Just reading the title Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords summons baffling connotations. It means that KOTOR itself has become the franchise, whilst the Star Wars license, now milked to the point of emaciation, has become an ethereal presence rather than a defining factor. No one really knows what to expect from 'then next big Star Wars game' because they've always been so horribly inconsistent. But Xbox owners and RPG fans would be keen to point out that the KOTOR name now connotes greatness. And so, like nearly every other good game we've played in the past year, this has been preceeded by the obligatory 'here comes the great... Sliced Bread 2' drum roll.
In staying true to the KOTOR name, the Sith Lords takes on exactly the same format as before: it's a script-heavy RPG with pseudo real-time combat, plenty of Star Warsy features and a nagging light-side/dark-side conscience to contend with throughout. And for those that knew that already, we can tell you now that very little has changed. This is one of those sequels that offers nothing different, but just more. It's a bit like that 18 stone turkey from Christmas day. It was absolutely delicious on the day, there's no denying it; but the next day, the second bout, and as you tuck into a teetering depot of shredded cold-turkey stuff, it is rather less appealing. It's the same meal, on a different plate, and because it is getting slightly chewy, you need some pickles in there to tang up proceedings.
Unfortunately Sith Lords is almost entirely devoid of pickle. The graphics have not been improved, in fact, they seem distinctly less impressive than last time around. The main structure, as good as it was, has remained unchanged; and so there's little to distinguish this from its predecessor. If we erased our memories, scratched the labels off the discs and poked small plastic cracker toys in our eyes during the title and loading screens, we'd be hard pushed to know which one out of KOTOR 1 and 2 came first. The sameyness is all the more suprising for the fact that this has been developed by Obsidian and not Bioware, which was responsible for the first game.