shows the local area you've explored. On the lower left is your current party. The largest portrait is the active character, the smaller ones are other members of the party. On the lower right are force powers you may use, followed by healing packs, followed by shields and stimulants, followed by mines you may use.

kotorfight_thThe battle menu with fighting moves,
force powers and grenades
in the boxes from left to right.

You get to develop one character exactly as you wish, others in the party start at predetermined levels and with certain abilities. Decide from the start if your character is good or evil. Always work toward whichever goal you choose. Why? Very good Jedi gain mastery of the light side. Very bad ones gain mastery of the dark. If you have mastery, you'll get bonuses according to your Jedi class. So mastery of one or the other is quite important. (Your alignment does not effect the rest of the party.)

While diplomancy and sneakiness may get you somewhere, you will spend a fair amount of time in combat. Combat in Knights of the Old Republic is based on an action queue. When enemies are spotted, the game automatically pauses. While paused, you may select from any of your standard attacks (the leftmost box), one of your force powers (the center box, or a grenade. There are arrows to the top and bottom of each box so you may select a specific action. You may set up to four actions for each of your party members. Once done, you press the space bar to continue the fight. Hit space bar to pause again when you need to choose more actions. Another important thing you may do is once paused, use one inventory item directly per character. You may only do one per combat round. This allows you to use stimulants or healing kits without placing them in the action queue.

The party shares the inventory. Except for equipped armor and weapons, all other items can be used by any active party member. Inventory items and leveling up share a common feature. As you scroll past each item, details about that item appear in a box on the side. This makes selection of items easier, you can see the details immediately.

Never take autolevel up. It's best to control every level up yourself, for both your PC and for the other members of your team. The computer choices using autolevel up will not suit your game style or develop your characters as well as you doing it. You will generally have two companions for most of your adventure so keep in that mind what you are doing. In the end, I found it was better for characters to master certain skills then have a broad range of them. On the other hand, there are a few things that it is vital the main character knows such as persuade.

Gripes about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Arcade sequences do not belong in a role playing game, even if they are called mini-games. For the gun turret sequence: two tips from the forums that make life easier are to start firing while the computer is still loading the information and to use the keys to swing the turrets and the mouse to fire.

The scripts you were supposed to use for combat were pretty hopeless. I would think that such scripts would allow you to specify certain moves or combos. Instead it was "use weapons mostly" "use grenades before weapons" "use force before weapons" If you are going to have a battle script, then I want to be able to specify, Use Force Armor, followed by Force Wave, followed by critical strike. That would have been useful.

Conclusion for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

kotorinvent_thYour inventory. Each item has
a detailed description available.

This is a great game for any role playing fan and particularly for any Star Wars fan. You really feel as though you are temporarily living in the Star wars universe. Some of the animated sequences feel as though they have been extracted from the movie.

There are two components though that some people are less then thrilled by. One is the queue based combat, which can be annoying. The other are the arcade type minigames. If we wanted arcade or action games, we would buy them. Don't mix them in with rpg.

Go buy it now, and have hours of fun. Rated 4.5 of 5.

Some final thoughts on the game.

I just love that as you equip your characters with armor and weapons, they will continue to have that equipment, even during some of the animated discussions with you. Some of the head gear looks downright odd when you are talking to them.

You probably should create an account on the KotOR forums. It's good to have a forum for asking questions and getting advice. I also downloaded the hints file from UHS. There are so many things to do, it's good to have some hints. I don't like these hints as well as some, more of a walkthrough then hints. Still it did help.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lord game review

Handy Guide to Interacting with Role Playing Games