Wednesday, June 08, 2005

KOTOR II Review, Part II

Okay, so I actually beat KOTOR II a few days ago. I've been busy with other matters to mention it so far. Upon finishing the game, I've developed a few more thoughts on the game:

1) The game relies on a randomizing system for items. This means that when playing the game, you'll never get the same items twice when visiting a certain area; quests, enemies, and containers will have items, weapons, armor, and accessories randomly chosen from a certain list.

Now, while this might seem like it would increase the replay value of the game, it's not that much fun to play with. Some items seem to have higher likelihood of being found, while much more useful items are less likely to be found. The story immersion is also broken, at times, when enemies are found carrying items that simply make no sense in their hands. Example: Some soldiers can be found carrying Jedi robes. Why would a soldier have a Jedi robe? This makes no sense (well, in the game it makes no sense, at least). Plus, towards the end of the game, you'll have more mines, stims, medpacs, and grenades than you can shake a stick at (and you can shake one heckuva stick for all the crap you'll accumulate, too!).

That makes for a strong problem, too. Most of the enemies in the beginning of the game drop items rarely, and when they do, they're mostly useless (medpacs, components, credits, etc.). The frequency really ratchets up at the end of the game. You don't start seeing any of the interesting, powerful items until then, and they're all dropped by enemies. You spend most of the game going with a small selection of useful armor and weapons, until the very end when you get a glut of the good stuff that you can't use anyhow. It was not a well thought out system.

2) While the ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel (the first one didn't, oddly enough), it is awful.

To demonstrate the awfulness, I quote an episode of The Critic:
Jay: Now what did you think of my script?

Gary: It was excrement.

Jay: Did you say it was excellent?

Gary: It was crummy.

Jay: Did you say it was yummy?

Gary: It was an awful piece of junk that made me want to puke all night.

Jay: Did you say it was an awesome piece of spunk that you want to shoot tonight?

Gary: It was a billious piece of dirt that made me cry out in pain.

Jay: Did you say it was a brilliant piece of work, and you'll fly me out to Spain? Where we'll meet King Juan Carlos and drink sangria all night?

*Spoiler Alert*

How does the game end? You beat the bad guy . . . then, you talk with the bad guy in the same dialogue-tree style the rest of the game utilizes. The bad guy explains the motives, and predicts the future for you. The bad guy dies/passes out, you leave, and there's a super-short clip of you flying off in your ship. Roll credits.

Seriously, I spent ~25 hours to get that?! Agh! That is ridiculous. Video game players are very frustrated by the growing trend of games with unexplainably short endings. The end of the game is supposed to be the payoff, the denouement, the resolution! We don't spend 10-40 hours (depending on the game) to get 30 seconds of ending clips and the credits. When will publishers realize this?

Overall: Great game; some systems need improvement; lousy ending.

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