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   Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Review  

Knights of the Same Old Republic.
by Brian "Choco" Hagen

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
Easy to Moderate
COMPLETION TIME
25-40 hours
OVERALL

2.5/5

Rating definitions 

   Other reviews for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 gave it high marks for pretty much being more of what they got out of the first game taking an "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" approach. That may have been true for the Xbox version, but this review is based off the PC version, which is one of the buggiest high profile games to be released in quite a while. The game may be playable, but it is far from a smooth ride.

   As in the first KOTOR, the player is allowed to create a character by choosing their gender and one of three classes. It's not such a great selection, but it works pretty well. There's not much need for more than three since players are allowed to customize their characters so much throughout the game through attributes, skills, and feats (extra skills and bonuses gained every two levels). It's nearly identical to the systems seen in Dungeons & Dragons 3.X. There have been a few tweaks in the feats section since the first game, but nothing that changes gameplay very much to be noteworthy.

   KOTOR2 is heavy with storyline for the most part. While most of the game has involved and intriguing dialogue with many response choices, certain areas of the plot are really lacking. For the sake of not spoiling anything, though, no more detail on this will be given. Just know that the story had a lot of potential that wasn't fully tapped.

Caption Insert the obligatory "That's gotta hurt!"

   The game is graphically surprising. Some who read a sentence like that might think "surprising" is a good thing. That is not the case in this game. The graphics are not even up to par with the graphical quality of the first KOTOR. This is a puzzling realization, and disappointing since it's been over a year and a half since the first game's release. Additionally, the playable female player model really doesn't fit in with the game world properly while moving. There's no feeling that she's actually hitting the ground with her feet since she glides instead of stepping properly and bobbing up and down from the impact. Mix that together with some nasty graphical bugs and it's hard to be very forgiving about this category.

   The controls are a bit of a step up from the original game with the addition of one key feature. Now, players can switch between two weapon configurations with the press of a button on the game's GUI instead of being forced to pause and change weapons in the equip screen, which was needlessly tedious. For people who really focus on ranged combat as well as lightsaber/melee combat, it's a welcome addition.

Caption The addition of hanging garments is nice.

   The sound and music are the game's high point. Though the music isn't the best quality, and there are a few small looping problems, there's not much else to complain about. The sound effects are pretty much the same as in the first game, but the score is new and quite good. Mark Griskey did his composing job well. It's not exceptional, but it isn't a letdown, either.

   Bugs are the main problem with this game. The bugs range from not being able to complete swoop races through the entire game to thrusting the character's own vibroblade through their head while running and suffering no ill effects. They are much too numerous to list here, but it's be easy to find most of them on Obsidian's official KOTOR2 forum. From the look and feel of the game, it all just seems very unpolished. It's obvious that the game was rushed out the door without allowing it to be properly completed. It is unsure whether LucasArts or Obsidian Entertainment is to blame for this, but it's really not our job to point fingers like that. The true point is that this is one of the buggiest PC RPG releases that has happened in a while. Waiting for a patch before purchasing would probably be a wise decision.

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