Sunday, August 10, 2014

Knights of the Old Republic

I decided to replay Knights of the Old Republic, because, for some reason, I never wrote a post about it even though I'm pretty sure I had this blog when I first played the game. And I needed to refresh my memory before writing about it. I replayed the second game as well, and in this post I will probably compare the two games quite a bit.

I have to say that KotOR II: Sith Lords is better in every aspect. Well, until the end, when it completely blows apart. The Restoration Mod had received updates since my last playthrough but there's no saving Malachor V, no matter what. Otherwise, KotOR2 is the greater of the two games, in my opinion. There is more customization and depth in every feature. Of course BioWare did the whole groundwork with the first game and Obsidian just had to build upon that.

The more prominent party influence system can be annoying in the second game. But if you feel like embracing it, it's really cool how your companions' alignments shift to correspond to yours when you gain influence with them. Your character has such a strong presence that even people with opposing opinions will follow her. In KotOR, you unfortunately have to endure the whining of your two party members without a way to change their minds. Especially in the beginning if you're going for the dark side, since you're stuck with light side companions until you get off Taris.

And I did join the dark side this time. To make my characters contrast even more to those of my first runs, I made them a Scout 2/Jedi Consular 18 in the first and a Jedi Consular 10/Sith Lord 18+ in the second one. Thus, less lightsaber action and more throwing force powers around with the silly pool of force points you get as a caster class.

In KotOR, the iconic dark side power, Force Lightning, gets its damage capped at level ten, which is pretty much right after you get it. It's kind of lame when the enemy health keeps scaling with your level and the power continues becoming less effective with each level up. In the second game, it has no damage cap, but it's also competing with a wider selection of powers. There's no reason to not pick it, though; at least not with a Consular/Sith Lord who gets three powers per two character levels.

Playing as Consular certainly gave a bit different experience. Mostly the difficulty stayed the same -- you merely kill enemies in a different way -- but at the end of the first game, when you're fighting the hordes of dark jedi in Starforge, I had some serious trouble. My powers weren't clearing the opposition fast enough due to their high saves. Maybe taking HK-47 and Bastila (whose power selection is rather bad after she's turned to the dark side) with me was a mistake as well. In the second game, the difficulty was maybe more even throughout the game. With a melee jedi I had definitely much easier time, though.

For some reason, I previously didn't acknowledge the fact that Knights of the Old Republic is a console port. It was quite obvious to me this time around. The interfaces are so unnecessarily clunky. Man, there's even negative mouse acceleration in the turret mini-game. But, it's also pretty cool how you can see where Mass Effect came from. There are so much similarities between the two games. I think they even used the same shade of blue in the menus.

Few same voice actors can also be found, although I guess they're really just BioWare's standard cast. Regardless, it's amusing how Bastila's (Jennifer Hale) mother is voiced by Carolyn Seymour, who is the voice actor of Dr. Chakwas in the ME games. There was also some male voice I recognized but I seem to have forgotten who it was now... Brian George at least was in both games, but not sure if it was him I found familiar.

One, slightly stupid thing in KotOR is how after finding four of the Starforge maps, you still need to go to one planet. But at that point you already know you're Revan and thus get various new dialogue options with the people you meet. However, claiming to be Revan has no effect anywhere as no one believes you or thinks you're joking. Which is bit of a shame. Also, I don't think being on the dark side should create visible dark veins on your character. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine don't look like they do just because they're on the dark side, although I guess it has indirectly caused it.

Knights of the Old Republic is a quite good Star Wars RPG. (It even starts with the classic opening crawl of text scrolling into space.) It's definitely worth at least one playthrough. I'd recommend playing a Jedi Guardian instead of Consular or Sentinel, though; Guardian is the only class that gets the awesome Force Jump power. Leaping right into enemies is simply amazing. I sadly didn't get to experience that on this run, except for the few times I had Juhani in the party.

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