Knights exploits the dialogue trees to their full potential. In fact, the best feature of Knights of the Old Republic isn’t the action, the items, the Jedi powers or even the Star Wars setting – but the storyline and dialogues. Almost every party member has some sort of story to share and most of these lead to very interesting and often elaborate side-quests.Click here for our KoTOR screenshot gallery!
The characters in the party are far more interesting than those in any previous BioWare or Black Isle game. They’re deeply developed, with intricate back-stories and their own motivations for being with the player. Each character reveals a bit more about himself as the player gains levels, if the player can choose the appropriate responses in the dialogue. Mistreat your party members, and they may withhold the rest of their story.
It is precisely the tales of the personal tragedies and triumphs of the party members that add the necessary details to help push the feeling of a galactic war going on. Knights of the Old Republic has everything that makes movies – especially the original three Star Wars movies – great. There’s a terrifying conflict against an invincible yet very human and believable foe, the party members have their own personalities, agendas, and stories. They react to some of the player’s actions with pleasure or displeasure, depending on their alignment.
There are constant tributes to the three good Star Wars movies throughout the game. There is a Dark Lord of the Sith to confront, he has an ultimate weapon, the player’s party has its own smuggling freighter, there is space combat, and gambling. The party deals with everyone from Galactic Warlords and criminal syndicates, to petty yet dangerous foes that wouldn’t register beyond ‘pond scum’ on the galactic scene.
Of course, looming in the background is the all-important conflict between light and dark that comes to the forefront every once in a while. Throughout the game the player is confronted with decisions that decide his alignment and ultimate fate. The choices tend to be very clear and consistent; light-side choices are often more difficult and tedious though morally rewarding, while dark-side decisions are usually the quick-and-easy path with tragic consequences for whoever happens to be in the player’s path. At times, the dark side decisions were way too distasteful for this reviewer, so don’t worry – the BioWare writers didn’t pull any punches. Anyone choosing the evil endgame and not feeling even a twinge of discomfort throughout the rest of the proceedings can thank his parents for the money they spent sending him off to a Hitler Youth camp.
Not all is perfect with the story, and there are certain very glaring and notable deficiencies in the light-dark struggle. Pointedly, at times the game assumes that aligning yourself with the good side in a conflict means that you’re making the good decision – not that you might have alternate motives for such a choice. For example, if on a certain planet you are mistreated by the evil faction, naturally as an evil character you’d wish revenge and thus would have no problems overthrowing them. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t allow any such options and automatically “rewards” the character with those disgustingly useless light-side points.