Let me start off by saying that neither Allison nor myself enjoy any sort of turn-based RPG.
That's a Role Playing Game where the game pauses when there is an enemy and you enter
your attacks and then watch as they are performed by your character (think Final Fantasy).
seemed odd to us to make the action stop and then sit there and think about what four
attacks to use for each of three people that you control. Allow me also to state that
neither Allison nor myself are very interested in story lines. In my opinion, they get
in the way of actually playing the game: Max Payne, I could care less about your dead
wife; Sora, I really don't care about your island home; Tommy Vercetti, I don't need
your life story, just go beat people up. And, finally, let me state that neither of
us are huge Star Wars fans. Sure, I really enjoy Star Wars stuff but I'm not a fanatic.
Now, let me say that Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, being a turn based RPG and heavily
dependent upon the story line, is a definite candidate for our Game of the Year. It is awesome!
The game has so deeply penetrated my consciousness that at the grocery store
this morning I called someone a "Rakghoul" for pulling out of a parking space before me.
Why don't I go ahead and preface the game's story for you: There is a great war
between the Sith and the Republic. This is about 4,000 years before Luke and Han and the gang.
You play the game as a Jedi who has only recently discovered his/her powers. It is your job
to figure out what the two evil Sith (Revan and Malak) did to make themselves so powerful.
Along your way you get lots of help from a seemingly endless cast of characters. Yoda, he's
there (except his name is Vandar). Chewy, well you get Zaalbar and a whole Wookiee planet.
Han Solo, how about Carth...yeah, he'll do. And what about Leah? Hmmm. Looks a lot like
Bastila to me.
In order to discover Malak's evil plan you need to travel from planet to planet discovering
pieces of a map which will lead to Malak's enclave. On each planet you encounter people/beings
who need your help. Enter the side quests. Yes, this game is full of side quests.
Literally dozens of them. Everything from helping a poor woman get her droid back to
freeing the Wookiees on Kashyyk to figuring out who kidnapped all of the Selkath (water
As you play through the game you have to make hundreds of decisions. The choices you make
greatly influence the game. The most obvious way is via your "Force Meter." You can either
be a Light or Dark Jedi. If you help someone out you get some "Light side points." If you
tell someone to bug off or kill them (sorry Juhani!) you get "Dark side points." Various "Force
Powers" are available to you depending if you are a dark or light Jedi. For example,
if you are a dark Jedi you can force-choke enemies. On the light side, you can make
them freeze (statis).
Your choices also determine many of the events in the game. If you don't help people you'll
get fewer side quests and the game will go by much faster. If you are nice and tell
everyone that you meet that you'll help them you get side quest after side quest
and the game becomes considerably longer. In other words, if you choose the easy
route and don't help anyone you are looking at about 30 hours of gameplay. If you're like
us and had to do everything you're looking at about 60 hours of gameplay. Well worth
your $50 either way.
Let's focus on the gameplay itself. You are the main character and at any one time
you'll have 2 other people in your party. Therefore you are controlling 3 people at a time.
You can switch between characters at any time to perform character-specific functions
like opening a security door or slicing into a computer. You get experience points
for tasks and for killing enemies. Your characters level-up and you can either choose
to customize them or just go for the "auto-upgrade." As the game goes on, your
characters become more and more powerful and have more and more weapons and force options
availabe to them.
Most of the gameplay is either battling enemies or figuring out puzzles. Many of
these puzzles are math puzzles. The kind of fare that you'd find on a logic test such
as figuring out what the next number would be in a string of numbers or how to
measure four gallons when you have a 3 gallon container and a 5 gallon container (made
famous in Die Hard 3 with Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis in the park
when they need to diffuse the bomb). There are also various murder trials that you have
to help in detemining the guilty party by doing investigative work and interviewing
There are thousands of items in this game. The coolest and most important of which is the
lightsaber. Not only will you find many lightsabers of various colors and styles but
you can upgrade using various crystals. Each Jedi you have in your party can wield
two lightsabers or one doulbe-bladed lightsaber. In addition to the lightsabers
there are various blasters, grenades, armor, implants, shields, belts, etc. that
help your characters in various ways.
In summary, this is a huge, complex game that requires you to pay attention
and get involved in the story. The story is so good that I personally feel
it's a better plot than either of the new Star Wars prequels. The RPG aspect
of the game is not over bearing and will not hinder any newcomers to the genre,
myself included. The controls are easy to use and the menus and map are wonderful.
If you have $50 and an extra 40 hours of your life to spend being taken away
into a deep world of Jedi Knights, right and wrong, and wonderully imaginative
planets then you'll absolutely love this game.