"As you walk down the sand-swept streets of Tatooine, you and your party come across a widow desperately trying to sell the only possession she has left. She needs the money to get herself and her kids off the planet to somewhere nicer. Tatooine isnít a nice place. As you talk with her, you can decide what you want to do. Touched by her story, you might want to buy the item from her, and if youíre feeling exceptionally generous, you can give her more. Itís only 500 credits, and in your journey, y..."
As you walk down the sand-swept streets of Tatooine, you and your party come across a widow desperately trying to sell the only possession she has left. She needs the money to get herself and her kids off the planet to somewhere nicer. Tatooine isnít a nice place. As you talk with her, you can decide what you want to do. Touched by her story, you might want to buy the item from her, and if youíre feeling exceptionally generous, you can give her more. Itís only 500 credits, and in your journey, you have amassed a small fortune. The money isnít a problem.
But maybe you decide that she doesnít deserve your pity. Through dialogue choices, maybe youíll threaten to take the item from her without paying. You could easily accomplish this. She is a widow, and you are a Jedi armed with a lightsaber. What chance does she have? You could even threaten to kill her for this item, if youíre going for extremes. Itís your choice. Your party members will comment on your actions in these extreme cases, either congratulating you on your kindness or chastising you on your cruelty.
Knights of the Old Republic lets you make all the choices as you and your party adventure to several planets across the galaxy. You can follow the path of the light side, and help the downtrodden people that you meet, and ultimately save the galaxy, or you can follow the much more alluring dark side and threaten, kill and coerce people, and ultimately seize control of the galaxy for yourself. Refreshingly, the dark side isnít fundamentally wrong, and the light side isnít always fundamentally right. They are merely two paths to achieve the same goal.
Without giving away too much, there is a sequence on Tatooine that sends you into the campsite of the fierce Tusken Raiders (or Sand People). You can either force your way into their camp, killing every last one of them, or with the help of a protocol droid, you can peacefully work out an agreement. Both paths will move you further through the game, but it is nice to have a choice.
The dark side is immediately appealing to any RPG veteran who is sick of being the good hero that always does the right thing. KotOR allows you the freedom to do whatever you want. In regular RPGís, an incorrect choice might cause your adventure to cease until you go back and Ďchooseí correctly. I like to call this the Illusion of Choice. Things are very different here.
You can kill innocent people and loot their corpses, you can manipulate people through the force, and you can antagonize your fellow party members. Just donít expect them to continue talking to you if you annoy them too much though. Thereís a dark side in all of us, and KotOR is a perfect outlet to absolutely give in and indulge your darker side.
The choice doesnít stop in your actions either. You choose your player-character from a fairly wide selection of people, both male and female. You can choose your initial class of Rogue, Scoundrel or Warrior, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Because of all the numerous dialogue options and choices you have to make, you actually do believe that you are this character. While your character has no voice over, he or she is by no means a mute.
As a massive Sith fleet attacks a Republic vessel you are assigned to, you make your escape with the whiney Republic Soldier, Carth. This guy is extremely paranoid, and is very easy to aggravate. He has his reasons though, and as you progress in your quest, you will learn all about him. There are several other party members, each with their own back stories and demons to face. The young and beautiful Jedi, Bastilla, is a target for the Sith, due to her unique abilities. The supporting cast is made up of several others, from a Twiílek and Wookiee duo, a few extra Jedi, and a pair of droids.
Each character is voiced flawlessly, and due to their deep histories and dialogue, they are very believable, and interesting to listen to, with the exception of the Astromech droid, who only communicates with a series of beeps and whistles.
While itís tempting to take Jedi along with you all the time, donít forget your fellow party members. Each have their own advantages in and out of battle, and they will often want to talk to you, or each other, as you journey.
The battle system is a slight let down though, as your characters will automatically attack their target. You have control over little things, such as movement, and force powers, but it seems mostly designed to be cinematic. Lightsaber duels look fantastic!
Your quest will take you to several planets, most of which are new to even the most hardcore Star Wars fanatic. Thereís the bustling city planet of Taris, a place that looks nice on top, but is merely covering seedier and more dangerous lower levels. Your quest will take you to the desert planet of Tatooine, the grassy plains of Dantooine, the Sith Academy on Korriban, the water world of Manaan, and the biggest delight of them all is Kashyyk, the home world of the Wookiees. Each planet is full of side quests to distract you from your main quest.
As far as the main quest goes, I really do not want to reveal any of it at all. Trust me when I say itís epic. If you know too much before you play, it will ruin the experience. I knew nothing of KotORís story before I began, and I loved every moment of it.
Knights of the Old Republic is the best Star Wars game ever created. Itís an epic adventure across a number of planets, and itís the sort of adventure you just canít put down. Youíll tell yourself ĎIíll just do one more quest,Ē and before you know it, youíve been awake all night. The choices are fantastic. Will you act with the discipline of a Jedi Knight, or will you indulge your darker fantasies and become a lord of the Sith?
Community review by jerec (March 18, 2005)
On very rare occasions, Jerec finds a game that inspires him to write stuff about. The rest of the time he just hangs around being sarcastic.
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