Before the dark times. Before the Empire
Okay, we all know that is a lie. Not just because the universe of Star Wars is called Star Wars for a reason, you know, there are wars, nonstop. But because I think we can all reasonably say that the Republic was more corrupt than if you asked Boss Hogg to build you the perfect government. Today we are reviewing three of the greatest Star Wars games of all time. That’s right, it’s a three for one deal today. We are going to be looking at all of the Old Republic games and rating each.
Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic, or KOTOR as it is also known, came out in 2003. Currently it is still available for purchase on Steam. Why am I reviewing a game from 2003? Don’t give me that. You still boot up DOSBOX to play Oregon Trail. And if you don’t, you are now Googling DOSBOX Oregon Trail. I am reviewing it because although the graphics of the early 2000’s weren’t great, the story sure as hell was. KOTOR is about as close as you can get to a classic RPG without whipping out the pencil and paper. To the point where it talks about rolls out of 20 for your turn based attacks. The story itself takes us back to 4000 years before the birth of the empire and tells the story of Revan, Malek, and Bastila. By setting the clock back so far, the game allows for a completely different look at the Star Wars universe. You get all the powers that we never got to see in the movies but appeared in the books. We got completely different ships and droids. HK-47 calling you a meatbag never really get’s old, and there is no ship as pretty as the sith fighters in the game. And we also got a deep look at the cultures of all the different Star Wars planets. The game spans 7 different planets in your search for an ancient master weapon, the Star Forge. Only with the destruction of the Star Forge can you bring an end to Malek’s Sith empire. Along the way you meet up with a vast array of different allies and enemies that all have different views on the universe. And this diversity really adds to the game in a way that most RPG’s seem to lack. You get the sense that these could be real people in the Star Wars galaxy.
But I think what I have always loved most about this game is that I feel immersed and that I have so many choices to make that have consequences. This might sound weird, but it is still a novel idea in a lot of digital RPG’s today. Think about how many you have played where you choice is how much do I grind in this particular location to get me to the next level. And the story always ends the same. In this game it doesn’t. Your choices affect the path of the galaxy, who stays as your ally, and what powers you have access to. Of the 3 games I am reviewing today, this is going to get the highest of all marks. Which I realize as risky in trying to get you to read the rest of this.
Knights of the Old Republic II
The sequel to the last game I reviewed. KOTOR II came out 2004. The game takes place 5 years after the events of KOTOR. In this game you get to play as a Jedi Knight exiled from the order and severed from the force due to your actions during the Mandalorian Wars that lead to the rise of Revan and Malek’s Sith Empire. The plot follows you battling against a reformed Sith Empire under 3 different Sith Lords. Each with a unique goal and power in mind. What I liked a lot about this game so much was the psychological element of it. The main character must deal with the consequences of a decision that at it’s heart asks, “at what cost? How far will you go to achieve an end and is it right to do so?” It is a really great question. One that I think a lot of political leaders would do well to take up. Is it worth winning if you lose yourself and abandon all morals to do so? The game also takes a deep, deep dive into the idea of the force and what it is all about. Again the game gives us a look at a bunch of different worlds and cultures. And it takes a really good look at the moral question of good versus evil. I typically rate this game as my least favorite of the 3. Mainly because the game would let you get into a spot that would make the game unable to be finished. And yes I did do that. Other than that the game is amazing. And please don’t think that coming in third here is a bad mark. Think of it like getting bronze at the Olympics. It’s still better than all but two other games. The game has enough twists and turns to keep you interested for hours.
The Old Republic
I will start by saying I have a very love hate relationship with this final installment. First the bad. Dear Bioware, graphics have come a long way in since 2003. You can do better for graphics today than this.
The game also feels a little less personal than the original two do. Less like your choices make a difference. But that is it. That is where my gripes end.
The Old Republic is the first MMORPG to be set in the Old Republic Era. And it is amazing. From the fact it is one of the only fully voiced MMO’s out, to the great soundtrack, to the fact I can play a KOTOR game with my wife, to well everything about this game. Leading up to the launch of this game in 2012 I think I watched the trailers about a million times. Watch them through the link below. They are beautiful and quite possibly some of the coolest Star Wars fight scenes in any medium.
The story for the game involves the OG Sith Empire, not that weak stuff Malek and Revan were pushing, returning from the unknown regions of space. In a war that nearly completely collapses the Republic the Sith mount one more strike on Coruscant before signing a treaty that plunges the galaxy into a cold war. As both sides attempt to gather their strength for the war everyone knows will come, hero’s will arise. The game lets you play as a number of different races and classes, which fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming a Mandalorian Bounty hunter. The game also has an amazing crafting system that you can lose yourself in. Want a Silver lightsaber? Sure. Want an assassin in Jedi Robes? Why not? Seriously check out some of the sweet armors and weapon combinations in a quick Google search. And the best part is that, other than the expansions to the game of which there are a few, the game is free to play. Yes you heard me f-r-e-e. Play any of 8 different character class variants for hours of game play, plus get really cool gear customized to your taste all for free. Count me in. Oh, wait, yeah, I already play this game. Anyway. Even if that doesn’t entice you, there are enough other things about the game to literally get lost in and play for hours.
So why doesn’t this game rate the highest for me? Nostalgia. While there are so many things to love about this game, it will never beat me remembering that first time I played KOTOR. Or you know right now. While I’m playing KOTOR again. Like I literally just started again yesterday. It’s a need in my life.
If you are looking to buy the games, you can find the disk versions for KOTOR 1 and 2 on Amazon, or buy them off steam right now on sale for a whopping, budget crushing, $3.49 each. And then if you just Google The Old Republic, the free download is available on the main website. Hope you enjoyed. Let me know what you think in the comments.