Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (often abbreviated to KOTOR) was originally released in 2003 and was subsequently released for the iPad in 2013. It's a role-playing game made by BioWare with the Odyssey Engine and set thousands of years before the original Star Wars trilogy. Players take on the role of a Republic soldier, who eventually goes on to discover his Jedi heritage, and confront the evil Sith Lord, Darth Malak.
Set 4,000 years before the events of the films, BioWare's writers had free reign to develop a completely new story that could be contained within the Star Wars cannon without complete base on the films. The result was an RPG that was completely 'Star Wars' in that it possessed all of its themes (such as good versus evil) and properties (everything from starships to lightsabers are present). KOTOR also possesses all of BioWare's trademarks such as: dialog trees, multiple endings, great writing, and romance among other things.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is almost universally acknowledged as one of the best 'Star Wars' games of all time, and also as a shining example of Western RPG design.
KOTOR's gameplay consists of two parts, combat and dialog. The combat is turn based, although the animations give the illusion of real-time combat. The player may pause the game at any point during combat to get their bearings and rethink their strategy. The combat is based on Wizard of the Coast's d20 system. Your character may be equipped with a long-range weapon such as a blaster, or a short-range weapon such as a sword or a lightsaber. In addition to your weapons, you can use force powers that your character has learned throughout the course of the game, as well as those of your companions. Special combat moves such as "Flurry" may be activated at any time during combat, which will increase your attack speed, your damage, or your chance of dealing a critical hit. To unlock abilities such as these, one must earn them through points gained by leveling up. There is a good variety of abilities and there are many options for customizing a character to fit the desires of the player.
The other half of gameplay is the dialog where you interact with the NPC's through complex dialog trees. The game allows for a wide range of moral choices and options so that even after multiple playthroughs new content may still be discovered. The player is encouraged to build an emotional connection with their crewmates, to learning their back-stories and even fall in love with them. The game tracks the players choices to determine their alignment to either the dark or light side. All characters in KOTOR are voiced with exception of the main character, who remains unheard during dialogue sequences, though the player may hear numerous grunts and battles cries during combat.
The main character in KOTOR has a customizable appearance and skillset, with the ability to be either male or female at the outset, as well as the choice of three player classes. Players were also asked to assign attributes to the character such as their Strength, Willpower and Intelligence.
The character creation system in KOTOR is drawn primarily from Wizards of the Coast's paper and pencil d20 Star Wars RPG rules. Character classes, defense, hit points, feats, ability scores, experience points and even the level cap are all largely identical to the tabletop game.
Since the d20 system was used for third edition of Dungeons and Dragons, that means KOTOR is indirectly descended from D&D, whose first edition tabletop rules formed the backbone of Bioware's Baldur's Gate series.
Four thousand years before the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Republic verges on collapse. DARTH MALAK, last surviving apprentice of the Dark Lord Revan, has unleashed an invincible Sith armada upon an unsuspecting galaxy.
Crushing all resistance, Malak's war of conquest has left the Jedi Order scattered and vulnerable as countless Knights fall in battle, and many more swear allegiance to the new Sith Master.
In the skies above the Outer Rim world of Taris, a Jedi battle fleet engages the forces of Darth Malak in a desperate effort to halt the Sith's galactic domination…
KOTOR is set immediately following the a war between the Mandalorians and the Old Republic. The Jedi Council refused to allow Jedi to fight in the war with the Mandalorians which was going badly. A small group of Jedi, led by Revan and Malak, left to fight in the war anyway. Through their actions, they turned the tide of the war and won it, becoming heroes in the process. For reasons unknown at the time, Revan and Malak left known space leaving no traces. They returned as Sith and waged war against what remained of the Republic. In a moment of desperation, a Jedi strike force led by Jedi Knight Bastila Shan succeeded in boarding Revan's ship but before he could be captured, Malak fired on his own master. The game opens as the Republic is on the verge of defeat by Malak's seemingly limitless forces.
After escaping from the tutorial area, players will learn of their Force-sensitivity, and begin training as a Jedi, under the tutelage of the Jedi masters on Dantooine. While learning the ways of the Force, the player will begin to have shared visions with Bastilla of mysterious ruins on the planet's surface, which they are sent to investigate. Here, they discover an ancient Rakatan Star Map, which alludes to something that Revan and Malak found called "The Star Forge". Fearing that the star forge is a weapon, Bastilla and the player analyze the Star map, noting several other planets which should have Star Maps on them, according to the original. After speaking to the Jedi Council, the pair is assigned to re-assemble the Star Map and ascertain the location of the Star Forge, so that the republic may destroy it. Setting off from Dantooine in the Ebon Hawk with the allies they gathered on Taris, the pair heads off in search of more Star Maps.
Plot Twist (Major Spoilers)
While KOTOR is known for it's gameplay and remarkable story, it is also known to have one of the most unseen and best plot twists in any video game. In the closing hours of the main character's campaign, it is revealed to you that the player controlled character is not just a random soldier/scoundrel/scout but rather Darth Revan, a dark lord of the Sith, and former master to the antagonist, Darth Malak. Hints are dropped throughout the game, which you fully understand once playing through it again.
It is explained that the Jedi used the Force to wipe the main character's mind completely clean of knowledge of their past, and the knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force, and the Sith ways of using the force.
When this occurs, the player must choose how they receive this news. They can either choose to follow their dark past, or try to redeem themselves with the Light Side and Jedi. The canon path is the path of redemption (light side path).
KOTOR has several large planets populated with interactive NPC's that serve as the backdrop for the game. These planets are:
- Taris : The beginning area, a futuristic city that is under blockade by the Sith armada while they search for Republic soldiers escaped from a nearby space battle. The player must evade detection by the Sith, rescue Bastila Shan from a gang that has taken her hostage, and find a way off-planet.
- Dantooine : A rural world that is the home of the Jedi council, and mysterious ancient ruins. On Dantooine, the player will undertake their Jedi training here, including building their first Lightsaber and choosing their Jedi class. After completing Dantooine, the player may proceed to anywhere they want in the Ebon Hawk.
- Korriban: The Sith home world, including the tombs of ancient Sith Lords, and a Sith academy where Dark Jedi are trained. The player must infiltrate the Sith Academy and win the favor of the master, who will then grant the player access to a Star Map.
- Kashyyyk : The Wookie home world, which has been overrun by the slaving Czerka corporation. The player will step into the middle of this conflict, further complicated by Zaalbar's relationship with the Wookiee leadership.
- Manaan : A neutral world in the Republic-Sith conflict, Manaan is an aquatic world with a valuable healing substance called Kolto, which the native Selkath use as leverage against both factions in an attempt to remain neutral. The player will venture below the water to a secret Republic science facility, where something has gone wrong with the operation.
- Tatooine : The iconic Star Wars world, Tatooine holds an ancient secret that the player must uncover to complete their quest. The player must slay a legendary Krayt dragon and search its lair for a Star Map, but only after they have traversed the deadly Dune Sea.
- Yavin IV : A space station orbiting the Yavin system, wherein the character can purchase rare items not available anywhere else in the world. This item was a piece of free DLC for the Xbox game. This store offers one new quest and two valuable Lightsaber Crystals that cannot be found anywhere else in the game, in addition to other exclusive armor.
- Rakata Prime: A planet near the end of the game which holds two sparring Rakatan tribes, the last remnants of the ancient Infinite Empire that once ruled the galaxy. The Ebon Hawk is pulled down to this world when it jumps into the space around the Star Forge.
- The Star Forge : A massive factory, it is Malak's base of operations. It floats above Rakata Prime in space.
KOTOR, as do most RPGs, allowed the player to gather a party of friends and allies who would travel with them, KOTORs party included nine NPCs who would join the player character on the Ebon Hawk. The party members are as follows:
Carth Onasi: A Republic war hero, and commander of the Endar Spire before it is attacked. Carth rescues the player after their escape pod crashes down to the surface of Taris. Carth will pilot the Ebon Hawk for the player once they obtain the ship. Carth is guarded when it comes to personal relationships, since his previous mentor in the Republic fleet betrayed him and joined the Sith. The very same mentor was responsible for the death of his wife, so Carth is understandably cautious of making deep bonds. If the player character is female, Carth is a major love interest.
Mission Vao: A Twi'lek teenager, Mission is a member of the Hidden Bek gang, and friends with Zaalbar. The player finds her in the Undercity of Taris, panicking because Zaalbar has been taken by slavers. She will join up with the player when he promises to help her rescue Zaalbar if she'll help infiltrate the Black Vulkar base. Mission is an orphan who was raised by her brother. However, her brother left her on Taris when he left to chase his get-rich quick schemes. She learned to fend for herself in the slums of Taris, and is greatly incensed when it is suggested that she is incompetent because she is "Just a kid".
Zaalbar: A powerful Wookiee, Zaalbar is friends with Mission Vao and a member of the Hidden Beks. He is captured by Gammorean slavers in the Undercity of Taris, but is rescued by the player. This act leads Zaalbar to swear a life-debt to the player, having him join the party. Zaalbar was cast out of his home world of Kashyyyk because he used his claws on his brother Chuundar after he discovered he was working with slavers, which is taboo on the Wookiee world.
Bastila Shan: A young, ambitious Jedi who possesses the incredibly rare power of Battle Meditation. This ability allowed her to be chosen for the Jedi strike team that neutralized Darth Revan. She will join the player on Taris after they win the gang swoop race. She is strong, but proud and often arrogant, and her masters warn her against the dark side. She will form a force-bond with the player over the course of the game. She is a major love interest if the player character is male.
T3-M4: A special utility droid commissioned by crime lord Davik Kang on Taris. The player must buy him from a shop, after which he will join the party. T3 is incredibly skilled with machines, and he is able to hack doors and computer systems others can't. T3 also has combat attachments, but they aren't very effective.
Canderous Ordo: A Mandalorian mercenary, Canderous is working for Davik Kang on Taris during the Sith blockade. However, wishing to make it off world, Canderous partners with the player to steal the Ebon Hawk. They are successful, and Canderous agrees to travel with the player on their quest to find the Star Forge. Canderous is a veteran of the Mandalorian Wars, and he has many war stories he will tell the player. He greatly respects the Jedi who fought in the Mandalorian Wars, especially Revan. Canderous appears in KOTOR II as the Mandalore, who is reuniting the scattered Mandalorian clans.
Juhani: Juhani is a Carthar Jedi pupil on Dantooine. Before the player arrives on planet, she attacks her master in a fit of rage, and believing herself lost to the dark side, flees to a grove a short distance away from the academy. The player, upon completing their Jedi trials at the academy, was given the final task of "purifying" the grove. When the player arrives
at the grove Juhani attacks. After she is defeated, Juhani stops to talk. Here, the player could learn about what had happened to her, and convince her to return to the academy, or kill her. She is a potential love interest to the player, regardless of gender.
HK-47: A Hunter-Killer Droid built by Revan HK-47 can be found in a shop on Tatooine, and bought for an exorbitant sum of credits. HK-47 has a Tusken language packet installed, which enables him to communicate with the Tusken raider native to Tatooine. He will join the player's party if purchased from the shop. HK-47 prefaces its statements with the tone it wishes to use, making it a comic relief character in some situations. HK-47 is irrationally violent, and loves to kill, which is his sole purpose. He calls all organics "Meatbag".
Jolee Bindo: An old Jedi hermit living in the Shadowlands of Kashyyyk, Jolee does not believe in the Light and Dark sides of the force, instead holding a view similar to that of Kreia, that there is neither Light side, nor Dark side. He will have the player deal with a group of Czerka poachers who are in the Shadowlands, before agreeing to accompany them on their quest through the forest floor. Jolee will join the player's party after they complete their tasks on Kashyyyk. Jolee has wandered the Galaxy as a Jedi, and has many interesting stories that he will share with the player if they express interest. Having Jolee in your party will also activate an investigative side quest on Manaan.
Due to its enormous success, KOTOR spawned a sequel within a year. This sequel, The Sith Lords, was not handled by Bioware, but instead by Obsidian Entertainment. This sequel was generally well-regarded, but was often criticized for its lack of polish and lackluster ending, both the results of a rushed production schedule. Large portions of the game, including a whole planet and many more options on Malachor were excised from the game at the last minute due to deadline concerns. Obsidian included many of the cut assets on the PC game disc, allowing mod teams to recreate the content they were forced to cut. The gameplay was greatly improved, but most players simply did not regard KOTOR II as highly as they did with the original.
Rumors circulated that BioWare would be making a Knights of the Old Republic MMO. On the last day of E3 2008, Electronic Arts CEO, John Riccitiello made several comments about a KOTOR MMO, suggesting that it had been the MMO Bioware had been working on. On October 21, 2008, Bioware and LucasArts officially announced Star Wars: The Old Republic, the much rumored KOTOR MMO. Star Wars: The Old Republic was released on the December 20, 2011 in North America and Europe, for PC only. The game takes place 300 years after the original Knights of the Old Republic series, and takes place aproxamitly 3,600 years before 'Star Wars: Eppisodes I-VI'.
Although the cut content in the original Knights of the Old Republic was not as significant as the content that had to be cut from The Sith Lords, a few things were, including one planet that was mentioned in pre-release videos, a dark side romance option, and a brief encounter with Dead-Eye Duncan on Manaan.
The planet, called Sleyheron, was going to be a volcanic world controlled by the Hutts, a slaving center. This planet was supposed to have a Star Map on it, but was likely removed early in the development process to allow Bioware to focus more on their other five main planets. The planet Sleyheron is briefly mentioned in the game on Korriban by Yuthura Ban. It is also mentioned in a side-quest in KOTOR II, where Vogga the Hutt agrees to ship some of his fuel reserves from Sleyheron to Citadel Station, above Telos IV.
Also cut was an option for female Dark Side players who had fallen in love with Carth to repent at the very end of the game. After defeating Malak, Carth would board the Star Forge alone and convince Revan to give up her dark ways. Revan would kill Bastila, and remain with Carth aboard the Star Forge as the Republic forces destroyed it. In this ending, the Ebon Hawk would be destroyed, and all of her crew would be dead by the end of the game. This ending has been recreated via fan-made mods for the PC release of KOTOR.
The other known piece of cut content is on Manaan. If the player defeats Bendak Starkiller in the deathmatch on Taris, later on Manaan, Dead-Eye Duncan will appear in the hangar, having escaped the destruction of Taris, and will ask if he can use your duelist name from Taris, The Mysterious Stranger. This has also been re-created via PC mods.
Also, an early development idea was for there to be a subplot involving clones in KOTOR, but the idea was nixed by LucasArts so that KOTOR would not steal the thunder from the upcoming 'Attack of the Clones' film.
- Windows 98 / 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP / 7
- Intel Pentium III 1.00 GHz or AMD Athlon 1.00 GHz
- 128 MB RAM required for Windows 98, 256 MB RAM required for Windows ME/2000/XP
- 32 MB OpenGL 1.4 compatible PCI or AGP
- DirectX 9.0b compatible Audio Device required
- 4.0 GB of free hard drive space required
- 4X Speed CD-ROM drive required
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*3D Transform Lighting (T&L) Capability required
**Microsoft DirectX 9.0b is included on this CD.
- 1.60 GHZ AMD or equivalent Intel processor
- ATI Radeon 9200 or better, NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti or better
- 512 MB RAM
- ATI Radeon 8500 / 9000 / 9200 / 9500 / 9600 / 9700 / 9800
- NVIDIA GeForce 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 FX family