Knights of the Old Republic

Review

posted 7/31/2003 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Space the final frontier...whoops wrong Sci-fi franchise. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KoToR) is a role-playing game set 4000 years before the events in the holy trilogy and the not quite as holy and not as bad as everyone says prequels. After a war with the Mandalorians, the Republic is left weak. The two Jedi heroes of the Mandalorian wars, Malak and Reven, disappear into the outer rim. Years later, they return with a full fleet of ships and begin attacking the Republic. Luckily, the republic has a young Jedi named Bastila who, through unique jedi tricks, allows the republic to destroy Reven. This exposes Bastila to Malak who begins to hunt her across the galaxy, and that’s where you come in. It’s up to you to protect Bastila, figure out how Malak and Reven came up with such a big fleet, and then put a stop Malak’s evil plans.

While this sounds pretty thin, there is a lot to do in this universe and there are dozens of small side quests off the main mission that you can complete. The depth of the game is just amazing. The general consensus is that the game takes about 40 hours to complete but I have to think that number is fairly conservative and would be only hitting a few of the side quests.

Not only do you have a ton of things to do in KoToR but the replay is enhanced by allowing you to choose if you want to follow the light side of the force or the dark side of the force. You can play the game one way and then get a completely different experience by going back and doing it the other. Oh yeah, there are three different classes you can choose so that adds even more replay. Of course, if you add in the different genders, then that once again increases the game play value.

The missions themselves are excellent and the writing behind the game is remarkable (even surpassing most of the movies). You really feel drawn into the world of the game and there’s a near constant need to see what’s around the corner (this is the kind of thing that turns “I’ll just play for twenty minutes” into “Wow, it’s 3 a.m., what happened”). A word of caution, this is an RPG and not an action game. There is a great deal of character development and puzzles and you have a lot of reading to do. At one point, my girlfriend turned to me and asked “When are you actually going to play the game” so take this into consideration.

The one drawback to the writing is that there are many familiar things. The Ebon Hawk (your primary mode of transportation) looks much like the Millennium Falcon and you see a lot of familiar things in the game (You end up on Tatooine at one point. I’m starting to think this is a mandatory part of any Star Wars game). For the ass-end of space, it seems like a major pit stop on the galactic tour. It’s not a big complaint and the game does a good job of expanding the Star Wars universe but more subtle references to the films might be a little better.
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