Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
By Charlie Goodrich Thursday, 30 Dec 2004

If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. This seems to be the motto of the KOTOR staff when it comes to the anticipated sequel to the best RPG for the X-box thus far. Normally this is a solid formula, but when a game lacks originally and creativity you have to question why Obsidian chose not to improve on what already exists. Luckily, KOTOR 2 will still grip you from start to finish regardless of its blemishes.

The graphics and combat system remain very similar to the first game. The only difference is that the graphics seem to be a bit more crisp and clear. I wasn’t disappointed with the graphics. I think they still look great and until the next generation X-box system don’t need to be changed. Characters look good, the environments are all unique, and the cinematics are beautiful. The combat is faster paced and there is not the option to stop combat after each turn. Other than that it is still fun and engaging.

The sound and music in KOTOR 2 are wonderful. Every lightsaber swoosh, blaster shot, Jedi power, and background noise is perfect and will help bring you into the Star Wars universe. There is a lot of classic Star Wars music as well as some new tunes. All of the music is scored well and orchestrated masterfully.

The story this time around doesn’t stand up to that of the first but they are still good. Your character is unconscious aboard a nearly destroyed Ebon Hawk (the ship from the first game). You take control of a droid and begin fixing the Ebon Hawk so it can continue on its course. After the repairs are made, your character wakes up on a mysterious planet and quickly encounters a strange woman who asks you to explore your surroundings. Just like in the first KOTOR your character doesn’t remember that much of his/her past. And just like in the first game, there are many secrets to their past that will be brought to light. As the story unfolds, a new Sith treat presents itself to a near defenseless Republic. Some of the events in the storyline are rushed and when they happen you’re left with a “where the hell did that come from” feeling. The ending also is a little bit of a let down. At least it is when you complete following the light side. Hopefully the next game will continue from where this one lets off because it is an open ended game.

The character development is also shallower than the original KOTOR. It seems that people join out of the blue and the depths of the characters’ backgrounds are absent. Only a few characters have deep background stories, but in the first KOTOR all characters had elaborate stories and good reasons for joining your cause.

Even though the story doesn’t have the magic that KOTOR 1 did, this is still a wonderful game. If you enjoyed the first game you’ll love this one too. My only other complaint concerns the frame rate. The game at times is choppy and slows down a little. This can get annoying but it doesn’t happen too much. If you are a RPG fan and didn’t play the first game, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Star Wars fan or not it is a great game. Then you can decide if you want to get this one.


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