Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Top 5 of 2009 - #4 Knights of the Old Republic

What? Just because it took six years for me to finally play and finish this game makes it no less chock full of awesome. Anyway, if you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time you know Bioware pretty much always has me at hello when they release an RPG and KOTOR was no exception. The fact that I was able to get it off of Steam last October for a mere $10? That’s just gravy because this game is nigh impossible to find at retail anymore, even on the PC.

I’ve written it before, but seriously, how is it that Bioware gets Star Wars so much more than its own creator. I know Lucas has become the icon for a creator run amok, but I mean really, how? How can a bunch of guys up in Edmonton come up with the story in this game while Lucas, and all the resources his name entails, comes up with Attack of the Clones?


Anyway, at its heart KOTOR is a story about redemption, which is really the theme at the heart of all of Star Wars. The fact that it takes place a few thousand years before the films frees it from a lot of baggage, but credit where it’s do because I’m pretty sure I caught more than one reference to events and characters from the old Dark Horse comic series-es(?) –just how does one pluralize that word to mean multiple series?- Tales of the Jedi, which was itself some great stuff (if memory serves; it’s been awhile).

The fact that the game is six years old does mean the game comes with baggage. It’s clearly designed with the original Xbox in mind, and all the graphical –uh- wonderfulness that entails, but it does play just fine on the PC and on modern operating systems. (I was on Vista at the time.) The storytelling is, at times, trite, but if you’ve a sentimental bone in your body it’ll hook you when it has to.

The RPG ruleset is based on D&D 3.0 so there’s plenty of number crunching going on in the background for the pen & paper nerds (of which I am one – a little). The force powers –the ones I tried- all work in the context of the gameplay and dammit, it’s just so frigg’n cool to dual wield a pair of lightsabers. If you’re an RPG player who let this one pass by, do yourself a favor and pick it up off of Steam. Yeah, it’s dated, but it’s still pretty damn great.