Thunderbolt logo

Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic

Star Wars

Knights Of The Old Republic (KOTOR) is reported to occur roughly 4,000 years before the events of the Star Wars film trilogies. This game turns out to be an epic battle between good Jedi and the evil Sith with the Jedi’s losing!

The first real significant issue involved in this game is how it is being developed. Like most other Star Wars games, (Original X-Wing, TIE Fighter and the first two Dark Forces games), they were produced by Lucas Arts and a lot of people (including me) have felt they have just been churned out thus losing quality. The reason there is a lot of hype over this game is that Lucas Arts have given over the making of the game to Bio-Ware, which have produced outstanding games like the Baldur’s Gate Series and award winning Neverwinter Nights. These games boasted over 80+ hours of game-play, which is no small task I think.

Like Neverwinter Nights KOTOR will use the 12 side die system and incorporate the use of both real-time and turn based combat. The combat system in KOTOR will offer the option during game-play to hit the pause button which will slow down the combat situation in which it is possible to give/receive orders, use items, use force powers and even take control of a NPC in your group. Bio-Ware specifically included this feature to cater for the gamers who like the precise management of their party and for gamers who just like the fast and furious action!!

Bio-Ware has also left the game wide open to the gamer’s personal style and choice. It achieves this by including a fully customisable character in which your actions will fully dictate the path you take, the skills you are strong and weak in, and ultimately which side you will follow, be it either the Light or the Dark. Also since KOTOR is a part-based game, gamers will be glad to know that it incorporates almost all the species, and almost all the sub-quests, dialogue, storey twists and cut scenes will varying depending on your party members and actions in which I feel vastly adds to the replayability of the game.

Customisable skills will include Awareness, Computer Programming, Demolition, Persuasion, Repair, Security, stealth and treat injury to name a few. Another feature included are called Feats, which are all dependant on the character class and can include Combat Logic (Droids), Force Jump (Jedi Knight), Jedi Defence, Scoundrels Luck (Smuggler) and Whirlwind attack (Jedi). Lastly I will list a few of the Force Powers that are attainable during the course of the game which can be strengthened by experience, Affect Mind (Persuasion), Choke, Force Armour, Lightning and Throw Lightsaber. All these skills, feats and powers will contribute to your ever-changing tactics to this game.

Lucas Arts and Bio-Ware have hinted at a 50+ hours of game play in KOTOR, which to RPG gamers is going to sound great! In those many hours there is lots to do to keep you busy all the time. There is going to be 10 different and unique worlds like Dantooine (Grasslands), Korriban (Cayons/Desert), Kashyyyk (Forest, home of Chewbacca), Manaan (Ocean) and Tatooine (Desert) to give a few examples. There is also going to be included lots of weapons to choose from and fight against including Blaster Pistols, Blaster Rifles, Bladed Weapons, Lightsabers, Grenades, Ion Blasters and much, much more. In the game, your Jedi Knight will have the option of just using one Lightsaber (light or dark), two lightsabers (One in each hand) and a double Lightsaber (As used by Darth Maul!). There is going to be over 12,000 lines of spoken dialogue, with lip-syncing characters, which is all recorded from actors. One last major point I have to mention on this subject of KOTOR is the inclusion of Mini/Sub games. These will include the likes of POD Racing (Which you can race yourself or just gamble on them), Pazak (A card game like Blackjack in which you get collectible cards!), Turret shoot-out (This is where you defend your ship against ships in space travel) and finally Gladiatorial Combat (Where you will be able to take part and win money + experience or just bet on matches).

Every game has and needs a central meeting place and in KOTOR this is going to be the Ebon Hawk, which basically is a huge spaceship owned by a smuggler. In this ship you will have the chance to meet other NPC’s, swap party members, gamble, receive assignments and basically travel to different planets. Although exploration and puzzle solving will be massive in KOTOR, Bio-Ware has said that there will be significant involvement in combat situations. Thankfully KOTOR players will be able to save their progress whenever they like which is a massive issue in most games.

Graphically the game is a 3rd person perspective (Like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights), which is an ideal view for a party-based game. Both indoor and outdoor areas are reported to be highly detailed, with Bio-Ware implementing special new lighting effects, which is supposed to “bleed” around backlit characters to make it more realistic. It is also said that this feature will be included in Halo 2. Pedestrians will go about their own business; spacecrafts will come and go and every character will have something to say. You will also get to choose your replies and questions out of a multi-choice dialogue bar! Considering outdoors, the wind and lighting effects are supposed to include tarps, sand and grass blowing in the wind and the sun glaring off shiny objects.

Another massive issue about any Xbox game released now I think is the Xbox LIVE capability. KOTOR won’t be an online multiplayer unfortunately but it is reported that downloadable content such as new levels, new equipment/character classes and other content will be available at “some point”.

Basically the only real problem I have heard reported about this game is that people are showing great concerns at some of the inconsistencies in the frame rate but I feel since these concerns are well noted and discussed, Bio-Ware are sure to be on the case and hopefully they will have it remedied for release in June.

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2003.

Gentle persuasion

You should check out our podcast.