This is my first time playing a Bioware game ever, and hearing the popularity of Bioware in recent years regarding its story and characters I had to check it out; and what better way than to see what they manage to create in their early works and my favorite franchise, Star Wars! I’ll be reviewing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
I will try sum it up as much possible without any major spoilers. The story is average-good, I’m sorry to say I can’t be wowed by the plot which I will explain later in more detail, but the main plot is interesting don’t get me wrong. The light vs. dark side I should say is cliché but there is some storytelling that is pretty surprisingly interesting picking up half way through the game.
I chose to be on the light side because I always am and got motivated to defeat Malak the antagonist of the game. There are some nice moments where you go “awe” and “what” and that’s good; it shows Bioware was starting to stable themselves as the “capital ship” of a third party company.
However, their earliest game isn’t much like what I expected because the backstory of the old Republic is never mentioned in this ever and it even talks about the origin of the war. Yes they do talk about the rise of the Sith but just a brief one. I was expecting a prequel of the Star Wars movies about telling the origin of what happened about everything; the war, the rise of Sith, the origin of the Republic, etc., but no not a whole lot and both sides don’t show much color.
The Sith are so generic with their “I’m a snob so that means everyone I look is a weakling.” Their motivation of doing this to so weak to me, yes they do what Sith do but what they are doing just doesn’t convince me to show sympathy to them or even see them differently. Is just “he’s bad and we’re good.” What about the republic, surely they are some goody-two shoes?
Well at first almost, but no, they can be somewhat corruptive and wrong in their morals too! And that’s what I want from it, the republic side showing its own “both side” but I also want the Sith to show “their two faces as well” instead of all being rich snob Nazis.
A final note on this: yes they do have some moments with the Sith on Korriban but not entirely enough to see them as “they are evil but I can see their side point why they do these horrid things.”
Some characters I like. For example, my personal favorite choice is the HK-47 assassin droid that I like to hear spout death witty jokes whenever we talk to NPC characters; Jolee, a grey Jedi with his wise neutral advice; and finally Carth, which for some reason people don’t like him much because of his continuing “untrusted” paranoid personality, questioning anybody (if you let him talk) about everything and arguing about the situation at hand – which honestly I can understand him a lot in some ways, plus I like his pistol selection which just devastates enemies with his rapid attack.
The other partners are interesting as well; especially I like that when you get the time you can talk to them and hear some back stories even if you bring one of them along on one certain planet, there are more dialogue options to choose and you will have a good backstory of the character. Malak I think is a cool villain especially the way he talks; plus the robo-jaw that he has is really cool to look at.
I’m sorry have we met?
Now here come the problems I have with this game, two things are repetitive and cliché for the story aspect side. The NPC of any species just looks the same, especially on the human side; they have the same texture face model which doesn’t add a lot of immersion. In particular it will get confusing thinking “have I met this guy before” and no it is a different guy but how? The voice and name, and even the voices sounds the same. Some of the different NPC characters have the same person’s voice, which add less immersion to the world, though thankfully I should say the dialogue and side quests kept me going from getting too critical on this problem.
Yes, I know that Bioware was at their first steps and you could say it is a budget problem by not hiring more actors and having to change face textures on everything that won’t affect too much on the rating scale; it is just a nitpick problem where you try to discover a new world with new species (though in my case I already know the species) but they sound the same. However!
The aliens’ variation of language has no excuse of a budget issue, they could stretch a bit more sound dialogue or copy paste some of the old alien clips from previous Star Wars films. But the aliens repeat the same alien sound every time you talk to them, which gets boring in the ear real quick, especially that one character – it isn’t a spoiler just an early side quest – Sasha, good god, she only says three phrases and that’s all and I just want to tear her voice apart.
Choose your side
Alright, now the big one is, which side would you choose? Well, I should say, none of it matters! What I mean is it really doesn’t matter in “morality,” yes of course you still choose your light and dark ending but at endgame. For the rest of the game it really doesn’t matter if you are the lightest person in the world, you can still choose the dark path at the end of the game. So what gives? What is the objective of those light side / dark side points? It is really for gameplay wise in armor and weapons, the force powers. I made my main character have some dark powers even in some of my light-side partners, which doesn’t really matter if you are good or not, you can still equip dark powers or light powers if you are choosing your endings. Another thing about the moral points is just a cosmetic option, but only in the dark path when your character begins to change color.
So now it sounds like it only affects gameplay and not storytelling which blows badly, right? Well at first yes, I thought it would be the biggest disappointment ever. Since no matter if you are the biggest jerk in this galaxy or the nicest one, you can switch sides in a matter of seconds. Well I should say not entirely is that the center problem, because you can still have consequences when doing certain side quests and do evil things, and in some planets some characters will pay you back hard if you are prepared.
No, I think the big point taker has to be your partners’ reaction to the player’s action. Yes, they say “you did a wrong thing” but they never “punish” you for it or better yet leave you or stop you even though they are the ones that help you do the main dirty deed. Most of your partners are from the light side and whatever you do will make them react, but not upon action which is really shame. I expected during some quests or the main “dialogue” choice your friends will abandon you, and you will be recruited with more dark players and the story switches to another quest, “conquest” I thought. You can be the biggest jerk without a reason to them and they won’t even leave your side no matter what you did; even by the next set of choices that you made “wrong” you can switch to being nice again and they will forget about your “dirty deeds.”
I find it odd that after everything I do bad, they won’t bat an eye about my behavior; which just tells me that my choice won’t affect much around me until the very end. But during the whole game experience I thought choosing one side might affect the story telling as two sides, one fight for the good or join the Sith and fight from the republic and you will eventually fight Yoda! (Which I know that isn’t him.)
My man when going dark or light doesn’t give a deeper meaning why he’s doing it, I’m just having that express feeling that “I do it because I’m a bully and want to take things just because,” or “I’m good because I’m a goodie two-shoes,” and mind you I’m talking about story wise; the gameplay, well that is different because I want the extra status boost.
The side missions, some I like but it is just another generic “do this because it is the right thing to do and do this because you are a jerk.” Even the options you choose sound a bit preachy for me thinking, “well duh of course it’s bad to do this but should I?” There is only one side quest I think is my most favorite in this game and minor spoiler.
One mission where you act as an “attorney” for a person for the act of murder, you have to investigate who did it; and what you will find out will actually surprise you. When you present your case, your moral actually doesn’t affect any dark or light points at all! Which is a surprising odd thing coming where you have to defend this guy, each choice really depends on your own moral rather than the game telling you “this is right or wrong.” I love it, it gave me some moral delay thinking whether should I let him go free or not, and whether you are glad you did the right choice. I think the developers know to influence you to do the “supposed wrong things,” they give you extra experience. That’s what I want to see more of, but I know if there is then the point system will be even more pointless.
Final verdict is a 7/10. It’s a good starting game for Bioware’s time, but needs improvement on the writing and moral choice. Other than that I did enjoy the game despite some minor flaws. The gameplay works flawlessly and I don’t have much of a problem to say; hopefully when I finish Star Wars KOTOR 2 maybe things will change and improve. Until then, may the force be with you.
About Nick… “I am a studious person who loves reading and loves researching about virtually anything! I play the piano and every year I have to give a performance in a church. I love video games – especially when it’s a puzzle and action game. I would like to become a programmer one day in the field of computer science. I love my family so much, even if we drive each other crazy sometimes, we’re still one big happy family.”