Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Review | Video Games

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Review

Knights of the Old Republic
By now you've all heard about Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm and how they plan to use it for producing new regular installments of the Star Wars franchise. This might not actually be a bad thing because they also already owned Jim Henson Studios. So is it too much for me to hope that the next film will have practical effects like the originals? Yes, yes it is. Disney missed the point with Tron Legacy and I doubt they hold Star Wars with any more respect than they did for Tron to be anything other than a calculated cash cow.

That doesn't mean I hate Star Wars however, far from it. It's just been so long since I've experienced something new related to the series which wasn't frigging awful that I'm a bit jaded by this point. It's the end of 2012 which makes it almost 10 years since the last time I could say I've enjoyed Star Wars. No, I'm not talking about the Genndy Tartakovsky
Clone Wars cartoon but that's a good guess and shows that some people do still know how to make use of the property. Another group which did in 2003, were the people at BioWare who lovingly made the RPG video game epic, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

For those of you who are familiar with the Star Wars universe, this game takes place 4,000 years before 1977's
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. And it's amazing how little has changed in that time. Ships, architecture and social constructs are largely the same as they would be in the films. Instead of an empire vs rebellion however, at this time a different empire, waging a war of conquest is threatening the established Galactic Republic. You take the role of a republic soldier during an attack on your ship and from there embark on your own adventure a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Shortly afterward you and another soldier crash on the planet wide city of Taris where you must find other companions and escape a blockade to save the galaxy from a mysterious new tool of the empire called the Star Forge. Once the universe is opened up to you, you can then travel at your leisure to a number of other locations like Tatooine, the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk, Dantooine and others. It adds a wonderful amount of diversity which is only furthered by the huge cast of characters that you'll interact with throughout.

Many familiar alien races and even some new yet important ones are found wandering the cities and wilderness but all of them are fully voice acted. Like many of BioWare's other games are known for, Knights of the Old Republic is all about player choices. What others say and how they respond to you depends on what you say and how you respond to them. You can be a force for good or for evil or anywhere in between. It must have taken an enormous amount of writing to ensure such natural dialogue in any context and it is all written very well. It's far better than the prequel films and it even has a plot twist worthy of The Empire Strikes Back.

The characters in your party are colorful and diverse. From Jedi to mercenaries to droids and more, it's always interesting to see what they'll do next when you take them out on a particular mission, which can be played in a variety of ways depending on who you bring and what abilities or weapons they have equipped. The gameplay itself uses a
D20 system for role playing battles or using skills and it all gives this game an incredible amount of replayability through branching pathways.

That is if you can stand decade old graphics. They are still very nice but definitely show their age. Backgrounds look rich and vibrant but a little sparse and character models can look a little angular when up close. It's not terrible however and it shows how good art direction can support a game's aesthetic long after its technical merits no longer amaze. One thing which can never age however is the sound. You will find the expected Star Wars theme originally composed by John Williams but also hours of original music that fits in with his style perfectly. The sounds of laser blasters and light sabers are all present and in spite of the amount of dialogue, none of it sounds forced. They even had actors perform in alien languages much of the time and it still sounds great.

Overall, it took me more than 60 hours to finish the game but if you wanted, it could probably be done in half the time. I just enjoyed myself so much that I did every mission & side quest possible, explored the locations thoroughly, spoke to everyone and savored every moment. If you think you would enjoy this too and want something to tide yourself over until Disney's Star Wars releases in 2015, then this can be purchased for either
Microsoft Windows compatible home computers or purchased for original Xbox which is playable on modern Xbox 360's.  At no more than twenty dollars for this investment, the long winter nights will just fly by. Happy Wookiee Life Day, All Good Fans!

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