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KOTOR II Update Brings game to Mac and Linux, Adds Steam Workshop Support

Update additionally offers a host of new modernizations for the cult classic.

Kreia remains among the most interesting characters not only in the category
Kreia remains among the most interesting characters not only in the category "Star Wars video games," but also in both the categories "Star Wars" and "video games."

I'm working sick from home today, so maybe it's the my foggy head talking here, but I am suddenly compelled to say this unequivocally, in no uncertain terms, once and for all: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords is my favorite video game.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that an update was issued on Steam today for the game. Then imagine that surprise and delight doubling in volume when it turned out that this update was actually something meaningful and substantial:

Welcome to the newly updated KOTOR II! Mac and Linux users can finally play one of their favorite games natively, and we've added a host of new features to this beloved classic!

Steam Workshop support! We've proudly teamed up with the Restored Content Mod team and TSLRCM will be available on day 1!

  • Achievements can now be earned through gameplay

  • Controller support

  • Native widescreen resolution support

  • Support for up to 5K monitors

  • Steam Cloud saves

This is fantastic, but maybe I should break it down a little bit.

Obsidian Entertainment's KOTOR II is a great game, but it's also a game that originally shipped unfinished, janky, and only to PC and Xbox. The last time I wanted to play it was in 2011, just after I'd read about The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod (TSLRCM), which aimed to properly finish the game by polishing and integrating lots of extra content that was found floating around on the disk but which had never been put into place into the game itself. We're not just talking an extra little side quest here or there, either. TSLRCM restores major combat encounters and character arcs that had been left on the cutting room floor.

At the time, I was exclusively running OS X on a MacBook Pro, so I had to install a bootcamp partition of Windows 7 to play it. Then I had to fight with a collection of mods and edit a couple of .ini files just to get the thing to run well on my setup. Next, I had to figure out which restoration mod I wanted, and which version of that mod I wanted, since there were some disagreement in the fandom about which content was Truly Meant To Be Played, and which was cut because it just wasn't very good.

All of this was a huge hassle. Which didn't mean that the game wasn't worth the hassle, but it did make it hard to recommend KOTOR II to anyone who wasn't already as committed as I was. Now, with this update, I don't have that problem. So:

Go play KOTOR II. It is my favorite game.

The team at Obsidian got a hold of the Star Wars license and they decided to poke and prod and pull at it until they could shape it into something unique, but not all together disconnected from the rest of the franchise. Like Metal Gear Solid 2 or Dark Souls II, KOTOR II is a sequel that plays with (and often subverts) many of the assumed truths about the setting and narrative, and it uses the player's knowledge against them to surprise and teach. It forces the player to confront the sometimes uncomfortable subtext of a world where magically (and/or genetically) superior, self-appointed vigilantes are the heroes. And it does all this through a collection of characters who are deeply human, even when they are forces of alien horror. KOTOR II dramatically changed how I felt about Star Wars, and it did that without ever really giving in to nihilism. It asks us to reject the classic Jedi morality of Light and Dark, but then also insists that we build a new mode of ethical being for ourselves and our communities.

Also, I really like the way they mixed up lightsaber combat. My guy used a cool, single silver-bladed lightsaber. He was great.

So, any of you dive into this yet? Any other long time fans of the game stoked for this update? Your comments will act as a sort of psychic salve for my sickness.

188 Comments

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ShadowConqueror

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I've always wanted to play KOTOR and KOTOR 2. I don't know why I haven't. I love Star Wars. Now's a good time, I suppose.

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hassun

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Edited By hassun

Surprised to see this. But I very much appreciate the support!

And I will reiterate what I have said many times before: If Obsidian had managed to complete the game as intended it might have very well been the best Star Wars game ever made. Amazing story potential.

If anyone is interested in playing KotORII today then get that The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod (tslrcm) right away and jump in!

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dreadpan

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Really great to see they worked with the mod team to get the content-restore mod as an easy Steam Workshop add-on, it's the only way to play the game.

KOTOR's mechanics might feel a bit worn out but it's worth it to just take a couple of the poorly balanced, overpowered abilities and play through the game for the story.

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Homelessbird

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Edited By Homelessbird

Huh. I wonder if this fixes the issue that made my game crash every time I got to Korriban.

Time to reinstall and find out, I guess.

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falling_fast

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I've never heard of that happening for such an old game before. cool

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angus_lafroy

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Edited By angus_lafroy

KOTOR 2 is one of those wonderful examples of how well Obsidian can build complex narratives. It is a shame that they weren't able to release it finished, but man it was a fun ride. I agree with Austin, if you haven't played this game, take some time to explore it!

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platzkart

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I will take any excuse to play through this again let's rock

(Also Austin rapidly becoming fav GBer with his KOTOR 2 love and general brilliance)

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KentonClay

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KillNGer

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Oh man, I played both KOTOR games a ton back in the "salad days" of Xbox. The first one was more polished and put together experience, the story was pretty straightforward with some exceptions (dat twist) but it really captured the feel of the films.

There was always something about 2 though, it was rough, unpolished and out there on more than one occasion, but it was kind of glorious for all that. It was one of the few games where I played a female character when given the choice, just because it "felt right" to the story. I'm very much intrigued to go back and play it, if only to see all the cut content, hopefully the actual ending is in there.

Great, now I'm gonna be eyeballing Old Republic and my Imperial Agent again...

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mashzapotato

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KOTOR 2 is my favorite 75% of a game

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Mandaray

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I'm playing this with my boyfriend right now, so I'm very excited to see this update happening!! And you are spot-on with your comments about how it challenges the player. Even though my bf told me up-front that it played a lot with the rigid Good/Evil morality of the Star Wars universe, I still wasn't prepared for *how much* and *how well* it does this. Love that game. (Though the combat can be incredibly frustrating at times)

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kcin

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@hassun said:

Surprised to see this. But I very much appreciate the support!

And I will reiterate what I have said many times before: If Obsidian had managed to complete the game as intended it might have very well been the best Star Wars game ever made. Amazing story potential.

If anyone is interested in playing KotORII today then get that The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod (tslrcm) right away and jump in!

Yo dude, if I'm not mistaken, the bulk of this article is about how you don't need to go get that The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod anymore, because the development team and the modding team worked together to develop the Restored Content Mod for day-one availability through Steam Workshop now that the game supports Steam Workshop.

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deactivated-6050ef4074a17

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Even with the restored content mod, KOTOR 2 is still sadly unbalanced, frequently busted, and unfinished. It's great but I can't in good conscience consider it better than its predecessor. Especially since, through all of the poking and prodding at the existing Star Wars mythos and Jedi philosophy, KOTOR 2 often resorts to being cryptic and difficult just for the sake of it.

Also, after starting a playthrough of it around the beginning of the year and falling off of it, the opening of KOTOR 2 is glacial, and so restricted. Peragus, Telos, the military base, it's all like 7 hours (way longer than I thought it was) of things that don't highlight the strengths of the series. Taris was such a better opening.

But still, people should certainly play it. It's amazing that every update anyone wanted is now there.

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BannerThief

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This is where I chime in to say that KOTOR II will likely be my favorite video game story for the rest of my life. Almost no narrative, whether it's from a film or novel or tv series, has stuck with me the way KOTOR II did. Warts and all, that game was on another level for me, and I think it's criminal that it mostly haven't been given its due.

It helps because, as you said in the article, it picks apart the typical narrative tropes that Star Wars had been saddled with since the original trilogy, and it critically examines just about every aspect of the 'hero's journey' along the way. No other Star Wars story feels nearly as well-thought out and self-examining. It also has perhaps the most interesting 'villainess' I've ever seen in a game, which I put in quotes because even that title seems up for debate depending on where you stand in regards to her philosophy and actions.

(And between this and Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian has made two of my favorite games of all time, both from a ludological standpoint and a narrative one. I'm half-convinced they're wizards.)

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cornbredx

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I am very stoked for this as I have generally not gone back to the game because of the non native widescreen support made it a hassle to play. It's mainly because 4:3 just doesn't look right and I can't stand the stretchy look when you mess with it in games of that era.

I always noticed the broken narrative in the game (it's really hard not to considering how it ends) but always considered this the better of the two KOTOR games.

I have to get back to this, but again (as I've said on these forums before) my backlog is a real problem so we'll see.

It's really awesome they went back and did this for this game, though. You never see that and it's very unexpected.

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71Ranchero

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Why wouldn't they update the original first?

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kcin

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Edited By kcin
@falling_fast said:

I've never heard of that happening for such an old game before. cool

My favorite instance of this happening is the (relatively) very, very recent support for Worms Armageddon, by two active community members who were hired by Team17 to continue patching and developing the game when they tired of doing so themselves.

The game was released in 1999, and its latest patch is from 2013. The two fan-devs have been responsible for all patches since 2006. More info:

http://worms2d.info/Updates_(Worms_Armageddon)

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hassun

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tuxfool

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Edited By tuxfool

Not that it matters that much, but all of KOTOR is essentially non-canonical which sort of sucks.

I would say it doesn't matter even for those that put a lot of value in canonical stories because I couldn't ever see them integrate the meaning and perspective of this game into the mainline Star Wars, which contains very blunt, black and white themes (even beyond the Jedi/Sith dichotomy)

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Ozzie

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Edited By Ozzie

@shadowconqueror said:

I've always wanted to play KOTOR and KOTOR 2. I don't know why I haven't. I love Star Wars. Now's a good time, I suppose.

I haven't played KOTOR 2 in so long so I can't speak to that but I still play KOTOR once in a while and I love it. The graphics are extremely dated but the voice acting still holds up well and the story is really compelling. Also combat isn't the best, so I just cruise through it on easy.

Given this article I might go back and play KOTOR 2 but I remember being pretty disappointed by the ending, but that was a long time ago.

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MTSaSquatch

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I played the restored content mod a number of years back (there were a couple of restoration mods that came and went... and stalled... but besides the point). Still a great game with a crafting system that also made it stand apart from the first. Completely possible to play KOTOR2 with pistols ONLY.

Needless to say... this was probably the last thing I was expecting to read about today.... The Target near me also had KOTOR2, Boxed, at Full price until SHOCKINGLY recently as well (2012).

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taig

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I love the dedication behind the restored content, but wish I appreciated the finished product more. KotOR 2 has some interesting things going for it. I generally love reinterpretations. Recut films are fascinating to me as every small change in a story affects its whole. I wish the content fixed pacing problems with the game, but I feel it just adds bloat. I wish it let me have more choices so my character could express he is more than a cipher who does what he is told.

I still want that game to be great, much as I want the Old republic to be great. The series has admirable ambition in its storytelling, but it feels like it never quite connects.

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Zaapp1

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I really liked KOTOR II right up until the final planet/ending. It felt like LOTR: The Third Age where you had a great buildup to essentially just a boss fight like any other fight and a nothing ending.

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anbilow

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Why wouldn't they update the original first?

Because it's a complete game. Even though I love both dearly, there are clearly big gaps in KotOR II that are just weird detract from the experience. The second one certainly required more attention than the first game.

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A_Cute_Squirtle

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@austin_walker it makes me so happy to see someone else claim KOTOR 2 as their favorite game. It's just such a mystifying experience in a franchise that's been largely known for its safe, satisfying story lines.

This update makes me also very, very happy. I hope the workshop opportunities means we'll have new experiences with the game. Though I'd take the mods that make it a complete experience, too.

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AMyggen

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Edited By AMyggen

Oh wow, didin't expect this. Awesome though!

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mikemcn

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They should do this for Kotor 1.

I'd like to see what kind of workshop content gets created for 2, but in my last playthrough there wasn't a good method for making the HUD work in high res, everything got stretched to hell, they need to fix that too.

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BananasFoster

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"Like Metal Gear Solid 2 or Dark Souls II, KOTOR II is a sequel that plays with (and often subverts) many of the assumed truths about the setting and narrative, and it uses the player's knowledge against them to surprise and teach. It forces the player to confront the sometimes uncomfortable subtext of a world where magically (and/or genetically) superior, self-appointed vigilantes are the heroes. And it does all this through a collection of characters who are deeply human, even when they are forces of alien horror. KOTOR II dramatically changed how I felt about Star Wars, and it did that without ever really giving in to nihilism. It asks us to reject the classic Jedi morality of Light and Dark, but then also insists that we build a new mode of ethical being for ourselves and our communities."

I couldn't disagree with this more. It clearly is a game that TRIES to "subvert" the established tropes of Star Wars, but it does so in a way that is hamfisted, sophomoric and not in keeping with the established universe.

It reminds me quite a bit of fanfiction that tries to be clever by "subverting" the fabric of the story itself. Oh, there's only female vampire slayers? Well I'm writing the story about the one MALE slayer. Oh, Luke is the last Jedi? Well I'M writing the story of the SECRET last one that nobody knew about. Oh Harry Potter defeated Voldemort? Well, I'm writing the story of the one GOOD person in Slythrin who actually had a big hand in defeating Voldemort that you didn't know about.

Not playing by a universe's rules isn't clever, it's a lack of wit masquerading as clever.

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Cluter

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@anbilow said:
@71ranchero said:

Why wouldn't they update the original first?

Because it's a complete game. Even though I love both dearly, there are clearly big gaps in KotOR II that are just weird detract from the experience. The second one certainly required more attention than the first game.

I think he might've been referencing the widescreen support and resolution upgrades. Weren't KOTOR and KOTOR II developed by different studios? I figure that'd be why.

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richyhahn4

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Edited By richyhahn4

I've been trying to play these games for years, I own both on steam but neither have come close to working, maybe now it will though

EDIT: nope...doesn't work for me at all, the games just don't launch and I've tried every fix that google can find, I'd really like to play this game I bought years ago

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CharlesAlanRatliff

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This is fantastic news. I loved the original KOTOR and never got around to finishing KOTOR II. I got spoiled on a major twist and just never ended up finishing the game. I've been wanting to play a modded version but didn't want to deal with the hassle.

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BoxxyBae

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This is great! Cant wait for them to finally make a Knights of the Old Republic 3!

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President_Barackbar

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I'm really shocked at the amount of people that seem to think KOTOR II is better than the original. It was definitely trying to be more ambitious and have a darker story, but I wouldn't go so far as to say its actually a "good" video game. Its possible that the only reason I feel this way is I only ever played the Xbox version and maybe the restored content mod makes it way better. Difficult to say.

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Edited By viking_funeral

Easily the most accessible of the three games that make up the Black Isle / Obsidian holy trinity:

No Caption Provided

I highly recommend the game to anyone who enjoys Star Wars, RPGs, and especially fans of both that find the whole good / evil dichotomy of 'the Force' to be a little jejune.

The other two games of the trinity are more for die-hards, especially Planescape, though they both have elements of philosophy and choice & consequence that many people love about KotOR II. (Don't bother playing NWN2 before MotB unless you really have a thing for D&D 3.5 - the story is trite.)

Glad to hear that Austin enjoyed the game so much.

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theveej

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Edited By theveej

KOTOR2 had potential, if it wasn't for the pile of broken shit it turned out too. The last few levels were straight up broken, I was walking through the level geometry constantly, and the skills were imbalanced as hell. Ever defeated a major boss towards the end of the game with one move? well that happened to me.

I was never more frustrated with a game than KOTOR2, it was so broken on so many different levels and OH MY GOD IT HAD THE WORST ENDING. When people were complaining about ME3 ending, all I could think about was, "hey atleast it's not as bad as KOTOR2".

Obsidian games awlays have so much potential but KOTOR2 was too broken for me to put it in the same atmosphere as original KOTOR (probably one of my top games ever).

I will give it another chance with the said mod, maybe its finally amazing now; but god damn did I hate this game when it came out.

**edit: to give context I saved up money for 3 months to buy this game at launch, so that might play to my frustrations with the game

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71Ranchero

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@anbilow said:
@71ranchero said:

Why wouldn't they update the original first?

Because it's a complete game. Even though I love both dearly, there are clearly big gaps in KotOR II that are just weird detract from the experience. The second one certainly required more attention than the first game.

I think he might've been referencing the widescreen support and resolution upgrades. Weren't KOTOR and KOTOR II developed by different studios? I figure that'd be why.

Indeed. I was talking about resolution/widescreen and quality of life fixes.

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Edited By matatat

It's been a long time since I played those games but I remember liking the story of KOTOR II more than the original KOTOR. I dunno why, but I thought the reveal in the original KOTOR was sorta underwhelming. They reveal and I just said... okay? Then just didn't really pay any more attention to it. But I sorta felt that was what the whole story was leading up to whereas KOTOR II had a more compelling story throughout.

But I really liked both of them.

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LikeaMetaphor

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If Austin says that this game does something interesting with the Light/Dark side stuff, I might have to give it another shot. I wanted to like KotOR, but the morality of stock Star Wars is so profoundly boring that I couldn't finish what was otherwise an interesting enough game. If there's some actual nuance to it and not a binary, "Do you want to be a Space Hippy or Space Asshole," that'd be rad.

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Weatherking

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I played through that game like 3-4 times when I was younger, so much nostalgia.

Weird thing about getting that game, at first I was super disappointed because when I bought it, it was because I had played a ton of Jedi Outcast and for some reason expected it to be exactly like that. But then I got deeper into it and was completely enraptured for hundreds of hours. It might actually have been my first RPG.

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BananasFoster

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I'm really shocked at the amount of people that seem to think KOTOR II is better than the original. It was definitely trying to be more ambitious and have a darker story, but I wouldn't go so far as to say its actually a "good" video game. Its possible that the only reason I feel this way is I only ever played the Xbox version and maybe the restored content mod makes it way better. Difficult to say.

I think people give it points JUST because it's trying to be "Dark" or "grey". I think that's silly, personally. It reminds me of my friends in high school whom I couldn't get to go to movies with me if they weren't rated R.

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Yummylee

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Edited By Yummylee

KOTOR 2 was the first game of its type--as in giving you player choice, dialogue options ect.--that I ever played. Musta completed it like 15 times or something, so it certainly holds a special place in my heart. That said... I don't know if I could go back to it now. As others have mentioned I recall the game part of it being sort of a mess. At the time I seem to recall actually enjoying the act of breaking the game, but playing it straight might be a little difficult for modern me, which is somewhat depressing.

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TheManWithNoPlan

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Welp, time to play this old gem again!

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Homelessbird

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@viking_funeral:Yo, I'mma let you finish, but Storms of Zehir was clearly the better NWN 2 expansion (I swear I'm not secretly Matt Rorie)

@bananasfoster: Isn't it possible that people like the game because of what's inside of it (i.e. the writing), as opposed to the concept of what's inside of it? It seems like you're putting words in a lot of people's mouths at once.

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flameboy84

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KOTOR 2 is the only game I ever played as "bad" and felt ok about it.

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Efesell

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Oh wow this is awesome. KOTOR 2 was one of my favorite games even in its rushed incomplete state.

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anbilow

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@shatteringlast said:
@anbilow said:
@71ranchero said:

Why wouldn't they update the original first?

Because it's a complete game. Even though I love both dearly, there are clearly big gaps in KotOR II that are just weird detract from the experience. The second one certainly required more attention than the first game.

I think he might've been referencing the widescreen support and resolution upgrades. Weren't KOTOR and KOTOR II developed by different studios? I figure that'd be why.

Indeed. I was talking about resolution/widescreen and quality of life fixes.

Ah, ok. Gotcha. I still think these fixes were more necessary, but both would be better.

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EarlGreigh

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I might get piled on, but I welcome the added controller support.

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Lab392

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A lot of people have terrible favorite games, but I believe that KOTOR II is a perfectly valid favorite game. It's a completely respectable choice.

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mrbubbles

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Edited By mrbubbles

I recently played through both KOTOR and KOTOR 2 and still really enjoy both, I think they still hold up well. I guess it's time to play through KOTOR 2 again to get all those achievements.