Knights of the Old Republic EP4: A Bib, for Tuna

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Sep 2, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 126 comments

Link (YouTube)

It’s always a bit of a gamble when we select what game we’re going to play next on this show. When we begin covering a game, we’re committing to spending several months with it. We don’t want to get three weeks into a series and find we hate doing it and the audience has mostly stopped watching. That’s bad for our morale, bad for the show, and bad for everyone else.

For a while we were shy of games we hated, because we didn’t want to be “too negative”. We had a few series end badly for us and descend into a dull slog of repeating the same four complaints again and again for five hours. (BioShock is the biggest example of this, and for years we’d say, “Ugh. That game would just turn into another BioShock season” when discussing potential games.)

But eventually we realized it’s not negativity that hurts the show, it’s the repetition. It doesn’t matter if we love a game or hate a game, as long as we have lots to say about it. Hitman Absolution is a great example. It was a stupid game that we all disliked on one level or another, but the brokenness was so widespread that we always had something fresh to discuss.

By that standard, KOTOR might just be too good. There are so many facets to this game that we’re interrupting each other trying to cover it all. Consider…

  1. We can obviously discuss the events and particulars of the game itself, like any other game. But if we run out of that…
  2. We can discuss KOTOR in the context of the history of BioWare, comparing it to the later games. If that runs out…
  3. We can talk about STAR WARS!, which is a massive complex fandom / franchise / cultural forceUnintentional pun. that spans four decades and countless media. If we somehow run out of Star Wars stuff to talk about…
  4. We can discuss this game as a slightly ungainly adaptation of tabletop rules and all the problems that arise when translating from tabletop to videogames. If that well runs dry…
  5. We can talk about the curiosities of this game that come with age. The technology has aged poorly in some places and beautifully in others. If that topic runs out…
  6. We can talk about KOTOR II, which is supposedly a continuation of this story, but done by Obsidian. There’s a pretty big divide between BioWare fans and Obsidian fans because of the stark tonal, thematic, stylistic, and QA differences between the two. Is it better to make a by-the-numbers-game and nail the execution, or fall on your face shooting for the moon? Do you like fun and positive, or grim and morally conflicted? You you prefer polished but rote mechanics, or ambitious buggy ones? If we somehow run out of that material for discussion we’ll long be overdue for getting back to #1 and talking about the game in front of us.

So we’re probably going to have interruptions and cross-talk for a few more weeks. This game is a gold mine of topics and we’re having trouble making it all flow smoothly.



[1] Unintentional pun.

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126 thoughts on “Knights of the Old Republic EP4: A Bib, for Tuna

  1. Benjamin Hilton says:

    I love both Kotor I and II for different reasons. The first is just one of those games I can keep going back to no mater how well I get to know it. It’s like a favorite book where knowing what’s coming doesn’t make me bored, but excited to see it.

    Kotor II… I don’t know, there’s something about the tone and the incredibly fleshed out characters that entrances me. If it had actually been finished when it came out it might be one of my favorite games of all time.

    1. John says:

      The second game is like the monster in a horror movie. No, seriously! The monster is always scarier before you get a good look at it. Similarly, the game that KotOR 2 might have been if only it hadn’t been rushed would never have been as good as the game you are imagining.

      1. Bubble181 says:

        I dunno, the new, patched, version with the TSLRCM comes close. The Droid Planet isn’t fleshed out enough to include IMHO, but for the rest it comes damn close to “all I ever wanted”. Except it lacks Jolee.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I liked Kotor I, it was a nice SW story and one of the first choice focused games that I played, which made it really fun at the time. Still I think I figured the twist before leaving the first planet or very soon thereafter so it was somewhat wasted on me.

      Kotor II I loved but that could be because it came at just the right time for me. I was still very much into following SW closely but I was outgrowing the lightside-darkside dichotomy. I always like exploring the magical, mystical or otherwise “weird” part of a setting and here came a game where someone was attacking the force itself, not just the force users. At the time it was mindblowing.

      All that said I plan to finally replay II soon (with the restored content mod) so I guess that will verify those memories, I think I was young enough at the time to not even notice most of the unfinished bits so that’s telling.

    3. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I appreciate both games to an extent. I’m playing KOTOR on my phone and its just good enough of a plot for that.

      But Obsidian, even though I don’t normally like how dark they like to make things, you can feel the difference in quality immediately in writing. I have a similar experience with the writing in Deep Space Nine. You can hear it immediately in the dialog, its just smarter and you can hear the characters actually thinking things through rather than being stupid for the sake of plot.

      Bioware is Star Trek Voyager – safe lazy and familiar but you know what you’re getting. They also don’t care about internal consistency all that much but they don’t do enough to justify violating it. Plenty of shippable characters. Competent augmented women in tight uniforms with ass shots.

      Obsidian is Star Trek Deep Space Nine, thoughtful writing, exploring the possibilities inherent in the setting, cross examining and riffing on prior works in the verse where they exist. Idealism is challenged, things get dark at times. Characters may or may not romance, when they do, it kind of detracts from the quality. And in the case of KOTOR 2 and DS9, both have awkward execution of their endings.

      I dunno. I tried. The way I have it spelled out may not quite work but I do feel like those companies map to those Star Trek series.

    4. Geebs says:

      I just don’t get KOTOR2. The dialogue is full of interminable monologuing, the fights are badly structured, either the AI is totally broken or the companion characters have truly awful perception, and the ‘shades of grey’ morality thing is even more boring than the light/dark thing. All of the characters apart from Kreia are basically Carth, and Kreia is an insufferable cretin.

      It really doesn’t feel like it has any respect at all for the player’s time, while all of the really-good-period Bioware games (KOTOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect) keep up a reasonable pace, changing the scenery, having fast-travel systems that make some sort of geographic sense, and avoiding long drawn out fights in copy-pasted hallways.

      1. Zekiel says:

        Counterpoint: HK is just as good in KOTOR2 as he was in 1, T3-M4 is much better. And Atton (at least) is not Carth, however much he might seem like it on the surface. (He’s actually much more like Morte from Planescape Torment.) Also Kreia is one of my favourite videogame characters ever :-)

  2. Mersadeon says:

    Concerning the “hacking” terminology: in the German translations of really old Star Wars books, the word “hacking” was not yet mainstream in German. So they translated it – literally (“zerhacken”). It took me quite a while as a kid to figure out what was going on when the book said the Millennium Falcon was attacking another ship with “dismembering” systems (“Zerhackersysteme”). I thought the Falcon just had weird space-axes sticking out of it’s hull.

    1. Chefsbrian says:

      Must have taken the concept of the security spike literally in this game.

    2. Joe Informatico says:

      Heh, that’s kind of funny considering the best hacking movie I’ve seen in the last couple years is German.

      1. For hacking/espionage, I still have a warm spot for the movie “Sneakers.”

        1. Ringwraith says:

          One of the many things I love about the TV series Person of Interest is that it does all its hacking realistically, when someone realises they’ve been compromised, they immediately just cut off the power, and break all connected equipment and start over.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The movie about Adi Dassler in nazi germany?

    3. Nidokoenig says:

      Reminds me of a webcomic I read ages ago, a nerd was trying to follow a recipe that said “Hacken Sie die Petersillie”, chop/hack the parsley. She grabbed her laptop and stuck a wire into the parsley.

  3. Ledel says:

    At least this game works to explain how the stormtroopers for all of their training can’t seem to hit anything with their blasters. Also how they lost to a bunch of midget bears wielding stone spears.

    1. Humanoid says:

      They didn’t put any points into Energy Weapons?

      1. Deadyawn says:

        Thank you for keeping that joke alive. I appreciate it.

  4. Henson says:

    Oh Josh. Why are you using medpacks in the action queue? Just use them in the item menu, they’ll be instantaneous.

    1. Chefsbrian says:

      Oh man, I remember when I figured that out. I cheesed some pretty ridiculous fights through a combination of using that to preserve my action, then saving before my round was over. Reload, and you’d be able to use a medpack in the menu again.

      Makes not leveling up in the initial area’s so much easier, so long as you keep a good supply of healing goods on hand.

      1. Wow. I just found it. I always queued the heal packs. Still, the find Bastila end I had is the only part I couldn’t win. Single shot killed me, so I had to run around hoping nobody would notice me while Bastila cuts down everybody.

  5. John says:

    Yay, Josh did the audition! I was hoping he would go with the “run around in circles” choice. That one is my favorite.

    I should also note that Josh is fighting in an incredibly reckless and ineffective way. First, he should not be using two vibroblades with a level 2 character who doesn’t have the feats to mitigate the two-weapon fighting penalties. And second, if he does, he should not be using critical strike all the time, since that adds additional penalties. Funnily enough, he’d get through the combat faster if he weren’t trying to rush through the combat.

    Finally, for those who haven’t played the game, the apartment complexes in the lower city–by which I mean the places that aren’t cantinas or swoop gang headquarters–are strictly optional. They’ve got one bounty mission each, a little loot, and a bunch of mook enemies. I always do them myself, mostly for the XP. Although that green armor Josh got is one of the best light armors in the game, so there’s that too.

    1. Henson says:

      Unfortunately, you end up running around in a square. Such disappoint.

      1. Humanoid says:

        A square is merely a low-poly circle.

        1. Merlin says:

          I can’t stop reading this in the style of “Communism is just a red herring.”

          1. Blackbird71 says:

            In Tim Curry’s voice, of course.

      2. Syal says:

        It’s still a circle, they’ve just split infinity.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          Damn I wanted to post a KSP video where a guy edits constants like gravity and the orbits go square. Or ws it one of Danny’s?!?

    2. Trix2000 says:

      Because we really expect Josh to play any other way in this series. :P

    3. JakeyKakey says:

      Eh, I’ve managed to faceroll while making it to level 13 before I became a Jedi and generally picking random traits because I was like 12 at the time of playing.

      It definitely ain’t some JRPG where min-maxing is practically a gameplay feature.

      1. Humanoid says:

        In a JRPG you don’t have to min-max either because there’s nothing that can’t be fixed by simply running back and forth across a screen for a couple of hours.

        1. JakeyKakey says:

          Grinding is still kind of min-maxing in the sense of ‘putting way more effort into the number crunching of a game than one really ought to’. Disgea is a particularily bad offender I hear.

          Okay, Malak was pretty damn hard until I realised I had force-drain too and was able to use it on the vegetable-Jedi to deny him those heals.

          Rest of the game? Breeeeeeeeeeeeeeze.

          1. guy says:

            Disagea decided to take grinding as a thing and run with it. We’re talking “The level cap is 999 and you can profitably start over at 1 several times and the final boss is level 200 and you are expected to be able to beat level-equivalent enemies”. Then there’s the optional boss who is level 999 and strong for his level.

            1. Ringwraith says:

              Although the later ones especially got better at smoothing out the difficulty curve so as long as you don’t end up trying to level up a much larger roster of characters than you can deploy or reasonably need (something I do all the time) not much grinding is actually required for the main story.
              Also if you do want to grind for whatever reason, there’s usually multiple maps you can replay which have +exp areas on them.

        2. Ringwraith says:

          That doesn’t always happen, but often most JRPG systems don’t have much in the way of mutually exclusive choices to make when levelling up so it’s mostly a non-issue anyway.

    4. SlothfulCobra says:

      You have to get a little further into the audition to do that.

    5. GloatingSwine says:

      What? Josh play suboptimally in Spoiler Warning? That never happens!

    6. I thought originally the only way to miss this mission was by intentionally ruining it in the third dance and the previous two would be automatic successes, as my char always succeeded. Then in my latest play through I chose the same option Josh has in the first dance and my char, who was facing her, fell on her ass.

  6. muelnet says:

    I had the weirdest conversation with a coworker this week. He had just bought KotOR II because he had liked KotOR 1. So I started talking about the differences in stories and he was like yeah I don’t really care about the story. While this is pretty standard for him, hearing it about KotOR was really weird. When we talked a bit more it sounded like he was not counting all the conversations as “story” but still some one liking the god awful combat in the KotOR games is just weird.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      I liked the combat until I started getting this bug where the AI would randomly switch targets and remove all the actions in their queue for no reason. That really annoyed me, and to this day I could never figure out how to fix it or where it came from. It changed the game from pretty fun to almost unplayable.

      1. Duoae says:

        IIRC there is companion combat AI in both KotoR and KotoR 2. You can (and IMO should) turn it off. Sounds like what you were encountering.

    2. Bubble181 says:

      I really, really, honestly, like KOTOR combat and think it’s amongst the best implementations of combining turn based and real speed actions. The main downside is the UI – a larger hotbar with attack types, items and so forth would’ve made more sense.

      I’m aware I’m a minority.

      1. Merlin says:

        Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s good, but it’s certainly the best real-time-with-pause combat I played outside of Mass Effect 2.

        1. Matt Downie says:

          I liked it up until the point I tried to run away from a battle (I think we didn’t have the right weapons to do any appreciable damage to a particular enemy?) and found that I couldn’t. I could only control one character at a time, and when one ran away, the other two would fight. I’d switch to control a different character, and the first one ran back to the battle.

      2. Wide And Nerdy says:

        In retrospect, that would have been terrible for the smartphone port.

      3. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I liked the combat too. I know it’s not a popular position but I’m a sucker for D&D/d20 conversions. It could be party because I’m familiar enough with the mechanics to be more or less instantly aware of what a lot of the terms mean, or how much +1/-2 is so I can enter into a game with relative ease.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Whats crucial about d20 systems is that they give you all the information.If they hide every roll from you,then its pointless.But if they show you how all the bonuses interact,then you can have a real impact on the game.This is why I find kotor one of the best bioware games,because the log was so extensive and verbose.

      4. Add another one who liked the combat. Though then I was starting to play and how I liked the story I was perhaps not very worried or picky about combat. Whatever that didn’t annoy was good for me.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I liked the combat in kotor.Its not the best,sure,but its serviceable.And once you get the hang of it,its a great spectacle to watch.

  7. Ledel says:

    I bought this game about a year ago, played it up until I got to the undercity of Taris, put it down and didn’t pick it back up until this season was announced. I’ve been trying to keep ahead of the episodes and think I’ve got a pretty good lead going. I’ve just completed my Jedi training and the game really opens up for you. I’m hoping to keep this lead so I can participate in the discussions here.

    I kinda agree with Mumbles with how this game scratches that “Star Wars” itch, but doesn’t really have much in gameplay.

    I like the skills system for doing little things like picking open doors or disabling mines. Yet the combat feels so sluggish and random. I’ve reached a point where a squad of dark jedi ambush me. The first time I fought them I got creamed and couldn’t even take one of them down (it happened after what looked like 3 rounds of combat, pretty fast for this game). So after I reloaded (and made my way back to the point they appeared), I was going to try pausing every couple of rounds and using healing items for everyone who was injured. I walk up to them and after combat I killed them all and only took one hit on my main character.

    A similar feeling occured to me when you fight Davin for the Ebon Hawk. I tried that fight about 4 times with different tactics each time (I lost almost an hour of play after the first defeat because of how long it takes to clear the area). Nothing I tried seemed to work, my allies kept falling faster than I could heal them to keep them up. I looked up a walkthrough for help, and discovered you just have to survive for a while against them. Once I knew that I just ran in a circle around them and instantly won. This all happened after one round vs the 5/6/7 rounds I was trying a war of attrition where I kept losing.

  8. Benjamin Hilton says:

    In the episode Chris mentioned that it was odd when Star Wars strayed from it’s pulpy roots. It reminded me of a time (I have no idea when) when Shamus was talking about Star Wars 1313 and he said something a long the lines of “a dark story like that would not work in Star Wars” and, well, I’ve just never understood these viewpoints.

    Star Wars is so much more than those first movies. It’s become a fully-fleshed living breathing universe. To say that a dark story, or a comedy, or some other type of story wouldn’t work in it is like saying a dark story wouldn’t work in our own world. I feel like the Star Wars universe is big enough to support all types of stories.

    I was personally looking forward to 1313. When ever Couroscant is seen in the series, either only the nice parts are shown, or our larger than life heroes quickly jaunt through the dark places and emerge shortly after. It doesn’t take much to realize that actually living in a place like that would be anything but fun pulp. I thought the idea of turning over those stones and seeing into the underbelly of Couroscant would have been incredibly interesting.

    1. It’s like just about anything. Dig deep enough under the fantasy and there has to be some fairly gritty, vile things going on.

      A simple example: The Legend of King Arthur. It’s all about Arthur, his knights, magic, drama, etc. We never have a whole lot of detail about the footmen and soldiers he commands and all the ways they die, especially when Mordred shows up.

      Another sort of reverse-example that bugs me is DC’s kiddie-fied versions of its superheroes (and not just because I draw ps238). They have kid heroes whose whole character is based on tragic backgrounds. Does Kid Batman have dead parents? Does Kid Superman know his home planet was blown up? Did Kid Green Lantern receive his ring (1) from an alien dying a horrible death and (2) because a 7-year-old was the best Earth had to offer?

      1. Otters34 says:

        Don’t be silly now, PS238Principal! Of course they don’t have those problems! Why would they? The dark stuff is for the adult versions, worrying about the repercussions of Darkseid showing up in Tiny Titans or treating Cyborg’s angst seriously on Teen Titans Go! wouldn’t make any sense.

        They aren’t coherent characters or serious art, they’re marketing gigs and recognizable archetypes. Relax. Don’t even worry about it. It won’t do any good regardless, not while superheroes are power fantasies for kids in the public mind.

    2. Joe Informatico says:

      Yeah, Star Wars is such a pastiche of so many pulp and earlier cinematic influences, and the Mos Eisley scenes in A New Hope are clearly leaning on film noir and crime dramas. So’s the Jabba stuff, even though it’s a lot more Jim Hensonified by Return of the Jedi. But it’s there. If 1313 was aiming for more of that hard-boiled noir influence, and not just trying to be a Star Wars-skinned bro-shooter, that would have been an interesting game.

      1. Not to mention it could have been a return to Star Wars before the Jedi completely took over. I mean, in the early days, we had games, comics, and novels dedicated to Rogue Squadron, bounty hunters, soldiers, etc. instead of everyone having a light saber. I wouldn’t mind a return to that, to making Jedi rarer. I’ve said it before, but it’s as if the Lord of the Rings got an expanded universe beyond Return of the King and it’s all about a bunch of Gandalfs.

        1. Arstan says:

          Well, Silmarillon fits well – it’s from LoTR, it’s expanded material, and it’s all about a bunch of Gandalfs! (or Valar and such)))

          1. Michael says:

            Wouldn’t a group of Gandalfs be a murder… you know, like stormcrows. :p

        2. Benjamin Hilton says:

          That is one of the reasons I loved SW Galaxies. You played normal people, and while it was possible to become a Jedi, it was so difficult that maybe there would be one per server Seeing one was the awe inspire thing it should be.

          That is until they started to make changes to the game and everyone and his dog was running around swinging their glow stick in the middle of the original trilogy and Fgsswawhdfwghsdkjglbbnhgh.

  9. Gravebound says:

    You guys are going to use the infinite dark side loop on Dantooine, right? To become as evil as possible on the second planet in the game. :D (..or did that get patched out?)

  10. If you want to see Superman, Batman, and a kind of whole Justice League where there’s an impressive (and more realistic) body count, read the first few volumes of the Authority comic, but only the ones published when it was under Wildstorm.

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      Basically, read the original Warren Ellis-penned run, and then maybe the Mark Millar run (one of the last things he did I liked).

    2. Matt Downie says:

      Or the recent ‘Gods and Monsters’ animated film.

      1. Otters34 says:

        Or experience it being done in four-colour style with Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme! which is simultaneously amazingly weird and totally fitting. It even avoids the modern trend of sketching out its pastiches in broad strokes only, making it even more convincing as an alternate view of “improvement superheroes”.

        That and it’s way funnier to see well-meaning but flawed people trap themselves in a death spiral than glass-eyed hypercompetents read through their scripts to success.

  11. Neko says:

    Can you imagine a Jedi at a rave, where instead of light sticks he’s got light sabers?

    Not only can I imagine it, it’s been done.

  12. Re: Shamus’ feeling the galaxy is too small and Chris’ mention of Disney’s retconning.

    It’s not that it makes everything feel too small to me. It’s irritating to me because nobody in Star Wars can be “just some person.” Oh, no, everyone needs a backstory where they met or interacted with someone who is (or is an ancestor/descendant of) a primary character from the original trilogy. Sure, it’s funny when Ice Cream Maker Man on Cloud City got this whole history for being seen in a movie for three seconds, but it happens in nearly every friggin’ novel, comic book, etc. I’ve read a few decent Star Wars books and the second effing Han Solo or R2D2 shows up, the whole plot goes to crap and I want to throw the paperback down a reactor shaft. It’s not just that the galaxy seems small, because I could see there being a whole Fortuna dynasty or something, but it’s like there’s someone from marketing lurking behind every corner who assumes you won’t consume something Star Wars if it doesn’t have Luke Skywalker make a cameo.

    As far as Disney retconning everything, good! There’s so much that’s been declared “canonical” that it’s ridiculous. Lucas himself has contradicted canon that most fans actually liked, or at least, thought was better than what it was replaced with via the prequels. I don’t expect JJ Abrams to keep a decent continuity (his work on Star Trek should be evidence of that), but I hope some people at Disney/Lucasfilm will take a cue from the Marvel movies and at least try to make the bulk of what they come up with hold together. I mean, characters from the Star Wars Holiday Special were (at one time at least) declared canonical, so maybe they can get Superboy to punch time or whatever he did to reboot the DCU and try it out on Star Wars.

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      JJ Abrams is not going to have that kind of control over Star Wars. You can already tell by the way Lucasfilm has already revealed quite a bit about The Force Awakens–they are not playing around with Abrams’ “mystery box” crap. This is exactly why Kathleen Kennedy established the Lucasfilm Story Group: to keep the canon in line.

    2. Nidokoenig says:

      Wasn’t the decanonising more a dumping of the old system that was basically a chain of command, ie anything below the movies is canon until contradicted by the movies, and on down through the various spheres of media? That seems a bit more honest to me, since the movies were always going to do whatever the hell they want, but Star Wars always seemed to have a really active EU when compared to Trek that has a hard rule of only live action minus Threshold is canon. The canonicity, even if it’s temporary and unstable, may have helped with that.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        That’s pretty much how it worked. I’m slightly on the fence on this system because while it gave creators more freedom, especially if their bit of content was out of the way of the main events, it also meant that more nonsense was allowed to slip without oversight, especially if it was out of the way of the main events. It also means that tracking SW canon is a paaaain, then again I know this is a plus for a more meticulous kind of nerd.

      2. I got the distinct feeling that Lucas could retcon at will, which is fine, except he’d make decisions on a whim. As I recall, he decided the Nemoidians would be in charge of the Trade Federation after doing an eenie-meenie-miney-moe on a selection of non-human concept art. Then when one looks at the “plot” he’d come up with…

        Whether or not it sticks around is moot at this point, but those who worked on the EU can always point to the prequels and say “I did better than that.”

      3. JakeyKakey says:

        Yeah and that ended up as sprawling continuity cancer because LucasArts eventually just went ‘screw it, as long as it doesn’t contradict more official sources everything gets to be canon’ with very little regard for the declining clusterfuck that was EU.

        Han Solo was basically just this low-level criminal who got way in over his head with the rebels and realistically would have loved nothing more than to settle down and live comfortably for the rest of his life. Instead his son dies and his other son turns into a Sith Lord and starts another civil war across the galaxy only to be put down by his Jedi sister and Palpatine didn’t have just the one brilliant scheme of taking over the galaxy two decades, no he made clone bodies and he comes back like six times and a few decades following Return of the Jedi there was like seven Galaxy-wide wars and actual warzones in the Middle East are more stable than that and oh my fucking god this is like mainstream superhero comic book continuity levels of stupid get that weak ass shit out of here…

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its not just star wars though.This is the thing that irritates me in every franchise it happens.Its so stupid.

      1. Eventually it gets in the hands of a Michael Bay or someone who takes the window dressing of a franchise that they think is cool and makes that the focus rather than the characters. Since they don’t give two rips about the plot, continuity goes bye-bye, and we get the usual spiral into garbage.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Actually,I think big fans are just as much of a problem.When you get your hands on a franchise you love,you dont want to write about dick newguy,you want to use bob oldhero as much as possible.Which is just as detrimental.Especially if the main arc had bob oldhero make a heroic sacrifice in the end.

  13. James says:

    Josh the Star Wars d20 system is lame. I prefer the old west end games d6 system. Still have my copy of the revised 2nd edition rules, heck we still play it sometimes. As for the star wars expanded universe retcon I’m ok with it, I just take the old expanded universe as a separate timeline. After all Disney did not spend billions to untangle 20 years of expanded material they bought it to create their own controlled universe. Also in my own opinion I think much like comic continuities can get at times, the expanded universe was kinda getting a bit to big and convoluted.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      d6?Bah,you young whippersnappers!Back in my day we only had d4s and we liked it!

      1. Nidokoenig says:

        D4? Luxury! D2 is a proper dice roll, none of this polyhedral nonsense!

  14. SlothfulCobra says:

    The thing about the whole light side/dark side moral choice system is that while mechanically you should really only pick a side and stick with it, that only really matters if you’re busy paying close attention to all the numbers and garbage about the combat system, which I always found too tedious to really parse out all the options available and figure out an “optimal” build (and the one time I did try, I decided to not get destroy droid, which really bit me in the ass).

    But I don’t think this game is really trying to shepard you along one of two optimal paths. It’s just throwing dark side/light side points at you to show that your actions are being “judged”. Carth’s scolding is unnecessary, because the game already has a mechanic to do that. I just cruised through the game doing what I wanted, and the game decided what it wanted to about me. It’s fine.

    Of course, fundamentally the Jedi and the Sith are just weird monastic orders of warrior-monks, and the universe will get angry at you if you don’t adhere to the tenets of either order, that’s just built into the setting (there’s a reason that Jolee Bindo lives the life of a hermit in a horrible forest full of monsters). I think the biggest way this happens (aside from the ending) is that the endgame armor is affiliated to either one alignment or another, and if you’ve been playing things a little too close to the middle like I did, and maybe if you somehow get some last minute dark side points (like maybe a certain overly judgemental Jedi who fell to the dark side has too hard of a speech check to spare the life of if you didn’t bone her, so there was no option other than killing her), you have to fight the final boss either naked or wearing armor that inhibits force talents.

    It may seem annoying, but that’s what Jedi fundamentally are, and if you don’t like it, well there’s even more jedi-ing in the sequel, so tough luck.

    1. PeteTimesSix says:

      On restrictive dark/light side meters: Ive played through the entire game as Paragon Mc. Doormat Nice Guy. Didnt stop me from solving every fight via thorough application of Force Lightning, so…

    2. John says:

      One really cool thing that the game lets you do is build your character as if he were Darth Vader. A lot of the game’s force powers don’t work if you wear armor, but anything that you see Darth Vader do in the movies–choke a dude, levitate objects, whatever–does. You won’t be as powerful as a non-armor wearer, mostly because you don’t have access to the Force Speed powers, but it’s still fun. Note also that armor wearing doesn’t go quite as well for Light Side players, since they don’t get Force Choke.

      1. Slothfulcobra says:

        I thought that was because Vader doesn’t have any of his original limbs left.

        1. John says:

          I’m sure that somebody, somewhere in some non-movie thing says that. But like so many things, it’s not actually in or supported by the films.

          I just thought it was cool that Bioware made the effort to be consistent with the films. (Although I’ve never been entirely certain why they made armor restrict force powers in the first place.)

          1. guy says:

            The formal explanation regarding Vader was that he couldn’t use Force Lightning because it would damage his cybernetics.

            1. ehlijen says:

              And here I thought the Emperor’s dramatic revelation that Force lightning even existed was to tell the audience that it is a terrifying new thing, a primal power that only an evil superwizard could hope to ever master. A power he wouldn’t have tried to teach anyone.

              “Only now to you truly understand.”

              He was saying that he knew Vader didn’t want to be evil. He was saying Vader couldn’t turn to the light because he was holding Vader’s leash with powers no one but him had learned. Vader wasn’t an accomplice in over his head, as Luke thought, he was a slave.

              But no, every SW game with force powers has to let players learn it now, and make it mediocre in the process. It’s sad how George Lucas never seemed to understand what made the movies he’d made good.

              As for armour and force powers: What did Luke and Han do the second their disguises had been blown and they had a few moments to spare? They dumped the ST armour. The heroes don’t wear armour in SW, and several games have tried to keep that trope by whatever flimsy explanation they could (in the D20 source, it’s simply a lack of proficiencies for most classes and the fact that it doesn’t do much for high level heroes).

              1. guy says:

                The lightning thing has sort of drifted through the EU. I vaguely recall one of the really old setting guides specifying that it was Sith Lightning and one of the secret techniques that differentiated Sith from other darksiders (along with Sith Alchemy; we’ll be seeing the products of that later), but it’s become the iconic dark side power and anyone who goes to the Dark Side pretty much instantly starts using it, like it’s a signing bonus or something.

  15. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I’m going to geek out a little. In the X-wing books it is revealed that Bib of the Fortuna Clan is a member of a prominent family, but has been ejected from his clan for slave trading.

    There’s also an extensive discussion of the linguistic characteristics of their language.

  16. lurkey says:

    Do you like fun and positive, or grim and morally conflicted?

    Me, I like not stupid. But all “No stupiding!” video game writers go for grimdark, so that’s what I choose.

    Citizen Kane of video games my arse. Where is Terry Pratchett of video games?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Monkey island series.

      Also,isnt metal gear supposed to be that as well?I havent played it,but from what Ive seen/read isnt it full of nonsense comedy?

      1. Everything I’ve seen leads me to believe that it’s a completely over-the-top ball of war-nonsense with long monologues interspersed with stealth/shooty mechanics. It looks totally bonkers, yet I keep seeing people posting about it in earnest, as if it was some kind of deeply insightful treatise on the horrors of war or something.

        Personally, every line of dialog from the series I’ve heard hurts my brain, but I’m a stickler for natural-sounding conversation, if not smart conversation.*

        Also, I’ll admit that the series really annoyed me when the song “Snake Eater” got included on “Karaoke Revolution.” Not only were the lyrics horrid, it meant we couldn’t play it on “random” anymore unless we wanted the game to play like Russian Roulette.

        * If one wishes to maintain that Metal Gear has smart conversation, it must lose something in translation.

        1. Michael says:

          My understanding is the commentary is thematic rather than textual. But, I mean, I’m looking at it from the outside too, so, it could just be the disk is laced with mescaline.

        2. Gruhunchously says:

          …lose something in translation?

          1. Is Hideo Kajima’s first language English?

              1. guy says:

                That is actually something that is kinda-sorta lost in translation. Basically in Japanese it’s common to request clarification by repeating a word as a question, so it sounds much less stupid. Also lost in translation is the La Li Lu Le Lo thing; it is impossible to write that down in either Japanese phonetic script. The closest you can get would be romanized as Ra Ri Ru Re Ro.

        3. Ringwraith says:

          The Metal Gear Solid series is odd, it’s not quite so overt.
          Anti-war war games, but not quite the same way as say, Spec Ops: The Line does, more in the details or such.
          The silliness it drifts into often just serves to contrast the heavier-hitting stuff, so you don’t get beaten into the ground with it constantly.
          Often still very happy to just let you have fun though, which shows in the rabbit hole of mechanical interactions. Well, unless it’s one of the games where it’s goes really heavily into a cutscene black hole, which can be interesting when it has a point to make, even if it gets super obtuse because no-one Kojima when to stop.

          What I’m basically saying is that 3 works as a game really well, (although has some weird controls, and lots of menus), and apparently V is even better (by fixing controls and cutting back on the cutscenes a whole bunch).
          Also they’re just weird. Hard to explain. They do have a lot of nonsense though.

    2. Arstan says:

      There are a few Terry Pratchett Discworld games out there, too.
      Also, unexplainably, Betrayal at Krondor springs to mind))

      1. Thomas says:

        The MUD is particularly great

      2. 4th Dimension says:

        Betrayal at Krondor?! Isn’t that a Feist book? Been a long time since I read anything by him.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So after this you guys will be doing pillars of eternity,right?

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,shouldnt the credits for all of you be your star wars names?Its quite appropriate now I think.

    Though I cant remember what lame names the rest of you picked,because only Galaxy Gun was cool enough.

    1. wheals says:

      I want to know who gets to be the Nostril of Palpatine.

  19. Thomas says:

    One of the things Obsidian said they regret about KOTOR2 is that they didn’t continue the story of KOTOR1. Of the 13 months they had to develop the game, they weren’t allowed to know anything about the plot of KOTOR for the first few. They didn’t even know about Revan until KOTOR 1 was released

    1. Thomas says:

      Incidentally, here’s Chris Avellone of Obsidians opinion on KOTOR

      “The moment I hit the planet Manaan and I was walking around in the sea-floor I almost threw the controller at the TV because the game was getting so f***ing awesome. And then when the storyline played out…” I imagine him mouthing a whistle. “Incredible kudos to those guys – I thought it was a great story, I thought the team had assembled all the right beats for what made a Star Wars game and,” he adds, “they made me love Star Wars again.”

      But, also: “Wow, I’m screwed,” he laughs, recalling his thoughts. “It’s a rough act to follow! Like, I’m going to Garfunkle this up.”

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Duuuude, spoiler warning! We aren’t supposed to talk about the whole R thing until they reach it.

      1. Jokerman says:

        Apparently some chick died in FF7 too… Spoilololol

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Oh yeah,thats right.Snape electrocutes trinity in that game.

      2. Thomas says:

        He’s the proxy antagonist and Malak’s master (a very cool one at that). We’re just about to get an info dump on him, that’s not really the spoiler people are avoiding right?

  20. Mumbles says:

    I just want to point out that my “nerd voice” still sounds like a valley girl.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      So you are a valley nerd?

      1. Mumbles says:

        Basically I’m Jubilee.

        1. You wear a yellow trenchcoat and visor-shades for no apparent reason? :)

          1. Mumbles says:


        2. Zaxares says:

          *does best Oghren impersonation* Hawt.

          Also, Mumbles (but also anyone who’s played it), how is Pillars of Eternity? Some of my friends rave about it, but I’m not sure if it’s actually a good game or whether they’re being influenced by nostalgia. I’m in a bit of a gaming rut of late and looking to find something new to sink my teeth into. :)

          1. Mumbles says:

            Pillars of Eternity is life and indeed it is the death of my free time.

  21. Entropy says:

    Yeah, Yeah, Shamus, “You have sooo much to talk about.” You say that at the start of every season.

    I await the deep commentary for the 300th Sith Trooper in the Star Forge. :D

    1. Shamus says:

      That day will come, I’m sure.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Fun tip: The starforge can be really easily cut short by just running for the exit on every level past the first. Even Malak’s respawning droids are only a distraction from the fact that you can cut the plot door apart with the lightsaber and keep going.

        That approach won’t leave you time to play with the robe dispenser, though.

  22. Steve C says:

    A character only motivated by money and loot is exactly what my character was. I didn’t care about Light or Dark. “Gimme all the things!” It can work. It will only work well if you know where the shops and loot can be found though. (Which Josh does presumably.)

    1. Henson says:

      Jedi Ferengi.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Umox with a lightsabre? :(

  23. Piflik says:

    “There's a pretty big divide between BioWare fans and Obsidian fans because of the stark tonal, thematic, stylistic, and Q&A differences between the two.”

    I am not entirely sure, but I think you meant to write QA here (Quality Assurance) and not Questions & Answers.

    1. Geebs says:

      It makes perfect sense; Q is “why is this game incredibly broken?” and A is….well, you can guess.

  24. Leia says:

    If money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.

  25. guy says:

    Hacking is now called cracking, Slicing has been the Star Wars EU convention for a while.

    1. Tim G. says:

      The first “slicing” as hacking reference I can remember is in Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars Thrawn trilogy, which predates the game by 12 years.

  26. spleentioteuthis says:

    There’s no possible way in which Blue Shift could ever be considered better than Opposing Force.
    I have to call shenanigans on that whole bit. Some weird in-joke, clearly.

    Opposing Force has the classic alien weapons such as the wonderful fish what you lovingly feed bits of goop to in order to make it puke processed goop at your enemies, and the beloved barnacle grappling hook, which made the multiplayer the fondly remembered classic it is. (Among people I know anyway.)
    And the final boss, while very stationary and less than hugely exciting, is at least a final boss of some kind. A recognizable narrative and gameplay event that shook things up.
    And those ropes to very awkwardly climb on! By jove, what a wonderful evolution of the Half-Life formula that was!

    Blue Shift has…
    What does Blue Shift have?
    Hard-pressed to remember a single thing Blue Shift has. Probably some Bullsquids. Bullsquids are alright.
    And just unceremoniously walking to a car and driving into the sunset is a fairly novel ending for a Half-Life thing I suppose. Think that’s what the ending was anyway.

    I might well be making an enormous fool of myself asking, but what exactly is a KOTOR?

    1. ehlijen says:

      Knights Of The Old Republic. It’s short for the game’s title.

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