Star Wars: KotOR: Does it still hold up in 2018?

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Big_Denim

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So I recently picked up Mass Effect: Andromeda during the Xbox Ultimate Game Sale. Following that purchase, I continued to browse a bit more and noticed Star Wars: KotOR is available via Game Pass.

Now I'm somewhat conflicted. ME: Andromeda is supposedly a dumpster fire from a story/character standpoint, but apparently the combat is good and the art direction and visuals for all the various planets is solid.

On the flipside...Star Wars: KotOR is supposed to be a really great RPG from a story/character standpoint. That being said, it's quite old now. Does it still hold up from a gameplay perspective?

What do my fellow bombers think? What should I spin up first/next?

Totally off-topic...I finally got around to playing and beating Darksiders 1. What a pleasant surprise of a gem that was :)

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xanadu

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#2  Edited By xanadu

If youre fine with turn based combat then totally. KOTOR still holds up today, easily. (the combat is very comparable to ff12 without the gambit system if that helps)

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Big_Denim

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#3  Edited By Big_Denim

@xanadu: It's a combat system I'm not very fond of, but I can usually look past it if the story is good enough. For instance, I didn't enjoy the combat in Dragon Age: Origins much at all but still completed that game and generally speaking liked it a lot.

What worries me about KotOR are the environments. I browsed through some let's plays and everything just looked like gray corridors to me, but it's entirely possible that was just bad luck since I know the game is fairly large.

EDIT: To clarify, I'm okay with outdated visuals. I play older games all the time. What can get to me is when it feels like every environment in a game uses the same assets and color pallet.

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SethMode

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@big_denim: It's been a while, and this might be some degree of nostalgia influenced, but I don't remember the environments being all that samey or bad. I don't remember being blown away by them either. So...yeah. I think it's fine. It's very "Star Wars" for whatever that's worth in this day and age. You go to all of the places you would expect to go to in a Star Wars game. I like it, but I'm with one Austin Walker in that I'm weird and think that the sequel is better despite being a little jacked up in the final act.

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Fezrock

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I played KOTOR for the first time last year (so no nostalgia for me), and, yeah, the environments are really bad. I don't feel like I'm a graphics snob either. Its not a question of old, there are plenty of old games that look great, either from great sprite work or pre-rendered backgrounds. But in KOTOR, everything is just so gray and dull, or, sometimes, green and dull.

Also, as someone who does like turn-based combat, I did not like the KOTOR combat. It was way too simple for my tastes.

The story is quite good, but you have to put up with a lot IMO to get to it. Although you do need to have at least a bit of affinity for Star Wars lore to fully enjoy it I think.

Personally, if you want an older, janky RPG with an amazing story, I'd recommend something like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines instead.

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ArbitraryWater

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I imagine KOTOR probably holds up just fine as long as you're coming into it with the understanding that it's where a lot of Bioware's character and storytelling tropes really started to crystallize. I have to imagine some of that stuff will come off a little more trite and cliched than it did in 2003. The combat is also pathetically easy if you have any grasp of D&D rules (Master Speed + Master Flurry) but I still think you could get something out of the game as a whole.

On the other hand, if you're going to play Mass Effect Andromeda for the combat, I might still warn you away. It's decently fun, but I think the only circumstances in which I'd be willing to recommend that game to someone are if you have a morbid sense of curiosity and want to see what happens when a game follows that established Bioware framework in the most amateurish, depressing way possible.

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frytup

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#7  Edited By frytup

The looks don't bother me at all, but I spend a lot of time playing PS2 and OG Xbox-era games, so I have a high tolerance for that kind of thing. I wouldn't say the entire game uses the same assets. You go to several different planets with different environments, and it changes a good bit.

Story is pretty good. At the time, it was universally acclaimed as the best Star Wars property in years, which I don't think is inaccurate given the "prequel" movies. If you like Star Wars and Bioware, you'll like it.

By far the worst thing about KOTOR it is the combat. I'd rate it as worse than any of the Mass Effect games but better than the typical early-2000s JRPG grindfest.

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NTM

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#8  Edited By NTM

It just depends on if you like the kind of gameplay. If you like the sort of gameplay it has to offer, then yes it still holds up fine. I'm someone that can't get into things if they aren't considered canon because in the long run, they no longer have much say in what's going on in the fiction (even if I like the non-canon better), so I keep finding it hard to actually finish, but it is very enjoyable once you get into it. The combat has you pressing a button to attack, and more or less watching your guy attack them until the opponent is beaten. It's a little deeper than that, but I'm just saying, you're not Bayonetta-ing it up with a bunch of fast combos as you mash on buttons.

Also, I thought Mass Effect Andromeda was fine, but yeah, if one was expecting something to be as good or greater than the original trilogy, it's not that. I personally didn't have many glitches in it aside from a few, so my experience with glitches in it wasn't ruined. The thing that disappoints is just the sheer feeling of having done it all before, and then adding in the one issue that Dragon Age: Inquisition had, which is an abundance of extremely dull fetch quest side missions. You can spend as much time in Andromeda as you do the entire original trio and most of that consists of running back and forth to do dull tasks. The combat is fun, the characters are fine (but, you kind of know what to expect out of them) and the worlds are interesting enough. I had a good time playing it, but it has issues. Sorry, I totally went on a tangent.

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zheelz

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As someone who has gone back to the original KOTOR once every year or so, I like to think it holds up relatively well. I am also going to lobby a guess that some of that has to do with my nostalgia getting in the way.

The more I play it, the more I realize its minor flaws -- and it's a still wonderful game even many years later -- with things like the inventory in that game where everything just feels like it's there with no way to sort through it; the wonky-ness of certain fights where I have to stop in the middle to make sure the attack I just chose for a specific character is actually queued up correctly; and, on PC, some weird save issues I've had where the game would just outright crash at certain points for whatever reason? Aside from that last one, which is almost certainly user error when installing (I fixed it by reinstalling), I think the game is wonderful. The writing still solicits emotions and reactions from me every time I play it. I have a special fondness in my heart for the KOTOR series as someone who wasn't into RPG's when I was younger. I bought it on a whim when I was younger because I liked the Star Wars universe. It remains one of my favorite games of all-time to this day because of that decision.

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meteora3255

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#10  Edited By meteora3255

From a gameplay standpoint the mechanics hold up fine for the most part. It's a modified D20 based system and if you aren't familiar with how the rules work it can seem a bit janky, but tabletop players still use similar systems. There are definitely some quality of life things that it missed out on by virtue of being an older game.

Playing the OG Xbox version might be a little less fun to look at since you can't mod it.

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deactivated-5ed7db3f7c897

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Kotor 2 is far superior in my opinion. Better in every way. Highly recommended.

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The_Nubster

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#12  Edited By The_Nubster

Sure, but it depends what you're looking for. It's a very Star Wars story with very Star Wars characters, and it serves as a pretty clear blueprint for the types of characters that would show up in a lot of other BioWare games. If you're tired of Star Wars tropes and aren't fond of DnD combat, it probably won't do much for you.

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frytup

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Kotor 2 is far superior in my opinion. Better in every way. Highly recommended.

I've only played the PC version with the restored content mod and bug fixes. Is the Xbox version actually playable, or just as buggy as unmodded PC?

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#14  Edited By wollywoo

I haven't played it since it came out, but I would guess it holds up pretty damn well. I think the story in particular holds up better - more classic space opera type stuff, less "everybody and their uncle is some kind of badass sexy grimdark assassin" that you see from Mass Effect. I remember the combat and exploration being great too.

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Kotor 2 is far superior in my opinion. Better in every way. Highly recommended.

Yeah... but KOTOR II is WAY JANKIER than KOTOR I. KOTOR I is far more accessible than its sequel. Plus, the combat in KOTOR is far more broken and doesn't scale well by the end.

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@big_denim: It very much holds up. Old graphics and cutscenes, but it’s still great.

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@thegame983 said:

Kotor 2 is far superior in my opinion. Better in every way. Highly recommended.

Yeah... but KOTOR II is WAY JANKIER than KOTOR I. KOTOR I is far more accessible than its sequel. Plus, the combat in KOTOR is far more broken and doesn't scale well by the end.

Also, "better in every way" is a huge stretch, when they're pretty comparable in both mechanics and graphical fidelity. The reason KOTOR II gets so much praise is really just for the original writing. So more like "better in exactly one way, equivalent in a bunch of other ways, and then also super janky and unfinished."

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@zombiepie said:
@thegame983 said:

Kotor 2 is far superior in my opinion. Better in every way. Highly recommended.

Yeah... but KOTOR II is WAY JANKIER than KOTOR I. KOTOR I is far more accessible than its sequel. Plus, the combat in KOTOR is far more broken and doesn't scale well by the end.

Also, "better in every way" is a huge stretch, when they're pretty comparable in both mechanics and graphical fidelity. The reason KOTOR II gets so much praise is really just for the original writing. So more like "better in exactly one way, equivalent in a bunch of other ways, and then also super janky and unfinished."

KOTOR II has major design flaws people like to ignore. The first space station may well be the worst starting level, outside of Kingdom Hearts, in video game history. So much of the combat is unnecessary busywork. Having the light saber stances sounds cool, but they are entirely inconsequential. Let's also not forget all you need to do to beat the game is spamming Force Lightning, or its light-side parallel, non-stop. I'm also not convinced KOTOR II has a better story. As much as I love Nar Shaddaa, and I recognize it's the most fully-realized level in a Star Wars game, every other planet feels lifeless and bland in comparison. And I want the record to show I think the revelation you are a "wound in the force" is the dumbest thing Chris Avellone has written. That plot twist is DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMB!

KOTOR I is comfort food, and that's largely why I like it more. KOTOR I came out one year after Attack of the Clones, and when the state of Star Wars was basically untenable. It was a breath of fresh air on par with the new trilogy. But I still love both games so very much, and I'm glad others do as well.

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#20  Edited By BisonHero

@zombiepie: Yeah, I have similar comfort food/nostalgia feelings for KOTOR I. In the mid-2000s when I had to deal with the mediocrity that was the prequel trilogy, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader for the Gamecube and KOTOR I on PC are the Star Wars games I remember getting me through that period.

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Big_Denim

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#21  Edited By Big_Denim

So I decided to give both games a shot today and play the first hour or two of each.

Boy, people weren't kidding about the writing in Andromeda. I'm trying to not be overly critical of it, but when a major character dies and the supporting character's response is, 'I'm sorry that must be a blow' ...I can't help but shake my head. She says it with this weird smile on her face too. What should be a serious moment and my wife and I nearly cracked up watching it.

Methinks I'll be going with KotOR. The controls and menus feel super clunky for today's standards but that's something I can adjust to in time.

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SethMode

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I want the record to show that I like that plot twist in KoTOR 2!

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Whitestripes09

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In all honesty? Absolutely not.

It has extremely bland character design and landscapes. Antiquated gameplay that isn't very fun and the story really isn't that interesting in comparison to the setting. I'll admit I was pretty late on the Kotor bus, but once finding a working copy I was pretty disappointed with what I got. It feels like a game that you had to have played when it was new to really appreciate in entirety. Otherwise, it feels and plays like every other older Bioware game that people have huge nostalgia goggles over and will defend to their dying breath. I just don't see what's so great about it in story or gameplay other than at one time, it was slightly above the norm of what was being pushed out in terms of Star Wars content. Which isn't really saying much when it was riding the aftermath of Attack of the Clones and other memorable titles hadn't even come out yet.

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I may be biased but I think it holds up and is in my top 5 of best games.

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#26  Edited By The_Greg

I still play KotOR. It still holds up if you're okay with turn based combat and missions that don't really hold your hand (there are no quest markers).

Some other aspects are difficult to swallow, if you're all about modern polish. For example, the writing isn't as fluid as it is in Dragon Age or Mass Effect, and there are no facial animations aside from mouths flapping open and shut. Also, [Carth wants to speak] has to be one of the most irritating aspects of any game I've played. The graphics are what you would expect of a 2003 game, take from that what you will.

Aside from all that, I think that the game is still great by today's standards. I really like the settings, the music is beautiful and you can get to know the characters as much as you like.

I still consider it to be one of the best games of all time.

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If you can appreciate the story, do not care for visuals or rather bland combat then yeah, it is fine. But I honestly think it has aged quite poorly. Not at all as well as other earlier RPGs like Baldurs Gate. In many ways I rather play The Old Republic than play kotor 1 or 2. I really loved it back in the day, but when I tried to go back and replay it I honestly couldn't. So take that un-recommendation if you want. It is probably still better than Andromeda though. :D

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