Knights of the Republic 2 - The Deconstruction of a Beloved Mythology
I'm a guy who loves his Star Wars.
I'm also a guy that -as he grew older- became increasingly saddened that not a lot of Star Wars content matured and grew with me.
Ultimately Star Wars is a family product, its meant to be enjoyed, collected and discussed between all ages and that is perfectly acceptable! My problem is that I cant help but feel that as a result of trying to make something for all ages a lot of Star Wars has sacrificed telling a complex and meaningful story. I'm not talking about sex, violence and deathsticks... just something a little more complex than Good guys good... bad guys bad. A little more complex then control your emotions good... feel your emotions bad...
Enter Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords.
KOTOR 2 is one of the most mature and complete(*) Star Wars stories you'll likely ever find in this universe (Unless Disney decides to step outside the box) and its truly a treat to behold. Its essentiallys a deconstruction of all of the inconsistencies within the series. How would Star Wars look if all of a sudden real people were dropped into the universe and told to live and play by these rules? Look no further!
You play as the Jedi Exile. A repentant and tragic figure with a storied history that the player gets to define and relate to as the story unfolds. Whatever the Exile has done before the game starts you have no control over. The journey is in understanding what those decisions were, what their consequences were and then ultimately deciding why you did them and what those choices mean to you when it comes time to be judged.
This is a world where the shallow, flawed and destructive dogma of both the Jedi and the Sith is called into question. A world where maybe solving every little problem in the name of good and honor isn't the right thing to do. Or maybe it is... that's the fun of the experience. KOTOR 2 is a game that is dripping atmosphere , anxiety, dread, regret, desperation, introspection, sacrifice and hope... or as I like to see it: that long road back to do something that you know you need to do, but maybe you don't want to do it.
Now with all of that said KOTOR 2 is not a perfect game by any means. It was inexcusably broken and unfinished when it was released; it never even had a proper ending and entire swaths of content were missing until only a few years ago and it will never ~truly~ be complete without the likely thousands of hours that fans have put in to restore it. Your mileage with this title will depend on what kind of person you are, the kinds of stories you're looking to play. If you're a diehard star wars fan who loves the operatic heroes journey of light hearted protagonists saving the day you will not find that here. If you're like me and want to see a mature and thoughtful take on a beloved setting thats free of the GrimDark treatment we too often see these days then KOTOR 2 is for you. Its dark because its relatable and human.
(*)The irony is that one could argue the actual ending of the story is nowhere near complete!