rapstah's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (PC) review

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God damn it.

Knights of the Old Republic is a rushed damn game. Comparisons with games coming out today are pointless - it would not have gotten at all the same review score and thus have sold at all as much if it came out today, and perharps DLC would have filled in whatever gaps the EA of today would have allowed Obsidian to launch it with - but the amount of cut content and the pure mess it leaves the last two thirds of the game is more extensive than any mess of a major game released since. It's not good in that aspect.

The various mods out there that re-add much of the cut content that the game shipped with unused make the game much better in some aspects: bugs are fixed, some dialogues with important characters are extended and a robot factory planet is added back into the game. (I personally used the mod smoothly named Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Content Restoration Mod, so any comments may be exclusive to that certain restoration mod.) This comes at a cost: much of the content re-added seems to have been cut because it was just bad content. A side-quest where you have to find an individual of an alien race that has no sense of individuality in a poisonous bar is awful and was probably not cut beause it could not be polished: the very idea behind it is flawed. The robot factory planet has no natural tie into the game's story as it is and the only apparent way there is hidden behind a murky dialogue option inside a mission if you have a certain character's loyalty very late in the game.

Essentially, the restoration mods do not even get close to "fixing" the game, if that was ever their purpose. The game is in essence unfixable. What remains is a shadow of what could have been if Obsidian had been left with half a year or even a year more to finish the game off.

In gameplay, it is basically the first game but with some actually welcome fixes: you always start off with Jedi classes unlocked, meaning no player would feel the need not to level up until a third through the game (people actually did this in the first one and they were crazy!). Characters not brought into missions still level up through the XP you gain, now a regular feature in Bioware RPGs of the same calibre (such as Dragon Age). Some new Jedi powers are introduced, most of them through the plot and only to your character with limited success - if you are playing a melee build of a warrior class, for example, you will never get any use out of the Beast Control ability because it relies on stats you do not have as a warrior. Most squad members have a defining character skill: this game's Carth, or Alistair, or perharps Kaidan, depending on your point of view, is called Atton, and remarks how he was added into the game at the last minute in an easter egg dialogue piece.His special ability revolves around always getting revived automatically if he dies while any other member of your party still lives. These abilities make some character combinations interesting to try out.

The concept of what the game's story shows you what it at one point tried to be is incredibly creative for a Star Wars game and questions the basis of the Force itself. Many of the needed reveals never happen because the game falls apart in the final third, but what does happen, and the characters built around that promise, are still incredibly interesting.

After a pure good playthrough, though, I can't dislike what I played. maybe I am a very very weak person who is secretly rating the game off what could have been. Maybe the characters of Kreia and Darth Sion are just so damn good it doesn't even really matter in the end. The Star Wars: KOTOR trilogy ends with its second game and it's terrible, but at the same time it's so damn good. Damn it all.

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