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4.5 out of 5 stars
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2003
Knights of the Old Republic, was an acclaimed success on Xbox, shooting straight to the top of the charts, and with good reason. BioWare seems to have the Midas touch, and the developers have proved themselves able to handle this typically problematic license with their usual class. This is the best Star Wars game ever and the best PC game released in 2003.

Based on the d20 role-playing system, Knights is set four thousand years before Episode 1, at a time when Jedi are plentiful. The ever-present war between the dark and light sides of the Force is the centrepiece of the story, focusing on a pair of ex-Jedi, Revan and Malak, who fell to the dark side after a mysterious journey to an unchartered edge of the galaxy. Players also get an insight into the training process of both the Jedi Academy and the Sith.

Like the Baldur's Gate series, you are free to create the game's central character yourself: male or female, combat-focused, stealthy or tech-focused, it's up to you. For this reason, your character is, amazingly, the only one who has no voice actor. In a novel move, you'll get to switch classes mid-game during your Jedi training, so with this and the AD&D-like d20 character statistics system, there's lots of potential for varied character builds. If you don't fancy getting your hands dirty with the numbers, an auto-level-up button will take care of the choices for you. However, half of the beauty of appreciating just how tailored to suit you this game can be lies in the fact that you can precisely tune your character, from his main attributes, to his skills, to his Jedi Powers, and even to the head visors he wears and the (modified) weapons he uses.

BioWare has always tried to provide multiple paths through its games, and Knights is ceratinly no different. As your character develops, you'll be able to make many choices about how to handle the people and puzzles the game puts in your path. The game even keeps track of your responses and changes your appearance to suit your behaviour, quite reminiscent of how Deus Ex so marvellously did 3 years ago. Although the large-scale plot is the same whether you choose good or evil, the way that small-scale situations play out is very different and as such, very satisfying. You'll find yourself finishing a particular sequence one way, and then restarting to see the other side's outcomes, and then trying out all the grey decisions in between. Both sides have many unique situations and conversations; the dark sided options produce the best jokes, however a light-sided stance has more satisfying quest outcomes.

The interface is a little unusual, but works excellently and comes very naturally after about an hour's play. It uses the WASD layout for moving forwards, backwards and rotating left and right, while the mouse isn't used for freelook, but kept as a pointer for selecting icons and on-screen objects. Smart keyboard shortcuts are included for icons and dialogue options too. The only problem is that the inventory management is a little hard to get used to after a while, becoming very cluttered with items you've picked up earlier and had little or no use for since: a minor point however, and items can be sold at the numerous traders you'll come across for credits anyway.

There's already a patch out to solve some issues with one particular Intel motherboard chipset, and users of ATI graphics cards have also reported some problems. Knowing BioWare, though, it'll be quick to stamp out any other issues that arise, however having played the game with the 1.1 patch installed, I can say that it ran as smoothly and as stable as the most stable games I've played and with everything turned up, looked an absolute treat. The install is large (4 GB), but once installed, it doesn't require juggling of its four CDs - you'll use the same "Play" CD throughout.

It's about time the PC-owning world got to see what all the fuss was about. The graphics look great, the interface works a treat and the additions, while minor, fit well. Clearly a lot of work has gone into making the game feel like it was meant to be on PC. As someone who's not usually into to RPGs, I feel quite qualified to say that you don't have to be an RPG fan to enjoy this. You don't even have to be a Star Wars fan. But if you're a fan of thoroughly enjoyable games, games that remind you why this is your hobby in the first place, you won't be able to avoid being smitten by Knights. It's the best PC game since Deus Ex and as most gaming publications will tell you, easily the PC game of 2003.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2005
This game is by far the greatest RPG game created. Bioware did a good job. The story is deep, with twists, and the people are interactive, with their own troubles and emotions (even if it's just scripted) and it feels so realistic. He he. Your gender choice can affect other characters attitude towards you- Carth will call you beautiful if you're female and Bastila will get extremely embarassed if you're male.
The Jedi gap thing is fine, I mean, there are very few SW games that you start with a lightsaber, eg. JK2. KOTOR:SL is one I know which does make you a jedi although lacking the lightsaber. I think being some other class first gives you a chance to get skills and then focus on force later, because scout gets more overall than jedi sentinel, apart from the force, and the other jedi classes hardly get any feats or skills (unless you're a guardian- lots of feats.)
Still, I wish you weren't restricted to lvl20, would have made the game soooo much easier towards the end.
Unlike the second, I think the original grasps the balance between side-quest and main-quest. The few glitches that occur are few and far between, nothing a patch won't fix- unless you want to see Carth zooming around the hideout to the place in front of you faster than a jedi with burst of speed.
Any complaints? No. Powers, feats and skills give great depth and customisation ability. Worth the money. Even if it is second hand.
96% Classic.
Warning: OpenGL 1.4 compatible video card and OpenGL required. It'll work, I've tried it when I was desperate when I was stuck in front of my sister's laptop for a week, but the graphics will shrink out of place, so you can use the direction buttons to navigate or remember positions. Good luck.
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2003
Says it all, really!
Apart from the hugely popular Jedi Knight series, Lucasarts has had difficulty in scoring another hit with its Star Wars franchise since it wound up the X-Wing games. The new films just weren't as popular as the originals, and neither were the games based around them. So this game hits you like a blast of fresh air. An inspired partnership with Bioware (who brought us the excellent AD&D game Neverwinter Nights) has produced a new, well presented and well developed game that will keep you playing well into the midnight hours. So, what's involved?
Your character serves the Republic, four thousand years before Anakin Skywalker can even spell "Lightsaber". Following a devastating war with the Mandalorians, an almost Nietzschian warrior civilisation, the Repblic is triumphant - until the great Jedi Knights who led the fleet, Malak and Reban, return from the galactic rim as Lords of the Sith. A third of the remaining fleet turns to the dark side immediately, a huge number of Republic worlds and forces are suddenly lost, and many Jedi are turned to the forces of evil. Caught unawares, and reeling from the ferocity and surprise of the attack, the Republic must depend upon the valour and sacrifice of the remaining Jedi Knights, and on one in particular - Bastila, whose skill of Battle Meditation can be the difference between victory or total annihilation. And it's your job to keep her out of the Sith Lords' clutches...
Coming from Bioware this is a roleplaying game very similar to Neverwinter Nights; the character progression system is very much built on the 3rd edition AD&D model and as such anybody who has played similar RPGs will pick up the basics in about half an hour flat. But better still, it's in glorious, full-detailed third person, so no miniature, generically modelled characters running around the game (except Jawas). The screen itself runs a little like the venerable Final Fantasy series, with the player being able to directly control a single character at a time (the maximum two companions being run according to the script you choose for them). In combat it's a simple matter of select your enemy, select what you want to do to them, or to yourself, and let rip. And repeat as necessary whenever your enemy drops, or if you want to do something else, such as change your weapons, activate a personal shield or throw a grenade.
The graphics are well developed, too. For a four gigabyte install they ought to be, and the huge use of disk space is easily explained by the quality of the landscapes and locations as well as the party's detailed character models (which will change along with every piece of kit you equip them with, a nice touch). The expanse of rolling sand dunes, and the dusty cluttered streets of Anchorhead on Tatooine just go to show that the place never improved much over a few millennia, and the polished, sky-reaching spires of Taris only serve to hide the pit of degradation that is the undercity. It's still recognisably Star Wars, but it's now set in a few new locales, and you may feel like a sigh of relief, given previous games' trend of constantly (re)treading in the footsteps of the films' (sometimes wooden) characters...
The sound is also pretty good; apart from your own dialogue, every sentence you hear is spoken out aloud. Yes, all of it. Which means that you're never talking to the usual obligatory-mute-RPG-fill-in characters that normally make up half an RPG's cast. It also keeps you guessing which characters are going to be more important than others in the scheme of things.
Your compatriots aren't dull either. As the story goes on, you will have the opportunity to talk to them and learn a little bit about what makes them tick. They have their own personalities and if you behave in a way they disagree with, expect them to say so - and since their guidance can sometimes be useful, it pays to listen. Actually getting your party together isn't a simple matter either - RPGs are no longer just, "You see Fred. He joins your party". No, now they will join you either as a result of your actions, or for reasons of their own, and as such they aren't just there as cannon fodder. And their presence in your current group can sometimes open new opportunites for adventure...
But the best part of all, which I just HAVE to mention before I hit my maximum word limit, is the equipment. In a truly inspired move, and with evidence of AD&D's and Deus Ex's influence, many items of your characters' equipment are customisable. Yep, that custom designed lightsaber is within your force-enabled grasp, so if you want to be a Mace Windu lookalike, no problem; and your blasters and armour and Vibro-weapons can all be tinkered with to give extra added value and added destruction. Those extra points of damage, that fine-tuned balance and those extra critical hits can make the diffence between drinking sancerre or eating dirt when the dust of battle has cleared, and it's well worth all those minutes spent at the workbench. Finding the components can be tricky though, but they are worth a few minor quests on their own...
Overall this is a spectacular game. Probably the best RPG since Fallout 2, which was ahead of its time (see review). You will almost certainly be up at unsociable hours still playing it. The only gripes I can mention are the level 20 character limit, that you can't multiclass voluntarily, and the few times it's kicked me out of the game into Windows again (although this is probably just my PC playing up). Other than that, this game is easily worth the whole Five Stars, and I fully expect it will also scoop the GOTY award from several PC Gaming publications.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I don't usually like RPGs. I've never been keen on sitting on your own forweeks on end pretending to be someone else. That whole D&D scene is reallynot my thing. I have briefly tried a few, just to be sure (I'm not one toform an opinion on something I have no knowledge of), including one or twoof BioWare's efforts, but they didn't appeal to me.
Therefore, you can understand the immense turn-around that must haveoccurred for me to be considering declaring an RPG one of the greatestgames I've ever played. Because, that's what I'm about to do.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is arguably one of the greatestgames I've ever played (I did give you advanced warning). Although 1000words doesn't really do it justice, I'll have to be brief in myreasoning.
The storyline is engaging, compelling, powerful, and, so far assci-fi-fantasy goes, believable. It's material worthy of movie, in fact.To someone who hadn't seen the movies, in fact, they may wonder if this isa well-made spin-off of one of the original trilogy. I shan't describe thestory in too much detail, as it's already been done on the rear of thebox, in the instruction manual, and here in several reviews. But I willanyway :).
You start out the game as a rather under-dressed Republicsoldier. You're awakened by a surprise Sith attack on the vessel which youserve. An officer comes along and helps you familiarise yourself with thebasic controls, and then it's off to save the ship.
From this beginning, you end up a key player in the fate of the galaxy.The Republic is looking at almost-certain defeat, unless you do somethingto help. And in the process of helping, you may become a Jedi, engage inswoop racing, play games of pazaak with some rather unscrupulouscharacters, and just generally roam around asking questions/causingtrouble, whichever you prefer.
The graphics aren't those of Doom III. You're not looking at the nextgeneration of technological advancements when you boot up this game. Butthen, some artists still manage to wow with just a paintbrush and canvas.This game is truly stunning. It's gorgeous, slick -- it all adds to theimmersive nature of the game. You WILL, unless you have no imaginationwhatsoever, think you're there. Tatooine, for me at least, was especiallyso -- the dust blowing in the wind, the two suns glaring your view if youlooked at them...
I hear, though hadn't heard before, that some arehaving trouble with this engine. My computer isn't exactly a slug, butit's by no means a cheetah either. I generally considered it obsolete, anddidn't expect to run this game very well... AMD Athlon XP 2400+, 512MBDDR-400 RAM and a GeForce 4 Ti4200 128MB obviously have more kick than Ithought. I had nearly all the advanced details turned on, and 1024 X 768resolution with 32-bit textures, and not a hint of slowdown. Anywhere! Itwas as smooth as a droid's bottom.
IT's the little touches that make this game stand out the most. Givingsome terrified guy with a bounty on his head 200 credits to pay off hisdebt is far more satisfying than anything I've ever done in a game before.Unlike action games, IMO the light side is more rewarding in this game.
And to those complaining about not being able to control your character incombat; it IS an RPG, not a FPS. What did you expect? The combat is moreinvolving that I'd have thought it would be actually. You still need tokeep your character healthy, tell him/her when to throw grenades or useforce powers, try different attack styles or weapons, and the points youallocate to your character has a great bearing on their combatperformance.
This game is a masterpiece. Visually, audibly, mentally... and hugelyaccessable. It's the only game that's distracted me AFTER I've stoppedplaying it. I just want to get back and play some more!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 February 2004
This game is clever a fusion of Jedi Outcast and Baldur’s Gate. This game takes the usual Bioware staple RPG format and transforms it into stunning 3D universe. You can travel pretty much as you like throughout the game universes, taking on sub-missions, playing cards, doing some bounty hunting, doing pretty much as you like. The plot is very well structured and the player feels a lot more guided than say Freelancer.
This is not a short game. I took around 40 hours to complete it, there is scope to play it through again taking a different path - I chose the path of the light side the first time I played – I am tempted to play it again and make all the dark side decisions.
The pace can slow down a little when you either have to have long conversations with NPCs or walk between two locations. Fortunately you can switch on subtitles and click to mouse to move on the conversations – shame really because the voice acting for the human characters is excellent – or use the “Force Speed” Jedi power to speed up the game.
Combat is excellent, its done in the same was as Baldur’s Gate, you select your moves and the characters play the moves out. Your fellow companions can either be controlled directly each combat round, or you can leave them to it.
The graphical environments in this game are stunning, beautiful alien vistas, dark underground tunnels, dynamic lighting – all fantastic. The details are there too, great little sparks come flying off the lightsabres, birds flying in the sky - all fantastic.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable game – my wife would look crestfallen if I said “I am just going to play Star Wars for a bit” – this usually meant that I would not be seen again for a couple of hours!
If you like RPGs with a strong flavour of action/adventure then this game is for you!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I got this game for christmas last year, and have only just completed EVERYTHING. By everything, i mean everything, all side-quests, character building etc. The reason I took three months is largely down to the fact that I just did not want it to end. Knights of the Old Republic is like that, you'll immerse yourself in it, and wake up to find a small chunk of your life gone!
I'm a huge RPG and Star Wars fan, so when i first heard about this game, I was visibly drooling, and it does not disappoint! As is always the case with RPGs the plot must be gripping. KotOR has oodles of plot, not samey backtracking, re-hashed plot, but vivid engrossing plot that leaves you begging for more. It's like playing a really good Star Wars novel that has gaps for you to write yourself. KotOR also has multiple possibilities due to the light side/dark side meter; and, unlike many other games that have tried this, offers equally incredible and fulfilling gameplay whichever you choose, not just a shadowy variation on the other.
The gameplay is wonderfully smooth on a system with the recommended requirements, and the graphical engine is a year's supply of chocolate in terms of eye candy. The voice acting is well implemented and the sound effects are very pleasing, whether it be the zing of blaster fire, or the low-key hum of a lightsaber.
The characters are well structured, and you genuinely want to get to know some of them and discover what happens to them as the story progress. i have to come back to the plot because this really is art, and proves that RPGs are so much better with professional scriptwriters on hand. I cannot stress enough how much fun this game is. It will move you, excite you and make you laugh. Yes, there is some genuinely funny stuff here, much of it in the form of a assassin droid you will meet halfway through who's descrption of his past assignments are wonderfully understated. But enough of me talking, do something that will make everything else irrelevent for several months and go and buy this game. The reviews can only give it to you in words, you have to go check it out for yourself and believe me, you'll regret it if you don't.
Go save the universe, and may the Force be with you ;-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2012
I originally heard about 'The Old Republic' first and thought that it looked like fun, but I wanted to play KOTOR first just to see if it was my kind of thing and... well. I can tell you now it's one of the best games of this kind I have ever played. Fallout 3 was too scary for me to even complete (because I'm a coward), and so this game was a nice breath of fresh air. Sure, there are glitches: sometimes the player will not move after a fight and the only way of resolving this is either to click your way through a bit of the game until the next cut scene or fight, or switch to a different character, or - the one I use as a last resort - save the game and then load it again so that your character is able to move. Don't be surprised if your character is unable to move. Also, I'd recommend that you update the game to the latest version before you play it because I encountered an error in the game that wouldn't allow me to go past a certain point in a level without it crashing. Another thing I'd recommend is installing Securom at some point, so if you're game says 'disc emulator error' or something along the lines of it, then that's what you need to install.
Anyway, past the glitchy parts of the game (because in the grand scheme of things, they are completely unimportant), the graphics are actually amazing for its time. The scenery is incredibly beautiful on each of the planets, especially Dantooine, that was my ultimate favourite. The gameplay is incredible, the story line is gripping and you REALLY need to be careful, because even if you think something is right, it's actually not and you gain Dark Side points... that's if you want to be a jedi. There's a huge twist towards the end of the game and I honestly cannot find anything wrong with this game (story wise). The force powers are also really fun to use and it is fun to swing your lightsaber about whilst running once you get it. All of the armour is great and if there's one thing I was slightly disappointed about was that you couldn't wear a certain someone's armour (not saying who) and so it would have been fun to have that as an unlockable. Also, cheats don't seem to work on vista computers. Or if they do, it's an incredibly annoying process of copying and deleting and adding stuff to files, so I wouldn't recommend activating cheats unless you really want to and you can.
Graphics: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Story: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Overall? 9.5/10 or if i must, 5 stars.
Truly and amazing game! I recommend it without hesitation! Just make sure your PC is actually able to run the game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2012
First of all, I only got round to playing this game in December last year (2011!), so I am a little late to the party! I had been considering it for a long time, as I had heard great things about it, and so when my birthday approached I subtly hinted to my boyfriend that I wanted it and voila! it was mine :)

That aside, it was fantastic to play an excellent RPG again. You can really see where Bioware took inspiration for Mass Effect - one of my favourite games of all time.

The characters are fantastic, the dialogue is great AND well acted, the locations are beautiful and the lightsaber combat is really entertaining. The story in general is brilliant and there is an excellent revelation - in my opinion a great piece of storytelling.

Obviously the graphics are not up to today's standards but I imagine they were fantastic for the time when it was originally released - besides, the old graphics do not in any way take anything away from the gaming experience.

My two main niggles are as follows:
1) The main hassle is the fact that there is no "quicksave" function, so you have to manually save. Modern games have spoiled me with this I feel, so having to manually save all the time is annoying for me AND takes up a lot of save spaces... especially as I save A LOT :P
2) The combat seems to jump in difficulty. For example, I will be fighting one group of enemies who are pretty easy to kill, then fight another group of the same type of enemy, and they are much much harder.

There are some other, very minor, issues - lack of "darkside" companions and the inability to customise your character's appearance (you choose from a ready made selection) for example - however, the game is still excellent and much better than some of the rubbish we had last year. I did a 22 hour run-through for my first go ("darkside") and found it to be really enjoyable; I have since started again and realised that I barely even scratched the surface. I can see my current run-through being a good 25 hours at least, so for the money you pay it is a great bargain with some good replay value!

In short, the game does have its flaws - mainly, granted, to do with its age - however, it is a fantastic RPG and is a genuinely fun game to play. If you are a fan of the Star Wars universe, or even just of Sci Fi in general, you love RPGs and want a game you can really sink your teeth into that has a great story and great characters, then I would definitely recommend this game :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2004
i'm not a great one for computer games i had not played one for a few years. but i brought this one and i could not play it enough. i really recomend this game it is great that you can creat your own charater. That was my favorite part of the game becoming a jedi and chousing how you wanted it to evolve!
Really buy this game it is fantastic i have pre-ordered the new game.
Best game i've played and i know that you will not regret it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
being a Star Wars fan I couldn't help but try this game a couple of years ago at a local HMV. It enthralled me from the minute I picked up the pad.

The game throws us 4000 years into the past, where the Republic still has an army, The Sith are numerous and war is ever present. Darth Malak, the former apprentice of Darth Revan, is leading his sith fleet on a conquest of destruction. When he hears of a young Jedi named Bastilla and her ability to use battle meditation he hunts her tirelessly. Residing on the Endar Spire Malak finally catches up and launches a surprise attack on the vessel. Cue your hero.

The most important thing in an RPG is its story, and major praise has to be handed to the creators, not only have they fleshed out a universe torn by war they have also keyed in a few surprises for the player as they go on their journey of discovery. The characters you meet along the way are all different with personality's to suit your playing style. Choose Dark side and you'll most likely bring along Mandalorian brute Canderous Ordo, choose the light path and you'll probably take Carth or Bastilla on your travels.

The thing that impressed me the most about this game was how authentic it felt. With some truly great moments of humour, sadness and love. Rap it up with some great cutscenes (think ending of A New Hope) and you have a truly great game.
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