Sunday, January 24, 2010

Game Review - Knights of the Old Republic II

Today's review is of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords. Part of the Old Republic series that covers the first Knights of the Old Republic (from here on just called KotOR) and the upcoming The Old Republic MMORPG, this series really helped to pull people into the Star Wars environment and gave you a choice to walk the path of light, or the path of dark.

First, a little back story on the game when I finally got to play it all the way through. I purchased this game a while back off of ebay after I completed the first game, as I enjoyed that one very much. And after alot of computer troubles over the months, I finally got around to wanting to play it, and installed it....and tried to play it. Sadly, this game is a major pain in the butt to get running, at least on Vista. Runtime errors, crashes, glitches of all types. When I did get it running, the CD drive would lock up, so if I wanted to take the CD out, I would have to restart my computer every single time. Finally driven to the top levels of insanity, I downloaded a no-CD crack for the game, because there was no other way for me to play the game I owned on my own computer, and it was pissing me off big time. Once I installed that, BAM! The game worked near perfectly, and I was finally able to play and enjoy the game at long last.

Story: 4/5

The story is that you are the last of the Jedi, an exile from the Order from your actions during the Mandalorian Wars serving under Darth Revan (the main character of the first game). Your actions in the game will cause changes in the story and what characters will join you as the story unfolds, so be careful when you are playing as either the Lightside or Darkside stories. The story is good for the darkness to it, and the exploration on the different views of the Force, especially under the learning of the Exile's (your main character is known as the Exile) teacher, Kreia. she helps you learn different Force abilities and fighting styles, along with philosophies and other such tidbits about events in the game.

While alot was cut due to time constraints, the final story is pretty good. My only real problem is after the final boss, you just fly off into space, and that's it. Kinda irked me, but otherwise, the story I really enjoyed. You explore many worlds, help/hurt alot of people, have plenty of little side missions to keep you interested, the story does not disappoint.

Graphics: 4/5

I can't really complain on the look of the game. I think the graphics are great. Everything looks like it came out of a Star Wars movie. While this game may not have the polish of newer PC games, I'm happy enough as it is. The lightsaber effects are nice, the weapons fire is great, it all just looks good. The worlds look different and the people are varied so they don't all look the same. The ships have great detail to them, the droids look droidy and recall memories of 3PO and R2-D2.

Sound & Music: 3/5

Sadly, the music in this game just feels....incomplete. There are some tracks I love, but alot that just seem like parts of a larger track. It's a love/hate thing. When the soundtrack is good, it's good, but when it  drops, it drops. The music isn't terrible, even the worst is manageable enough to work as it should for the area, but some just feel like they could have been better. I do like that some tracks hint back to the first KotOR as well.

Gameplay: 4/5

The gameplay is that of an action adventure RPG. You take control of a party of characters and play through the game, letting your actions take you down the path of Light or Dark, and drawing upon the Force in the ways you take. Equipping lightsabers and blasters, swords and shields, using special skills and the Force to battle past enemies, the game is just fun to play.

The gameplay also allows for alot of customization in how you want to play your character. Want to be a ranged fighter, you can put your points into dexterity and learn blaster skills, or you'd rather talk than fight, you can put points into charisma and be able to talk by alot of stuff instead of fighting. This really allows the game to have lasting value.

Replayability: 4/5

This game lends itself well to many playthroughs. With the ability to play as either Light or Dark, and the many options you customizing your character in different ways, not to mention different characters you get for light or dark, you will continue playing this game many times. There's also just a whole lot to do, so you might miss something the first time.

Final Score: 3.5/5 (Not an average)

KotOR II is a great game, and it deserves the score...but...what holds it from getting a better score is the fact that so much just seems incomplete. I know a ton of content was cut out due to the rush to meet the release date, and that is a shame. I would have loved to see what the full game could have been with all the cut content put back in it. However, in the end I say if you can find this game, and get it to actually run on your system, pick it up and play it. It's well worth the time you put into it. Really, you can't go wrong with most of the Star Wars games, they're great.

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