Hello gamers and welcome to week 16 of our countdown!
Exploring the Galaxy in the #25 Position…
A long, long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away…
Given some of the previous Star Wars games we’d seen, Knights of the Old Republic was a breath of fresh air. Prior to it, Star Wars games were all set in or around the time frame of the films, as most games based on movies tend to be. BioWare, a company that had already established itself as a quality RPG developer with games like Neverwinter Nights and the Bauldur’s Gate titles, took on a universe in Knights of the Old Republic that came with an established and passionate fan base. A lot of developers had grappled with Star Wars in the past, and felt the ever-present fanboy wrath when they failed. You could hardly blame a developer for being nervous or for treading lightly. Not BioWare. They delivered. Big time. Knights of the Old Republic wasn’t your average Star Wars game by a damn sight. BioWare took us way back into the history of the Star Wars universe, 4000 years before the events of the original trilogy and the (shudder) prequels. They gave us a storyline so rich and characters so well developed that the prequels looked even worse than they had before, if that’s even possible.
A STORY SET IN THE REPUBLIC THAT DOESN’T SUCK
As both an RPG and a Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic gave fans exactly what we wanted. Force powers? Check. Jedi vs Sith? Check. Lightsabers? Check. Wookies? Check. Space battles? Checkity freakin’ check! The game is set at the height of the Old Republic, (long before the Empire was established), right after the Republic has ended a protracted war against the Mandalorians. Two Jedi war heroes, Revan & Malak, explore deep space at the end of the conflict, claiming to be rooting out the remaining Mandalorians. A year later, Revan returns as a Sith Lord, (named Darth Revan, because putting Darth before your name totally makes you a Sith Lord, like, right away) at the head of a massive fleet and wages war on the Republic. A Jedi task force attacks Revan’s flagship and during the attack, Darth Malak, Revan’s apprentice, betrays his master and has his own ships fire on Revan as well. You start off the game as a no-name soldier on a transport ship, woken suddenly when the ship is attacked by Malak’s forces. You manage to escape the ship in an escape pod to the planet below, which is under Sith occupation. You work from here to figure out how to get off the Sith occupied planet, and to figure out why the Jedi in command of the ship you were on had requested you specifically for this mission (hint, it’s because you’re all kinds of special.)
WAIT FOR YOUR TURN BEFORE YOU SWING THAT LIGHTSABER, JERK!
The combat system is dated by today’s standard; it’s a traditional, turn-based system that really highlights how much Knights of the Old Republic’s combat design relies on old tabletop and Japanese RPG games. An upside to this style, though, is that you have the ability to pause your combat and queue up your actions (and you do still see this occasionally in contemporary titles like Dragon Age, another BioWare franchise, incidentally). It really does allow gamers of any skill level to jump in and enjoy the game without feeling overwhelmed by difficult combat. The character development and writing are rock solid, a hallmark of any BioWare RPG game. While dated, this game still provides a quality experience for any RPG gamer or Star Wars fan.
BioWare does a masterful job of weaving together a complex and intriguing plot for you to unfold, and a rich and detailed world for you to explore. While it doesn’t hold up quite well enough to earn our top rating, if you haven’t played this game, (and haven’t had the major plot twist spoiled for you yet), it is absolutely worth playing. We’ll leave Knights of the Old Republic with a solid 4 out of 5.