Reviewed by Reno
July 23rd 2004
Introduction:Star Wars: KotOR launches you into a time when both Jedi and Sith numbered in the thousands. While the galaxy recovers from a recent battle between the Mandaloreans and the Republic, the battle between Jedi and Sith rages on.
The Game:When Star Wars first made its Xbox debut with Star Wars: Starfighter, very few people were impressed. Hardcore Star Wars fans hung their heads in shame and I’m sure many people abandoned the idea of ever seeing a ‘good’ Star Wars game. Well, I can happily say that the day has come. For those of you that have played any of the other Star Wars games, you’ll be blown away by this game. Star Wars: KotOR is based on Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition rules. In the beginning of character creation you’re given 2 options. Selecting a pre-made character or building you own custom made character. You can be either human or ummmm…errrr...human. Yes, you heard me correctly. Hopefully BioWare will give us more racial options in their next game. If you choose to make your own character you’ll start with base stats: 8 strength, 8 dexterity, 8 constitution, 8 intelligence, 8 wisdom, 8 charisma. You’re then given 30 points to distribute to whatever stats you may choose. After that you select your skills, then your feats, then your name. It’s now time to begin the game.
One of the first gameplay aspects that really impressed me was the battle system. Upon seeing an enemy the game instantly pauses, you then enter a series of commands for your characters to execute, you unpause the game and stare in awe as they dodge, parry and kill. The further you progress in the game the more abilities and skills you obtain and the more intricate the battles become.
Another thing that I quickly noticed about KotOR was the fact that it’s absolutely loaded with cool special effects. For example: If you click the ‘start’ button and check out your characters picture you’ll notice that he is surrounded by a white fog. Depending on which side of the Force you choose the fog will become either blue or red. The further you move into your chosen side of the force, the deeper the colour becomes. Your character will also become more saintly/fierce looking depending on the path you choose.
The controls are also very easy to get used to. The left analog controls character movement and the right analog control the camera. Sound familiar? My only gripe about the controls in KotOR is the speed at which the camera moves. Actually, let me correct myself. I should have said “ the lack of speed at which that camera moves”.
Graphics & Sound:While this is arguably the weakest point in the game, KotOR contains an incredible amount of attention grabbing detail. The scenery is awe-inspiring but the character graphics are a little bit lacking. I think that the character graphics are weak for the same reason the character graphics were weak in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (The clothing/armour is all generically designed and not specific to any one character). Don’t get me wrong, the graphics are FAR from bad. It’s just that I’ve seen better.
Now we move onto sound. The sounds found in KotOR more than makes up for any weakness in graphics department. From the “zing…zap…bzzzzz” of the lightsabres to the “beep…blip…chirp” of the droids, every sound in KotOR is accurate, crisp and highly detailed. On top of all of that there is also the classic Star Wars orchestrated music of John Williams softly playing in the background. Star Wars wouldn’t be Star Wars without it.
Innovation:BioWare has taken a huge leap from their gaming past. While KotOR maintains many of the core aspects that make a BioWare game, it also contains many changes (all of which are a step in the right direction). They’ve improved their combat system, the character screens are now easier to navigate and they’ve done a better job implementing the D&D 3rd Edition rules.
Mojo:Mojo, mojo, mojo. This game is absolutely packed with mojo. Ever wanted to be like Darth Vader and join the Dark Side of the Force? Ever wanted to wield a 2 bladed light sabre like Darth Maul? Ever wanted to choke a person to death with the force? If you’re like me and you’re into the whole “evil is cool” thing…this game is right up your alley.
Lowdown:KotOR will be a welcome addition to any gamers collection. It has the feel of an action game and the depth of an RPG. My advice: Don’t bother renting it. Just buy it.
Gameplay: 10, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 9, Mojo: 10. Final: 10
GOTY AWARD 2003: GAME OF THE YEAR, BEST RPG OF 2003
GOTY RUNNER-UP 2003: MOST MOJO, MOST INNOVATIVE GAME