Thursday, July 19, 2012

Knights of the Old Republic: Still the Best


I am writing this not because Knights of the Old Republic (or Kotor for short) is the hottest game out on the market right now (it came out in 2003 after all) but because it is one of my favorite games of all time and I would like to convince you all to give it a try.

First off, Kotor is a role playing game which tosses your character, a run of the mill soldier/scout/scoundrel, into a galaxy wide conflict taking place between the Sith (lead by Darth Malak) and the Republic.

While on your quest to stop Malak, you'll join up with memorable companions and engage in countless adventures which can lead to rewards, consequences, and everything in between.

As is typical of Bioware, Kotor's developers, there are a number of twists and turns within the story that will keep you up into the early hours of the morning and are sure to compel you to play through the game multiple times.

Compared to some of Bioware's latest entries in the role playing world, like Mass Effect 1 and Dragon Age: Origins, Knights of the Old Republic still stands as the the most polished, influential, and fun game to play of the three.

I know that there will be many who disagree with that statement, and therefore I'll try to explain my reasoning. First of all, compared to Mass Effect 1, Kotor is a more lengthy and well rounded experience. Included in the game are a near ten hour long prologue, a fifteen hour main quest, and a five to ten hour long ending. Compared to Mass Effect 1, which has a main quest that can be completed in a matter of hours, you can begin to see why I prefer the older game.

Also, the planets in the ME universe are nowhere near as fleshed out as the ones in Kotor, with every single world in the latter game having the same complexity and detail applied to them as all of the main quest planets from ME1 combined.

Additionally, the dialogue wheel featured in the ME series lacks the versatility and complexity of the traditional style utilized in Kotor, causing it to feel like a much more streamlined experience.

Dragon Age: Origins provides a more compelling case for being a better game than Kotor. It boasts numerous fleshed out regions, towns, and cities, doesn't have a dialogue wheel, and has at least ten to twenty more hours of content than Kotor.

What Kotor has over Origins, in my opinion, is a better storyline and universe. Bioware did a wonderful job crafting Dragon Age's lore and plot, but it just can't hold a candle to what they manged to pull off in Kotor. Malak is a better villain than Loghain, your companions in Kotor are better, and the Star Wars universe itself is far more engaging.

Dragon Age: Origins is definitely one of the best RPGs of all time, however, I still feel that there are certain aspects of Kotor that have yet to be improved upon in these newer franchises. Perhaps if Bioware found some way to meld the polish, gameplay, and story of Mass Effect with the complexity, length, and detail of Dragon Age, we would have ourselves a proper successor to Knights of the Old Republic.

As of now, even with the releases of Mass Effect 2, 3, and Dragon Age 2, I have yet to come across a Bioware game which matches the magic of their masterpiece from 2003. And once you've played the game and have experienced its enigmatic characters, deep storytelling, visceral gameplay, and weighty decision making, I believe you will come to feel the same way.

Luckily for you, Kotor is often on sale for less than $6 on Steam. Buy it if you wish to engage in one most incredible role playing experiences of the past twenty years.

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