So I wanted to contrast Bastila’s fall to the dark side with someone else to show how her story doesn’t work, but then I realized we have yet to see a proper character-driven fall to the dark side. Maybe there was one in the EU novelsMaybe. But I wouldn’t take that bet. but we don’t see one in the movies or games.
Depending on how you interpret the scattershot story of the prequel trilogy, Anakin was either dark side from the beginning, or he was tricked into it. Dooku, Maul, and Palpatine were all evil when we met them, and we don’t see anything of who they might have been before that.
I guess I’m assuming that a fall to the dark side ought to take the form of a Shakespearean tragedy, where an otherwise good person is undone by a single character flaw. I imagine something like a slippery slope of actions and consequences where the victim thinks that each new malicious deed will let them achieve their goal. “This time is the last time,” they tell themselves at every step.
What’s strange here is the Bastila has the makings of a really amazing fall to the dark side. Her arc had a better setup than anyone in the movies. She serves good, but she’s also arrogant regarding her abilities and her pride is easily wounded. Her fall should have been, “I can use the Star Forge for good. Malak was weak, but I know what I’m doing and I won’t suffer the same fate.” If we want Malak to turn her, then his dialog should have focused on the idea that they need the Star Forge to save the galaxy from (say) the Mandalorians or whatever.
You don’t want all those innocent people to die, do you? Wouldn’t that be evil to let that happen? You need to keep the Star Forge, and only “we” have the wisdom to use it responsibly. We can protect not just against the Mandalorians, but against any future threats. We just need to control this massive doomsday weapon that feeds on pure evil, and we can eventually accomplish good things.
But “was tortured by Darth Malak” is not a character flaw, and even his dialog doesn’t really play off of her weaknesses. We’re told by Yoda that the dark side isn’t stronger, it’s just quicker, easier, more seductive. I’d love to see that reflected in an actual story at some point.
This doesn’t ruin the game or anything. Her fall is still a better arc than Anakin’s, but I think there’s room to make something a lot more interesting.
 Maybe. But I wouldn’t take that bet.
The Best of 2012
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2012.
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.
Batman: Arkham City
A look back at one of my favorite games. The gameplay was stellar, but the underlying story was clumsy and oddly constructed.
Silent Hill Turbo HD II
I was trying to make fun of how Silent Hill had lost its way but I ended up making fun of fighting games. Whatever.
A stream-of-gameplay review of Dead Island. This game is a cavalcade of bugs and bad design choices.