Where The Phantom Menace failed, Knights Of The Old Republic succeeds brilliantly. This is a Star Wars prequel done right – with nary a Gungan in sight.
KOTOR takes place 4,000 years before the movies, during the Old Republic’s 10,000 year reign. All the familiar technology, however, had already been invented – hyperdrive, droids, blasters and lightsabers – making you wonder what they’ve been doing for the past four millennia.
You awake on a Republic starship in the middle of an attack, with no memory of your past. There’s a war on between the Republic and a Sith empire commanded by a Dark Jedi named Darth Malak. The race to stop Malak takes you to ten worlds, including Tatooine, Dantooine, and the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk. Along the way, you’ll unlock the secrets of your past, including latent Jedi abilities.
How you use them, though, is entirely up to you – and that’s the key to the game. Every moral decision you make affects your Force alignment, such as whether to help someone in need or rob and murder them for kicks. Your alignment enables you to efficiently use powers on your side – a Jedi is an expert at Force heal, while a Dark Jedi can more effectively use Force choke. You’ll want to play the game more than once to try all the game has to offer – and you might be surprised at how the game makes you feel about your moral choices.
The turn-based action masquerades as real-time combat, which makes it look exciting without feeling overwhelming. It’s a snap to get the hang of the interface, which allows you to pause, queue up attacks for all of your teammates, and then let it play out – or you can control one character and let the AI handle the rest.
If there were ever a recipe for success, it would be capturing the Star Wars feel and combining it with a first-rate storyline and excellent, accessible RPG gameplay. Knights of the Old Republic is a must-have title.