pop culture | no politics
With all the excitement surrounding the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I decided this would be a good time to pop the classic Knights of the Old Republic into the old Xbox 360. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this game has held up.
If you’re not familiar with KOTOR, it takes place around 4,000 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire. The Jedi are embroiled in a bloody war with the Sith. Darth Malak, the Dark Lord of the Sith, is attacking planets and slaying the Jedi who don’t swear allegiance to him. You play as a mysterious soldier who wakes up on the Ender Spire, a ship under attack by Malak’s forces. As you progress through the game, you pick up new teammates: a soldier, Jedi, Wookie, a droid, and a few others. Eventually, you discover your own Force sensitivity and complete the training to become a Jedi Knight and fight Malak. As with any good Star Wars story, there are some good twists and turns along the way.
The first thing I have to point out is the graphics don’t hold up very well, but they weren’t exactly groundbreaking when the game was first released. While Bungie and Ubisoft were pushing the limits of the original Xbox graphics engine with Halo and Splinter Cell, KOTOR focused more on the story and the RPG elements of the game. It still looked decent for its day, particularly the lightsaber battles, but this game was intended to be a roll-the-d20-and-watch-your-character-fight game; in that regard, it succeed.
My favorite aspect of the game, then and today, is the story. You’re playing a soldier who discovers his own Force sensitivity. Once you complete your training and become a Jedi, you get to explore the worlds of Dantooine, Manaan, Tatooine, Kashyyk, and Korriban to uncover the secret of the Star Forge, which is the secret to Malak’s military might. As with any RPG, you will make decisions throughout the game that will affect future actions. You can choose to move your character towards the Light or Dark side of the Force, or stay somewhere in between. It also has two endings, depending on what choices you’ve made along the way. Also like any good RPG, there are plenty of side-missions you can play to level up your character as you prepare for the final battle with Darth Malak.
If you find yourself in between games and you still have an Xbox 360 (this original Xbox game is backwards compatible), give Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic a try and re-live all the excitement I felt way back in 2003.
Thanks for reading!