The world of Star Wars gaming has been one big flight based shooter where you go around on escort missions try to save the world once more in the Star Wars universe. It has been a while since there has been a Star Wars game truly worth playing and truly worth giving a good rating until now. Lucas Arts has teamed up with BioWare to bring to us the best RPG out for the Xbox and its Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Before I get farther into the review I will just get some out in the open. For LucasArts to make a believer out of me it would be difficult, being a Star Wars basher and an anti-RPG gamer I really had no huge hopes coming into the game. But will surprise most of you is that as I kept an open mind about the game it kept surprising me with new and exciting RPG adventure for the Xbox.
With the Xbox being in desperate need of a solid RPG, LucasArts had a lot of room to work with, with there being very few RPG’s on the console to compare it to. Probably the best RPG so far has been Morrowind but that was released over a year ago and since then the Xbox market has been left to shooters and sports titles.
As you start up Knights of the Old Republic you get the normal scrolling storyline at the beginning of the game in which you are supposed to read. But basically like in all the games the Republic is on the verge of collapsing and it’s your job to try and help save the Republic from being a thing of the past. You start the game by creating your character, and you have a ton of different options to choose from. From facial features to your characters overall look, you get quite a bit of customization. You have three classes to choose from which are Warrior, Scoundrel, and Scout. Each of these different classes have there own strengths and weaknesses. Each character has a different rate in which they level at, and they each have different abilities in which they can endure. Once you have chosen your character and his class you are thrown into the game where you will either be the good guy or the bad guy depending on the road you have chosen.
What makes this RPG so much better then an RPG that you would normally find on the PC is that you are not forced to go through the way the developers had entailed. Instead there is a much more open design which allows you to go on several side quests and really allows you to take your own path to the end of the game. When you interact with characters in the game you are given several different options of what you want to say. If you say the right thing then you will be given points for the Light side and the opposite if you are rude. So it all depends on your character and whether or not you want to go on the Darkside.
The one thing that I have "never" been a fan of is turn-based RPGs. I am not one who enjoys that sort of strategy because I find that it is just a much slower paced way of getting things across and I am a bigger fan of being able to control all of my characters movements. In Knights of the Old Republic you are given some control of your characters but then again it’s not true full control. For those of you who have played the Neverwinter Night titles for the PC will find that the combat system is quite similar to that. Basically before you enter combat a little dialog box will pop up and will ask you whether or not you want to enter in on the combat or just pass it up. When you do get into the combat you have control of your characters movement but it’s limited to what you can really do. In the background of the game numbers are going around and each weapon has different characteristics which will amount in different points.
What is so impressive about Knights of the Old Republic is how addictive the game can be. The storyline really is quite interesting, and since you really get to decide your own fate you will find that it really is fun to see what will happen next. Things can get quite confusing and some of the missions that you have to get through can get quite confusing, but that’s just how it goes.
As you play through the game there is a lot that goes on throughout this title. Not only do you have your characters moving on the screen but you have tens of hundreds of other characters actively doing things on the screen. When you first take a look at Knights of the Old Republic it doesn’t really remind you very much of a normal RPG. Instead of having a pretty far away view you will find that you are up close in the action. With a close up view we have found that the camera angles can sometimes be quite problematic. Well in KOTOR you will find that the camera is near perfection and will never get in the way of the action.
As you play through the game I found that the games graphics started to wear on me and really started to lose the flavor it had at the beginning of the game. When you start up the game you will find that the game really doesn’t look overly impressive. The characters are heavily detailed but the environments are what I found to be a little bland and boring. But I found as I got farther and farther into the game the graphics started to catch up with the game and they worked pretty nicely with the game. As you get farther and farther through the game the lighting effects will also become more and more apparent and although they don’t look overly impressive it was still nice that the graphical effect was put in effect with this game.
The average gamer will probably not really see all the great things LucasArts has done with the game’s graphics. From the backgrounds that look very nice, to all the little tiny effects that were put into place, this is not a bad looking game. It would have been nice to have seen a little more variety in the characters but I guess nothing is perfect. Overall you are looking at one impressive graphical title that will sure to impress most.
In this section of the review I really had some mixed feelings of whether I was really having fun or not playing through this title. I found that although this game has a lot to offer I personally did not find the game to be an extremely fun title. There were a lot of times in the game where frustration sets in, which will cause you to take a break, and then go back and try again later. The frustration can be relieved when you have leveled your character or you get a new weapon. But there were too many times in the game where there wasn’t a whole lot of fun. And personally the combat system could have allowed you to have more control of the character without having to give up the RPG elements. Overall though if you are a fan of the genre and/or of the movie series then you will probably drooling with all of the hours of gameplay it takes to get through this one.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic is a solid title that has a lot of great features, ideas, and comes through in every single category. The replay value of the game is pretty strong because once you have gone through the game on the Darkside you may want to change your ways and go through the game on the good side. I would say if you are a fan of the Star Wars series or you are just looking for a new RPG for your Xbox this is one title that you have to get. If you are unsure (as I was) then this would defiantly be on the top of your rental list.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.