(This review is InProgress and will be updated)
(I’ve now competed it, Woo, and will eventually pull this together as a real review. DTTD
Knights of the Old Republic Two
I played, and enjoyed immensely, Knights of the Old Republic.
It was an RPG by Bioware set in the Star Wars universe. The perspective is third person - Tomb-Raider like rather than Neverwinter like - and the controls are somewhat consolesque (As befits a game ported from the XBox, really), but the game not only felt like a Star Wars game from the moment the famous blue text hung in the middle of the screen “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” though the the emotional orchestral score (with The theme music, obviously, but also new theme riffs for the major characters). The graphical style was Star Wars, the plot was Star Wars, it was Star Wars Universe in game form.
It was also a wonderfully detailed cRPG, with a nice selection of characters (HK-47 is the Minsc of a new generation) and a suitably epic, twisty plot.
For KOTOR2(Knights of the Old Republic Two) they gave it away to someone else.
The company Bioware trusted with this game was Obsidian, risen from the ashes of the old Black Isle Studios (Generally, Obsidian came from the bit of Black Isle which did Planescape, Icewind Dale and the D&D games, The team that did Fallout went to become Troika and produce a game I was raving about a little while ago) and what they have done with it is…
Well, more of the same, really. If you’re looking for the “Epic, genre bending” type of sequel, look elsewhere. Obsidian have taken the winning formula of KOTOR1 and screwed with it barely at all. The improvements made are minor. The whole thing is a little more shiny, a little more graphically intensive. Yay progress. But the only actual substantial differences are minor, and are on the whole things that were less-than-stellar about the original.
For example, you start as a Jedi. Instead of spending half the game as a pleb, you begin the game as a wielder of the force. Albeit one who’s lost most of his training, meaning you start as a baby Jedi.
For a second example, a lot of the time in combat in KOTOR, you’d spend annoying seconds in the Equip screen, swapping your characters ranged weapons for melee weapons, since the droid were coming right for you. No longer, you can now equip two sets of weapons, and flick between them with a button press. Again, Yay progress.
But generally, things are much like the original.
In fact, when you start the game you do so on the Ebon Hawk (your ship from the previous game) controlling T3-M4 (Your droid from the previous game). attempting to save your major characters life by fixing the ship.
In fact, there’s quite a bit of this kind of model reuse from the
previous game. It gives the whole thing both consistency and a
continuity from the first, but I’m currently finding the “Deju Vu”~~ness
a little too distracting.
Having said that, I’m only about eight hours into it (From 09:30 this morning though to 17:30 straight, and then in spots since then while my hands recovered, with the occasional break to get a cup of tea.) so originalityville may be just around the corner…
This has gone beyond “Deja Vu” into the realms of “Taking the Piss”
Plus, it just crashed. Grr.
End of Day 3
Okay, so the “Having played it all day for the past three days” doesn’t mesh with the above, so some nice things.
Originality is spotty. Where it isn’t, it’s using whole sets or plots from the original. Where it is, it’s great. It messes around with usual RPG conventions, like you always playing the main character. Just like the other one did, but better. More of the same, you see.
The plot is a lot more wordy, far less~~ PC Owner prejusice alert - consolesque than the first, and far more “Shadowy threat” than “OhShitWereGonnaDie”, far more subtle. But also slower.
Personally, I’d have found a new pilot after we were shot down in a non-recoverable way three journeys running, but I may be overreacting.
It’s slightly less polished, less smooth than the original. Fades don’t work properly (Fade to black, flash original image, flash back to black again), I lost sound for a couple of videos, and the subtitles and vocals were one text-block out of sync for a scene. Most sloppily of all, I spent an hour in the grand home of the Big Bad of one planet, following him though mazes, Lions & Christians style pits and escape tunnels, killed him, only to emerge breathless having completed the mission. Cleaning up the quests on that level before I moved elsewhere, I went back to his home. He’s still there, same dialogue tree, same place. His dead body’s still in the right place too.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good game. It’s well plotted, nicely written, has good pace and some decent characters, and it’s a solid and well made sequel to a very good game. The music is good, the sound is good, the story is good. it’s just some of the production I’m finding… iffy.
It’s more of the same, really, and all that brings with it.
One of the problems the plot has is the previous game. Basically, because of the possible characters (Male or Female) and endings (Light or Dark) the plot - set shortly after KOTOR - has to muddle up all references to the immediate effects of what you did, saved or doomed everything - in favour of a kind of handwavey “This all happened, then KOTOR 1 happened, and just after that (These are not the plots you’re looking for. These are not the plo..) and here we are, see?” which is a shame, because you can see it’s trying to tell you what happened afterwards, but it can’t do so without also saying KOTOR1, essentially, didn’t matter.
Anyway, I’ve got a civil war to stop, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Okay, so I’ve completed it. I can’t really say it’s short - my final game time was something in the region of 35 hours - but it seemed to end rather abruptly.
Good game, though. I intend to play it though again, once more with darkside. But not today.
Continued in KOTOR2 Spoilers
Stuff to touch on