KOTOR 2: The Sith Lords – First Impression

I got some really good suggestions in the Recommend a RPG thread. Some of these titles are older games that are not so easy to locate, but I’m planning to give several of them a whirl. In the meantime I got Knights of the Republic 2 on my hands. I loved the first part of the game, so I decided to pick up the sequel.

I’m currently 5-6 hours into the game, and I decided to jot down some preliminary notes about my first impressions. Keep in mind that I barely scratched the surface of this game so these impressions may change once I get to the “good stuff” or the “boring stuff” whichever comes first.

Firstl, I wanted to note that if you played KOTOR, you will be right at home with KOTOR2 interface because hardly anything has changed. The game runs on the very same engine, and other than minor tweaks here and there, it looks and feels identical to the original. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I guess Lucas Arts figured that there is no need to fix something that is not broken. :)

This time around you actually create a Jedi character from start and you get to choose you Jedi class (guardian, sentinel, consular) which impacts your beginning skill set. I kinda liked the way original KOTOR made you create a character with regular background first, and then got you into the Jedi business but oh well. Naturally you start with no cool force powers and no light saber. It is explained that you’ve been exiled from the Jedi Order and stripped of your powers after the Mandalorian Wars. You are also, the last Jedi in the galaxy as all the others wiped themselves out in the civil war that followed the Mandalorian conflict. If this was not enough, there is some odd looking Sith Lord chasing after you and trying to kill you, and there is a bounty on your head.

You find out all about this shitstorm hovering over your head, as you wake up on some random mining station in your Jedi PJ’s suffering from a mild case of amnesia. Shortly after you realize that almost everyone on the mining station died in some mysterious circumstances.

Jedi PJ's

It sounds like a hell of a beginning, but it’s not. For the first 4 hours of the game you are essentially running around the desolate station watching holo-recordings, talking to the 2 other surviving NPC’s and fighting the same 2 types of droids over and over again. The progress is very linear and you have very little choice left to you. In fact, the first few hours of game play have none of the ambiguous conflicting quests which force you to make moral choices which affect your alignment. You do get light and dark side points, but at times I felt it was a bit contrived. Let me give you an example.

At one point early in the game you find a prisoner locked in a holding cell of the station. He is obviously a key character and you will need him to unlock your further progress. Leaving him in the cell is not really an option, but depending on how you talk to him you will get light or dark alignment points. But the dialog options are a bit constrained. You can be either nice and trusting (to the point of being naive) or very rude and suspicious with almost no middle ground between the two. It’s a bit silly if you ask me.

You will destroy many of these spider droids

There are also some odd puzzles in this early level – there are two doors locked by a complex voice-print or security code. To unlock them you have to run all around the station and listen to many minutes of holo-logs to discover the right code combination or record enough voice samples to defeat the lock… Or you can just destroy the computer terminal right next to that door. WTF? It kinda takes away the satisfaction of solving the damn thing when you know you could have simply skipped it right away.

To add insult to the injury, most of those first few long hours you will be running around alone missing out on all the tactical aspects of team combat. You only get to put a team together in the last 20-30 minutes on the station. Not cool. If this was supposed to be like an extended training mission, it was the longest training I have seen lately.

Go Team!

Fortunately after you get out of that mining station, the game returns back to the familiar, open ended mode in which you can walk around, talk to various NPC’s pick up interesting side quests, and get conflicting mission assignments from opposing factions.

Too bad I don’t really care for my two first company members. One is some shifty petty criminal, while the other is some very cryptic, mysterious old woman who seems to be force-linked to you in some strange way. I don’t trust either of them, and neither one is particularly likable. The lady has a stick up her ass, and speaks in riddles all the time, while the dude just annoys me. Maybe they will grow on me in time though. I remember that the Jedi chick from the original game used to annoy me until I figured out you can flirt with her. :P

Finally and Open Ended Environment

So far I’m not terribly impressed with the overly linear first few hours of the game or the 2 non droid company members I have met so far (the little utility droid is ok in my book). Still, it’s not a bad game – it has entertained me enough to keep me playing despite all these nitpicks I listed above. I think I reached the point where the missions will get more interesting, and the plot will start picking up soon. I still have no lightsaber, and there are plenty of open slots on my company screen to host some interesting new characters that I could use instead of greasy slimebol and grandma jedi. ;)

[tags]kotor 2, knights of the old republic 2, star wars, lucas arts, review, games[/tags]

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4 Responses to KOTOR 2: The Sith Lords – First Impression

  1. Ian Clifton UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Hey, I have played that game! It does get better: much less linear and more realistic options as far as dark or light are concerned. The time that it takes to build a lightsaber makes it that much cooler of a weapon. My favorite thing about that game was that just as it started to frustrate me, I was able to use my force powers to make someone go jump off a cliff!

    At times it can be a little like “Okay, get on with it” and certain parts of the storyline are forced/required, but it’s a pretty good game overall. Oh, and that old lady annoyed the hell out of me when I first started. Eventually I got used to (ignoring) her, but her role in the storyline slowly comes out.

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  2. astine UNITED STATES Konqueror Linux says:

    I remember that game – and not with fond memories. Not that I ever actually PLAYED it, though I’ve had more than the opportunity. I had a roommate freshman year of college who stayed with us a few weeks while waiting for his semester to start (he was leaving the country.) I remmeber that he played a lot of video games. I remember this, because, watching him beat KOTOR2 was the only time I’ve ever seen someone go twenty four hours without sleep playing games.

    My roommate himself was also a pretty heavy gamer. I watched him play through KOTOR2 about three times. This was enough for me to nearly memorize the plot and ruin my interest in it forever.

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  3. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @Ian – cool! Good to know it picks up later on. So far my force powers are puny and unimpressive. I would love to be able to Jedi Mind-trick annoying NPC’s to piss off, but so far, no luck. :P

    @astine – oh man, I hate watching someone play a game like that. It totally ruins the game for you. I mean this game is pretty much 80% story. Once you know it, the combat and customization elements are not really exciting enough to warrant you sitting through the whole thing again. :P

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