| Blood, Violence
| The Good
Continuation of the excellent RPG story
Influence system is a nice addition
| The Bad
Lots of glitches
Long load times
Last planet feels tacked on
Set some years after the first KotOR,
The Sith Lords places players into the role of the
Exile, a jedi who was kicked out of the order for following
Revan and Malak to war with the Mandalorians years before.
Along with being kicked out the order, the Exile has lost
his/her connection with the Force, or so it seems. Players
will find themselves amnesiac (how convenient) on what seems
like a deserted mining colony. Before too long, you have a
few party members and a whole lot of questions. While it takes
some time to get rolling, the story will find you flying all
around the galaxy looking for Jedi Masters, all the while
dealing with Sith and a bounty on your head. When you do get
to the heart of the story, you'll find characters who are
far deeper and fleshed out than most RPGs deserve to have.
The gameplay behind KotOR II is noticeably similar
to the first. Okay, maybe not so much noticeably as it is
pretty much the same gameplay engine. Combat is played
out in a turn-based engine that allows you to move your chosen
character about, taking actions based on certain hidden factors
that makes the game look as though it is real-time. Along
with basic attacks, you can use special attacks, Force powers,
use mines and grenades and items to heal or improve your character's
statistics. Since you have a party of three most of the time,
you'll also have to take into consideration their actions
and set their AI accordingly.
Outside of combat, players will find themselves dealing with
a lot of conversation and a massive pile of quests and requests
from NPCs from all walks of life. How players act and react
to these quests shapes how they develop as you gain light
and dark side points, driving you either toward the light-side
Jedi or dark-side sith. The game structure is fairly similar
to the first game: players are moved along a linear progression
through the first two locations and then given four other
planets to visit at their discretion only to end the game
in one final location. While the story gives you obvious plot
points to follow to get to the said "end" of a planet, you'll
often find yourself involved with the struggle on the planet,
most of which prove to be power-struggles of one form or fashion.
Where Sith Lords differs from the original is in how
the player interacts with their allies. This time around,
players gain and lose influence with their allies depending
on their actions or their responses to conversations. The
more influence gained, the more your allies fall in line with
your alignment. Since you have a larger cast of allies with
a variety of what does and doesn't please them, players will
have a challenge to try and get everyone within your influence.
Why would you want to go through all that effort? To turn
the non-droids into Jedi (or Sith) of course. Yep, you can
now make most of your allies into Force-wielders with enough
What else is different? Well, more than a few things that
makes it obvious someone was listening to the complaints of
the fans. First and foremost, you'll get Force powers nice
and early. Since you're a fallen Jedi, you'll be getting to
use powers and skills right away. The downside? It'll take
you way too long to get a lightsaber. And, without the lightsaber
duplication glitch found in the game, it may take you a long
while before you find enough of them to equip your cadre of
Jedi effectively. Fortunately, there are tons of new Force
powers and abilities to go around and at a certain point in
the game, you'll be able to pick from a group of new Jedi
and Sith classes, each with their own specialties. Also, the
level cap has gone from 20 to around 50, though you'll find
it damn near impossible to get past 30 without abusing one
of the many experience glitches. You'll also find that most
of your allies has certain things that they are good at, which
actually puts some weight into your party selection.
Visually, KotOR II is a minor step up from the original,
though it may be difficult to tell without looking real hard.
While the game takes the original's engine and adds more detail
and effects to give the game more life, it still feels flat
and blocky in areas. For the most part, you are given some
nicely detailed locations and the game certainly looks like
Star Wars, but the character models still feel a bit stiff.
Obsidian did manage to add some new NPC models so that you
don't see so many of the same as before, but the PC choices
all still look rather uninviting. Luckily, most of the characters
you ally with tend to look pretty good, especially the Handmaiden,
Atton and Mandalore. Where I find that the graphics falter
is that most locations lack the sense of deserved awe that
locations from the first game garnered. Large portions of
the game are played in space station interiors or drab caves,
leaving smaller portions for the more beautiful exteriors.
Much like the graphics, the audio portion of the game feels
largely unchanged. This really doesn't prove to be much of
an issue as the audio portion of the first game was quite
excellent. Lightsabers and blasters sound as they should.
KotOR II's sound effects are obviously pulled from
the same audio library that most any Star Wars title uses.
These effects are assembled well enough to provide a tangible
atmosphere to the game world. Voice acting is once again excellent
on all fronts, from the main characters all the way down to
the nobody NPCs.
The Sith Lords proves to have a much darker scope
in terms of story. Events feel much bleaker and the characters
tend to be more edgy in terms of their pasts. Because of this,
some players may not enjoy the story as much as they did the
first title. It doesn't help that the game tends to take a
while to get up to speed. This is made even worse by the fact
that the final planet feels tacked on and the story seems
to be wrapped up for the sake of just being done with it.
I would almost suggest that if you do play KotOR II,
you stop playing before the final planet to keep from feeling
And then there's the fact that Sith Lords feels as
though it's unfinished. As mentioned before and detailed on
many message boards, the game is littered with glitches, some
of which can be used to duplicate items or get assloads of
experience. Others can cause fatal errors that will force
you to reload from a previous save. I myself ran into a glitch
where a boss fight had both bosses fighting each other. When
one was dead, the other stood around like a standard NPC,
leaving me with no recourse but to quit the game. On top of
that is the fact that a lot of the story sequences feel clunky
and are animated poorly. To top it all off, there is still
ridiculously long load times that can be a bear if you have
to travel through a few areas.
With all these issues and complaints, the fact that The
Sith Lords is still worth your time to play speaks volumes.
If you enjoyed the first title, you're sure to enjoy the sequel.
I would have to state that if you haven't played the first
game, you may not get into this title as easily. I do hope
that by the time KotOR III rolls around, the developer
will have a lot of the issues that plagued this game resolved.