Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Review

This RPG paradigm extends to combat as well.  The combat appears to take place in real-time, but in reality it is turn-based, proceeding automatically towards resolution unless you jump in and issue a new order such as changing a weapon or your target, or using a special device or item.  In the background your Xbox is playing the role of a Dungeon Master and resolving combat in the time honored tradition of rolling dice.  Weapons are even rated in terms of die rolls and damage modifiers, so if you know what 1d20 means, enjoy finding +1 weapons, and like making your saving throws, you'll be in heaven.  I am not knocking the game at all on this point, just making sure that you know that this is not an action game and you will not be controlling each swing of your lightsaber.  Combat works quite well in the game - it plays out quickly and is enjoyable to watch.  I for one am tired of playing through hundreds of rounds of console RPG combat while being forced to issue attack orders on every turn and hope that more console RPGs adopt KOTOR's combat model.  The game doesn't leave action gamers completely out in the cold, though.  While in space you'll have the opportunity to man your ship's gun turret and take out attacking enemy ships.  You'll also have the chance to man a swoop racer, which is like a precursor of the pod racers in Episode 1 that is all engine and no brakes. 

Screenshots
There are still some familiar sites to see 4000 years in the past.

Although you start the game with just your single character, additional characters will join your party throughout the course of the game.  Managing your party is easy - you can use the black button to cycle through your party members to take control of them or to manage their inventory.  Speaking of inventory, the game uses a shared inventory system that makes it easy to manage your weapons, armor, and other items.  No need to constantly trade items between characters.  Party management is also easy in combat as the game allows you to use combat scripts that direct the general behavior of characters in combat and allows them to act autonomously.  This relieves you of the tedium of issuing orders to your party after every round of combat.  BioWare has done an outstanding job of taking the drudgery out of RPGs and leaving you free to enjoy the fun aspects of the game.

KOTOR is heavily story driven, and the story is conveyed through extensive high quality cutscenes and close-up views of dialog and conversations complete with excellent voiceover work.  In fact, all dialog in the game is spoken.  The story is engrossing, complete with plot turns and surprises, and although it starts slowly you'll soon be complete caught up in it.  What's more, depending on the dialog and action choices that you make during the course of the game you'll get a different experience.  If you play the game once from the light side and once from the dark, it's like getting two incredible games for the price of one.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 97%.  Knights of the Old Republic is the best RPG available for the Xbox, and the best RPG to appear on a console this year.  Star Wars and RPG fans rejoice, it's Dungeons & Dragons in space!

 





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