Thursday, June 02, 2005

KOTOR II Review

So, last week I bought Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords, for my computer, and it has swallowed my time completely. I simply can't believe how compulsively I've been playing this game.

Yeah, I'm just a little behind. So the game has been out for a few months now . . . so what?

The story begins with you, the supposed last of the Jedi, waking up on a mining station in an asteroid field, and you can't remember how you got there (stop me if you've heard this one). Okay, not an entirely original beginning, but the plot is absolutely fantastic. I'm not even that well versed in Star Wars lore, and I enjoy the story. It's a very gripping tale of good vs. evil (or evil vs. more evil, depending on how you choose to play).

The game isn't remarkably different from its predecessor. Graphically, little has changed. The interface is pretty much identical. Play mechanics are about the same, as are the game rules. The items behave somewhat differently, and some things have become easier or harder to get. For example, in the first game I swam in computer spikes, but the sequel has left me treasuring every one I find.

One of the biggest differences is in the way you interact with your compatriots. You gain "influence" with them by taking their side in arguments or reacting favorably to their words/views. As I've discovered too late, gaining influence with one person can cause your influence with another to dip. By even showing a hint of compassion to another character, one of my team members has sworn her utmost hatred for me.

Why is influence important? The characters will open up to you more with higher influence, but their alignment will more closely match your own if you have higher influence. I'm left in the odd position of having a Sith assassin on my team with a pure light side alignment.

My only major complaint is the difficulty of the game. Don't get me wrong; I like games that offer a challenge. In KOTOR, one strategy for maximizing the potential leveling of your character was to hold off on building their levels until after their class change. That's not possible in KOTOR II. When I was in the place just before the class change, I had to continue leveling up my character in order to gain multi-opponent attacks. I just couldn't survive a certain portion otherwise. The level cap is higher in this game, but the difficulty leaves less room for strategic planning of your character.

Which brings me to my other complaint: The manual. It is shoddily insufficient. There are new force powers, new character classes, and new feats. Does the manual give anything besides the most basic description of these? No. Terrible.

Overall: Great game. Great story. It's more of the same, but I liked the first game, so that's okay. But if you're unsatisfied with the manual, head online and look for some of that info.

1 comment:

Bleys Kenobi said...

Years after your review I am sitting here playing Kotor II for the 3rd time and have to see... how could you find this game difficult? At 16th level I am a Dark Side god and nothing can mess me up except maybe a Jedi boss and not even then. Learn how to play buddy ;) At this point the game is not challenging at all.