Matt Chat 25: Knights of the Old Republic

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Matt Barton's picture

Hi, folks. This week I look at another of my favorite CRPGs, Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic.

Having lots of fun with the game--indeed, it was hard to pull myself away from it to make this video. If you haven't tried it yet, perhaps this video will be enough to spur a purchase. It handles very well on the Xbox. I might caution you away from the PC version, though, at least if you're running Vista 64. Frequent crashes even with the latest patches applied.

Still, nothing can ruin this brilliant game!

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Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
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Joined: 09/04/2006
KotOR and hardcore RPG's

I went looking for the XBox version of Kotor today, and didn't find it (instead I picked up "Splinter Cell," which I already had the PC version of). After getting whipped by "UrQuan Masters" and not feeling like slogging through it again (for now), I need to play KotOR... :-(

Although I've never played the game, I get the impression that "Knights of the Old Republic" is a streamlined, simplified RPG meant to appeal to the masses rather than to hardcore RPG players. Since the "Star Wars" movies are not known for their deep, intellectual appeal, it makes sense that a "Star Wars" RPG would concentrate more on delivering the "Star Wars" experience (lots of dialog, flashy scenes, cool aliens, weapons, and spacecraft, etc.) than deep stats and battle systems that appeal to the fans of deeper RPGs. I can see where a hardcore RPG'er might be put off by such a system, especially since much of the imagination is provided for you in such a system.

Deep RPGs are (probably) more rewarding, but for me, they require a very focused mindset. "Baldur's Gate" requires such a mindset where you "feel" the characters. You must actually "role play" to really appreciate the game. As such, I never have completed the game yet, because I can only play it when I "feel" it, and have significant spare time to devote to it. But when I do, it's great! The battle system of BG in particular is what impressed me; it took me a while for me to understand that this wasn't a "clickfest" battle system like "Dungeon Siege," but a full-scale simulation of actual AD&D rules! Once I figured out that I was actually playing D&D(!), I was suddenly in awe of what I was experiencing!

KotOR, on the other hand, appears to be a game I can play for a few days until I beat it, and have a great "Star Wars" time. A "popcorn" game, as opposed the more "arthouse" BG game.

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Alexander M (not verified)
I need to clarify some

I need to clarify some things. If KOTOR was released by any other developer I wouldn't be so critical of the game.
Bioware set very high expectations after finishing the Baldurs Gate saga. For obvious reasons of technical nature (3D graphics, insistence of voice acting on all of the dialog...) its more or less impossible to make a game of that scope today.
However, I feel and the opinion of many of Bioware fans is that they are not really trying very hard at all. Its hard to explain, but there is a strong feeling of deja vu when playing their post BG games. Many of the characters, plot arcs, gameplay traits are quite similar if not outright identical. They seem to be set in making "quick fix" games according to a mold of some sort, and just riding that wave for as long as it goes.
You know how SSI was ruined because of this. Bioware still hasn't reached the point where their formula can no longer be rejuvenated, but it may not be too far in the future.

I agree with you Matt that the game is a fun 20 hour romp (with all of the optional content add 5 hours perhaps) and quite polished compared to its competition. However, calling it a masterpiece is perhaps a bit of an overstatement, especially next to other cRPGs that you have singled out as masterpieces. KOTOR is fun, (once) but it doesn't seem to add anything particularly new to the genre.
Maybe the sad state the genre has fallen into since 2002/03, makes those of us hungry for a real RPG experience a bit too easily satisfied?

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