Knights of the Old Republic EP9: Garbage Computer

By Shamus
on Sep 11, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I don’t know what it is about this game that lets it get away with so much. The combat is wonky, the game balance is way off, the moral choices are both idiotic and frequently negated, the dungeons are long and repetitive, the first planet drags on forever, you’re not allowed be be a Jedi until you’re forced to be one, a couple of the characters are pointless, and the hats are humiliating. But I still love it.

I think it comes down to the same reason I love Mass Effect 1: They nail the tone I’m looking for, and a couple of the characters are outstanding. If you get those right, you can apparently fumble nearly everything else.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!18218 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Hard to say. I played the second game first, but I remember being immediately pumped being able to step into the role of a Jedi without being bound to the story of Luke Skywalker or having to tiptoe around the events of the movies.

    • Felblood says:

      It’s easy to forget that this was such a leap forward for moral choice in games.

      The closest we came before this was in Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, where we got to decide if Kyle would be a good or evil by… picking good or evil powers and choosing whether or not to murder cute droids and take their batteries for our flashlight.

      It was really exciting at the time, but in retrospect we still had a long way to go, and we haven’t made much progress.

      • ehlijen says:

        KOTOR was a leap forward, but Baldur’s Gate II and the first Fallouts put Jedi Knight to shame, I dare say.

        Both had reputation metres that changed based on your actions, and some NPCs would treat you differently based on it. BG2’s had some issues (was a CE evil playthrough even possible?) but Fallout’s frankly worked better than several later games, as it actually tracked overall goodness and reputation with specific groups/locations.

        Neither was as well built around the matter as KOTOR (for all its faults), but both surpassed Jedi Knight, though I believe that was the first star wars game that offered choice on the matter at all.

        • Michael says:

          I think you might be right about Jedi Knight. The PS1 fighting game might have had alternate endings, I don’t know, but that was from the same year. Though, Jedi Knight was already 5 years old by the time KotOR released.

        • Zekiel says:

          “was a CE evil playthrough [of BG2] even possible?”

          Depends on how you define Chaotic Evil. If you mean (as some do by that alignment) “psycho who kills everybody (s)he meets, then no, it’s not really. (Actually it probably technically is almost possible, as long as you don’t kill Bodhi for long enough to side with her in chapter 3.) But (iirc) Sarevok is Chaotic Evil, and he doesn’t act like that so I think the Chaotic Evil alignment is broader.

          If you want to play a “might makes right” character who does some extremely evil things, then sure you can. The game provides you with quest resolution options like poisoning the Druid Grove, killing Valygar to open the Planar Sphere, killing or betraying the Silver Dragon, crafting armour of human skin (shame its a bit rubbish), blackmailing at least one person, and of course helping a vampire guild gain power. The main quest has specific options for pursuing Irenicus to get revenge (rather than to rescue Imoen), though you could also roleplaying rescuing Imoen as “I won’t let Irenicus steal what’s mine”.

          In addition you can do all sorts of nasty things to people more organically due to the breadth of spells in the game. You can feeblemind people (permanently, if I recall right), disintegrate people and petrify people. And you can do that to almost anyone in the game, companions included.

          • ehlijen says:

            No, what I meant was: You play a character of the chaotic evil chosen alignment (thus starting with a somewhat tanked party reputation), recruit the evil NPCs (I know at least taking viconia will hit your reputation, dunno about the dwarf) and then continue to do evil quests and take evil options when given (hitting your reputation further).

            According to the manual, a lower reputation means a mark up in stores (until they outright stop selling you stuff) and good characters turning hostile (including possibly the city guard).

            Can you get through the game like this? I was asking: is it practical given what the game supposedly does when you go evil?

        • Decius says:

          Fallout didn’t really have a morality. It just made it clear that everybody was judging you and provided feedback as to what they thought. Possibly it was originally a shortcut to have multiple designers working on the same area- they wouldn’t have to build in triggers off of every other designer’s quests, they could just build triggers off of your local reputation for how you should be treated.

    • I wonder if “The Old Republic” was an attempt to basically have what would be an “Ultimate” or “Elseworlds” universe for Star Wars games & stories? I mean, reading a tale where anyone could die because they weren’t first-level movie canon made it more interesting. The sci-fi stasis was odd, but given that most tech innovations in all Star Wars stories (i.e. the Death Star) were plot-related and not really a reflection of societal advancement, it didn’t matter as much as in most settings.

      • MichaelGC says:

        That’d certainly have the same operative effect – and make more sense. If you tried to explain Moore’s Law to someone in the Star Wars universe, they’d just laugh. Or possibly force-choke you.

        So, I’m guessing they just didn’t want to use multiple universes for some reason – marketing, maybe? – and so the time thing was the best alternative they could come up with. And I guess it works well enough if one doesn’t think about it too hard.

        (Well, it’s either that or it’s all about cycles.)

        • Metal C0Mmander says:

          I can understand not wanting to use the alternate universe thing because it’s a pretty dumb and overused concept but they could have just called it a what if scenario instead or something like that.

          • Supahewok says:

            There’s a few What-If alternative stories set around the original trilogy, such as What If Luke missed the shot in the first Death Star trench run. Answer: The Rebellion is destroyed, Leia is captured and turned to the dark side by Vader and Palpatine, Han takes Luke to Yoda, a few years pass, Luke and Leia have a showdown wherein Luke converts her back, R2-D2 and Yoda hijack the Death Star and, no kidding, drive it into the Empire’s capital planet on top of Palpatin’e’ head.

            As to why they didn’t set the KOTOR games in an alternative universe, why would they? The older point of the timeline had already been established, and who would want to play a Star Wars game that wasn’t connected to the movies in any way? At least these games have a feeling of playing in the same timeline, in a living universe.

            • Metal C0Mmander says:

              Oh no, KOTOR being set up in the past is alright. I’m speaking of the SWOTOR mmo and things like the uniforms and outfits being similar to the movie ones than to the game ones like for the trooper class and the empire officers.

              Also I didn’t really mean “what if” in the sense of characters doing different things but more in the sense of different characters in different but similar situations (not John Starseer and the resistance vs. Darth Cancer and his Death Egg kind of similar but you get the idea). There’s nothing wrong with that other way of doing things but it’s not really what I’m looking for when I’m speaking of “what if”.

      • Supahewok says:

        I don’t know if you’re talking about the MMO or the series as a whole, but yes, the primary reason that its set so far in the past from the movies was so Bioware could have a free hand in their narrative, not bound to the movies and the movie characters. There had been a comic book series in the mid 90’s mostly set during the time of the Sith Lord Exar Kun, which is talked about sometimes during the KOTOR games as the most significant event preceding the games. I don’t know if continuing on that part of the timeline was Bioware’s choice or LucasArts; I’d guess Bioware since all I’ve heard about LucasArt’s invovlement is that they were pretty hands-off with the development of KOTOR 1&2 except for making sure Lucas’ various rules were implemented. Rules such as everything in Star Wars that we have an analogue to in real life having its own Star Wars name in order to make the setting feel more alien; hacking is called slicing, bathrooms are called the refresher, coffee is called caf, ballistic weapons are called slug-throwers, etc. Incidentally, this is the answer to Chris’ complaints about Star Wars’ made-up terms; they’re part of a rule set by Lucas himself to make the setting feel more like a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away. Its also why paper doesn’t exist in Star Wars: Lucas figured that the absence of something so fundamental and mundane in our world would help sell his sci-fi setting, although there are a couple of spots in the EU when someone managed to slip it in.

      • Felblood says:

        I’m sure that was the original plan, though they kind of stumbled there, in a way which actually turned out to be super cool for me.

        I actually figured this out while trying to to find a place in the Official “Legends” Timeline to set a tabletop RPG campaign***, in the Star Wars universe. I wanted to find a place after the invention of lightsabers, with a recent Sith War, and before the Jedi Council became the repressive organization that would precipitate the fall of Anakin Skywalker. What I found turned out to be way better than anything I hoped for, but a bit differently shaped.

        I wanted a place where players could play various kinds of Jedi characters, without breaking the cannon, and what I found was the very fracture point at it’s center. A blow struck here, would annihilate every bit of the cannon that comes after.

        See, when they picked that number, 4000 years BBY, they did step on the toes of some cannon characters. Nomi Sunrider and Exar Kun were just finishing up their war in 4000 BBY.

        Someone must have realized the mistake somewhere between when the timeframe was announced by marketing and when the game was released, because there are a bunch of clumsy ret-cons inside the first game to explain why this world looks so different from the one in the Dark Horse comics, and even more so in the official timeline used by TOR.

        Jolee makes mention of being old enough to remember a time when Nomi Sunrider (who had a daughter) led the Jedi, and before the Jedi Council was all up in everyone’s business preventing Jedi from getting married and generally bossing folks around.

        Officially, Revan wasn’t even born until 3996BBY, the year of the end of the Great Sith War, and the year that the last Jedi Conclave established the Jedi Council, which replaced them. Their mission was to standardize the Jedi curriculum and ensure no more Jedi fall to the dark side. Insert the KGB joke of your choice here.

        The official story is that after the fall of Ullic Quel-Droma the Jedi were all so afraid of the possibility of their own turning to the dark side that they submitted to this pogrom willingly, and it wasn’t until Revan rejected orders not to interfere in the Mandolorian Wars*, that anyone had the guts to complain about this state of affairs.**

        Revan got involved in the the Mandalorian Wars around 3965BBY, and it’s clear that by this time the council has gotten used to micromanaging the previously clan-like Jedi families, and the prohibition on romance and warfare has become official. That is an extreme cultural shift to have happen in less than 31 years. –especially in a world where many races live far longer than that. –and more especially in a religious order that values bloodlines.

        THAT is a place to set a tabletop RPG. Players can decide what they stand for and fight to influence the path of history in time of uncertainty and upheaval. Revan showed that a single Jedi with leadership skills could alter the course of history, so what if the PCs beat him to the punch. Will they serve the Council quietly and allow the canonical history to play out, or will they try to shape a different vision of the future? It would be really interesting to see players fighting for the soul of the Jedi Order, how they go about it, and if successful what sort of Order they build in it’s place.

        The Mandalorians might find a very different Republic waiting for them when they invade, and that would just be the beginning.

        ***For those wondering, I am looking at GURPS. It has about the right amount of maiming in it’s combat, there are a lot of great fan-made source-books, and it has reputation and ranking mechanics that encourage the type of goals I want my players to set.

        *(Revan escaped from the Endar Spire in late 3956 BBY. Meaning that Reven should be a 40 by the time that KOTOR takes place. All that zero gravity must be great for the glutes.)

        ** Other than Jolee, who despises the council, and thumbs his nose at them, without turning crazy and evil. This all just serves to make it even weirder that there’s no light side ending that doesn’t involve returning to be the Council’s lapdog. Even if the game called it a neutral path, it would be nice to be able to side with Jolee “the only sane man” Bindo, here.

  2. Felblood says:

    “They nail the tone I’m looking for, and a couple of the characters are outstanding. If you get those right, you can apparently fumble nearly everything else.”

    One could argue that this is the thesis of 90% of Shamus’ writing.

    It’s not about art budgets, box art, fancy shaders or the niggling details of game balance.

    Game design is about capturing a feeling, putting it in a bottle, and cloning million copies to distribute across the globe. If you don’t understand that, or you simply aren’t interested in it, you have no business running a company in this industry, of any size.

    • James says:

      But then out comes The Witcher 3, which whilst not everyones deal nails everything for its target audience. the scope, the theme the gameplay.

      Also you get Metal Gear 5 which is at least for me a perfect Metal Gear game, a game where you can legitimately say there is a Giant Flying Fire Whale.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I think the whole “capture a feeling and put it in a bottle” thing is just part of story telling in general. I feel like I remember Stephen King or some other such author saying something very similar to this.

  3. Nick Pitino says:

    Dear Shamus,

    I know this isn’t the best place to post this, but I don’t have a twitter account and thus no other way to reply:

    You would think that after spending years on the internet one would become completely calloused over to how bile spewing and hateful people can be, but the comments on that link excoriating the ‘Victorian’ couple make me deeply, deeply sad.

    • djw says:

      People like to whine about things, and if there is nothing important to whine about they will whine about people that look funny and act different. Unfortunately, the internet puts all that whining in a place where the rest of us can see it.

      • djw says:

        That said, I did just read through the comments and it makes me think this internet thing might not have been all that good an idea after all.

        • Thomas says:

          I read the comments desperately hoping it was a troll, or a satire article that people had mistaken for the real thing.

          Instead I found the author(?) explaining to the one commenter who had told him the bile was out of hand that the commenter had been a good commenter previously but one more comment like that and he’d be banned.

          Everyone seems to feel so justified in hatred for a couple of complete strangers that they really know nothing about? There’s just a wonk in human brains that can’t work like they should work when the people aren’t ‘real’ to us.

          • djw says:

            To be fair though, the author was complaining about the TL;DR part of the comment, not necessarily the part where he complained about all the bile.

          • Syal says:

            Well, I’m reading the article he was referring to, and they really do sound like pompous self-aggrandizers. Like, my uncle does half of that stuff at his cabin, but he doesn’t spend his time bragging about his discipline; if anything he brags about how he finds ways around needing the discipline.

            And Gabriel’s barely in that article so I’ve got to assume the second one is fully aware it’s overplaying it.

            • Supahewok says:

              Is there another article were the author is being real inflammatory? I read this one and I don’t see the big deal. The author states some lessons she’s learned from living with the technology of an older time, and compares the experience with those things to how’s it like living with modern things. She also makes some good points, about how detached we are from our resources that we don’t realize how much we’re using up, something I think anybody with any interest in the welfare of our environment can agree with.

              I don’t agree with all of it; if she thinks that its the Victorian era that “was an incredibly dynamic time, with so many new and extraordinary inventions it seemed anything was possible,” in comparison to today, well, I doubt she’s looked out her window for the past hundred years. The degree of technological development since WW2 is amazing.

              But just because I don’t agree with every sentiment does not mean I feel like she’s passing judgement on the rest of us who don’t live with her ideals. She makes some attacks on modern living, but not in an aggrandizing tone and coupled with her own reasoning. And the article never even mentions certain aspects of Victorian society that people in this age find detestable; she keeps herself pretty strictly to the aesthetics and technology of the Victorian era, and what can be learned from them. Its a fallacy to assume that she also means that women shouldn’t vote, or that she believes in 19th century eugenics, just because she enjoys the aesthetics and technology of the same time period. I’m a big fan of England around the time the Magna Carta was signed. Doesn’t mean I want to live in a feudal society or enjoy the pox.

              If there’s another article that folks are getting mad at, I’d like to see it. As it is, all I see is a couple of folks who’ve chosen some lifestyle choices, and chose to share those choices with the Internet, to be met with the same hatred and vitriol they say they experience in real life. Kind of reminds me of transgender folk, really, only with the political leanings switched around. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

              To finish, I would like to observe that this woman clearly uses the Internet and either has or doesn’t mind a friend using a digital camera. So I wouldn’t assume that she fully lives in 1880, or that she thinks we all should.

              • Syal says:

                “I wash my hair using Castile bar soap from a company established in 1839. “ Not with old-fashioned soap necessarily, just soap from companies that were around at the time.

                “Neither my husband or I have ever had a cell phone”, yet they’re posting it on the Internet. In fact they have their own webpage.

                “He had been homeschooled as a child, and he never espoused the strict segregation that now seems to exist between life and learning.” This bit isn’t about Victorian living, I just wanted to take a jab at normal kids here.

                “Soon after, I gave Gabriel an antique suit of his own, but tailoring men’s clothes is a separate skill set, and it took him a while to find a seamstress who could make Victorian men’s clothing with the same painstaking attention to historic detail that I was putting into my own garments.” Aren’t I dedicated and great, it’s so hard to find someone as great as me.

                No one pays us for it, but we take it more seriously than many people take their paying jobs. Says the woman who writes books about the Victorian age for a living.

                Gabriel’s workout clothes were copied from the racing outfit of a Victorian cyclist, and when he goes swimming, his hand-knit wool swim trunks raise more than a few eyebrows — but this is just the least of the abuse we’ve taken. How dare they look surprised at someone wearing wool in the pool!

                I can appreciate people living outside the normal channels, but the article is just so… ugh.

                • djw says:

                  Part of the problem is that they posted the article to Vox. I think the editors of Vox have a style guide that pressures authors to pretend to be annoying hipsters. If it doesn’t have enough hip sanctimony (TM) the article gets sent back for re-writes until it does.

                • Supahewok says:

                  We’re going to have to agree to disagree. I see nothing aggrandizing about what you picked out. Homeschooling is a different experience than regular schooling, and some people obviously prefer it or it wouldn’t exist. Frankly, after going through the public school system I can agree with what she said; most of the home schooled kids I’ve met are open to different experiences and finding value in everything they do, while a lot of the folks I went through high school with refuse to do new things, read books, or expand their horizons in any way. Not everybody, I don’t know if it was even a majority, but there were plenty of them and the common factor was that they viewed learning as a punishment due to hating school.

                  Its probably pretty tough to find hand soap made in the style of the 19th century. Didn’t they use to make it out of animal fat? Might even be regulations now a day against it. Her statement was meant to show she tried.

                  About the clothes, she said she didn’t know how to tailor men’s clothes. Doesn’t seem too full of herself to me there. And I know from experience that it can be tough to find someone willing to hold themselves to the same standard you hold yourself in your work. I don’t see anything wrong with stating it took a while to find someone that could meet their needs.

                  How does having a wool swimsuit affect anybody but himself? Even if it shrunk to the extent that it formed around his genitals, I gotta tell you, I’ve worked at public swimming pools, and I’ve seen men wear thongs that left little to the imagination. I won’t say that people didn’t mind, but they were allowed in. And I really doubt that thick wool could do that anyway. If it did, you can bet your ass the man wouldn’t be wearing them, that would hurt so, so very much.

                  I already pointed out the disingenuity of using the Internet and a digital camera. Obviously they must buy their food at a modern store, they said they went to modern swimming pools, and they have friends so they probably visit their modern houses. They aren’t Amish, they don’t live by themselves in the country, obviously they must interact with the modern world. They at no point stated they lived a completely Victorian lifestyle, or that everybody would be better off doing as they did. The author pointed out some lessons she learned from her lifestyle, encouraged everyone to think on them, and finished the article telling everybody to live how they want, even if the bullies of the world want to push them down.

                  I think you’re projecting meaning in her words that isn’t there, and I honestly cannot see your viewpoint, although you probably think it’s incredibly obvious. So we’ll agree to disagree, because it’s most likely that nothing we could tell each other at this point can change the other’s mind.

                  • Syal says:

                    I spent half my school days in public school and half in private, and public school was awful. The thing is, the homeschooling doesn’t matter to their lifestyle except to establish that Gabriel is “better” than most people.

                    If she can’t use old-fashioned soap, she can say that, or she can leave it out of the discussion. They didn’t mention the computer and the only reason I cared was because they touted the lack of cell phones. She even says Gabriel’s got a driver’s license, and it’s not a big deal.

                    How long it took to find a tailor that could match her has nothing to do with the clothing they wear except to establish that she’s “better” than most people.

                    I can go to the gym in a pink mesh T-shirt if I want, but if people start throwing snide remarks at me about it I’m not going to call it abuse. It’s what guys do. It’s what friends do. If they think it’s abuse to draw attention to oddities it makes me seriously question their definition of ‘bullies’.

                    (I never agree to disagree. :)

    • I can speak only for myself here, but as far as I can suss out (after spending a good bit of my day thinking about it), the tone I perceived in the article made me see red. Sounded like a relative who’s an elementary school teacher, treats everyone like they’re 6, and has to win (at everything, including shoots and ladders with a 3 year old). That is obviously my issue, not hers.

      It doesn’t really help that I have loads of “fun” medical stories from the Victorian era, am still trying to come to terms with my own ancestry being full of racist idiots (for the love of God, why’d they use memorials to the dead as tools to keep the African-Americans down?), and mental-healthwise, am not doing so hot. All my problems, nothing to do with her.

      That said, I would have prefered it if she’d mentioned some of the downsides of the Victorian era, like mentioning that she doesn’t vote because women couldn’t, or something along those lines. And because I can be a cruel person, I’d love to see her try full and proper Victorian garb in the summer here without AC. I’ve seen braver women than I do it (including one woman in full mourning garb which was amazing and how she didn’t pass out from heat stroke is beyond me). But in the end, it is her life, she should live it however she pleases, and as much as I’d really like to start lecturing about the Belgian Congo, or uterine prolapses (you don’t want to know, trust me), that’s a knee-jerk reaction based on emotion and annoyance that she doesn’t deserve.

      I try very hard to treat others as I’d like to be treated, and I failed. I may not be thrilled with how she’s chosen to live, but she certainly doesn’t deserve the level of bile she got.

      • djw says:

        If she lived in Idaho, Wyoming, or Utah then she would have been able to vote in the 1890’s. She would still have been out of luck when it comes to air conditioning.

        • Supahewok says:

          Victorian era wasn’t really in the States. We had, I dunno, the Gilded Age? Robber barons? The settling of the frontier? Reconstruction? I don’t really know what happened on the East Coast where the cities were, but I don’t think folks rode goofy bicycles.

          Edit: Actually, they probably did ride goofy bicycles. But probably not the same kind.

          • djw says:

            The article was written by a woman who lives in Washington state and bought a 1888 house in a town that she described as a “Victorian era port”. Strictly speaking it may be an inappropriate use of the phrase “Victorian Era” but it is clear from the context that she means it to include the lifestyle of people in America during the same time period. From a standard of living standpoint it probably does not make much difference, although American politics and British politics were quite different in the 1890’s.

            • Supahewok says:

              Well, Wikipedia knows all, or at least most.

              Kinda weird, I hadn’t thought that much British culture would transpose to the 19th century US, but there you have it. I imagine that some of the differences would be in aesthetics; I doubt that Americans dressed the same way as the British, particularly the middle class. But architecture and technology could be similar, I guess.

              • djw says:

                Britain was the most powerful nation on the planet for most of that time, so it kind of makes sense to name the period after its Queen. Also, America and Britain speak the same language and have similar political values, so once the wars we fought were a generation or two in the past its not much of a surprise that British culture influenced America. It still does (at least judging from the number of British musicians I have on my Iphone).

                • “Also, America and Britain speak the same language…”

                  I felt a great disturbance in the Linguists, as if millions of monocles suddenly popped out in indignation, and were stunned into silence.

                  • guy says:

                    No, they’re different dialects. Same language.

                  • djw says:

                    I usually edit my comments heavily after the first draft. Initially I had a parenthetical (almost) in front of “the same language”. I must have accidentally deleted it.

                    Nevertheless, you can hold a conversation with an Englishman with only minimal inconvenience, as long as you don’t ask to go to the bathroom.

      • Supahewok says:

        In regards to your ancestry issue, obviously that’s your private business and I don’t want to pry in it. I will state, however, that I find little point in getting caught up in the mistakes of our ancestors. We do not inherit the sins of our fathers. Every generation has its successes and mistakes; the point of the study of history is that we look back on both and learn from them. I consider my father a racist, although I’m sure he’d disagree. Probably his whole branch of the family is, they’re in Mississippi. I don’t dwell on it; I just avoid the topic at dinner and do my best to live a better life.

        A future generation is going to look back on us and learn from our mistakes, even from the best of us. I’m sure that the Women’s Suffrage Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, instrumental in obtaining the right to vote that women deserved, would be horrified by the recent legalization of gay marriage. We’ll have our dated beliefs too, when we are judged. All we can do is live, learn, and pass on. Wallowing in the misery of the past helps nothing and no-one.

        At least that’s my 2 cents.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Man,if only blip wasnt down,I wouldve linked SFDebris video now.It explains everything about why people like the two cause so much hate in people.

      The gist of it is:They are elves.They talk about “rural simplicity” and “advances of the olden times” without any of the hardships of the real old times.So they live this life without being paid for it?That means they are basically roleplaying as the upper class of victorian era,never having to do any actual work because “daddy owns a plantation that pays for my eccentricities”,and talk about “how hard it is to spend wads of that money to find this rare thingamajig that has no use besides being so rare and eccentric”.

      If you want a modern parallel,they are like Paris Hilton got transported some 100 years in the future to talk about how “things were so quirky in the old times” while giggling and writing on her “antique cell phone” because she doesnt want to get trapped in the quantum computing.

      • Felblood says:

        I think the hate is simpler than that.

        This is conspicuous consumption.

        Any attempt to paint it as a legitimate study of history or whatever falls flat on it’s face. This is two rich yahoos, flashing their cash at the internet.

        I live in Washington State now. If I got bent out of shape, every time I learned that a rich moron in western Washington wasted a pile on money, on something as stupid as an antique letter opener, I’d never get anything done. –and I’d have another dozen bleeding ulcers.

        Dear Internet, these people are not worth raising your blood pressure over. Life is too short to waste worrying about how rich idiots spend their idiot money.

        • djw says:

          The people complaining about the couple are demonstrating that they have enough leisure time to whine about people they will never meet doing something that does not harm them in the least. Conspicuous consumption indeed.

  4. Gunther says:

    I would argue that while the dialogue is bad, the actual story is pretty solid, particularly for an RPG from 2003. A lot of the dumber tropes RPGs run on are deconstructed by the twist.

    Why does your character get so strong so fast? Why do the jedi put the fate of the galaxy in the hands of some random guy/gal? Why do you get a party full of diverse misfits willing to obey you?

    I mean, most games would just ignore that, but KOTOR gives you an fake explanation first – “it’s the will of the force!”, then gives you a satisfying explanation later with the twist. Revan is so ridiculously powerful that mind-controlling her and sending her against her allies is the best plan the jedi can come up with

  5. Zombie says:

    I think another part of the reason so many people love KotOR is that we haven’t played it in forever, and when we did play it a long time ago, it was pretty freaking good. Its just that we’ve now played games like The Witcher and Mass Effect, which are infinity better than KotOR, and just about everything this game does just feels so dated. Basically, people remember when this was one of the best games ever, haven’t gone back to play it in a while, and just go “Oh yeah, that was a great game, still love it”

    The one dude you killed was labeled as the bartender, then you killed the cook.

    I didn’t realize that Carth blocks EVERY attempt to do something evil. I thought it was just the early stuff.

    You might want to save some spikes for Davik’s house. IIRC there’s a bunch of computers that make that section easier.

    “I was part of this biker gang that ruled over the lower city back when it meant something to rule over the lower city!”

    With the pool thing you can have that droid go in to trigger the trap thing.

    T3-M4 (I had to look that up) and Zaalbar really suffer from the problem of there being to many good companions, not to mention from their own uselessness. Like, HK-47, Mission, Jolee Bindo and Juhani are just straight up better characters, and people like Carth, Bastila and Canderous more useful.

    You’re at the end of the base section (it ends after the boss fight I’m pretty sure), unless you had decided, for whatever reason, to betray the Hidden Beks (then you basically have to do this all over again, only with a different base layout; hurrah). Then you have to do the swoop racing, free a very ungrateful and whiny Bastila, break into a Sith base for launch codes or something, then finally you get to fight through Davik’s house (the guy who has all the bounties on people), do a boss fight, do a mandatory shoot the tie-fighter…… I mean “Sith Fighter Spacecraft” minigame, and then you finally get to become forced to be a Jedi. I’m pretty sure Taris is the longest plant in the entire game actually.

    And its not like they couldn’t make Taris shorter. Like, imagine it goes this way:

    Everything up to getting to the lower city stays the same. When you get to the Lower City, you go into the cantina, find Mission and Zaalbar, and they same something along the lines of “Oh, yeah, there’s lots of talk about escape pods crashing in the under city. The Sith seem REALLY interested in getting there before scavengers”.

    So you go to the under city, and then you meet Canderous (again I guess, he can still do the intimidation thing when you first enter the lower city). He tells you that he’s getting out of here with his men before the rackgouls kill them all, but he’s really pissed off at the Sith for basically stealing all the salvage he had picked up, and he wants some payback. He also, when you question him, tells you that he saw them take a women from one of the pods, but he didn’t get a really good look at her. He suggests that you get into the Sith base through the sewer system, which connects all the different levels together. He also knows someone who can help get through some of the security too. You go to the Lower City, and find out it’s Mission, and she’s pissed off because the Sith arrested Zaalbar “for disturbing the peace” or something (it makes as much sense as him getting captured by random Gamorreans). You go through the sewers, break into the Sith base, let Canderous get his revenge, free Zaalbar and Bastila, and then you get to go back to your apartment. Along the way you also steal the codes to get past the planet-wide space travel lockout.

    Canderous then lets you know about Davik and the Ebon Hawk, he takes you to Davik’s house, you do all the stuff like normal, and then you steal the Ebon Hawk and it’s pilot T3-M4 and head out to Dantooine.

    • djw says:

      I think that Kotor holds up relatively well. Witcher 3 (imo) while great, was way to big and I never bothered to finish it. Kotor grinds in a few places, but it is short enough that I can finish it in a weekend when I have the itch to do so, and I still find it to be entertaining.

      • Thomas says:

        I agree that it still holds up. I’m watching all this and thinking that I’d enjoy playing it if I dug out my disks again. All its problems are really fripperies that can be ignored to enjoy a solid core.

        It’s like the lip-synching in Life is Strange, it’s some of the worst you’ll ever see and it makes every conversation look super creepy, but I literally wasn’t even seeing it until someone new to the game commented on it. In the same way the awful PC dialogue doesn’t really matter to me because I’m super engaged in learning the story and making the decisions.

        I do still think KOTOR2 is much much better written though :P I love how the PC’s dialogue is sometimes used for exposition itself instead of the PC asking ridiculously “Who are you? What is a Jedi?” style stuff

        • djw says:

          Kotor 2 is better because everything Kreia says is interesting, and she has a lot to say.

          • Corsair says:

            Yeah, nothing’s more interesting than nihilism.

              • Syal says:

                The really interesting part of KOTOR 2 is that all the main antagonists are representations of nihilism. It’s a game where you use a lightsaber to fight hopelessness.

                • Felblood says:

                  –but only after you use hurtful words to talk a lich into committing suicide.

                  Trying to read some deepre message into the last level of this game might be a bit of stretch.

                  At that point in the dev cycle, I’m pretty sure any ending would do.

                  • Syal says:

                    If there’s one thing I’m good at it’s stretching credibility!

                    Darth Sion is effectively The Wounds From The Past; he only shows up on dead worlds, and he should by all rights be dead by now but he just refuses to stay down. He’s the looming reminder of the bad things that happened on Malachor V, and the general desire to change the past. So you wade through the shadow of the past, and you kill him by convincing yourself that the past isn’t going to change and you should give up on trying to, before you ruin the future. At which point he disappears and you go kick the crap out of an old woman.

            • SlothfulCobra says:

              That guy isn’t interesting at all, all he ever does is loom and mumble ominously.

              • djw says:

                But he looms magnificently.

                • Corsair says:

                  Nihilus is -still- more interesting than Sion (whose only interesting traits are a hilariously out of place Scottish accent and falling in love with the female Exile) and Traya, who is little more than a textbook Nietzsche Wannabe. I’ve never understood why people find her interesting.

                  • djw says:

                    Haters gonna hate.

                  • Felblood says:

                    The thing about Nietzsche is that his stuff sounds really deep the first time you hear it.

                    That’s why it keeps coming back.

                    No matter how tired of it we get, it’s always someone else’s first time.

                  • Grudgeal says:

                    And yet they’re *both* more interesting than Malak. At least they don’t do maniacal laughter when there’s nobody around but the camera to watch it.

                    Malak was just a moustache and a top hat away from being a panto villain.

                  • Kavonde says:

                    It’s not intetesting because it’s Neitzche; it’s interesting because it’s Neitzche in a world where a supernatural force capable of controlling peoples’ lives provably exists. She isn’t just sitting around saying “nothing matters, you guys,” she’s actively opposing what can be considered in the Star Wars universe, for all intents and purposes, the will of God. It’s an idea that hadn’t been explored in that fictional universe until she came along, and it presents a new way to look at an extremely popular and well-developed fictional world.

                    • Felblood says:

                      The actual interesting turn on Neitzche’s ideas I really like. It’s the tired sophistry tht you are prevented from arguing with, because the plot insists that the Exile trusts Kreia, no matter what, which I cannot stand.

                      Treia’s motive is sick and brilliant. As a Sith Lord who is too hateful and selfish to throw off the shackles of the Dark Side, Treia found her own path to freedom, without having to seek “redemption.”

                      [Shop your own Heath Ledger’s Joker head onto Treia’s body.]
                      “The plan is simple: We kill The Force.”

                      Yeah, killing the force *probably* means killing all life in the Galaxy, and definitely means the end for both the Jedi and the Sith, but Treia values freedom more than life. –her own, or All Life; it doesn’t matter so long as she goes out doing it her way, like Frank Sinatra.

                      That’s actually a really cool hook for a villain. Too bad we only hear about it at the very end of the game, during her stupid villain monologue.

                      “Yes Exile, despite your 18 Wis and Int, and having been raised by an order monks, I was able to defeat you through your failure to grasp 200 level debate techniques! –and now I will use you as a battery to power my doomsday device! I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, instead of trying to get the drop on you, but now we must duel. While were on the subject, maybe I shouldn’t have taught you my secret ultimate fighting style.”

                      Up until that, all she’s doing is chastising you for doing anything that might draw the attention of the other Sith, before she is ready to sic you on them. Her stated reasons are generally lies, since she doesn’t actually care about the consequences of any of these actions. After all, she’s planning to Taris the entire galaxy in a few weeks, anyway.

                      Yeah, you can say that you can infer a lot about a person from the kind of lies they tell, but Kreia’s philosophy is actually a generic blend of Neitzche, Machiavelli and Rand, that doesn’t really form a cohesive whole.

                      The only consistent thread is her emphasis on subtlety and stealth, which would be a nice nod to the twist, except it’s too frustrating from a gameplay perspective to be that well thought out. Yes, interacting with with NPCs in a way that might gain me items, XP or alignment points means I risk blowing my cover, which kind of undermines the tone of this story. HOWEVER! That is literally 50% of the mechanics of the KOTOR engine! Why would ANYONE, trying to tell this story acquire the rights to do so in this engine? It is a monstrous waste of both the script and the engine to expect them to coexist.

                • Zaxares says:

                  Agreed! I’m not sure about the lore behind him, but I remember being excited that Nihilus was apparently an undead Sith Lord, the first in all of Star Wars lore. (Technically, his mastery over the Dark Side was enough to allow him to continue “living” even after his body had died, but close enough.) Plus, not to mention that he apparently was using the Force to keep his ship flying even though damage should have rendered it non-functional. It all gave the air of a truly unstoppable supervillain unlike anything Star Wars had ever given us, someone that I was really eager to fight.

                  Aaaand then I killed him in like 3 rounds with min-maxed dual lightsabres with the Flurry feat. Seriously, the amount of damage you can put out with that combat style is INSANE.

                  • Zekiel says:

                    Yeah fighting Nihilus was pretty underwhelming. Its annoying dramatically, but it actually makes story sense – what happens when a guy who eats the Force comes face-to-face with a hole in the Force?

                    • djw says:

                      The part where you win makes story sense. Winning by smacking him with a lightsaber doesn’t make much sense though.

        • Zekiel says:

          “I love how the PC’s dialogue is sometimes used for exposition itself instead of the PC asking ridiculously “Who are you? What is a Jedi?” style stuff”

          I love this too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done elsewhere. There are dialogue choices where reading your character’s potential dialogue gives you information that your character knows, but you (up to this point) did not. I think that is very, very clever.

          • Karthik says:

            Used to great effect in Pillars of Eternity too.

            • Ringwraith says:

              Been playing this recently, and yup, so very well-written.
              There’s even on dialogue option where you are choosing which part of a text you’ve read when stealing a glance at it, which you then mention to someone else.

              Also just all the choose-your-own-backstory-through-dialogue options, which are excellent ways to flesh out your character when questioned, and lead on from one another.
              Then you can check your personal journal and it will fill in your biography segments with more detail on what you chose.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Mass effect kind of has this.Your choice would be “Protheans?” and then shepard would be like “Arent protheans that dead race that all the archaeologists are raging about?”

            • Ringwraith says:

              Mass Effect was actually generally pretty good at this.
              Also random mention must be given to Mass Effect 3’s complete dialogue overhauls if you didn’t import a save, instead of referencing previous events it would explain things or gloss over them in a more general manner as appropriate.
              You mostly can see this in the opening, and it’s really good.

          • Felblood says:

            There are some areas in Plainscape: Torment that use this trick with an extra twist.

            Since you are an immortal who simply loses memories when you take lethal damage, you can often remember vague inklings of things that happened before the start of the game. You can even gain more of these memory shadows by finding and reattaching lost body parts. (You seem to regenerate some lost limbs when you recover from death, so amputating the new limb is sometimes needed).

            For a simple example, if you recover your lost eyeball at the bar, putting it into your eye socket will allow you to remember your safe deposit box number, from a past lifetime.

            In another part of the city, your character will recognize the flutter of lost memory in the middle of a conversation, and the dialogue option to immediately relay this information the person in front of you will inform you. However, you can play it close to the chest and still use the remembered knowledge later in other conversations.

            In yet other places, if you choose to pick an alias, you subconsciously choose the one you used last time you lived in that district, which can prevent the new you from allying with characters who were enemies of the old name.

    • Hermocrates says:

      Counterpoint: I’ve never played KotOR or Mass Effect, and while I finished the ME Spoiler Warning season and was still content to not play it, this season is already making me want to play KotOR.

    • Oh, this one has that stupid game! I remembered it (because I never got past it). My most hated part of the game by far and it’s at the end of the first planet.

      Wow, I feel so much less confused now. Everyone kept talking about underwater levels and things I didn’t remember, and of course I don’t. Huh, maybe I should try again, maybe I have gained some more skill in the interim.

      • Supahewok says:

        Start clicking right before the minigame starts, and as it opens all the enemy fighters will be in a cluster in front of you. Should get 2 or 3 of them before they split. After that, just observe their movement patterns, then pick a spot in the future of their flight path and just keep hammering the shoot button until they wander into your lasers. Repeat for the rest.

        I had a lot of trouble with it too, back when I first played the game.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I disagree.Nostalgia does elevate things a bit,but a good game 20 years ago is still a good game now.If it managed to suck you in despite its shortcomings back then,it can still do so now.The problems this game has existed back then as well.

      I know this because there are still a few old games that I replay from time to time:Namely xcom,moo2,homm3-4 and original starcraft.Yes,I see the problems they have,yes I know many modern games have improved on those,but those games are still just so freaking good.

      Same applies to kotor and original fallout*drink*.

  6. SlothfulCobra says:

    Oh wow, the stealth turned you proper invisible in the original too? When I played this game at low texture quality, stealth just put this weird electrical-looking aura around your character.

    I really wish stealth was in any way viable, but this game was balanced for players to actually fight the people in the dungeons. As a kid, I always kept pushing some skill points into stealth, and trying to find real uses for it here and there, but I never came up with anything really useful. Maybe the type of stealth in this game would be interesting in a game actually designed around it. I’ve never seen a stealth-based RPG.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      Oh see I used the stealth all the time for laying mines. Just set up three or four mines, turn visible so they see you and run around a corner. Boom. Rakghouls were insanely easy with this method since they are purely melee.

      Edit: Also for reference Josh clearly opened a box and stayed in stealth. The only thing that took him out of with was trying to reprogram that droid.

      • Thomas says:

        Mines are the big thing for stealth. There are a couple of points in both games where enemies are hanging around mines and disarming them in stealth mode is the best strategy.

      • SlothfulCobra says:

        But I can’t use mines because I might need them later!

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          Funny story: I was always pragmatic in games when it came to mines. I would go through much effort to collect enemy mines to be sure, but I would also use them whenever I saw an opportunity.
          In the opening level of Kotor II you find yourself in a factory over run by droids, your only weapons being crappy mining lasers, and mines. So of course I used all the mines. Then I came upon a bunch of containers and doors that could only be opened with explosives…..yeah after that point I was a mine hoarder in Kotor II.

      • John says:

        I use stealth and mines on the Gamorreans holding Zalbar prisoner, but it isn’t really necessary or even all that useful anywhere else.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          Well I’m ok with stealth not being necessary. It would be annoying if you had to do it. I was just pointing out that there were viable tactics for stealth.

  7. Eric says:

    I think you nailed it. Standards change. I was blown away by the game when I was younger, as I suspect many of us were. But at the time I didn’t have much context for good RPGs and KotOR was in many ways the first game of its kind, the first “modern RPG” after the 90s golden age.

    If I look back on KotOR, in retrospect I actually think it’s a pretty bad game – awfully tedious and repetitive, mindless combat, badly balanced equipment and character system, really heavy-handed exposition dumpy writing, boring level design, often nonsensical quests and player choices – but that’s all in retrospect.

    At the time I was just swept up in how Star Wars it felt, and how it was one of the first “cinematic” games I’d played that captured its source material in such a thoroughly realized way. Jedi Knight might have been a great game series, for instance, but it was still “just a shooter” with Star Wars window dressing, not an experience of the Star Wars universe.

    (It’s also why I prefer The Sith Lords – at least with TSLRCM. It didn’t do much to fix the gameplay but at least it took the quality of the writing and complexity of its characters to completely new levels not just for KotOR, but for Star Wars too.)

    • guy says:

      Bleh, I don’t like KoTOR 2’s plot that much because it has Kreia in it. The worst part is when you confront her on the ship over being blatantly suspicious, and she asks what you’d do if she doesn’t explain herself and lists a number of possible options like confining her to the ship and then you don’t get to take any of them. That’s not just railroading, that’s actively taunting the player.

      • Corsair says:

        That’s my problem with KotoR 2 in a nutshell – you have several party members you have no reason to keep around and no means of getting rid of them. Not really helped by the actual plot of KotoR 2 being incredibly weak and poorly defined. Seriously, what -are- you doing for the whole game until Kreia turns on you?

        • Thomas says:

          Tracking down the remaining Jedi masters in hopes to restore the Jedi order/get revenge/find out what they did to you?

          I don’t want to be too offensive here, but the quest of every planet is “Where is the Jedi master, how do I track them down?” And then each mission line ends with a boss fight/conversation with said Jedi. And then at the climax of the game the Jedi get together again and you have a big conversation with them. So I don’t know, it seems like a well explained hook to me.

        • Starker says:

          “Seriously, what -are- you doing for the whole game until Kreia turns on you?”

          SPOILERS

          It has been a few years since I played it, but as far as I remember first you’re escaping the wossname asteroid mining facility, then you’re placed under arrest for blowing up the facility, then you’re searching for the Ebon Hawk that gets stolen by that jerk Atris, and finally you are searching for the Jedi masters who have gone into hiding.

        • John says:

          The characters themselves cannot agree what the plot of the sequel is. Your character seems to think that the Jedi Council somehow took away your ability to use the Force, although we never see them do anything like that in the flashbacks and your character never explains why he thinks as he does. Kreia is all over you because she thinks that you had the “strength” to turn away from the Force, except that she’s also really eager to help you re-learn everything. And the Jedi Council are so alarmed by the fact that your character is a video game PC that they assume that you are some kind of space-vampire or black hole in the Force and try to murder you.

          • Thomas says:

            You’re suggesting the characters not having omniscience and having their own ideas on how the universe functions is a bad thing? :p

            You’ve described three separate sets of emotions and drives for three separate factions, if that bothers you there most be an awful lot of stories you hate

            • John says:

              The problem is not that there are multiple factionss or characters, each with their own ideas and agendas. The problem is that all the ideas and agendas are dumb, poorly motivated, or outright self-contradictory. It’s intensely frustrating. I would be perfectly happy if just the PC made some kind of sense. I would be over the moon if either Kreia or the Jedi were also sensible.

      • Eric says:

        Almost every single game in existence railroads the player (and those that don’t “actively” do it, still do so via the construction of the world and possibility space of the systems).

        Why can’t I slaughter Carth and Bastilla right from the start of KotOR? They’re annoying and whiny anyway.

        Why can’t I join Malak as his underling right from the start? Why do I have to deal with this “pretending to be a Jedi” nonsense?

        I could come up with infinite examples of things the game logically should let you do, but can’t. That’s just how it is.

        Kreia’s motivations in the game, and your companions’, all make sense. They all either have some kind of Force bond or prior history with the Exile, or some sort of emotional or “spiritual” issue that they feel they can solve through the Exile, or an ulterior motive. You can keep saying “why didn’t you just do this instead” but again, same thing – if I keep making death threats in public that Carth clearly hates, why doesn’t he just abandon me instead of continuing to trust me? etc.

        Even if you feel The Sith Lords is no better in terms of plot holes than the original KotOR, fine – it still has dialog that doesn’t feel like it was written by an eight-year-old, the characters aren’t just tired tropes, and its universe shows a degree of moral, social and political complexity that has never been explored in Star Wars games before. I’d say that’s a net win.

        That’s not to say I think the original game is all bad. Canderous, Juhani, HK-47 and Jolee are fun characters, and the central plot twist was great. But where the first game was just trying to capture Star Wars in videogame form, the sequel tried to deconstruct it and show it could be something more. That makes it far more interesting and valuable a game, in my opinion.

        • guy says:

          Most of them don’t have the main villain mock you to your face about how the plot won’t let you do anything about them. She lists perfectly reasonable things you might logically want to do.

          • Thomas says:

            She lists perfectly reasonable things you might want to do _and can’t do in-universe_. Kreia is an incredibly strong Sith with blackmail material over several of your party members, ‘confining her to her cabin’ is not an idea that’s going to work. Heck if she wants she can just start stabbing herself until you fall over. She’d be perfectly willing to do that. Telling Darth Sidious to go to his room is not an actual option.

            • guy says:

              She can’t kill you by stabbing herself. That was always a lie, an empty bluff that becomes thinner and thinner with every Jedi Master you talk to. Force bonds do not work that way, and the Jedi all tell you that. But even given that you believe her, there are such things as physical restraints, several of which can disrupt force powers, and sedatives.

              • Thomas says:

                I’m not sure that’s true. I always read that to mean that the Force Bonds were just something much more weird because of your unique situation. This is evidenced by you literal feeling Kreia’s pain when her hand was chopped off and the Jedi Masters telling you that should be impossible.

                In your last conversation with Kreia, when she stops lying and just tells you the truth, she still thinks the force bond was real. She didn’t tell you it was a lie.

                I’m pretty sure I’m right about this too, because they use your unique bonds to justify what happens to your party members. That doesn’t seem to be an in-universe lie.

                • guy says:

                  Oh, the bond definitely exists and transfers pain; the Jedi masters tell you that often happens with masters and padawans. It just doesn’t kill you or you’d have died immediately after the final conversation, and you don’t.

                  • Corsair says:

                    Suspension of disbelief is the problem. You aren’t a blank slate character in KotoR or KotoR 2, so it’s perfectly reasonable that there are some choices not open to you. It’s one thing to realize out of character that someone is probably going to betray you, it’s another thing for a character -in game- to so brazenly tell you she’s going to betray you and have you able to do -nothing- to stop her.

                  • Thomas says:

                    It’s implied the Force Bond between you and Kreia was separated before Malachor. You don’t feel Kreia’s pain when she fights you, and if you buff yourself it no longer buffs Kreia as well.

                    It’s admittedly not ever stated in the game why this might be the case. The theories are that the Exile managed to remove it when she was attacked at the Jedi council, that the black hole that is Malachor can numb even that (which is why it would be the showdown) or that Kreia severed it so that the final confrontation could happen. I guess another theory is that the bond was never lethal. But certainly that’s up in the air enough that Kreia has her leverage, especially since she can at least make the Exile feel near lethal pain at will.

                    I’ve always assumed that Malachor was numbing the bond. It’s a force black hole and I like that it gives another reason for the location of the final confrontation. I like this one enough that I sometimes misremember dialogue about it (which I tried to look up and then realised didn’t actually happen :p)

                    It is a big plothole of the game though

                    EDIT: Actually, I should probably say, as much as I defend KOTOR2 and will continue to defend and KOTOR2 through this season. I do understand why Kreia can piss people off and ruin the game for them. It’s a very provocative thing to do, and in RPGGs where the PC typically has a lot of power it can be infuriating to be taunted by someone you have to have as a party member. It never bothered me even though I hate Kreia’s philosophy, but it’s unreasonable of me to demand that other people not be bothered by it.

                    On the other hand, what I do strongly disagree with are the people who say things like the game ‘forces you to agree with Kreia’ or to enjoy the game you have to hate Star Wars and worship Kreia’s feet. That might be your experience, but that wasn’t how the game was designed and that’s not true for everyone at all.

                    For me Kreia was the worlds greatest heel. Her philosophy was just ‘true’ enough and was accurate enough to so many real life people that it was poison to my ears and I had more pleasure in finally defeating Kreia than I’ve had defeated any other game villain. I even tried to spare her life because I knew that would piss her off even more.

        • John says:

          The sequel fails at Star Wars. (It gets the tone all wrong, for one thing.) I understand that some people may see that as a virtue, even if I don’t. There’s a difference, I suppose, between playing a game with a Star Wars story and a game set in the Star Wars universe. Knights of the Old Republic has a Star Wars story but the The Sith Lords is just (sort of) in the universe and doing its own thing.

  8. Carth’s incredible skill with blasters makes me wonder if some fantasy worlds don’t have guns because it turns out everyone is crap at using them, so they never took off.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      Everybody is. I mean, some US police forces keep track of how often cops (who are trained to use firearms) actually hit what they’re shooting at, and it runs typically about 30% of the time in the field. That is, not on a shooting range with controlled lighting and all the time in the world. And that’s all conditions. If someone’s shooting back, the rate of actually hitting a target per bullet fired drops to 15-20%, or a 17+ on a d20. Carth and Regina are military, so they’re probably better than the average cop in a firefight, but shooting at about 25-35% in combat doesn’t seem all that unreasonable, and that’s 15+ or 14+ to-hit.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I saw once a story about a shootout some cops had with a couple of robbers,where they littered the street with shell casings,yet the total was under 10 wounds on 4 people.So yeah,firefights are hectic things with very few bullets finding their marks.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yeah,this game was made before backstabs were replaced with sneak attacks.Hence why stealth is lame.

    • Atarlost says:

      No, it’s not. It’s called sneak attack in the manual and adds d6s rather than multiplying total damage so it’s after D&D made the switch. It just doesn’t naively apply to flanking because there’s a facing system. You can’t sneak attack someone facing you based on flanking under Unearthed Arcana’s facing rules either. It does apply against stunned opponents and against people facing the other direction even after combat has been joined unlike backstab, which was only a combat opener.

      It also applies coming out of stealth from any distance with force jump, which is another of those good reasons to level up on Taris. Rogue 7 into dual saber guardian with maxed haste active gives 16d6 bonus damage on a charge out of stealth, which isn’t small even at high level.

      If you’re aiming at that build anyways you’ll have two thirds of your party stealth and sneak attack capable on Taris and it can be worth stealthing into position one at a time to drop two people in a crowded room and then start the fight in melee range.

      Stealth is also useful for that one room in the Vulkar base. After they have massacred the rest of your party can run away and stealth back and kill them all one blaster bolt at a time. Without stealth you would draw aggro as soon as you entered their LoS rather than only when your shot arrived and running away would have tighter timing.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Sorry regina,your bastille is in another castle.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    T3-m4 is not worthless.He saves you the trouble of having to put points into demolitions for your fighters,because he can pick all the mines.

    • Josh says:

      Yes, but then you’d have to take T3 with you.

      • Metal C0Mmander says:

        To be fair T3 is an alright fighter at least early on simply because he’s a robot and get super good equipments.

        • Thomas says:

          But he’s also a bad fighter because he’s a robot and can’t be force healed or buffed. No-one wants to have to fiddle around with repair kits once they’ve got a party wide healing power. It was the one black mark against Hk-47

          • Metal C0Mmander says:

            What if you’re playing a dark side run with low buffing capabilities. Suddenly the droids jump right back to useful again. At least I imagine. I only did one half-run of this game and never got high amounts of jedi skills.

            • ehlijen says:

              Even if you’re playing DS, the heal power saves you so much on credits that’d go into healthpacks or fast travelling back and forth it’s worth using frequently and often and redundantly much.

              The droids not only not benefitting from jedi healing but also requiring their own, separate healing resource really is a drawback.

              But in the end it comes down to force powers being better than everyone else, so my party always had two of the three jedi.

      • Ugh. No one wants that. T3 was just a bunch of pointless callbacks to the previous movies. It’s better to take T2. I mean, Robert Patrick was amazing as the T-1000.

        • Metal C0Mmander says:

          I guess it shows how poor the character is when I thought you were actually speaking of him instead of making a joke. “a bunch of pointless callback to the previous movies” does apply pretty well.

      • Henson says:

        Regina: “Hey, T3, it seems we’re going to have to find the sand people. What do you think of that?”

        T3: “Beep beep boop!”

        Regina: “You’re so mysterious, T3!”

      • It’s been a LOOOONG time since I last played this game, but I recall having T3 as my primary hacking/door opening character. I recall him being fairly good at it, though that could’ve just been me leveling him up? I dunno.

        • ehlijen says:

          He is good at opening doors, but so are lightsabres 90% of the time (and unlike KOTOR2, KOTOR1 didn’t have a mechanic where bashing the lock broke the contents).

          • Syal says:

            …yes it did. I broke so many contents in KOTOR 1.

          • That’s just a personal annoyance I have with sci-fi, but I hate it when one can damage a door open. I know it’s supposed to be the raygun equivalent of shooting a lock out of a wooden door, but what computerized system is going to have “if door opening and locking mechanism has ceased function then assume client wishes the door to open” hardwired into its OS?

            • Thomas says:

              Fire regulations? We often mock games for the exact opposite “What system would design it so that when the power goes out all the doors _lock_ themselves?”

              I like how lightsabers are more efficient at bashing doors than melee weapons in these games. With a melee weapon you have to damage the door over time, with a lightsabre you just jam it in and open it up.

              • “Dead Money” was mocked for that because the place was a hotel that was built with a security system better suited to a military base. Banks aren’t designed to open if there’s a power failure, nor are home security systems designed to let every door swing open if something disconnects the mains. As I said, it’s basically a “rule of cool” holdover from shows/movies where a gun can blow out a physical lock (perfectly reasonable, as the lock mechanism is also usually what’s holding the door physically shut). However, in this case, it’s like not being able to log in to your computer because you forgot the password, and smashing the keyboard with a hammer lets you have full access.

                It makes far more sense that when an automatic door’s interface panel is destroyed, a message is sent to maintenance, and the door remains closed unless it receives a signal from another valid source, like a smoke/heat detector inside the room or a security terminal from elsewhere in the complex. In fact, if you wanted to adhere to fire codes, given the technology available, the door would likely remain closed in the event of a fire, unless life signs were detected on the same side of the door as the heat/smoke, closing again, along with the air vents, once it was evacuated, assuming a sprinkler system didn’t engage.

                • guy says:

                  Fire codes would almost certainly demand automatic doors be designed so they can be manually forced open in the event of a power failure. And if I were in charge of writing them I’d demand that it be possible to get out through a door no matter what the system said; I would not want to have to explain that hundreds of people died because a lifesigns sensor malfunctioned. That said, fire codes don’t require people be able to get in during a fire, so it might only be possible to open them from the inside.

                  Actually, the automatic doors might work kind of like the fire doors at my high school did, except in reverse. See, there were these metal doors in the hallways, and they were balanced to swing shut on their own, but they were held open by electromagnets along the walls. If the fire alarm goes off, the electromagnets lose power and the doors swing shut, and they’d also do that if the system lost power. If the automatic doors are too heavy to manually force, something similar would be the only way to let people evacuate if the electrical system failed.

                  Of course, it’s true not all doors would have the same standards. Cell doors would obviously stay shut in a power failure (though doors along prison hallways probably wouldn’t because that sounds like the best way to isolate the guards for a riot) and same for bank vaults. Spaceships also have different constraints, since you don’t want a door to lock open onto vaccum. But ordinary civilian doors likely would be designed to spring open if badly damaged.

            • ehlijen says:

              I always assumed it’s meant to be the equivalent of breaking the door apart and that KOTOR just saved on the broken door art budget.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Either that,or you actually smash the lock itself and not the door.With a lightsaber that should be easy.

                • You mean automatic doors are constantly straining at their locks, yearning to open?

                  • guy says:

                    Arranging things like that is actually a fairly common safety feature, widely used in nuclear reactors. If something will open or shut unless actively held in another state, it means you don’t need power to open/shut it. Though in the case of your typical automatic door, I think usually the motor is left connected to power but not turning. I’m not entirely clear on the physics of why, but it takes an incredible amount of force to make it turn in that state, while it’s fairly easy to turn an unpowered motor.

    • hborrgg says:

      T3-M4 was pretty cool in the second game at least. He was a part of the plot and actually had a personality.

    • John says:

      T3-M4 is not actually good at demolitions, that’s Mission. T3 is good at computers. I tend to bring him with me when I know there will be opportunities for hacking and electrocution–all the XP, none of the tedious combat.

      • GloatingSwine says:

        T3 is good at computers and repairs.

        So, clear a zone, collect T3, repair all the droids and hack all the computers with minimal parts use to harvest XP for doing it.

      • Felblood says:

        T3 has enough skill pionts that you can make him good at whatever you really want, and he has accessories that boost just about every skill.

        In KOTOR II, I basically used him exclusively to make lightsaber parts.

  12. Jokerman says:

    I feel this playthrough is actually hurting Kotor’s standing in my eyes. It just does not seem all that good. Its not nostalgia either, i have no nostalgia… i first played this game in like 2011 (and somehow still did not know the twist going in :P) Maybe it just translates badly into a lets play compared to actually playing it.

    • Supahewok says:

      I think so, too; the cast are talking over pretty much all of the dialogue (which can be fine so long as they’re actually discussing said dialogue, but usually they’re talking about something else and only notice the dialogue when Josh pipes in to point out something stupid, thus making it look worse than it is) and skipping at least half of the side quests which, while they’re not masterpieces of writing or exposition, are usually pretty competent and entertaining. The game isn’t mind-blowing in this day and age, but it is solid, and something is being lost in translation here. I think we’re seeing why games with a lot of text aren’t good options for Spoiler Warning.

      • Syal says:

        Also Taris is often considered to be the low point of the game and Josh is massively underleveled for it.

      • MichaelGC says:

        Oh, I don’t know – I mean: both 3D Fallouts, all the Mass Effects, Marlow Briggs … OK maybe not that last one. They’ve always been quite big talkers over dialogue, and we seem to have muddled through! Sometimes you do have to use the subtitles, or even rewind a bit occasionally, to closely follow the story details with Spoiler Warning – I’ve done that myself, particularly when I was trying to work out what was going on in Hitman: Absolution. Not that it worked on that particular occasion…

        Oh, and we’re also pretty early on, and things have yet to get going, really! I also like some of the sidequests here, but I certainly don’t think this section is the game at its best – yet! I suspect they’ll have more to say questwise & NPCwise when things begin to swing into action a little.

        • Supahewok says:

          The Mass Effects just had the dialogue wheel, and the protagonist’s words are spoken. The cast does a much better job of paying attention to conversations when the PC says their lines out loud.

          I guess that’s a point about the Fallouts but I also don’t think the conversations matter too much in that one; usually they’re build ups to a skill check, quest reward, or quest giving. But that might be my own prejudices speaking against those games.

          Still, I just feel that so far, the cast has been paying little attention to what words show up in dialogue, unless Josh wants to pipe up with a dark side choice for the evulz. It just feels unfocused, then they turn around and criticize the game for having poor dialogue when Josh points to bad examples and dark side choices that don’t have any follow through.

          The cast still has good commentary, but it just comes off as disingenuous to complain about the dialogue when they’re for the most part ignoring it, and to state that the combat is off when Josh is doing a min max run, against the designer’s original intentions.

          • MichaelGC says:

            Cool – well, I can’t argue with how it feels to you, of course! :D But I do think/hope that one reason it may be coming across like that is partly down to the game itself being a little unfocused at this point. Overall, I found Taris a real hump it took several tries to get over, but once you meet up with Bastila – who frankly I’d forgotten I was supposed to be looking for first time around! – and the plot starts to chug earnestly into gear, I think that’s when the game begins to show its true colours – which might put a more positive spin on things overall.

            Hope so, anyway! I’m personally really enjoying this season and all must cower and bask in its glory obviously just hope others will have fun with it too! Sorry, don’t know what happened there. I’m currently doing my first Dark Side go-through of KotOR 2 and perhaps need to take more-regular breaks or something as it seems to be clouding my judgment a little…

    • Steve C says:

      I’m enjoying the Spoiler Warning more than my original KOTOR playthrough. I was lukewarm on it back when it came out. I thought a lot of the stuff that was “cutting edge” for the time was ultimately annoying and hokey.

      Though I keep wanting to take the controls away from Josh and berate* him. I would give ranged weapons (definitely Zaalbar’s xbow!) to Regina instead of having her run into melee and die all the time. Then using Zaalbar as the party melee/tank and ditching Carth because I can’t stand him whining. I would use a melee as the exploration character so the melee starts close to discovered enemies and the ranged are naturally in the back. Though I suppose having Regina as a human yo-yo is kind of amusing.

      *Berating Josh is just on principle.

      • John says:

        Yeah, the Cuftbert-style combat is at least 50% longer than it needs to be.

        • James says:

          until josh gets 8-9 levels in jedi at dantooine and the combat becomes trivial

          • John says:

            I’m doing my own simultaneous play through of the game with a similarly underdeveloped character on the hardest difficulty level. The only really dangerous fight on Taris for an under-leveled PC is the fight with Brejik after the swoop race–and perhaps also Gadon, but you don’t have to fight him unless, as our esteemed hosts have mentioned you are simultaneously evil and stupid. In all other boss-type fights, you can achieve victory by (a) using someone other than the PC to tank and (b) throwing grenades early and often. For example, three grenades (one per party member) will usually kill the Vulkar base boss and his bodyguard in the first round of the fight. Calo Nord can be despatched almost as easily.

            I don’t really expect anybody on Spoiled Warning to know this stuff. I only came by this knowledge by playing the game many, many times. From the sound of it, it’s been years since any of them last had a go–except maybe Rutskarn, and he was clearly more focused on memorizing Twi’lek dialogue loopa than on degenerate strategies this time around.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its probably just taris.Its not that fun of a place.But once you get jedi powers,combat really starts looking spectacular.

    • Felblood says:

      Once the bombing of Taris has been spoiled for you, getting through Taris is a brutal grind.

      It’s the biggest obstacle to repeated playthroughs of this game.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Damn!For a second there I was hoping that Josh would overload the terminal without saving,but you had to remind him.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You start the fight by injecting everyone with a healing syringe.And only after that does everyone put on shields.Great planning!

  15. hborrgg says:

    lol, that awkward silence after 0:44.

  16. Majere says:

    This slander against T3-M4 will not stand D:<

  17. Thomas says:

    There’s some restored content of yet another main story questline and dungeon you’d have to do before getting to the swoop races.

    I think they might have made the right decision cutting it :p

  18. Metal C0Mmander says:

    Pretty late to the discussion but I now realise my most hated part of the game has to be the vulkar base. The gameplay aspect of it is alright but there are so many half-assed choices and it ends with the dumbest choice of them all.

  19. Shamus, how dare you hate on Bluegrass music! Not only are its charms displayed prominently in “O Brother Where Art Thou?” it’s also responsible for one of the greatest bands ever, Hayseed Dixie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAWl5peI8HY

    • Supahewok says:

      I generally can’t respect cover bands much, particularly those who completely mutilate one of Queen’s finest songs. (There’s just no point in anybody trying to sing a Freddie Mercury song. He stands head and shoulders above so much of the music scene that it’ll never work.)

      But this band’s original work has merit in it. Much better than the country music I’m cursed to hear and re-hear. Only downside I’ve found to living in Texas. God I hate country music.

      • I worked at a country music station (900 AM KFAL), and I’ll both defend and decry country music the same way I will for just about any other genre.

        Since the whole “Young Country” movement, country music has pretty much become pop music with steel guitars. I’ve even heard more crossover covers (country singers doing versions of pop songs) now than ever. I’ve also heard loads of complaints from country music fans that the genre has gotten stalled in the whole “I remember” rut where someone is singing about how they recall a simpler time involving farms, pickups, etc. or something their dead relatives told them.

        It’s similar to a lot of gripes in the late 90’s to early 00’s about top 40 music that even my venerable father heard from his students. A lot of them were fans of classic rock, 80’s music, and 90’s alt songs because “most of the stuff on the radio sucks.” Even as someone who chooses to not listen to country, I occasionally enjoy stuff by Willie Nelson, Calexico, “crossover” artists (i.e. The Eagles, The Jayhawks, etc.), and some songs that sound like they came from Fallout: New Vegas. Maybe the music will adapt, but a lot of what drove it (folk, rural life, farming, the wild west) is vanishing or gone, so… I dunno if it has much of a future beyond a kind of “sound.”

        As for the song I linked above, the group got its start as a kind of a joke. They called themselves “Hayseed Dixie” as a pun on “AC/DC,” and recorded a whole album of songs by said group as bluegrass tunes.

        Oh, and I’d be remiss in not mentioning another group that plays novelty bluegrass and is quite funny called The Austin Lounge Lizards:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9zWh9gR45U

        • Supahewok says:

          From what I’ve been told, there’s a difference between Western music and Country music. Western music is what you’d think Old West, folksy music would be. Country is pop music hiding behind a washed out Southern twang and revisionist “traditional” values whose songs try to sound as much like each other as possible.

          Seriously, all the country songs I’ve heard in my life feel like they feature either the same female singer, or the same male singer, or sometimes both together. I find it highly unlikely that all the country I’ve been subjected to has come from the same 2 artists, so I assume that country singers attempt to emulate a single “Country” voice as some sort of Platonian ideal to strive for, resulting in all of them sounding the exact damn same.

          I got nothing against Western music. I don’t usually look for it, but I quite enjoy it when I hear it. Stuff like what was in Fallout: New Vegas, as you mentioned. Bluegrass too. Swamp-rock music. Really, anything that has its own identity and that doesn’t bring to my mind an image of a soulless industry mass producing “art” for clueless consumers to wallow in.

          That’s probably mean. I just really don’t like Country music.

          Edit: Heh, thanks for that link. I think I’d heard of the Austin Lounge Lizards before, but never looked them up. Pretty good stuff there.

      • Gravebound says:

        If you live in Texas and all you’re hearing is country music, then I think the problem is on your end. :P I’ve lived here ~20 years and really have to go out of my way to hear Country. Unless you live South-Central/South, I’ve noticed more Country listeners there.

        Pantera, The Sword, Drowning Pool, Toadies, Bowling For Soup, Tripping Daisy/Polyphonic Spree, Baboon, The Reverend Horton Heat, ZZ Top, The Mars Volta, Los Lonely Boys, Stevie Ray Vaughan…etc. There is great music out of Dallas/Austin/Houston/El Paso.

        As for Country, I try to stick to early 80’s and prior. Modern Country is just Pop music in cowboy hats. The less said about incorporating Rap, the better.

        • Supahewok says:

          I grew up in Houston and currently live in Corpus Christi. I never listened to anything but the local classic rock station and some occasional mariachi on the radio, but I know there’s at least 3 or 4 TIMES more country stations in the area than rock. It was even worse up by Dallas last time I drove around there, every 3 or 4 stations were for country music.

          Working at the neighborhood pools, all of the white 26-40 year olds who brought radios or stereos, were playing country. And it was the same god damn songs all the time. Either that or they all just sound the same.

          In general all the white people in that age range listen to country. The younger listen to whatever is the popular pop artist at the time. Hate it. Listen to my MP3 player everywhere I go.

    • EwgB says:

      Wow, that just made my day! I especially loved the epic beard guy. Been listening to other covers by the band for the last 15 minutes.

  20. Warclam says:

    I like trying to fill in what that droid is thinking while bumping against invisible Mission:

    “Error: tactile sensors detecting obstacle in patrol route. Locating blockage with optical sensors – none found. Standard protocol for invisible walls – none. I am confused. …Current priority: resume patrol route. Chosen method: maybe I can squeeze around it? Yes I can. Resuming patrol.”

    Holy crap, that’s not just a cook… he’s a kung fu cook! That’s why he’s willing to attack you! Look at that roundhouse!

    Honestly, I’m glad Carth stopped you from murdering the waitress. What the hell? Why is that even an option?

    Does anything happen if Kandon “convinces” Mission to abandon Gadon? Like, does she gain dark side points or something?

    • Supahewok says:

      Party member’s alignment really more reflects their relationship with your; if they like you, they appear to be more dark side,while if they hate you, they go more dark. Sort of. Every character starts off about where their alignment should be for their overall attitude, so evil characters start on the Dark Side end. And I think if you’re Dark Side as well, the evil characters get more dark, but its because you’re doing things they like, so they’re still becoming more your friends. I think.

      Look, its not a very good system at either showcasing their alignment or their affinity to the player. Its done much better in KOTOR 2, and Bioware separated affection and alignment in their later games. Its not worth paying attention to in this one.

      • Kel'Thuzad says:

        I thought party alignments were static in KotOR? I don’t think they even have affection levels, just points where you can get different dialogue and do their quests.

        • Supahewok says:

          No, I’m pretty sure I remember them moving. Carth’s backstory dialogue not activating until he was at a certain point on the light side bar rings bells for me. And I’m pretty sure I worked Canderous up into the smoky grey once.

          • Thomas says:

            Backstory progression in KOTOR1 is level-based with a couple of story triggers and a sidequest you get by talking to an NPC on a particular planet. It’s lameness is another one of the many reason I prefer KOTOR2.

            Maybe you were remembering Mandalore’s alignment changing or something. According to a gamefaqs forum post, alignment is fixed in KOTOR1.

            Although this is the same forum thread that explained how KOTOR2 sucks because
            “You can change alignment in kotor2, but it doesnt really matter anyway, since all you get is a utility droid, a spacer, an old woman, a stuck-up handmaiden, a defeated dark jedi, the ruler of all mandalorians, a choice between 2 bounty hunters, an assasin droid, an old war mechanic, and the utility droid of a crime lord.”

            As though that collection of people sounded boring?

            • Syal says:

              And they didn’t even mention whats-his-name!

            • Supahewok says:

              *Scratches head* I guess its been a longer time since I played than I thought. I swear I can imagine Carth with the max light side fountain thing right now, as if it had happened…

              Also somebody forgot the Disciple in that list, but that’s okay because he was by far the lamest companion. My preference for Handmaiden is why I never play that game female.

              • guy says:

                There’s a mod for that!

                • Thomas says:

                  A mod I never go without :)

                  I kind of wish you could mod KOTOR so that the Bastila romance is an option for the female companion, because I feel its a more interesting hook than Carth’s. I’ll have to look it up next time.

                  (Although I kind of like Carth in KOTOR2 if he’s crushed on the KOTOR1 PC. It’s a bit sad)

                  • Raygereio says:

                    I kind of wish you could mod KOTOR so that the Bastila romance is an option for the female companion

                    There’s a mod for that!

                    Edit:
                    Oh, wait. That was hosted on knightsoftheoldrepublic.filefront.com and filefront has gone down. Gamefront might have a mirror but if you can’t find it, just give me heads up and I’ll upload it for you.

      • John says:

        The “influence system” in the sequel still has some serious flaws. I did a Dark Side run once and made Atton my apprentice. We had a nice long conversation about how we were just totally going to be evil and kill everyone. It was great. According to his evil-ometer, Atton was actually more evil than me. Then, later, we had another conversation where Atton expressed his concern that I was too evil and that it was taking its toll on my looks and health

  21. Joe Informatico says:

    I think it comes down to the same reason I love Mass Effect 1: They nail the tone I’m looking for, and a couple of the characters are outstanding. If you get those right, you can apparently fumble nearly everything else.

    Add “good pacing” and that’s the formula for the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    Clever plots are all well and good, but they’re not as easy as people think. It’s even harder to pull off a plot that people haven’t seen a thousand times already. But give them characters they can get invested in, and they’ll forgive a lot.

    • It also helps to keep it simple. Marvel’s movies having a larger continuity help that to work, in that you can have a huge movie like the Avengers, and thanks to other movies, you don’t have your main plot having to compete for screen time with the origin stories of a dozen characters.

  22. Thomas says:

    Wow Carth really does suck.

    As much as I’ve been trashing him, I was originally in the Carth is okay camp. He’s a nice guy, and he’s got a tragic backstory, so that means he’s interesting and not actually bland right?

    And then over time I realised that it was the companions job to entertain my every whim with their exist and ‘being a nice guy’ doesn’t actually matter if they’re not interesting about it. So I switched to saying that Carth sucks – but I didn’t actually believe it.

    But wow, he actually does suck. I can’t believe they let him just shut down the player like that with no room for just ignoring him. In a game where being cackling darkside is literally half the point. And he really is super whiny

  23. SlothfulCobra says:

    The worst parts of this game is basically all the slogging through dungeons. Normally they last at least 50% longer than they should be, although when going through Taris the first time, all the mechanics are still shiny and new, and elements of the mechanics are still being introduced one by one. The second time through, you’ll just be tempted into refusing to level your character and every quest will be more effort than it’s worth. Why even go looking for XP if you aren’t going to use it?

    Of course, the biggest reason that the dungeons are such a drag is that they normally lack most of what made Knights of the Old Republic great, and made it stand out from everything else. I can’t objectively say what KOTOR did that made it so much more amazing than anything else at the time, because most of its elements showed up in earlier games and i wasn’t aware of most games at the time, but I do know that when I played it, it blew my mind. It was my first game with dialogue trees, branching questlines, character building, and especially the first game i played that taunted me with the option of not having to straight-up fight everyone, even though most of the time you have to anyways.

    But when you’re just trekking through corridors fighting dudes, it’s just another dull RPG with a boring and slow battle system.

  24. Starkos says:

    I used stealth rarely, but I loved that Zaalbaar was a scout. The game never acknowledged it, but invisible wookies will make any adversary unpack fresh undergarments.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Hairy Nightkin is what I’m thinking.

    • Metal C0Mmander says:

      I think wookie scouts mean they can use camouflage not that they can go invisible. Not wait Zalbar can actually go invisible if you spec him as such. That is so something I should have done it would have wrecked so much shit. Anyway in this game scout actually mean proficient in repairing, demolition and slicing if I remember correctly.

      • Bubble181 says:

        You can even, easily, make Hanharr invisible in KOTOR 2. Now *that* is pants-wetting. The guy can easily, legally get to a strength of 38 (which he has right now in my current KOTOR 2 playthrough). Just ever so slightly beefier than silly Big Z :p

        • Lachlan the Mad says:

          I believe that, at least in the original release of KotOR 2, you could bug Hanharr into having absurd Stealth. There’s a conversation for characters who are friendly with Hanharr (who have to be serious Dark Siders) where they can “break” him, giving him +2 Str and -2 Int. Problem is that this conversation is repeatable, and if you take his Int below 0, it rolls over to +255 or some other 2^n-1 number, meaning that you get enough skill points to max out every skill.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So no ones gonna comment on the two opening puns from Rutskarn and Shamus?Cant say Im supplied,but its a mission opportunity.

  26. I think KotOR is a game that really has not aged very well – the combat is dull and lacking in interesting encounters, certain sections go on for far too long (Taris being the best example), the moral choices are extremely simplistic, and so on. It’s still far better than the dreck BioWare has putting out lately.

    The second game has better writing, but it has its own unique issues…such as Kreia. As a character, she’s wonderfully written. As a party member, she’s utterly insufferable, because the writer’s affection for her is obvious and transparent. Kreia will constantly lecture you every time your character does something of which she disapproves, and you aren’t given any real opportunity to argue with her expect stamping your feet and saying “No, Kreia, you’re wrong! I will help people!” And, oh, perhaps you might think to avoid her lectures by leaving her on the ship? Well, in that case, she’ll lecture you via telepathy!

    Or how about the way the player character keeps acting like a complete fool? Such as this scene on Nar Shaddaa:

    Mira: Hey Jedi, I’m a bounty hunter and a real good one, too! Did you know there’s a HUGE bounty on Jedi right now? By the way, we should totally go to my apartment, because reasons.
    The Exile: I know there is a bounty on Jedi, and that I *am* a Jedi, and that you have just identified yourself as a bounty hunter, yet I am stupidly going to do what you ask without questioning your motives. Because reasons.
    (The Exile gets knocked unconscious)
    Mira: Ha ha! Stupid Jedi! Now I’m going to stupidly charge in the den of a crime lord and threaten him in his office, despite the fact he is surrounded by his goons and am I completely unarmed!
    (Mira gets knocked unconscious)

    • Corsair says:

      The regard given to KotoR 2 has always confounded me. It isn’t the Planescape Torment of Star Wars much as really, really tries to be. I’ll give KotoR 2 this – it has incredibly high peaks, but it has some -really, really- low valleys. I’ve been forced to re-evaluate my opinion of the game recently. It’s not that it’s a bad game, it’s that it averages out to mediocre even though there -is- writing in it that is brilliant, there’s just -also- a ton of material in it that is moronic.

      • Raygereio says:

        The regard given to KotoR 2 has always confounded me.

        The problem with KotOR2 is that 75% of it is amazing. It’s easily the best thing the Star Wars franchise produced and blow the likes of KotOR1 out of the water.
        The remaining 25% of KotOR2 alas, does not exist.
        And the missing bits do hurt the game. If you can manage to look past its flaws though, it’s still a really well written game that examines concepts of the Star Wars franchise in an interessting way and has some strong characterization.

        I disagree that KotOR2’s low points are “really, really low” or “moronic”. I think the issue there might be that the contrast with the better written parts makes those bits appear worst.

      • John says:

        Amen, brother. The character stuff is quite often golden. The plot, on the other hand . . .

      • I prefer to say that KotOR II has some really good ideas, unfortunately, the game’s lack of polish, incompleteness, and general bugginess leave me no choice but to rate it as inferior to its predecessor.

        And some of its ideas are just poorly implemented. For example, the fact that player knows nothing about his character’s backstory, but must learn about it during the course of the game. This worked in Planescape: Torment because The Nameless One was suffering from amnesia, but The Exile does not, and there are several instances in the game where I, the player, am I asked to comment on events that I know nothing about.

        For instance, when you first meet Bao-Dur, he mentions a place named “Malachor.” The Exile can reply with “I don’t want to talk about Malachor.” But at that point the game has not explained what Malachor is or what happened there, so the player is given no basis for saying why his character might not want to talk about it. Was it the site of a terrible battle? A horrendous atrocity? Or was it simply a shore leave excursion that got way out of hand and resulted in The Exile and Bao-Dur being banned from the planet for life?

        Or why does the game insist on forcing me to accept certain party members, when my character might have no reason to do so? If my character hates Atris’ guts, why would he allow one of her minions to join his party? (Maybe he was flummoxed by the Handmaiden’s magnificent rack?) If my character is a dark side, take-no-prisoners sort of chap, why would he spare Visas’ life? (Maybe he was flummoxed by her sexy voice? Or maybe he has a fetish for women with no eyes.)

        This is one thing I prefer about RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate. You don’t have to take anyone along that you don’t want to. You can even outright murder your party members if they annoy you.

        • Felblood says:

          ” If my character is a dark side, take-no-prisoners sort of chap, why would he spare Visas’ life? (Maybe he was flummoxed by her sexy voice? Or maybe he has a fetish for women with no eyes.)”

          –and just to twist that knife, the writers even gave Kreia some dialogue lampshading this, to the effect of, “So you’re interested in Darth Sion’s sloppy seconds now? You’re such a creep.”

      • Canthros says:

        To some degree, those with high opinions of KotOR2 (self included) may be thinking of a version of the game that really exists only in our own, individual minds. It certainly wasn’t great in its released form. The Telos chapter drags almost as badly as KotOR’s Taris. But … the glimpses at what might have suggests something more interesting than what is, or what preceded it.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      “Look, we promised moral choices. We didn’t say they’d be good moral choices.”

      Though its a lot of fun when you get to Tatooine and can go into a bar and just start treating people like shit cuz yer EEEEVVIIILLL. Your first act as Dark Lady is to establish dominance in a bar.

      • Pseudonym says:

        To be fair, you can make a reasonable case that “doing pointless crap because you’re kind of generically evil” is *also* very Star Wars. I mean look at how quickly Anakin Skywalker goes from “vaguely uncertain about the Jedi order” to “murder all the children”.

        One of the big problems with “moral choice” in video games is that it has two basically contradictory meanings. It can mean situations in which you must choose what the right thing to do *actually is*, or it can mean situations in which you get to choose to be either “good” or “evil”. “Evil” often means “randomly murdering people” but … well … that’s kind of what it means a lot of the time in the source material.

  27. Wide And Nerdy says:

    By the way, here’s an out of context quote of Mumbles from episode 4 of this season. I just want it on record.

    “My butt is not that cool although I am godlike so it might glow.”
    -Galaxy Gun*

    http://youtu.be/wktUYfWfO1Q?list=PLpPPfeqJntXtLr_juzfDUn8cpbAHxK0Si&t=1005

    [Starting at 16:45, do not go back, the context will ruin it.]

    *(And there has never been a season more appropriate for this name)

  28. BioWare (and the guys at Obsidian as well as seen in KoTOR II) can tell stories.
    The writing is good (you won’t agonize over bad grammar and stuff like that).
    Their artists can create beautiful vistas, good soundtracks, immersive sound effects.
    Their games have characters with relationships so they aren’t just empty shells.
    The worlds seems fleshed out, there are lots of backstories and lore.

    Now that’s a lot of praise, but there are also a lot of flaws. But “BioWare” games tend to be greater than the sum of it’s parts more often than not.

    Every time you go “oh crap I hate this…” around the next corner you always go “oh man I so love this…”

    And here’s the odd thing. I’m pretty sure half of the gamers do not like the exact same things, nor may they see the same flaws (or care at all about them).
    So a “BioWare” game tend to be overall likeable, more so than most other games. If that makes any sense.

    Also BioWare isn’t afraid to experiment some, even after ending up owned by EA they still get to take chances, which is very good. I’m hoping Mass Effect 4 and the untitled Star Wars game will reflect that (instead of being just “safe cash grabs”).

    • For the record, while KoTOR is probably my all-time favorite game, but there are things I dislike.

      I do love the fact that the Dark Side ending is like a full chapter worth of content and the story sort of diverges/splits quite a lot at a certain point and I was sorta bummed Mass Effect 3 did not allow a similar non-canon ending with it’s “End(ings)”.

      But KoTOR also have stuff I dislike, the diving suit stuff is so boring and slow and annoying. After having played through the game more times than I can recall I’m really getting fed up of running around among the trees of Kasyyyk (or however it’s spelled).

      I usually en up speeding through various areas. Maybe due to there being no way to fast travel. The Witcher 3 probably solved that dilemma the best, once you discover a key point (road signs) you can fast travel to/from them. KoTOR would have benefited from that.

      Despite annoyances I still have a soft spot for KoTOR. Maybe because KoTOR was the first “proper” Star Wars CRPG made? Any games made after never measured up not even BioWars SWTOR (their mistake was making it a MMORPG, it should have been a single player KoTOR 3 instead)

      EDIT: I know you can sorta fast travel to (/from?) the ship, but you can’t between points of interest (or did I forget a feature the game actually has?).

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      BioWare can tell stories.

      Yes and no.The main stories in their games tend to vary from somewhat stellar to horrible.Its their characters that are consistently great however.

      The Witcher 3 probably solved that dilemma the best

      Nope,far cry 3/4 solved it the best.You can fast travel to a base from anywhere on the map,and you are immediately greeted by a shop as soon as you reach your destination(not to mention that the shop always works,has everything and has infinite money).Witcher 3 is ok in that it has all these nodes,but you have to reach one in order to fast travel anywhere,and merchants are often not that close to the signs(also many merchants disappear at night,have pitiful cash,and not all of them have the ingredients you need).

      • “also many merchants disappear at night,have pitiful cash,and not all of them have the ingredients you need”

        Very realistic in other words. (that’s pretty cool IMO) *grin*

        As to story I’ll have to disagree with you. BioWare’s games (even their worst ones) are better than the average out there.

        I’ve used this argument before and I’ve mentioned that it’s a shame that BioWare can be used as a low bar. If the average story quality of games is increased then BioWare would have to up their game (pun intended) some.

        BioWare could in theory paint a turd gold and people would buy it, simply due to how much crap is otherwise being sold out there.
        The worst of the worst used to be flash games on weird websites, these days the junk is also on Steam Greenlight.

        The industry lowbar now is like below the basement floor (if that is even possible) thanks to Greenlight.

        Another thing that worry me are the writers etc. Many of the writers from the good ol BioWare games have moved to other companies, I’m not saying the new writers are bad but the old writers had a certain style that at least I liked.
        The biggest change I noticed was the change that occurred midway through Mass Effect 2 (I think Shamus also did a post about that once).

        So when I gush about BioWare I usually do so about the “Old” BioWare.

        Another developer that have impressed me over the years is RockStar (North?) as I’ve loved all the (PC) GTA games since GTA III.
        RockStar North don’t do Sci-Fi or Fantasy so BioWare has had no direct competition from them really.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Very realistic in other words. (that’s pretty cool IMO) *grin*

          Except that its not.First,because its only some shopkeepers,and usually the ones that are outside.The ones that have actual shops work 24/7.

          Second,if you get out of the shopping window and come back,they will restock their inventory.

          Third,because practically all of the open world stuff in witcher 3 doesnt work.The game is much better in its second half when it gets more structured.The only exception to this are the witcher contracts,which are awesome(though the haggling was pointless).

          As to story I’ll have to disagree with you. BioWare’s games (even their worst ones) are better than the average out there.

          Yeah,people often think that because bioware writes A LOT.But its not really good.You say you mean the old bioware,fine the original neverwinter nights.That story is pure shit.And theres TON of it,making it boring shit.The only good piece of writing that exists in that game is the little side stories your henchmen tell you.

  29. Corsair says:

    The original Neverwinter Nights was not even intended to ship with a campaign, it was made purely for the sake of the editor. Which it did -magnificently-. The campaign sucked because they got ordered to make one/realized they should probably have one (I forget which) and rushed it together. It’s bad, undoubtedly, but I don’t think anyone can argue that Neverwinter did what it truly set out to do. The game is like the StarCraft of multiplayer RPGs.

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