Knights of the Old Republic EP41: Ominous

By Shamus Posted Friday Jan 8, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 51 comments

Link (YouTube)

This part is a lot more painful if you don’t know where you’re going. There are some dead-end branches in the underwater hike, so it’s possible for a player to go all the way down a path, then have to turn around and hike all the way back, then get confused which way they were originally headed and end up backtracking even more. I say this from experience.

Also frustrating is that it might take you a couple of tries to get the timing right on the shark-killing emitter. If you hit it too soon – while the shark is still out of range – then it will probably still be on cooldown when the shark reaches you. Maybe then you’ll think you need to wait until the last second, but the game actually triggers the insta-death “eaten by a shark” animation before it actually reaches you.

None of this is all that hard or confusion, but it’s also not entirely clear and if you don’t happen to guess things right on the first try then you could end up repeating parts of what is already a really tedious endeavor.

We spent so much time dumping on how bad this “underwater mosey” gameplay is that we often overlook just how sloppy the RPG stuff is. You finally meet a couple of people who immediately try to kill you because they’re afraid you might try to open a door. They don’t know what the situation is and they don’t know why you’re here. As far as they know, the problem could be is solved and you’re the rescue party.

Yes, some people crack under pressure and behave irrationally. Except, there are two people here and they both seem to have gone the same kind of arbitrary crazy/stupid in the exact same way.

But fine. Two murderously crazy people. I’ll go with it. But then once you open the door your dialog options are: (Comfort) (make peace) and (shout). So far the game has been willing to let you pointlessly murder and extort harmless peasants wherever you go, but then you meet two people who the player might have some justifiable reason to want to kill, and suddenly the game railroads you into a long, mostly-friendly conversation. (Although it does let you turn back into a murderbot at the end.) Yes, this was a dose of much-needed exposition. But maybe the game shouldn’t give you a reason to want to kill essential exposition dispensers. Or at lest allow the player a few lines of dialog to frame this as an interrogation.

And then at the end the big mystery is resolved with a massive info dump from a couple of NPCs we just met.

It’s not like this ruins the game or anything. It’s just a short, kinda dumb scenario at the end of a long boring hike.


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51 thoughts on “Knights of the Old Republic EP41: Ominous

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    For one of the diecasts,you guys need to play everyone is Josh.

    1. Trix2000 says:

      …I’m totally going to call it that now.

    2. Jeremiah says:

      Truly a terrifying prospect.

    3. Lachlan the Mad says:

      Why not use it to get through the Deep Roads?

    4. Cuthalion says:

      That would be pretty great.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    We gave up text rpgs for this?This was the big push in visual storytelling?Dear lord,developers were idiots even back then.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,hold on!This single biome planet,its the only source of mcguffin that is important to the whole rest of the known universe,and the mcguffin is actually generated by an indigenous humongous animal?Huh.That sounds awful lot like bune to me.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Except, of course, rather than make “I have the power to destroy the very source of the macguffin!” a fate-of-the-universe-altering position of power, here it’s something you may or may not do to add or subtract a piddling amount of points from your underwhelming morality bar.

    2. 4th Dimension says:

      Yup. It’s really close to sea version of Dune

  4. Ledel says:

    Time to visit the courtroom again and see how the judges’ opinions of Regina have improved.

  5. manofsteles says:

    In my favorite dark side run, I finished Manaan after being revealed as Revan. I decided to kill the Progenitor fish and destroy the source of Kolto. I roleplayed it as a Revan who didn’t care about losing Sith lives, presuming that the gigantic Sith fleet and army of robots must have something to do with that mysterious Star Forge, making kolto more important to the Republic than the Sith.

    I mention this because that bit of personal roleplaying was just about the only part of Manaan that I genuinely enjoyed. I even wondered if the dark side run Revan would then just go back to Manaan and pull a Taris on them after conquering the rest of the galaxy.

    1. SlothfulCobra says:

      If you’re really roleplaying it, the choice is between respecting local wildlife and maximizing the Republic’s kolto production. There’s no reason to ever assume that a big ol’ firaxis shark is an ancient god that gives kolto its spicy healing zest, and without it, all kolto loses its power and becomes useless.

      1. manofsteles says:

        I never assumed that the firaxis shark is the Selkath god, nor that the version of Revan in my head at the time did.

        The judges at the trial speculated that, and were just as horrified at the possible death of their genetic ancestor as they were horrified at the destruction of their most important economic asset. I also wonder if they would have been worried about the possible reprisal from the Sith or Republic over their desire to trade with both sides.

        Dark side Revan likely wouldn’t have cared about local wildlife, and likely would have taken at least some perverse pleasure in killing what is likely the only giant firaxan shark in existence (I sure did).

  6. MichaelGC says:

    Gordon Bennett! When Josh said, “long story short,” he wasn’t kidding!

  7. SlothfulCobra says:

    I never thought about it before, but it’s kind of a neat thing that Bioware did, making the first half of Manaan a bunch of trials and making a big deal of how seriously the Selkath take their position of not allowing any violence, just so that they could contrast it with the Selkath being driven nuts in defense of their god and killing everybody underwater.

  8. NoneCallMeTim says:

    I like how you can deflect *sound waves* with your lightsabre.

    1. nerdpride says:

      Not much more ridiculous than spaceships going fwoosh and shooting lasers from 10 yards at other spaceships.

    2. MrGuy says:

      But deflecting LIGHT WAVES is a reasonable piece of the setting?

      1. Richard says:

        The blasters use “blaster gas” and in several places the actual blaster bolts are described as being plasma contained in a magnetic bottle.

        (Powered by handwavium)

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Also,you can see them slowly(well,compared to actual light)flying around.And lightsabers stop at certain length,which light doesnt do,but you can theoretically contain plasma in a magnetic field to do that.So lightsabers are also plasma,not laser.

  9. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

    There’s a version of the Plinkett Star Wars reviews that has the serial killer plot edited out of it. You could try that.

    Now for Mumbles, we’d need to actually rerecord the whole thing in Jay Baumann’s voice, but for others, this might work.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      For Mumbles,its the regular review,but whenever theres one of plinketts victims on screen,replace their faces with battered face of Benedict Cumberbatch.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Can you link those? I like his analysis fine, but like Mumbles, I find the schtick really hard to swallow. One of the few things we apparently agree on.

    3. SlothfulCobra says:

      I feel like Plinkett’s analysis is really overrated. He nitpicks too much on some bits, almost willfully ignoring details in order to complain more, and he ignores other flaws in the movie. He seems to focus mainly on how cleanly and logically plot elements and details fit together as opposed to the actual quality of the movie or whether it’s fun to watch.

      The fact that he has a horrible voice and a really unfunny schtick is just icing on the top and an excuse not to bother rewatching it whenever it gets waved around like a holy talisman.

      1. MrGuy says:

        I feel like (Shamus’) analysis is really overrated. He nitpicks too much on some (kid that died), almost willfully ignoring (the kickass loyalty missions) in order to complain (about Cerberus) more, and he ignores other flaws in the (every game but the original fallout). He seems to focus mainly on how (non-)cleanly and (il)logically plot elements and details fit together as opposed to the actual quality of the (game) or whether it's fun to watch (Josh play).

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Um,one of his major points about all three movies is how boring they are(especially the overly choreographed fight scenes).

        Also he often does compare the lack of quality of the prequels with quality of other movies.

      3. GloatingSwine says:

        He also spends a good deal of time talking about scene composition and direction and why those are bad in the prequels, and the failings of the characters to be characters.

        It is important to look at the logical failings of the prequel trilogy though, you can start with the first one by asking “what does the Trade Federation want”?

    4. drlemaster says:

      I was wondering who Plinkett was when he was mentioned. It’s that guy. Pass. He’s good a picking out logical inconsistencies, but there are plenty of places to go for that without the serial killer subplot.

  10. Gruhunchously says:

    I kinda want to see this D&D game become recurring feature for any instance when a game grinds to a halt and you run out of interesting things to talk about. Heck, it might even help you survive the Deep Roads.

    1. Lachlan the Mad says:

      Or possibly Everybody Is John. Or Baron Munchausen. Or Paranoia.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I just wouldn’t mind the team streaming some traditional roleplaying games period.

      1. Cuthalion says:

        Agreed on all counts. Steam RPGs, continue cringe-worthy 2e D&D with sadistic GM during boring parts of Spoiler Warning, and/or play Everyone is Josh.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I meant more like the Paranoia game from way back, full, dedicated PRG sessions.

          1. Cuthalion says:

            Sure, sure, I was just listing options. By “stream RPGs”, I meant audio or video casts of them, though I guess “stream” implied live.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              Well I guess I’d prefer a recording if we’re being technical, I keep missing the actual streams because of my work schedule.

      2. Ilseroth says:

        I was coming the comment section to say pretty much this.

        I know Rut’s has Tales from the tabletop already, why not do one over the internets. It won’t be as amazing as an in person thing but I’d love to listen to you guys go through whatever ruts can put together. Heck this sadistic 2nd edition game has me more excited then KotoR does and i love KotoR.

        I queued into this episode specifically hoping for more of the 2nd edition game and I hope it continues.

  11. PhoenixUltima says:

    The second game had a couple of (mercifully short) enviroment suit sections as well, and their solution to the walking speed being painfully slow was to… speed up the walking animation 4x. It works, but it looks super odd to see your guy in a big clunky spacesuit zipping around like the flash.

  12. Grudgeal says:

    So… Basically… The Republic awakened Shai-Hulud. Water Shai-Hulud.

    1. Mintskittle says:

      Now Josh needs to go wrangle it and ride it right into the sith base and declare himself Emperor of the known universe.

  13. John says:

    Despite my defense of the underwater bits after the last episode, I will say that they can be buggy in surprising ways. Not too long ago, I did a run of the game as a “Blaster Jedi”–that is, one equipped with pistols rather than lightsabers. (It was actually surprisingly fun and effective. You’ll probably want to switch to lightsabers for Darths Bandon and Malak, though.) After disposing of one shark with the sonic emitter, my character started trying to shoot the other sharks, the controls stopped responding, and he got eaten. Reloading from the last save didn’t help; the game bugged out every time. You can’t change your equipment at all while you’re underwater–which makes sense, I suppose–so I had to resort to a much earlier save to progress.

  14. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I really liked the underwater sections. They aren’t that long and the map is fairly clear. I do not ever recall spending “hours” at it, and the little stroll from one base to the other, sonicing sharks was a nice break from the typical dungeon where you enter a room and have 3-5 enemies to lightsaber or blast. It’s just that little variety that makes the rest of the dungeon bearable.

    The Star Forge, oh, the Star Forge is what I hated (though it does have some breaks in the monotonous fighting). I typically just turned the difficulty all the way down and lightsabered everything in one shot.

  15. Matthew Melange says:

    I think it’s weird and lame in video games with morality systems where killing people who try to kill you is A-ok until you have a unique dialogue choice with them.

  16. NC_Schrijver says:

    A good trick to walk faster is to select an object while you are underwater like the door, console or the star map itself. Doing either of those will speed up your underwater walking to some extent.

  17. Please note when the two people freaking out behind the force field say “they are here to help us”.
    But there is only one of “you” (the player).

    Which is another odd thing, why isn’t the squadmates with you while seawalking?
    Feels to me like this part is unfinished somehow.

    1. MrGuy says:

      I’m pretty sure this is the (colloquial) third person singular neuter “they,” as opposed to the third person plural “they.”

      In other words, the dialogue says “they” meaning “he or she,” because they didn’t want to record separate dialogue for “he” and “she” depending on the gender of the player character.

      As to why the squad isn’t with you, I think they lampshade this as “we only have one suit!” I think practical reasons are more that the shark combat would need to have more complexity if there were several characters wandering the sea floor, rather than just one. i.e. what happens if the shark eats Jolee? What happens if someone falls behind who doesn’t have an emitter?

  18. I loved the Rutskarn run D&D. Maybe do a Diecast sometime but as a D&D session instead?

  19. Steve C says:

    In slow boring parts you should go back to doing mailbag questions like you did in Spoiler Warning #100.

  20. Please, please, do a Paranoia session. I think it’d be a great game to do in this format, since the players aren’t supposed to know the rules, and heck, doesn’t everyone imagine the Cuftbert replacement being delivered by ICBM?

  21. flyguy says:

    I have to say, the DnD parts of this season were fantastic. Please do consider doing something with that in the future, should your schedules permit. Curious as to how Mumbles would play it.

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