For a console that was struggling for an RPG, LucasArts sure did come at the right time last year with their Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. Now to be honest I am never usually a huge fan of RPG’s, but some reason the Star Wars universe combined with very intriguing gameplay succeeded in enticing me. Well now a year later, the guys over at LucasArts and Obsidian were hard at work, and are ready with Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords for the Xbox! Can this game possibly recapture the glory that was found in the first?
So many of you may be wondering why I thought Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic was such a good game, good enough to earn the number three spot on Xbox Game of the Year 2003? Well to keep it nice and short, the game combined a real time combat system that actually worked, a storyline that never missed a beat, and some enormous beautiful environments that just combined to make a great game. What is hard about reviewing this game is that having so much fun with the first does usually cause higher expectations for the second one, something I wasn’t sure this game was going to be able to live up to. But did it?
If you have not been following the Knights of the Old Republic series, the first was developed by Bioware but now has been handed over to the new development team of Obsidian, who focuses more on the RPG market. Right from the get go you can see that they wanted to keep the same sort of winning formula intact. So at the beginning of the game you will start off again with nothing. Now five years after the last game, you play as a Jedi who has lost the force. The story may sound like one from any game but something that KOTOR 2 still retains is the great dialogue and storyline, which are both still very intact.
One of the biggest things in my mind that held back KOTOR was not the gameplay, combat, or story, but instead the beginning parts of the game. You see the game really made you work your booty off to get some of the more entertaining abilities. Not so in KOTOR 2, which hosts a much quicker approach at getting your force powers back.
Most of you are probably reading this review trying to find anything new about the game and to be quite honest the list is rather short. The game does use the storyline in a different type manner, having other characters play a much larger role in the storyline then before. The game still bases most of your decisions on good vs. evil, which is one area; the game really strived in last time around. I must say I was impressed with how KOTOR 2 really makes you think about what type of decisions you are making, in some may not be as plain as day as you might think. There were times well I had to ask family members what they thought about the decision and whether or not I was making the right or wrong decision.
One of the most important aspects to any RPG besides the storyline is the combat system, which remains much of the same as before. You can still pop open the start menu and command your characters or you can get into position and let your guys just go at it. I must say that something the Star Wars series has always thrived on is the use of the light saber, which I must say is a great feeling. Although this isn’t a game that really gives you full control over the light saber, it is still very cool to see the weapon in action.
Where KOTR was revolutionary for the Xbox, KOTOR 2 is just a mere upgrade to the existing formula. For the most part I was disappointed that the new developers didn’t go for more with this game, as it really seems like they left a lot of open room for it. With that being said we all know that KOTOR was a great game and so is the gameplay of KOTOR 2 is still quite impressive. The game is quite long and the storyline does host quite a few twists and turns. Even without any major upgrades the gameplay of KOTOR 2 still retains all of the glory from the previous.
I never really thought the original Knights of the Old Republic was a beautiful game but it was never a bad looking game either. The one thing I really did find quite breathtaking about the first was the environment that were so rich of detail. Can the second game capture any sort of the same glory?
Unfortunately for all of us the change to the new developers wasn’t all that great for the series visuals, as they have taken a turn for the worse. The character models look unchanged from the previous game, which is not so much a bad thing but needed more work. But this is not my main issue with the game, which comes in the frame rate department. Unfortunately the game decides it doesn’t like big battle scenes and decides to take dramatic slow downs, which in turn really hurts the flow of the game. The environments are still about the same caliber as before but nothing more.
It’s not that KOTOR 2 is a bad looking game, but it just does nothing new to the system and in other areas takes a turn for the worse. Overall if this game has any major flaws they all can be found in the visual department of the game.
So did you enjoy Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic? Well if your answer to that question was a positive one, then you can rest assured the same feeling will come out of KOTOR 2. I must say most of the minor adjustments that took place in the game were positive ones, all of which further enhanced the experience. Probably more then anything the storyline this year is more interesting and more engaging then last years which ends up making for a better experience.
Although KOTOR 2 is nowhere near as revolutionary or as breathtaking as the first, it still is a great game. It’s hard to hide the fact that the game has great replay value, excellent gameplay mechanics, and a very intuitive storyline. If you were a fan of the first go out and purchase this game now!
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.