Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Review - 3/5

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by jeremiah.l.burns, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. jeremiah.l.burns

    jeremiah.l.burns Callo

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    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic


    KOTOR, as it is widely referred to by its fan base, is a good game, but an averagely good game. Many may feel I'm giving it a low score but consider that 3/5 is not bad. It's really a pretty good score. It means that you will likely have a good time playing this title, and you'll have few qualms with it. However, while it doesn't have a great deal of shortcomings, it doesn't necessarily go above and beyond the standard gameplay we are spoon-fed by the industry today. It is good game...not great.

    Graphically, KOTOR is a reasonable piece of gaming media. Ranging from averagely acceptable to somewhat good, they are overall good, but nothing extraordinary. They do nothing to break the limits of what we've seen so far in gaming, and with games like Riddik looming on the horizon, aching to break the mold that is graphical acceptability in gaming, I can't see any reason to be overly excited by the visual display KOTOR offers. But that's not to say it's overly bad either.

    The sound, on the other hand, is fantastic. The sound effects are audio perfect to what we know and recognize from the Star Wars universe. From blaster shots to vehicle rumblings to a lightsaber swooshing through the air, you won't be disappointed with the sound effects. The same holds true for the music score. The new material composed by Jeremy Soule holds very true to the styling introduced to us "A long time ago..." by John Williams. As for the voice acting, nothing short of fantastic. With names like Ed Asner, Kevin Michael Richardson, John Cygan and Jennifer Hale (who played Bastilla, and whom the character model may be slightly inspired by) you are left with a story that vocally unfolds before you, and doesn't sound like cheese as it does so.

    The gameplay is where the game suffers the most, unfortunately. The quests can get rather repetitive, as you'll perform the same basic function on each world you visit. Search for star map, find star map, return to ship, fly to new world, search for star map, etc. The side quests are where it shines best. My personal favorite mission required me to play solo (without my support team) and assassinate several accused criminals. However, battles seem a bit lacking. You generally queue up several actions for each party member, start the battle, and watch health bars. Not very inviting, but it gets the job done.

    The control scheme is pretty straight forward. I'd have had little difficulty navigating my way around using the controls provided, and the camera angle never got in the way for battle sequences, so all-in-all, the controls would have been great...if it weren't for a couple bugs. Without a patch, simple things such as your other party members can slow you down. I.E., you can't walk through them. You have to walk around them. And since they want to follow in your every footstep, if you wish to do a 180 and go the other way, it can become cumbersome. Often times, to the point of switching to your other party members as the active character just so you can get them the hell out of the way...my biggest complaint overall. Beyond that, the default action for when an enemy or dangerous object is sighted, is the game will pause. This can be useful so you don't get ambushed. But more than once I destroyed all the enemies in my immediate vision, and was ready to move on, when I realized I couldn't move. The game had paused again due to new enemies off screen that I couldn't see, but it gave little indication save a small box in the upper corner that you don't readily notice when you're mashing the keyboard trying to figure out why you can't move.

    The storyline is fresh, inventive and captivating. More in depth, in my opinion, than either The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones. Ep. I & II are a bit more captivating, mind you, because they give back-story to long-loved characters such as Obi-Wan and Anakin...but there seems to be more substance to this storyline. Especially considering the fact that since this is a "choose your own adventure" type game, and with each situation introduced you can sway more or less to the light or dark side of the force...well, it captures you. It's very interesting to see that a good Star Wars storyline can exist with or without the pen of George Lucas. This offers hope for Ep. VII-IX. If storylines are your thing, and you found Ep. I & II to be at all acceptable storylines, you will not be disappointed with KOTOR. It is very well done. Best part of the game by far.

    Overall, KOTOR is quite good. Outside the odd bug and control issue, it is a good addition to the library of any Star Wars or RPG gamers' library. You may not be blown away by much in the game beyond the story, but you won't get disappointed either. It's an enjoyable venture, and one worth taking. I give it a 3/5.