The Force is Strong With this One
Knights of the Old Republic is an exciting romp through the Star Wars universe, with a fun combat system, a memorable story, and always something to do. It does have a few downfalls, however, which can be attributed to the genre more than anything else. But now that KOTOR wears the 20 dollar price tag, these annoyances can be overlooked to find a game that still holds up.
The first four or five hours of the game are a little slow. While I won’t spoil any of the plot for people who have not played it, I will say that I spent this time just waiting for my character to become “cool”. Bioware simultaneously did something neat as well as trying when they created these worlds. Crossing long distances can be quite a pain, especially because you have be attentive to every step even when you’re not in any sort of danger. Often times, forgetting to open a footlocker somewhere or traveling back to a cantina meant a long run with no shortcuts. The recall system to the home-base (whether the apartment or ship) was a nice feature, but I never had reason to use it all that often when it was available and wanted to use it when it was disabled.
Besides the lightsabers, the upgrade system proved fairly worthless as I played through the game. I could see how it would become important for a certain party of characters, but it would have been nicer to see more customizable armors with different slots for upgrade pieces. The variety of weapons was fantastic – something for everybody. The swords became arcane quickly, however, as lightsabers came into play; they basically seemed to be created to start the main character down a melee path so that they could use lightsabers later on.
The environments of the different planets were all surprisingly unique. This design really set each area apart from the others. It’s unfortunate that going to a new planet meant only being able to travel to a solitary new city and its surrounding area, and not a couple of locations on the planet’s surface. It’s obvious that doing so would have been a huge undertaking, but that doesn’t mean the hypothetical wouldn’t be fun.
The game progresses quickly throughout most of it, but does get hung up in a few parts. There are times when I wished that I could do the missions on a planet in between missions of other planets. With the exception of a few sidequests, it always felt as if the game encouraged me to just beat one planet at a time. It was nice that they left the order of the planets open, though now I wish I had visisted Kashyyk sooner.
The voice acting was fantastic, considering the sheer number of lines that had to be delivered. You did, however, begin to recognize all the alien speech patterns (as there were only 5 or so stock lines per race to cycle through). The original score also fit perfectly into the game, as if John Williams had composed it himself.
All in all, PC owners looking for a solid game that won’t empty the wallet or fail graphics card tests should turn to KOTOR to see what all the talk has been about.