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Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Review

Developer: Obsidian Publisher: LucasArts
Release Date: December 6, 2004 Also On: PC and Xbox

In 2003, Knights of the Old Republic hit the market to much acclaim from many critics. Being in development for so long, many had high hopes for this new Star Wars game and it delivered. This action packed RPG brought you into a world of choices and destiny through the force. On top of that, we were given a compelling story to go along with it. By the end of the year, KOTOR had won more than 40 Game of the Year awards from major magazines and websites. The sequel however, would not be created by its original developer Bioware, but by Obsidian Entertainment. They seem to pride themselves on being able to make the sequel. Is KOTOR 2 even mentionable when it comes to 2004’s Game of the Year?

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Using the same graphic engine as before, Knights 2 brings a bit of an outdated experience, but still brings some brilliant graphics to the table. There are some new things added to the engine that are worth some note. New weather effects such as rain and snow in levels immerse you deeper into the worlds you will be traveling through. Clothing and hair now moves and sways while you maneuver through the environments. Though these things are a nice added touch, problems with the original game were not corrected. The frame rate is still an issue after loading and in battle which can really be a pain on the eyes, even though it doesn’t really affect the gameplay. Load times occur much too often and can be unbearable at times when you are really getting into the story. Many familiar faces from common people in the game show up a lot too, which does downgrade KOTOR 2 a bit, but this happens in most games of this size. These things should have been addressed in the sequel, but sadly weren’t.

The excellent standard set for sound in KOTOR continues with The Sith Lords. The score uses some of the music from the first game, but there are many new tunes that greatly add to the Star Wars universe. Things such as cantina music can really give you a sense of where you are and the mood in the air of the game, especially through surround sound. Sound effects bring the Star Wars universe into your living room with the sound of lightsabers clashing, blasters blaring, and thermal detonators blowing up the immediate area around it. Roaring spaceships and hyperdrive engines give you a movie-like experience. By most games, it can’t be matched. Voice talent again does a phenomenal job in immersing the player into the storyline. Hours of dialogue was put into the game, all giving you the same thrilling experience from start to finish. It is truly amazing what can happen when Lucas stays away from Star Wars games.

What is best remembered from the original KOTOR is the story and groundbreaking gameplay elements it introduced. As far as the story goes, The Sith Lords doesn’t disappoint you until the weak endings. You start out as Jedi who was exiled from the Jedi Order for following Revan during the Jedi Civil War. Mysteriously however, you lost your force powers before you were kicked out and are now establishing them again at the beginning of the game. The Sith are after you because you happen to be the last known Jedi in the galaxy that could pose a threat to the Sith rule. The Old Republic is in shambles and it is up to you to decide the fate of the galaxy. During your journey, you will be hunted by Sith assassins and Sith Lords that will either try to persuade you to follow their path, or try to kill you in spite of becoming a Jedi. While this is going on, you will go on a quest to search for other Jedi in the galaxy that may still remain. What you do once you find them is up to you.

The same gameplay elements from the first KOTOR returns with a few new aspects that can really play a huge role in making the game great. You still have the ability to change your alignment through dialogue, but now your actions will affect your party members as well. The influence system allows you to persuade the others in your party to go down your path. Make the darkest person light or vise versa.

There are also different characters in the game that will only join your party depending on your alignment and gender, giving you an incentive to play through the game more than one time. Even the items in the game change every time you play. Every time you play the game, a new experience awaits.

You now have the ability to forge items from raw materials and take them apart for more components to build things. You can forge bigger and better things pending your skill level in certain areas such as repair and demolitions. Also, you now have a prestigious class to choose from once you reach a high enough level in the game. You can focus on becoming a Master with the force, a Master with your blade, or a balance. It is almost like an upgraded version of Sentinel, Guardian, and Consular.

The great thing about KOTOR 2 is that you get four totally different game experiences, depending on how you play the game. Your alignment and gender affect the storyline, giving you a different experience in each game. The only thing that would make KOTOR even better would be if you could make characters from alien races like Galaxies. On my first time through, KOTOR 2 took me about 30 hours to complete. Considering you take the time to complete the side quests and mini games, you could have a near 120 hour experience, if you play it each of the four ways possible. The Sith Lords is well worth your time and money, regardless if you are a fan of Star Wars or not. You will enjoy the freedom and power of what it is like to hold the fate of the galaxy in the palm of your hands.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9.5
Final: 9.4
Written by Shawn Review Guide