Yesterday I complained about how Bastila’s fall to the dark side didn’t work because she wasn’t tempted, she was kidnapped, tortured, and brainwashed. Here is where that really hurts us. We have an extended argument with her, and it doesn’t really work. She tries to lure you to the dark side, but she has nothing to tempt you with. She tries to sell you on the liberation of the dark side, but she’s a slave. She tries to encourage you to take down Malak, but you’re already doing that.
Then after you beat her, she talks – almost monologues – for several minutes while you stand there and do nothing. At the end of the long conversation she announces she’s leaving, then runs away, enters her ship, climbs into the cockpit, starts the engine, and takes off before you can even reach the boarding ramp. The scene never bothered me because I didn’t want to kill Bastila, but if I’d wanted to kill her then this would have driven me bonkers. That is some pretty flagrant cutscene shenanigans.
We’re actually done playing KOTOR. The final block of episodes has been recorded, so there’s no use in shouting advice to us now. The final episodes will go up next week.
Grand Theft Auto Retrospective
This series began as a cheap little 2D overhead game and grew into the most profitable entertainment product ever made. I have a love / hate relationship with the series.
Quakecon 2012 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Raytracing is coming. Slowly. Eventually. What is it and what will it mean for game development?
Black Desert Online
This Korean title would be the greatest MMO ever made if not for the horrendous monetization system. And the embarrassing translation. And the terrible progression. And the developer's general apathy towards its western audience.
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round
I'm not surprised a fighting game has an absurd story. I just can't figure out why they bothered with the story at all.
46 thoughts on “Knights of the Old Republic EP54: Death Feel’d”
Wow.Rutskarn has picked that pun field clean all by himself.
Who else thought of The Rangers when Shamus mentioned The One?
“We live for the One; we die for the One.”
Ah, what military despot doesn’t want his cult leader girlfriend to give him an army of zealots and an illegal warfleet in lieu of flowers on their first base date.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T FINISH THE…
Oh. Never mind.
“You can’t even fit any of the wizards in properly”
Sure you can, Gandalf was a INT18 fighter.
My Lore node in my brain hurts soooooo much at that statement
I’d heard the “Gandalf wasn’t much of a wizard” spiel before, but the idea that he was instead a lethal hand-to-hand combatant who had the entire world fooled is really amusing.
His Int and Wis are both higher than an 18. 18 is peak human and Gandalf is, if not smarter, demonstrably wiser.
He’s also not human, or really even a “mortal”.
The problem with Kratos is that the first game knew he was an asshole, sure he did ‘cool’ things but his whole character arc in that game was that he was doing all of this because he thought the gods would forgive him of his crimes in the end (which he thought meant they would get rid of the nightmares he had as a result). The story roughly followed a greek tragedy in that in the end this hubris was his undoing, the gods told him he was forgiven but did nothing about his dreams. Then the later games bought into the hype and focused pretty much purely on Kratos doing awesome shit, he was still an asshole but the game treated him like a hero, not unlike how Watch_Dogs treats Aiden Pearce.
Call it the Hannibal Lecter Effect: where the compelling monster from the original work gets so popular that the people writing the sequel forget the character is supposed to be an monster.
I’d say it was also hubris on the gods’ part that drove the second game: Kratos is pissed that they haven’t removed the nightmares, and is using is new status to punish the followers of the other gods for it.
And instead of maybe trying to be reasonable and do what he wanted, the gods decide he needs to be killed.
Which only pisses him off even more, to the point where he ends up deciding to kill all the gods.
But then, Greek mythology is full of the gods being petty, narcissistic jerks.
I suppose I can see some merit to this argument though I’m not sure I agree with it. Also I feel like it is somewhat important to mention that in Greek mythology hubris was mostly a thing people other than the gods suffered from, in fact it is defined (in terms of greek tragedy) as “excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.”
Two problems with the “Gods can’t have hubris” theory. 1) At the end of God of War, Kratos IS a God. So… he can no longer have hubris I guess? and 2) In the beginning of GoW2, Kratos is stripped of his Godhood. If it’s a state that you can slip in and out of, I don’t think it can inform your entire personality.
KOTOR 2 is essentially that Spec Ops deconstruction Chris was looking for. There was a lot of lampshading of the mechanics. One of the Jedi Masters even points out that you’ve been killing a swath across the galaxy and it has only made you stronger. Kreia of course has a lot to say about the force and the nature of Jedi. HK-47 has tips for how to kill Jedi.
That little “twist” is one of the things about the sequel that drives me nuts. It’s simultaneously a very clever spin on leveling mechanics in CRPGs and super-duper un-Star Wars-y. My admiration for the cleverness is soured and ruined by the un-Star Wars-yness.
But thats the whole point given the villain’s agenda
Essentially disenchanted with the Force and wants to destroy it. Literally a villain that is basically sour on all things Star Wars from the magic to the nature of heroism and wants to kill, destroy and undermine.
You’re not just fighting for good this time, you’re fighting for Star Wars.
I think Star Wars should mostly be optimistic and heroic and uncomplicated. Force Awakens does that well. But in a universe that has been around that long, the occasional deconstruction can be fun.
Even the originals as straight forward as they were had Luke as the naive hero who finds out that being a hero is more complicated than he thought. They don’t play that theme heavy most of the time but its crucial in Empire. ROTJ reconstructs it.
My problem is that the game’s narrative leans far too heavily in the “you are an unwitting monster” direction and doesn’t really provide the player with much in the way of counter-argument beyond “Nuh-uh!” Otherwise, I would agree with you.
I didn’t get Empire or Jedi when they came out. The father thing went way above my head.
Watching ROTJ again as an adult, I am struck by how the film makes Luke into much more than a regular hero. The rebels are the regular good guys, but Luke actually puts himself and his friends in real danger to give the antagonists a chance at redemption. A chance that Vader seizes and the Emperor and Jabba spurn.
I’m still waiting for that sense of risk from video game morality. RPGs like Kotor and others offer morality as a cosmetic choice. An avenue for self-expression. That’s why they don’t matter. Either you have an immediate outcome that you dislike, and you can reload. Or it changes your end cutscene or slideshow, and who the hell cares?
I want to be able to agonize over moral choices. I don’t care about kicking or petting the puppies. I want to be tempted to do the wrong thing because it’s easier and more convenient. I want to do the right thing while terrified that it’ll blow up in my face later in ways that can never be fixed. Luke risked his friends’ lives to give Jabba a chance to reform. I want my good deeds to carry the risk of losing my favorite companion.
It doesn’t have to happen every time. But I want moral choices to make me pause.
I don’t disagree with what you want, but I will say if I’m emotionally invested in a game, I definitely care about the ending. Even if it technically “doesn’t matter”, nothing you do matters, it’s a game. I did a Legion run of NV just for completeness once, for example, and I felt sick when I saw how that turned out.
Deconstruction is also a valuable device for understanding the setting and the narrative mechanisms of the deconstructed material. This will be in the field of personal anecdotes but for me Kotor 2 came at just the right time. I was a rampant Star Wars fanboy of the “original trilogy” variety who really wanted to be into but had issues with Expanded Universe. Part of it was definitely because the quality of EU works… varies greatly, but I think part of it was also because EU often either fell into repeating the same central themes ad nauseam or visibly strained against the constraints of the setting. When the game came out I was at the point of struggling to figure out what it actually was I liked so much about the original trilogy but did not even have the vocabulary to discuss things like narrative devices and themes. Kreia basically voiced many of my frustrations in-universe and until some time later, when my knowledge of literary theory increased sufficiently that I could discuss it on that level, Kotor 2 was my go to material for phrasing my issues with Star Wars.
As a bit of a disclaimer, because looking at the above I may come off as someone who looks down on Star Wars nowadays, I’m still a great fan of the original movies, I just now recognize them for what they are narratively speaking.
Deconstruction is absolutely valuable.
However, I think the main issue most of those with issues with KOTOR2 have is that it wasn’t very honest about what it was up front. In part, that can be necessary to get the desired effect (see Spec OPs), but I think KOTOR2 went a bit too far in being a sequel to a true to the source Star Wars spectacle and took a very confrontational stance.
It was a good story (or would have been if completed), but it’s debatable whether it was a good star wars story and it was not a good sequel to KOTOR1. And yet, that was the playerbase it was mainly going to court by being KOTOR2.
Some resentment was natural given this approach, I think, exacerbated by slap-dash ending.
I liked both KOTOR1 and 2, but for different reasons.
I played Kotor2 very recently, long after I played Kotor1. I really liked the story. I mostly appreciated the attempt to do something truly original and surprising for the player, even if it’s far from watertight. Much better than this game which had so few things that could not be traced back to the original trilogy.
I’ll chime in on Shamus’ comment. There is nothing wrong with Star Wars style Manichean stories, where good guys are good and bad guys are bad. But I can really appreciate a game like Kotor 2 that offers a different perspective on the same universe, and I will happily maintain radically different viewpoints if it enriches my experience of the world.
Also, Shamus, that game you described with the game judging you for being all-killer reminds me a bit of certain things I’ve heard about Undertale.
There’s also the Demon Path for Soul Nomad and the World Eaters, for those more into 10 year old obscure anime game references.
I have to ask: why is this filed under “Shamus Plays” and not “Spoiler Warning”?
Its confirmed:Josh is Shamus!
*cue X-files theme music*
I have started and re-started this comment so many times . . . However the following wall of text may finally turn out, please accept my assurances that I am absolutely not trying to be hostile. Thank you.
I’ve been watching Spoiler Warning off and on for a few years now. For various reasons (none of them interesting) I don’t watch every season. I’m starting to wish I had skipped this one too. I don’t mean to imply that you fine gentleman are doing anything bad, anything wrong, or even anything that is particularly different than what you normally do–which, just to be clear, I usually enjoy. But the last several episodes have been intensely frustrating to me. I think the problem is at my end. You see, unlike Mass Effect, Tomb Raider, or Hitman, I have actually played Knights of the Old Republic. I’ve played it a lot. And despite the game’s problems, of which there are many and which you have generally correctly identified, I love it. So this season has been rough for me.
Most of my issues are thoroughly petty. For example, I spent a portion of this last episode grimly anticipating that Josh would make it all the way back to The One before he realized he had forgotten to loot the special book from the relevant Elder corpse. (I was relieved when that didn’t actually happen.) Really, that sort of thing is perfectly understandable. I’ve done it myself in other games. I’m pretty sure I’ve done it in Knights of the Old Republic, too, in early runs before I learned where absolutely everything was and even sometimes in later runs when I just wasn’t paying enough attention. But for some reason, watching someone else do it is an exercise in “No, you fool! You’re doing it wrong. Give me those controls!”
Then there are times when I feel as though you are mis-representing or mistaken about the game. The droids on the Star Forge, for example, are not nearly as bad as you are making them out to be. For one thing, there aren’t as many of them as you imply. There are just two sections on the Star Forge with droids. There are twelve–maybe sixteen–in the first, and you only have to fight half of them. There are, I concede, potentially quite a lot in the second section but there is a way to defeat those quickly without even fighting them . . . and this is where I remind myself that you probably haven’t played the game as often or as recently as I have. I mean, I certainly didn’t figure out things like that on my first run through the game.
So, yeah, this season has been a little rough for me. Thanks for letting me vent. I think I will have to write-up a comment in advance for the final episode wherein I explain my love for the game and all the things that I think it does right.
For a light sider,sure they arent bad at all.They are comically easy.
The problem for someone without destroy droid,however,isnt that they have a tough fight against the droids,its that they have a long fight against the droids,ON TOP of the long fight they have against the sith.The end portion is a boring slog of mook you can easily wipe out,but it takes time.Too much time.
And I say that as someone who loves this game very much.
I didn’t have destroy droid in my last play through, I forgot Jolee had it and it wasn’t that long time. Though I got TPK’ed the first time by not thinking when I got to the enemy rush area. Maybe it can be done quicker with it; but without it I didn’t feel it to be slow. Besides, the part that was closer to make me think it couldget too long was with the waves of meatbags. So I guess it’s one of the ymmv points.
The droids are quickly and easily dealt with, even as a Dark Side character. If the Star Forge takes too long, it’s because of the repeated waves of human mooks, not because of any droids.
The evil path to enter the Temple does have one advantage: you save one trip from Rakata village to Rakata village (unless you know/remember where each is).
The Rakatas don’t mind you picking up their things, but I’ll mention that the sand people do turn hostile if you open one of their containers.
I think it’s really funny that you can encounter the last remnants of a long lost and fascinating ancient civilization…and then just wipe them all out for shits and giggles.
I feel that a lot of the Dark Side options in this game are dumb, but they’re entertainingly dumb, and some of them are downright hilarious (See: The Shen-Matale quest). By contrast, the Dark Side options in KOTOR 2 are just…depressing. Mean-spirited jerkassery in the face of an already bleak universe. I can never bring myself to go Dark Side in that game.
KOTOR 2 had at least one good Dark Side option – the choice to resolve a mugging
by telling the muggers to give you their money and then kill themselves in an amusing fashion.That should be the lure of the Dark Side – easy and satisfying solutions.
Do you guys not realize that you can use any dark or light side powers no matter what your dark/light side rating is? And that those force powers are just as powerful either way? The only difference is how many force points they cost to use: using Destroy Droid as a Jedi is more fuel-efficient than using Destroy Droid as a Sith, but there’s no other mechanical difference. The same goes for any other power. It’s a really minor difference and I think you guys have been consistently overstating it.
That’s the point, a Jedi loaded up with Jedi powers who just switches is no more powerful in terms of their attacks and can’t use them as much. There’s no upside and a definite, if minor, downside, so the “power” isn’t worth shit if you don’t take some actual Sith powers with high enough cost to want a discount.
It’s gotten to that point in the series that I actually can’t see any of the Sith at all without hearing “LORD MALAK IS MOST DISPLEASED” coming from somewhere…
has there ever been a puzzle in a video game that didn’t have a puzzle focus but was still engaging? It kinda kills the fun of a game because games themselves are puzzles with many solutions, and then they suddenly change the gameplay focus out of nowhere and it just feels like a giant speedbump.
Making a Sith game interesting would require some kind of malevolent drive to do more damage; voices in your head, spontaneous uncontrollable attacks against non-violent targets, or maybe something as simple as bands of rival Sith showing up when you wipe out local authorities, so the more ruthlessly you play the more ruthlessly you’re forced to play in the future. The main problem with Star Wars Dark Side routes is it always gives the impression the Dark Side is something you can use at a whim and turn away from at any time.
…alternately, play Cotton-Eye Joe in the background, that gets louder with more Dark Side points. Really get you in the mood of someone who wants to kill everyone all the time.
…I just realized the Revan vs. Bastila “Turn to the X Side” dialogue is a moral debate between two people who have each been forcibly converted to their beliefs. That’s… has that happened in any other game? Or medium?
I can imagine quite a lot!
Am I the only one annoyed that Josh went with the Light Side option with Bastilla? I don’t mean that he should have joined her, but option 4 is “Yeah, I’m evil, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to stab me in the back because Sith, so screw you”. That’s the perfect option for the situation.
Call me crazy, but I could swear that the guy who played Lee in TWD is doing the voice of the alien guy, right before the “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR FAAAAACE” part.
You know the blurb about the episode at the bottom loaded before the embed and the title so I started reading it. I literally thought this was about Mass Effect 3. Bioware: still making the same mistakes 15 years later.
Actually, there are mechanical advantages to going darkside.
The guardian mastery bonus is better. All the others are probably better for light side, but not guardian.
The darkside powers are just better for spamming with the exception of Destroy Droid, especially if you plan to wear armor. The fear line so massively outperforms the stun line that even light siders should take it. By the time you’re light side enough that it’s significantly more expensive you’re probably getting set for the droid forge where both are kind of useless. Not only is it cheaper and faster progressing, and longer lasting at high levels, but it’s on a less commonly resisted save.
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