By Mento 10 Comments
This one's really been a long time coming. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is the sequel, sorta, to BioWare's original Knights of the Old Republic, which told the usual tale of Jedi and Sith and lightsabres some several thousand years before the canon that the movies cover. The Sith Lords has Obsidian pick up where BioWare left off, retaining most of the core gameplay but adding their own tweaks and - I'm only hoping, since Obsidian does this a lot - a much better story. Even though this game will turn fifteen years old in December I've never played it before. Part of the reason I wanted to go "millennial" this year is that many of my remaining conspicuous gaps, like The Sith Lords, falls into that window.
Truth be told I haven't even made it out of the tutorial area: Peragus, a highly-precarious mining colony that the Ebon Hawk - so far the only KOTOR 1 carry-over along with the astromech droid T3-M4 - limped its way to after being seriously damaged by a Sith cruiser attack. This sequence of the game introduces new scoundrel character Atton, the protagonist's enigmatic Jedi mentor Kreia, and much of the game's mechanics, including a newly revamped item crafting element to the game: an often reviled inclusion that here makes use of old equipment by disassembling it to make components for new ones. The player character is also a Jedi from the outset: no holding off levelling up so you don't lose out on Jedi perks and powers, which I appreciated.
The game otherwise feels very similar to KOTOR so far, with a number of different approaches to problems depending on the player's skillset - as a Sentinel, my Jedi is versed in computers and security (lockpicking) for whatever reason - and Force powers. I've given my Jedi a decent amount of charisma and the various feats/powers that open up new dialogue options, since I always found those the best part of BioWare RPGs (or Obsidian RPGs imitating same). Combat still has that pseudo turn-based structure where turns happens in real time but actions can be queued up tactically in advance on the player's little timer thing, as can the actions of other party members who you can switch to instantaneously. I've always appreciated a combat engine that can be quick and perfunctory when it needs to be - mowing down random mobs, for example - but strategically complex when I eventually fight something I can't just roll over with basic attacks.
Even though I've levelled up quite a bit in this mining facility and found it entertaining to explore - one thing Obsidian does well is environmental storytelling, letting you piece together events through context; in this case what happened to all the station's deceased staff - I'm looking forward to eventually leaving. I mean, once I've completely robbed the place of its valuables, of course. I'm looking forward to a bit more variety than durasteel corridors and rock tunnels in the planets to come. I've only just acquired party members - they weren't interested in following me around until a Sith showed up, lazy jerks - so I'm hoping their added versatility will allow me to complete a few more objectives in this ghost town of a colony before I'm ready to split.
At any rate this is definitely a game I'll be sticking with for the full week, so I'll hopefully have some conclusive takes and a considerably more substantial review for you all then. First impressions are highly positive at least, even if I am running into a number of technical problems getting it to run properly - at this point as an Obsidian fan, though, I'm pretty much used to it.
(NB: My bad that this is a day late. The annual May series traditionally starts on the 1st of the month, but I watched the ass-paralyzing (par-ass-lyzing? Hmm, might need to workshop that) Avengers: Endgame and didn't have enough time left in the day to play a sufficient amount of The Sith Lords and write about it.)