Review: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II

This is a very fun game. Play it. That is the will of the Force.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II US Boxart

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II is the sequel to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a popular roleplaying game from Bioware. Knights of the Old Republic II was created by Obsidian and licensed by LucasArts. It was published for both the XBox and the PC. This review is of the PC version of the game.

Knights of the Old Republic II is set five years after the first game. The player controls the mysterious Jedi Exile and later a small party of other travelers. It is entirely the player’s decision whether the Jedi Exile is male or female. The Exile’s gender determines many things including romances and which characters join the player’s party. The skill and combat systems for the game are the same as those used in the first Knights of the Old Republic. It is a Dungeons-and-Dragons-style system involving Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. All attacks and skill checks in the game are done via a scripted random number generator that simulates the rolls of d20s and other various dice. The interface for the game is very user-friendly. When a player targets an enemy, a menu appears below the enemy’s name, and the player can choose to perform an attack, cast a Force ability, or throw a grenade. There is also a set of commands in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. These commands include self-target Force powers, usable items, equipped items with abilities, and mines that can be placed.

High Dexterity and low Strength mean low damage, but one will always hit with ranged weapons!

This is an example of the statistics display interface in Knights of the Old Republic II. Notice how it is very similar to Dungeons & Dragons.

The interface for equipping characters and leveling them up is very straightforward. All equipment items have descriptions that include the attribute bonuses, skill bonuses, or other bonuses that they contribute. All usable items have descriptions that state their damage absorption or attribute modifiers, and their durations. In the character description interface, unmodified attributes are shown in teal while attributes that are temporarily modified by usable items or equipment are shown in yellow. When a character has gained a level that the player has not yet applied, a large L appears on the character’s portrait. In the character description interface, the player can apply this level however he sees fit. Decisions to make for level-ups include skill rank distribution, feat choices, Force power choices, and attribute increases. The game also includes an Auto-Level feature in which the game decides how to apply levels to characters. The Auto-Level feature is terrible. It does not have any semblance of strategy and simply applies attribute points to a character’s attributes depending on their class, disregarding any desire that the player may have to increase a character’s usefulness in some other area. Similarly, it uses class to determine how to apply feats, skill points, and force powers. The result is that a character may receive many ranks in a skill that the player never intends to use, a ranged character may end up with melee feats, and Light side Jedi may end up with useless Dark Side powers such as Force Scream.

This character's problem is that he is not using Force Storm, even though he clearly has the power to do so.

An Example of In-Game Combat

Graphically, the game is passable. The character movement is convincing enough, but lip movement does not match speech, and the display has a tendency to cut out just before a cutscene.

The game’s story is quite interesting. The Jedi Exile is a former Jedi Knight who fought in the Mandalorion Wars prior to the first Knights of the Old Republic game. The game chronicles the Exile’s rise after losing his or her connection with the Force at the end of the Mandalorian Wars. The story is influenced by the player’s choices in the game, molding the Jedi Exile into a force of good or evil–or simply a neutral person. Depending on the Exile’s behavior, some party members will dislike him and some will like him. Party members that like the Exile will reveal far more about themselves, and will also grant the Exile and themselves bonuses to stats (or even prestige classes when the Exile’s influence over them is strong enough). The story is driven by the mysterious Kreia, whose ties to the Sith warn the Exile that he must train himself in order to defeat them, for they threaten to destroy the entire galaxy–something that no respectable Jedi or Sith would want.

The game’s music is also passable. It is nothing special: simply a series of remixes of music from Star Wars movies and other Star Wars games.

All in all, Knights of the Old Republic II is a very enjoyable game. It is definitely worth playing through, especially after completing the first Knights of the Old Republic game.

6 comments on “Review: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II”

  1. I just installed this today (cunt of a thing), I always liked it better than the original KOTOR despite the fact that it is clearly unfinished. The graphics aren’t passable though, I was astonished by how ugly they were.

  2. I know there’s a fan made patch out there that fixes lots of stuff. I had a blast with the original KOTOR, so I should really pick this up sometime.

  3. It’s much more rough around the edges, but the writing is better, and it injects the back and while Star Wars universe with a grey morality.

    The game had me tracking down and slaughtering the galaxy’s remaining Jedi, while feeling entirely justified about it. A very underrated game, but then Obsidian have made a career of being overshadowed by everyone else …

  4. HK-47 is even more insanely fucking awesome in it too, I’ve heard? I loved talking with him in the original and slowly, but surely eeking out the truth of what happened to his previous owner(?) and seeing the ten kinds of kill crazy evil he was.

    How long’s the sequel?

  5. <3 HK-47!

    Sequel's about the same length; if I remember correctly you visit the same number of areas (though some parts of areas are inaccessible unless you install the restoration patch).

  6. KoToR 2 is not as good as the first one in many respects, it is great to see characters from the first make appearances however I would suggest playing through the first one and letting the second one slip by as it does not have the depth of the first.

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