Reviews// Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords

SW:KotOR:tSL... catchy, eh?

Posted 4 Jan 2005 15:52 by
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.
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Althea90 27 Jan 2005 16:15
To the Game Reviewers at SPONG:

After reading your review of KOTOR: TSL, I would like to share some comments with you. Since I have 65 hours of playing time under my belt (and I'm still not finished with the game) I believe my comments carry a good weight of relevance. I believe your review to be unbiased, and I thank you for taking the time to write an honest account of your impressions. However, there are a few things that I think you could reflect upon, especially the RPG aspects of the game.
You stated that The Sith Lords really doesn't add too much more to the original KOTOR. In fact, the "phrase more of the same" pops up in more than one review. You mention that the pazaak and swoop racing as examples of where the game has not been enhanced, but you did not elaborate on the whole system of breaking down, creating and upgrading items. This is a big enhancement over the original, and it potentially adds hours to the gameplay. I think this feature would really appeal to fans of RPGs, and makes The Sith Lords an improvement over the first KOTOR.
You also commented that the combat system, although based on 20 sided dice rules, may be too hybrid for hardcore RPGers. I have to disagree with you on this point. The combat may make KOTOR: TSL look like an action game, but underneath there is an enormous process going on based on stats and percentages and dice rolls. There is so much going on that I think only the hardest of hardcore RPG fans can actually go into battle and know precisely what to expect based on what their characters strengths are, what weapons they are using, what armor and powers they possess and what manner of attack they use. Then you can apply the exact same conditions to the side of the enemy. This is the beauty of this system, and perhaps why it has fooled you. It allows easy access to the process of combat while allowing, if you wish, to completely analyze the situation before, while and after it happens. The fact that they've made the combat more intricate with forms and new powers is again an improvement over the first KOTOR.
I guess that the story affects people in different ways, based on what you like. There is a lot of dialogue, but the richness and mystery of the story cannot be denied. The other party members also play a much more important part in the story this time around. So again I see this as an improvement.
I guess the point I really want to make is that, yes, KOTOR: The Sith Lords is basically the same as the first game, but a better one because of these well thought out improvements. I just want the public to see this side of the game, because there are fewer and fewer gamers out there who appreciate the thoughtful approach that games like KOTOR: The Sith Lords and other real RPGs have to offer. I'm 65 hours into the game, and I'm told I rush through my games. However, I think that you may have rushed even more than me, and missed what really makes this game shine and stand out over most of the games out there. Basically, its a great game and has something for everyone, a rare feat indeed.


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