Knights of the Old Republic EP16: First Day of Jedi College

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Oct 7, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 159 comments

Link (YouTube)

I know we mock this game mercilessly, and sometimes it might be hard to tell our cruel mockery (Absolution) from our playful mockery (Deus Ex) so just to be clear: This is the latter. I really like this game, despite how silly it can get at times.

I should be going now.


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159 thoughts on “Knights of the Old Republic EP16: First Day of Jedi College

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yay the whole band of sith justice warriors is together again!

    1. James says:

      What would Sith Justice be like? like the order condescendi in sith culture is;
      Sith (people with force powers) Humans, everyone else.
      Is sith justice like you spilt my coffee now you must die in the burning pits for 3 days?

      1. Chauzuvoy says:

        In theory, if he was weak enough to let his coffee spill then screw him. When a writer is trying to get into sith philosophy they tend to go with a lot of “might makes right” by way of “survival of the fittest.” But when they’re writing what the Sith actually do, it comes down more to baby punching and moustache twirling. Especially in this game.

        1. James says:

          I do like how at least Bioware later on tried to vary the Sith a little, give them some more depth rather then MWHAHAHAHAH take over the galaxy murder murder murder. and also give move more to Power makes Right, with some Sith being masters of sorcery and not just martial prowess but you cant really do that with this games systems i suppose.

          1. That’s another thing that’s always bugged me about Star Wars: What was Palpatine’s ultimate goal? Just to be Emperor? To kill loads of people? I mean, he was Emperor for 20+ years, so what was he doing with that power? Just killing people?

            Some might throw real world examples like “having a lust for power” or “wanting to get revenge on his enemies,” but that doesn’t really cut it for this kind of character. For one, he had all the power, or so nearly enough it doesn’t matter. As for revenge, he got that as all the Jedi were dead. He’s also using some mystical superpower space-magic thing that seems to give the users goals and visions beyond just getting all the stuffs so you can lounge in a hot tub while you watch kittens being executed for your amusement.

            Other than “build a Death Star,” it seems all Sith Lords do in their down time is create mad science that eventually goes pear-shaped. None of them seem to want to do something BIG and evil, like become immortal or transcend to a higher plane of existence (both of which require lots of people to die, because evil). I’m not saying I wanted a blueprint and mission statement, but a hint at a goal beyond killing and earning more dark side points would have been nice.

            1. Vermander says:

              I think the idea was that like many real world dictators he made his regime seem more legitimate and justified their excessive tendencies by claiming to be constantly waging war on real or imagined enemies of the state. “Those storm troopers are there to protect you.”

              Also he was probably paranoid and crazy.

              1. Matt Downie says:

                I get the impression most of his focus was on centralizing all power on himself. At the start of his time in office, he was just acting head of the senate or whatever. Twenty years later he was ready to abolish the senate. Inbetween, he was crushing anyone who opposed him, and using the threat of evil terrorist rebels as an excuse to award himself more emergency powers.

            2. Mike S. says:

              SWTOR actually gives its Sith Emperor a suitably grandiose plan. The Empire is a mere stepping stone to absorbing the life force of every single being in the galaxy, in order to achieve godhood. As you might expect, this isn’t common knowledge among his subordinate Sith lords.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                So he would then be a god of empty space?Whats the use of being a deity if you dont have worshipers to amuse you?

                1. Mike S. says:

                  “The rancher can’t be planning to slaughter all of us. Then he wouldn’t have any pets!” Presumably the Emperor doesn’t think of his subjects primarily in terms of the entertainment or emotional value they provide, but merely as a convenient source of a resource that he wants to convert to a form more directly useful to him and requiring less maintenance.

                  As to what he’d do next, presumably that’s like cattle trying to speculate what the rancher will get up to once he’s sold the beef to the stockyards for a whole bunch of money. Why you’d rather have money than be unquestioned alpha of a whole herd of cows isn’t something that could really be explained to them, nor that “money” can be exchanged for “books”, “video games”, “booze”, or other incomprehensible entertainments. (Even if you could somehow explain the concept, the attraction would be hard to get across.) Maybe he’ll pave over the ranch and drive fast cars around a track covering what used to be tasty grasslands or a comfortable barn, before it was all crushed and twisted by the exercise of incomprehensible power.

                  But the thing they all have in common is that they don’t require retaining a single cow for personal amusement.

                  1. Supahewok says:

                    I dunno, feed cows enough beer and I think they can comprehend booze. Smokes too, there were some turtles in China a while back that became addicted to cigarettes.

                  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Yeah,but the thing here is that all the substitutes you mentioned for cows(pets,booze,books,…)can all be gained along with the cows,and arent affected by them at all.Worshipers for a god are a different thing.

                    1. Mike S. says:

                      I don’t remember if he uses the term “god”, if others do, or if it’s just a descriptive shorthand for “become transcendently powerful and inhuman”. But there’s nothing in the plan that suggests he wants worshipers or servants per se rather than as a means to a defined end.

                      (Gods actually needing worshipers isn’t universal in any case. With the Abrahamic God, the need is all the other way. With other pantheons, it’s unclear at best. Not counting modern fantasy, the only gods I remember hearing about actually starving for want of sacrifices are the Mesopotamian gods after the Flood.)

                    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Ok,so he would become the most powerful creature in an empty galaxy.That would accomplish…what goal exactly?

                    3. Mike S. says:

                      Got me. I’m just a cow– I can’t imagine what someone with human intelligence and money would do with it that would be better than bossing all the cows.

                      I mean jeez, he’s boss of half the cows I’ve ever heard of already! That’s more power than I can imagine having. Why is he even trying to buy more cows and expand the ranch? And given that he’s trying to do that, how could his end goal have nothing at all to do with cows?

                      But of course most ranchers aren’t in the business for the kick of telling cattle what to do. And a rancher who made enough to retire and never see a cow again wouldn’t be seen as making an incomprehensible choice.

                    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      But thats the thing:He is not a rancher.He knows of nothing outside the cows.All his pleasures are derived from cows(booze,drugs,money,television,you name it,all of it comes from cows in this analogy).So why does he want to get rid of all this for something he doesnt even know what it would be like?

                    5. Mike S. says:

                      Given how distant he is from humanity (he’s been isolated, working through select indoctrinated tools, running the Empire from a distance, and he’s already absorbed the power of a planet through the same ritual, so he’s not operating at the same power level as a typical Darth), what’s the reason for thinking that?

                      Transcendant Cosmic Power translating into a lack of interest in mortal affairs is entirely typical. It’s more common to explain why ostensibly good transcendant beings don’t mess around with the heroes. (See all the well-adjusted elder races leaving the galaxy in Babylon 5, and treating the Vorlons and Shadows as cases of arrested development.) It’s also the basis of Lovecraftian horror– these things will destroy you without even noticing or caring. The Emperor is in the process of graduating from puny human to being on a level where humans simply don’t matter.

                      (Or at least he believes he is, which is sufficient to motivate him.)

              2. Bubble181 says:

                Isn’t that pretty much copy-paste of Darth Nihilus?

                1. modus0 says:

                  I don’t think Nihilus had any greater goal than feeding the ever-increasing hunger he felt, and while he did cheat death in a way, it almost certainly wouldn’t have resulted in godhood

            3. Wide And Nerdy says:

              I don’t feel like we need to understand Palpatine. The conflict between the Rebellion and the Empire is only the external conflict. The real story is Luke’s journey to become a hero and for that, we only need to understand Darth Vader.

              1. Syal says:

                Palpatine is exactly what he seems; a guy who wants power. He wanted to be Emperor, and then once he was he wanted to make sure he stayed Emperor. He’s just, The Dark Side of the Force, personified.

                (And if that thing about his councilors being the ones actually running the galaxy is canon, then keeping power is his only goal.)

                1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  Makes sense to me. The Emperor is more a force of nature than a character in terms of his role in the story. I’d cut that part out of my post because I thought I might get pushback but yeah.

                  The Death Star is a perfect example. There’s no greater end to its construction than simply to have it. Once its complete, the Rebellion’s friend would withdraw their support for fear of having their entire world destroyed. You’d only need to pull the trigger once on an inhabited world to convince people you’re serious. Make it an economic center too to show that nobody is so important to the Empire that they can’t be blown up.

            4. Xeorm says:

              Past a certain point, it seems power and keeping that power becomes a goal unto itself. There’s no need for an external goal, really. The Rebellion also didn’t need some goal beyond unseating Palpatine. There was no threat of imminent doom for all life, or some crazy god coming in. They were fighting a power struggle against some dude who had power, because they thought power should be distributed in a different manner.

              Look at any other civil war that occurs between an autocracy and its citizens, such as Syria.

              1. The Rebels having a goal wasn’t the issue, obviously.

                Here’s the thing: It’s all a part of Lucas making it up as he goes along. He had no idea what a “Sith” even was when he made Star Wars. If there had been a concept as concrete as the Sith vs. the Jedi, then the imperial trappings should’ve taken on a Sith-ish air to them over time. The Sith as rulers and a philosophy should’ve started gaining traction with the Empire replacing the Jedi Temple with a Sith training facility, appointing Sith force-users to high (but not too high) places of power.

                See, restoring the Sith would’ve fit with the unstated “revenge” mentioned in Episode I and nowhere else and been a long-term goal that would’ve fit right in with the Emperor’s actions in IV-VI.

                But, as stated, this wasn’t thought out.

      2. Ledel says:

        all justice is resolved through trial by combat.

        You stand accused of going 35 mph in a 25 mph zone. You must pay 800 credits or fight Tom from accounting.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          I approve. Break out the Combat Rod and prepare the National Anthem.

  2. SlothfulCobra says:

    Dantooine’s my personal low point of the game. It’s where most of my playthroughs of this game crap out. Taris gets old after a while, but it’s still this big huge place full of people and things happening. Then, after you’re tired of Taris and you’ve endured your way through to the end of it, you finally escape Taris to make it to Dantooine, and instead of bustling city walkways, you have a dreary temple and endless empty plains (conveniently located in an incredibly shallow box canyon).

    Oh wait, they’re not empty, they’re full of stupid space-dogs that you have to fight every couple of yards. Then the quests that are open to you involve a bunch of boring conversations and lots of walking from one place to another. And after you spend all your endurance on getting through Taris, Dantooine just doesn’t feel like it’s worth the effort.

    1. Ledel says:

      The worst part of Dantooine for me was that it felt like a big tease.

      You finally escape Taris, have your own ship, and break through the Sith blockade. It feels like this is where the game should open up for you. Instead they force you down on Dantooine and you’re stuck here for another few hours before you’re let loose.

    2. Smiley_Face says:

      The music on Dantooine also feels like it’s trying to put you to sleep.

    3. Bubble181 says:

      Yep. I understand the appeal of wanting to make a no-really-this-isn’t-Tattooine-see-no-desert early Jedi planet, but it’s really the part where I started thinking “ugh, is this it?”.

    4. Lame Duck says:

      The Juhani quest is also the point at which it starts to seem like the Jedi are possibly the most incompetent and dangerous idiots in the galaxy and that the Sith problem is directly caused by the neurosis-inducing training that they received as children. Kind of makes you not want to follow their advice.

  3. Smiley_Face says:

    Bioshock Infinite’s twist pissed me off. I saw it coming REALLY early, and it just seemed so contrived and cliched that I went through the whole game hoping to be wrong, and I wasn’t, and they did it in a way that I’m pretty sure doesn’t have logical consistency.

    I always just wrote the whole ‘suspiciously convenient’ off as the Force doing its thing, because you’re a Force-sensitive protagonist. Which is probably the case, but there’s more to it sometimes. The whole ‘record-speed Jedi’ thing struck me as odd though.

    The [Lie] options makes me laugh. Games don’t do that often, decide whether you’re lying or not in the option. It would be funny to find out that they can totally tell, but just don’t let on, because they feel it’s probably their best option.

    I also love how young Malak looks like an evil Airbender.

    1. Henson says:

      It’s very easy to be ‘suspiciously convenient’, as you say, in games because games do that all the time. You are the chosen one, you are the hero, the game is designed around you. And then one game explains why this is. It takes an accepted convention of the form and removes the convention.

      Also, I wonder if your disappointment with Bioshock Infinite has less to do with the twist itself and more with how it was presented (disclaimer: I haven’t played it). One of the reasons KOTOR’s twist worked so well is because we didn’t expect there to BE one. Are audiences today more savvy about looking for these things? Or did Infinite just not have much other substance without its twist?

      1. James says:

        The Bioshock infinite twist was fairly bog standard. BUT then it decided to throw ALOT of metaphysical and time paradox bollocks in aswell and then nothing actually made sense even in-universe

      2. Hector says:

        It worked in KotOR partly because it was unexpected – but also because it worked to explain a lot of the hanging threads. While it also changed how you interpreted the character, it didn’t change the character him- or her-self. The character also acknowledged things (to a degree anyway) and people reacted to it. The reveal let off tension from dozens of small points which [b]could[/b] be explained in other ways, and then had the courage to deal with the aftermath of the reveal.

        The issue with Bioshock Infinite is that not only was it spoiled on the [i]loading screen[/i] if you paid attention, the game never followed-through. This wasn’t a major revelation that changed how you looked at the character, given that character’s actual actions from the beginning of the game, and because it happened right before the ending nobody else really reacted to it, either. Plus, Infinite telegraphed that “something was wrong” with all the subtlety of a charging rhino. Also, they cheated in a lot of ways to hide it, but which also served to sever the connection and make the twist less interesting and enjoyable. Seriously, the game teased you with a giant “OMG IS THERE A TWIST COMING?!” before you got out of the first level. Then it tried to slow-roll the revelation, which is comically bad writing. Also rather weird since much of the characterization in the game came of quite well.

        There’s another issue for me because I simply didn’t buy in to the explanation. Seeing the twist coming, it actually raises all kinds of practical questions that completely kill the believably.

        1. Henson says:

          Loading screen? Wow.

          Also, use pointed brackets for HTML tags.

          1. Hector says:

            Force of habit about the brackets, I’m afraid.

            They spilled the surprise by too-cleverly arranging the elements on the splash page, which if you looked carefully spoiled things just by seeing where else it popped up.

        2. Hydralysk says:

          I knew a twist was coming in Bioshock Infinite simply because it was a Shock game. Even if it had been more subtle I would’ve been expecting a twist and looking out for it, so it being heavily telegraphed didn’t annoy me as much as it might of if it was in another game.

          The obvious plot holes the twist brought up were what really pissed me off though. If you’re going to build a game’s story around a particular theory, then at least think it through to make sure your twist doesn’t completely contradict it. I think Matthewmatosis’ video summed up my frustrations with it almost perfectly (spoilers obviously).

          KOTOR didn’t hit me over the head with its twist, but more importantly the twist made sense. The biggest criticism I can make of it is that it’s a massive risk by the council.

      3. djw says:


        I had no idea that there was going to be a twist in Kotor, and when I got to it I was surprised.

        When I played Jade Empire I had heard one comment (in passing) about “the twist” so I was paranoid about the entire setup and I figured out the twist long before it happened.

        If you are not expecting a twist it is a lot easier to be surprised by it.

        1. Thomas says:

          Similarly, if someone has told you that there’s a twist in KOTOR, you can probably guess it before the end of Taris just because there’s really only one twist-like thing the foreshadowing on Taris can mean.

          It still works okay though, because 1) Identity twists are copying from the original trilogy and 2) It’s a cool idea even if you know it’s coming.

          It does make all the people in the evil path look stupid though. KOTOR was clearly designed for a lightside canon playthrough. The darkside playthrough is just goofy side story shenanigans.

          1. Chauzuvoy says:

            I actually knew what the twist was my first time through the game. I still really loved it. I think that’s the mark of a well-written twist: It makes the story better even if you already know it. Like, I have had no inclination to watch Star Trek: Into Darkness after seeing it the first time because the half-dozen plot twists don’t make sense, don’t give any new insight into what happened earlier, and don’t really mean anything to the story beyond “haha! got you!” In KotOR, the twist makes a lot of the rest of the story a lot more interesting. We understand why the Jedi council is so hesitant to train you, but also why they kind of don’t have a choice. Carth’s whining and trust issues take on a kind of tragic quality. The constant light side/dark side choices (though still frustratingly one-dimensional) take on more significance than they had otherwise. And the moment of the reveal might not be surprising, but it’s still plenty dramatic.

        2. Majere says:

          Jade Empire’s twist made me feel like an enormous idiot because of how incredibly foreshadowed it was at every possible opportunity and how entirely surprised I was by it.

          1. djw says:

            I’m sure it would have done the same to me if I had not been tipped off before hand. I still thought that it was very well done.

          2. Andy says:

            I didn’t see it coming (I never see anything coming) but subsequent playthroughs, I see all the things they did, hints they left, which added to my fun. I guess if you’re dense like me, it makes the game more fun? :D (The Water Dragon reveal got me too – I mean, I understood at some level what was going on, but I didn’t know what it MEANT.)

            I guess I’m weird, but JE is by far my favorite of the bioware things – like, say, I’ve played through it as all the characters. (And all the romances, of course.)

          3. Raygereio says:

            JE is my go to example of a well executed “twist”. It’s foreshadowed a lot, but Bioware wasn’t being heavy handed about it. Everything only fitted into place and you smacked your forehead going “Oh, now it makes sense” once the twist happened.

            Here in KotOR Bioware left anything resembling subtlety behind. Particularly with the dream sequences. It would be difficult not to figure it by the second dream.

    2. Decius says:

      All the [Lie]… [Success] options are the Jedi council saying “Oh, that’s cute” on a psychic level that you can’t hear, then they bluff you back.

      Jedi councils deal with force-sensitive teenagers going through rebellious phases all the time, and only a few turn out to be galaxy-destroying evil.

  4. ehlijen says:

    I could have sworn they did officially name the yoda species for one of the D20 RPG books? Of course, that reveal was so pointless and unremarkable that I can’t even remember the name. Something geidonian? Meh.

    1. Rutskarn says:

      Nope. The wiki refers to his species only as “Yoda’s species.”

      1. Thomas says:

        There was a fan rumour that ‘Yoda is a Whill from the planet “Grentarik”‘ which ehlijen might be thinking of. But that’s dismissed as non-canon.

        According to the wiki, Lucas was so adamant that no-one should ever know the name of Yoda’s species that he tried to stop people from even ever using that race in the EU and he had a whole print-run of trading cards destroyed that seemed to suggest hints to what Yoda was.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          Hey! Lucas trying to keep something mysterious!

          Shame it wasn’t the Force itself.

        2. Syal says:

          Which was a waste, because we all know Yoda is just an old, bald Ewok.

          1. krellen says:

            I’ve always liked the idea that Yoda is not some weird long-lived species, but just what the Force shapes you into when you long outlive your normal lifespan. Any 900-year-old Jedi would look like Yoda.

            1. Decius says:

              Not just any 900 year old Jedi will look as good as Yoda.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Yoda is actually the doctor,and he lied about his age,because the doctor always lies and he likes to be younger than he looks.

        3. Where there’s a Whill, there’s a way of the Jedi.

      2. Yodas must be extinct now. Unless… I bet in ‘Empire he turned himself into a cloud of spores! On Dagobah and wherever Luke went after that, loads of animate Yoda-fungi started budding on every surface, making a new generation of Yodas!

        For those true D&D nerds, I’m trying to come up with how Star Wars and Yoda’s possible reproductive method could have led to the Vegepygmies in AD&D Module S-3, “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.”

  5. The jedi uniform stuff adds to the prequels to make Obi Wan look stupider even. “No, I’ve never had droids so I know these” and with this is “Oh, and the Emperor and Vader have pursued all jedis to death and I hid while still wearing the uniform that tells everybody I’m a jedi”.

    The twist was great and I loved it, because of all this telegraphing. During a lot of the game the suspicion was coming to me but then I discarded it because it could be explained without need to do that. And then it’s revealed and wait, what?! and suddenly everything changes and one catches on so many things initially had perhaps not even thought about and realizes how that and that were meaningful events and then one reacts to it and the characters around. That is my favourite gaming moment along with the fourth mission in the first tour of duty of X-Wing, which is a tremendously beautiful mission, one that everyone has a lot of trouble but once you think it tactically it becomes piece of cake.

    P.S. – You need to take Canderous at least to get his first conversation, because it will be a blast.

    1. newplan says:

      “P.S. ““ You need to take Canderous at least to get his first conversation, because it will be a blast.”


      1. djw says:

        Ice Ice Baby!

      2. modus0 says:

        The not-Carth guy.

    2. Thomas says:

      That jedi uniform stuff is the exact same kind of sillyness that basically _defines_ the whole Star Wars EU though. It’s already been talked about in previous comments about how much that goes on in anything Star Wars is just because “It happened in the original trilogy”, no matter how much it doesn’t make sense in a different context.

      I feel like jedi robes are just an oddity in the face of Lucas’ greater crimes

      1. Decius says:

        It’s two-level gameplay. The Sith know that all the Jedi normally wear robes, and so they expect the Jedi to change their appearance. Obi-Wan evades them by not changing his appearance, instead being the only thing they aren’t looking for.

        Which still doesn’t explain how Leia knew that Obi-Wan was on Tatooine, but not any of the rest of the family history.

        1. Supahewok says:

          I think in Revenge of the Sith both Obi-Wan and Yoda state where they’re going to be hermits with Bail Organa in hearing range. Its not really that far-fetched to imagine Bail telling his adopted daughter, “If you’re ever in deep shit, there’s this Jedi general living in the ass-end of nowhere on Tatooine, go to him.”

          1. Decius says:

            And saying their plans with Bail in hearing range is another double-bluff, in that nobody would let anybody know where they are hiding.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        That basically puts the prequels squarely into the fanfic territory.The staple of (most) fan fiction is that you use stuff from the original simply because they were in the original,whether having them would make sense or not.

        1. Thomas says:

          Most of Star Wars is squarely in fanfic territory. All of KOTORs “Look it’s not-Yoda, speaking to you with your party of not-Chewbacca and not-R2-D2, and our twist is he’s not-Your Father. Have we mentioned how I’ve got a bad feeling about this?”

          that’s so fan-fic in any other franchise it would hurt. But in Star Wars fan-fic defines the norm and everyones used to it and even likes it.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            The problem isnt with “its there” however,but with “does it make sense in this story”.Having not chewbacca in this game is not a problem.It fits in the world,and it doesnt contradict the original story.Not yoda is a bit iffy,because of “what race is he”,but its not a big problem.But if darth vader were to suddenly appear,for whatever reason,that would be a huge problem,even if you do something really cool with him.

    3. Alexander The 1st says:

      Having recently encountered the twist (Even though I did know what it was beforehand), I think the best part is when it turns out that they don’t deliver the twist to you *specifically*, but hand it off to Carth to learn about it.

      All of a sudden, this guy who was so suspicious and super paranoid apparently heard something that makes him get beyond angry at another person on your team. And they end up talking about it, in somewhat vague terms in front of you, and how it can wait.

      It’s like how Sagacious Zu in Jade Empire goes “Wait a minute – if that’s true a great many other things I thought to be true will have to be adjusted for, because all of a sudden this thing I know is *really* important.”, only a shorter version of that whole deal.

      And then later on he reveals something in a supremely obtuse way, and things start to kick into place.

      And that’s not getting into the “There’s something odd about your style, but I can’t quite place what it is” foreshadowing from *everyone* you fight.

      1. guy says:

        One kind of nice thing about the Jade Empire twist; your character doesn’t need to just obliviously get totally suckered. When people comment on your fighting style being strange, you get the option to say “I’m not doing that on purpose. Should I be worried?” or some variation thereof, at which point the other character will assure you it’s fine

    4. “Hey, a guy dressed as a Jedi, that 20 year old religion that we totally have evidence for as being real but nobody believes existed or has heard of for some reason, just pulled out a light saber in a bar and hacked some guy’s arm off.”

      “Huh. I wonder if that guy was a cosplayer?”

      “Probably. Let’s completely disregard it.”

  6. Thomas says:

    Mmmmm that sweet not-Taris smell :)

    1. Slothfulcobra says:

      Smells like dirt and manure.

  7. Akuma says:

    I always thought Revan and Malak’s turn to the dark side was kind of a metaphor for PTSD.

    The republic gets thrown into this big war with the mandalorians, but the Jedi council are kind of stalling so Revan and Malak run off to be big heroes. But the war was way rougher then any of them could have imagined, and in order to win it they had to do some dark stuff. By the end of the war the pair of them have cracked under the weight of what they’ve done, for them the war never ended and they go on to turning against the republic.

    The writing as is however suggests that ‘something’ happened and the pair were infected by bad mojo and turned crazy evil. This is always unfortunate when writers do this as it shows a great misunderstanding what the origin of the force is and how it works as thematic tool.

    The force is a very asian concept, like the philosophy of the tao, and for whatever reason Lucas found some stuff on it and liked the mystic part so much he added it to his Flash Gordan film. The concept behind this is that energy is just energy, it is nether good or bad by it’s nature, but humans can use it for good or ill by their own choices.

    So lets say you have this energy and it can heal someone or it can kill someone depending on how you use it. The philosophy then goes if you choose to do something bad with this power you become damned. Now it’s not the act itself that damns you to a path of ruin and evil, what damns you is the fact your going to do it again. Once you start using a power for self interest it becomes a powerful temptation, only an absurdly strong will could resist the temptation to do it again. After you start using the power more and more to do bad things you become better at it, not because your getting more skilled but because each time you demonstrate less will to resist doing it.

    This is where the Jedi meditation and philosophy comes from. It’s all about the monk lifestyle of resisting temptation.

    So this is why to me it makes alot more sense if it’s during the war Revan and Malak turn evil. By jumping into the front lines of a vicious and terrible battle they are testing themselves against the temptation to make the fight easier. This is why in the original trilogy you don’t see Luke or Obi-wan throwing people around with the force, that is a huge mistreatment of power. You just used a neutral power to hurt someone, that’s a big deal.

    Of course Lucas and by extension games cannot resist these temptations themselves so over time the force becomes a way to ragdoll people. It just knocks them over, there fine, a little bruised, but so long as we put them out of the fight it’s all ok- Oh shit I think I broke that guys arm… Oh well he’s fine, I’m just gonna keep using the force this way… It’s much easier…

    1. krellen says:

      I think the sequel actually tried to present this as more or less canon, with Malachor.

      1. Akuma says:

        It did, there’s even undertones of the theme of temptation throughout. It’s one of the reasons I like Kotor2 more.

      2. djw says:

        They did hint at this with Malachor, but they also implied that Revan was worried about something “out there” in the unknown regions that was worse than the Mandalorians. I’m sure the war had a large impact on their Force balance, but Revan was also looking for Power to defend against this threat, and thought that it was more important that light/dark side concerns.

        1. krellen says:

          As I recall, KOTOR2 isn’t completely coy about what Revan was worried about – I’m pretty sure there are references to the “True Sith Empire” within the game.

          1. Josh says:

            It’s even referenced in this game, at least in one conversation with Canderous where he says “The Sith convinced us to attack the Republic” or something along those lines.

            Unless that’s a reference to Tales of the Jedi, which I probably should read at some point because this game makes far too many references to it as it is.

            1. Supahewok says:

              I was never sure if that statement was a reference to the True Sith egging the Mandalorians on for the Mandalorian War, or if it was referring to the war before that when Exar Kun, a Sith, convinced the Mandalorians to go to war against the Republic.

        2. Zombie says:

          Its kinda explained in SWTOR, but Revan found the Emperor, who is like the ultimate dark side being, which was part of the reason he wanted to find the Star Forge (I think), so he could fight the emperor with an unstoppable army.

          1. Supahewok says:

            I think the Emperor actually sent Revan to find the Star Forge for him, and Revan decided to conquer the Republic on his own in order to betray the Emperor when he came calling.

          2. JakeyKakey says:

            Yes, but we don’t talk about the SWTOR take on the whole Revan thing, because it’s downright moronic.

        3. ehlijen says:

          With the ‘evil from beyond known space’ I got the impression KOTOR2 was trying to shoehorn in references to the Yuhzahn Vong (the tyranid biopunk space marines from the ongoing EU novel series at the time).
          ‘The Mandalore’ (whatever his name is) flat out tells you a story about how he encountered an asteroid-rock-fighter ship in the unknown regions (aka a coral skipper, aka a Vong starfighter).

          1. Decius says:

            Aka a space hulk?

          2. Supahewok says:

            Nah, in the final confrontation with Kreia she states outright that Revan went to look for the True Sith. Canderous’ story is just a nod to the ongoing novel series at the time, as you said. There wasn’t a deeper meaning to it.

            1. lurkey says:

              And then Bioware went and introduced those True Sith in SWTOR. And they happened to look and behave exactly like those Untrue Sith of KOTOR – mwahahaing, puppy kicking and all.

              Fancy that.

          3. Evil beyond known space? Sounds like Lovecraft to me (literally sounds like a phrase he’d use, as well as the concept). Could they be making a reference to him? (I don’t know enough about the SW universe to say)

    2. Ledel says:

      So the rules of being a Jedi are basically the rules of Batman. No guns/force lightning, and no killing. Broken bones and permanent disabilities are totally fine, though.

      1. Mintskittle says:

        Nah, they’re totally fine with killing, just so long as you can convince everyone it was self defense.

        1. Decius says:

          Light side is okay with clean killing, but you can’t have heads rolling around or blood spurting everywhere.

          The dark side prefers gruesome scenes after their murders, with no disintegrations.

          1. But rolling arms are just fine. At least if they’re hairy.

            1. Decius says:

              Lightsabers cauterize while they cut. It’s the elegance of the more civilized age.

    3. Syal says:

      Revan and Malak are much more Ringwraith types. I don’t get the feeling they were ever resisting the temptation to make things easier; I think they went in full blast from the start, and once they won they decided they knew better than the Jedi and were going to prove it.

    4. ehlijen says:

      I got the impression that the entire war against the mandalorians was ‘choosing the quick and easy path’. Jedi have power -> fight in the war to win it. The Jedi council, for that reason, didn’t want the order to participate.

      It was a decision made in fear (of loss), impatience, recklessness and without deliberation. Going against everything a Jedi should be.

      Nothing ‘EVIL’ needed to happen to the two to turn them to the dark side, they were already on their way. The atrocities certainly didn’t help, but it started with seeing the need to fight to preserve at all costs that things were set in motion. And for that, the mandalorian war didn’t need to be fleshed out any more than KOTOR1 did, in my opinion.

      1. That’s a really strange philosophy when it comes to problems, not to mention it shows an absolutism that (allegedly, according to some bearded people that used to use sets and practical FX who have hopefully stopped making movies) only a Sith would appreciate. I get that they’re trying to say that the easiest route = cheating, being lazy, being hasty, etc., but here’s some places I want the quick and easy route taken:

        – Medical attention to wounds/disease.
        – Wars, especially ones where loads of people are being killed.
        – Falling objects.
        – Traveling long distances.

        I mean, I’d hate to do contract work for the Jedi Temple:

        “Okay, I fixed that leak in the bathroom over the council chambers and gave you a two inch pipe instead of three-quarters on your bacta tanks, so if you could just write me a check, that’d be great.”
        “Paying you now would be the quick and easy path.”
        “What? Look, robe-dude, I just need you to sign here and some form of payment or my boss is going to climb up both of our poodoo chutes, you get me?”
        “Recklessness leads to the Dark Side.”
        “It also leads to you guys getting a lien on this pile of rocks.”
        “I sense much anger in you.”
        “Like talking to a fortune cookie. A broke fortune cookie.”
        * SNAP-hisssss. *

        “Let me call my manager…”

        1. Syal says:

          …I hope that was a dig at George Lucas and not Ewan McGregor. Because Big Fish is my favorite movie, and we may have to fight.

          1. I’ve never even seen Big Fish, and I own a DVD copy of it somewhere. And Ewan’s a fine actor, which makes me feel sorry for his participation in Star Wars, especially since he really wasn’t allowed to define the role. He was basically instructed to do an Alec Guinness impersonation and follow George’s “script.”

            1. Supahewok says:

              Which I think he was probably fine with; I read somewhere that he only does big roles for the money to help finance smaller movies that he loves to work in.

        2. Veylon says:

          I think it’s more that the Jedi would put their students to work learning the ins and outs of plumbing so that they can truly understand and appreciate the workings of their temple rather than just paying some guy.

          The quick and easy way to win a war is to employ some WMDs so that whatever it is stops existing. Got ISIS trouble? Nuke Syria.

        3. ehlijen says:

          The problem wasn’t that Revan & co were quick to act, it was that they didn’t think their actions through.

          They saw a war, they saw their own martial prowess, they leapt to the first solution without even considering others.

          Why was there a war? Was negotiation truly off the table? Which side, if any, should the jedi support if it comes down to it? How can lasting peace actually be achieved afterwards? Revan considered none of that before he charged off.

          Joining the fight was the wrong call *in this particular war* for the jedi: we know in retrospect that the mandalorians wanted an epic showdown. By giving them a worthy foe, Revan & co may well have prolonged the war rather than helped end it.
          Even sticking to defensive and humanitarian support might have had that effect; as soon as the mandalorians figured out jedi deployment, they could have concentrated attacks on those targets, war conventions be damned.

          The council saw these problems and knew that the rash solution would lead to worse problems later. Revan and Malak didn’t, so they became those problems.

          To go with your metaphor:
          What if a rash jedi were to just give anyone who claims to have fixed a problem money regardless of whether:
          -the job was actually done, or done properly
          -the money was theirs to give
          -someone else is in charge of payments and the rash jedi is causing confusion, possibly a double payment
          -the money wasn’t the agreed upon payment when the job was commissioned by the council?

          There is a difference between following the obvious solution and following the first solution that pops into your head.

          1. Raygereio says:

            Thing is.
            You have the Council going “Don’t worry. We know what we’re doing. We’re just sitting around waiting until the right course of action is revealed to us” on the one hand.
            And billions of people on a dozen worlds going “Oh dear lord, the Mandalorians are slaughtering us just for the fun of it! They’re bombing entire worlds. The Jedi are supposed to be the guardians of peace and justice. Why don’t you do something?!” on the other hand.

            It’s kinda understandable that Jedi started flipping the Council the bird and went to help.
            Considering that the Jedi Council is generally portrayed as refusing to tell people things they perhaps ought to know and instead expects everyone to just trust them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Council appeared to just do nothing and sit back while people died.

            1. Wait, I have a brilliant explanation! Emotion is required for humans to make decisions! (Seriously, it is, people who’ve suffered brain injuries that prevent them from having emotions have a huge amount of trouble making decisions.)
              So if the Jedis are trained to be emotionless, it’s possible that they’ve gotten to the point where they’ve removed emotion from the decision process, which now makes it nearly impossible to make decisions.

        4. lurkey says:

          In KOTOR2, you can deliberately troll one of your squadmates with such a broken fortune cookie dialogue. #NrUmpteenthReasonExile>>>>Revan

        5. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yeah,jedi philosophy is weird.I mean,I get patience and levelheadedness,but sometimes these guys are taking it to the extreme.

      2. Smiley_Face says:

        And yet at the same time, the Jedi order, effectively a military peacekeeping force, nominally devoted to defending the helpless from aggression, chose not to enter the war, effectively condemning billions to die so they could declare their own personal victory of pacifism. Perhaps going to war was the quick and easy path; but perhaps the quickest and easiest path was the one where the council sat on their butts and said ‘not my problem.’

        It’s an interesting topic, and the ways that KotOR 2 lets you explore it is one of the main reasons I’m able to excuse its flaws.

    5. ? says:

      In KOTOR comic books PTSD is the exact reason for Malack’s descent into the dark side. Early on, before the Mandalorian War technically begins (only planets outside the Republic were attacked so far) he gets captured on a scouting mission and gets tortured and experimented on for months. In every appearance since then he gets more radicalized, angrier, resenting the Republic and Order for delaying and focused on getting revenge on Mandalorians and “Flesh carver” specifically. They never show him fully turn, but it shows how he will spiral out of control. Revan barely shows up though ans is more of a easter egg, so there is no clue what is his/her motivation for turning evil.

  8. Henson says:

    The only indication of Jedi Robes that I can find pre-Phantom Menace is the bathrobe that Qu Rahn wears in Dark Forces II.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      What about Yoda in Empire? His bathrobe is a bit tatty, but he’s probably been wearing it for like 600 years or so.

      1. Henson says:

        Yes, but he’s also a weird hermit, just like Obi-wan. I’ll admit, it’s hard to determine whether the robes are ‘hermit robes’ or ‘Jedi robes’ when there are only three Jedi in the whole movie trilogy.

        1. Atarlost says:

          Anakin’s Ghost wore the same style of robes in the original RotJ. He wouldn’t have been a hermit.

  9. Blovsk says:

    Ugh, Dantooine probably the slowest and most painful part of the game. Huge outdoor areas full of disposable but tough mooks, silly quest triggers (especially the way the Mandalorian one), not a lot really happening outside of the Jedification.

    On the upside, it’ll be nice to see Josh level up for a change.

  10. Micamo says:

    The first time I played this game I totally missed the telegraphing in this scene, because I assumed it was just bad writing. The same old empty praise game writers have been giving us for years. “Yes, player character, you’re the exception to all the established rules of the setting and you’re super awesome, because you’re the special and everyone loves you. Look at you! You just pressed a button and did a thing we scripted to have happen when you pushed that button! You’re amazing!”

    That and because they couldn’t put a reasonable amount of time to actually train a jedi and have it fit the narrative they’re trying to tell about the republic being on the brink of destruction.

    I was actually quite pleasantly surprised when the twist gave a real justification for this instead of more empty handwaves for the sake of player “empowerment.”

    1. Syal says:

      Yeah, I played Diablo 2 and Dungeon Siege 2 at the same time as KOTOR so ‘you’re suddenly super powerful, there’s just something special about you’ struck me as a highly mundane plot device.

  11. krellen says:

    So, that guy Shamus said was going to figure out the spoiler ahead of time? That was me. After the first “shared dream” scene – where Bastila fights Revan on the Leviathan – I just knew, and then when the reveal came, I was completely unsurprised. It does make that Council scene a bit more interesting, knowing exactly what they’re talking about.


    I think something they tried to do with the Sith here and did not completely fail at was making them more than just evil. The Sith Code (which was written for this game) espouses a decidedly Chaotic (in the DnD sense) mindset, but it is not inherently Evil; the Sith embrace passion in the same way the Jedi reject it, but passion doesn’t mean viciousness, or malice, or heartlessness (in fact, it’s the opposite of that). The chain – passion, strength, power, victory, freedom – isn’t a path of destruction, but of liberation.

    Ever since playing this game I have been very enamoured of the Sith Code and have despaired at how poorly it has been explored by subsequent titles in Star Wars, Old Republic or New. There is a lot inherent in that code other than “might makes right”, and, as I’ve (successfully) argued here before, I actually think the original trilogy’s arc suggests the Sith were more correct than the Jedi (or at least more correct than the later Order, as there is supposedly an “earlier” version of the Jedi Code that is almost completely the opposite of the one that appears in this game and implies a unification of the Sith and Jedi beliefs.)

    1. Henson says:

      This is a point I’ve eventually come to appreciate over the years. When I first played this game, the codes were very simplistic in my head: ‘Jedi good, Sith bad.’ I took them as they were interpreted. But now, taking them for what they are, it’s clear that both approaches are good in moderation, destructive in the absolute. Sith striving for power is selfish and immoral, and Jedi striving for peace erases the individual. Sith striving for power gives us control of our lives, Jedi striving for peace moderates our destructive urges.

      1. djw says:

        Let’s not forget that “peace” with the Mandalorians was simply not possible, and the Jedi pacifism in the face of that threat was a death sentence for many people.

        1. Mintskittle says:

          If I remember correctly, the Mandalorians started the war specifically to fight Jedi, and the Jedi Order refusing to engage with them is what drove the Mandalorians to commit ever increasing atrocities to goad these so-called defenders of the Republic into the fight.

          1. ehlijen says:

            And giving in to Mandalorian demands would have been rewarding those atrocities.

            Sure, they were bad and something needed to be done, but giving them what they wanted would have just meant they’d keep doing it, not just in this war, but in all future wars. I think the council was right not to indulge the bully trying to pick a fight and letting the actual military handle it.

            1. Supahewok says:

              You mean letting the military mishandle it?

              The game makes it abundantly clear that the Mandalorians were prepared to slaughter the galaxy to look for their “final battle,” and that they had the means to do so, with the Republic unable to do crap about it. If you have the power to save trillions of lives, is it right for you to withhold that power, staying in your ivory tower as the world around you burns? Jolee Bindo makes some pretty pointed commentary that standing above the needs of the galaxy, and furthermore assuming you know what the galaxy’s needs should be, is not a virtue, its arrogance. Bastilla’s own stuffed up attitude is also repeatedly called into question, usually in the context of the wars.

              Furthermore, the Mandalorians didn’t fight any more wars; when the Republic won, Revan took all of the surviving Mandalorians’ weapons and broke them as they watched, and the clans scattered across the galaxy. Even 4000 years later, at the time of the movies, the Mandalorian culture is in no fit state to fight a war on its own; they’re some of the best commandos and soldiers in the galaxy, but they’re an auxiliary unit, and a small one. A bully won’t bully anyone ever again if you ensure that they never have the means to do so.

              You can argue that by entering the war, that maybe the Jedi prolonged it or made it worse or something, and that by doing so they themselves fell later and caused more problems down the road. BUT, you can just as easily argue that if the Jedi entered the war in unison, with the more experienced and wiser heads tempering Revan’s enthusiasm, then the fall would have been prevented, or at least would have been seen coming; one of the major reasons why so many of the Jedi who participated in the war defected to the Sith is because they felt disconnected from the heads of the Order. Neither faction of the Jedi were in the right.

              1. Syal says:

                I’m just going to throw in that it’s really nice they had Revan and Malak turn the tide of an active war. They could have easily sidestepped it by having the Republic holding its own; they could have sidestepped it by having the Mandalorians perform a few raids, get bored, go home and Revan starting a campaign to pay them back. But this way it’s a big moral gray zone where no one can really be said to be right or wrong.

                As for everyone saying the Mandalorians weren’t going to stop unless stopped; perhaps a war against a pacifist enemy would have divided the government and led to a reform from within. Perhaps a Republic commander would have stepped in and done what Revan did. Or perhaps the Jedi had visions that anyone who joined the war would fall, so they were losing in every world they could see. You can’t make absolute statements about it, the Jedi have more information than us.

                1. djw says:

                  The Mandalorian attacks on the outer rim planets were basically a campaign of genocide (ask Juhani about her people). Even if they did reform their government from within eventually they were busy ending millions (billions? trillions?) of lives right now so unless their government reforms involved a time machine or some sort of necromancy its too little to late.

    2. John says:

      I think some of the best writing in the game is in the discussions with Uthar and Yuthura Ban on Korriban, talking about the code of the Sith. Yuthura in particular comes across as very sympathetic and you can easily see how Sith philosophy would appeal to someone with her history.

  12. shiroax says:

    Flirt with the Carthman should have been episode title… or band.

  13. Thomas says:

    I was hoping to find a silly extended canon fact about this Jedi Council, but the members don’t show up much elsewhere (probably because KOTOR2 gave them a limited time frame to work with). So here are two less related facts:

    This Jedi Council once presided over a case where five Jedi all murdered their padawan because they had a vision where someone wearing something similar to a Padawan’s outfit did bad things.


    The number of toes of Yoda’s species is controversial

    1. WILL says:

      I love that Kreia mentions in disgust a few of Revan’s masters in the sequel and the only one she names from the first game is Zhar, the twi’lek jedi master, I think the one who teaches you the ridiculous Jedi Code.

    2. “The Will of the Force” should be the “get out of jail free” card for Jedi the same way “taken over by an alien entity” lets people in Star Trek get away with whatever they want.

  14. Thomas says:

    Final Fantasy X has a couple of good twists. FFVII had some very generic twists but they were probably good for the time. Uncharted 1 had a terrible twist, which both made so little sense, and yet was still very obvious. There was a time in gaming (partly because of the success of KOTOR) where every game had to have a twist and so they were all rote and completely meaningless. Undeveloped side character B has unexpectedly betrayed you!

    To The Moon had the best twists, they felt impactful.

    1. Syal says:

      I think every Final Fantasy has at least one twist in it, even the NES ones.

      Of course FF8 has the best twists.

  15. John says:

    I hate Master Ed Asner. I didn’t like him in this game. I didn’t like him in the sequel. It’s like it’s his job to hate the player character and criticize everything the player does–no matter what the player does. (So he’s like Kreia but without the charisma.) Killing him in the sequel would be tremendously satisfying if only it weren’t so difficult.

    1. WILL says:

      I like him in the sequel because it presents how the Jedi council can think itself peaceful and arrogant while being so angry, resentful and hotheaded. Just another side of the massive Jedi hypocrisy. He sticks to the code, rejects others who don’t conform to your views.

      Zek-Zak-El represented how the Jedi Council was blind to true suffering, how they ignored the galaxy around them, sheltered in their temples. It all comes back to the inactivity of the Jedi in the Mandalorian Wars.

      Atris is your typical overzealous “attempt to use evil against itself”, except she also hides from the galaxy and from conflict.

      Goddamn I love the sequel.

      1. Syal says:

        I think you’re misinterpreting Atris.

        Atris has started a school in which she specifically teaches people not to follow the Jedi teachings. She’s a zealot who’s lost faith in her religion and is looking for something to replace it. It’s not “use evil against itself”, it’s “use evil because good failed me”.

        KOTOR 2’s scope is pretty great, yeah.

        1. Supahewok says:

          She's a zealot who's lost faith in her religion

          An addendum to that should be “and refuses to admit it to herself.” She’s pretty insistent that she’ll be the one leading the teaching of a new generation of Jedi, despite only gathering Sith artifacts and surrounding herself with minions who have been taught to suppress the Force. When Kreia dubs her the new Lady of Betrayal, Atris believes that its the PC and Handmaiden who have betrayed her, but when you confront her, your verbal sparring reveals that she really betrayed herself a long time ago.

          Given another 12 months this game would’ve been, well, not quite a new Planescape, but it would’ve set a high standard for writing in RPG’s. Such a shame.

  16. Ledel says:

    The reason I think that this game’s twist works so much better than the twists that exist in a lot of other games is that this game has you deal with the issue of what the twist is and all it implies. Other game’s twists, Bioshock, MGSV, and many others I can’t think of at the moment, they put the twist into the story, but do little more with it than say “Hey, look. We wrote a cool twist. Isn’t that awesome?” They show the twist, and it has no impact on the game or your character at all. Even with Spec Ops having the twist come at the end of the game, they still have one last scene of you having to deal with what it all means. Bioshock reveals that you were actually a puppet and had to do exactly what someone told you to do over the radio. This is followed by you doing exactly what someone else is telling you to do over the radio.

  17. Mr Compassionate says:

    Yay Mumbles! Never too cool to hang out with the dweebs.

  18. Off topic but thought Shamus (and others) might want to see this.

    Robert Young speaking at NYU Game Center, funny, insightful and he talks about game design.

    Well-Made: Back to Black Mesa
    The modern AAA single player first person shooter consists mainly of two things: shooting faces in implausibly realistic levels with a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, or rocket launcher — and obeying NPCs when they trap you inside a room so they can emit voiceover lines at you. Half-Life’s legacy in the latter is well-mythologized in history, but what if we re-visit Half-Life as a masterpiece of technical design, enemy encounters, AI scripting, weapons tuning, and architecture? Spoiler: we’ll find out it’s a pretty well-crafted game.

  19. That One Guy says:

    Yeah this is probably one of my favorite twists ever in a video game due to reasons a lot of other comments have made. Though I do wonder how much of it is not just because of how genre savvy people were back then, but also how much people were blindsided by such a twist like this in game set in other wise very black and white universe Star Wars is ( I know EU may have shown some gray before this, but I generally mean the main trilogy most people are familiar with).

    Though if there’s one thing that bothers is what Shamus points out, in that the story works without the twist. The twist reveals a lot of implications about the parties involved and adds some ambiguity to the whole thing, but its never really addressed.The story has the big twist, everyone like ruminates over it for a scene and then its back to business. There’s no repercussions or even confrontations with everyone involved with it. The game rather really kinda hand waves the whole deal rather quickly for such a big twist. And its not like doing this would come into conflict with any of the game’s systems. I’m not sure if this really brings down the story for me, but it does make it somewhat unsatisfactory for me at least.

  20. Shamus, I don’t think you were particularly genre-blind to be surprised you’d become a Jedi. Star Wars was a very different franchise back then, before “space wizards with magic powers” basically took over every facet of the universe. Back then, there were comics/books devoted to Rogue Squadron and Han Solo types, not to mention the icon of cool, Boba Fett. Jedi were rare (there were only three in the original trilogy, four if you count Vader’s turn at the end of Jedi, and in the wrap up only one was left alive), so they were still pretty mysterious and undefined.

    Part of this, I’m sure, was due to the films themselves. The Force was a kind of slow levitation power, for the most part. Yes, Vader tossed crap at Luke, but it wasn’t like the objects were being fired out of a canon. Fight choreography didn’t involve Matrix-like moves or throwing lightsabers like a boomerang. Even if you were “strong” in the Force, you could only (based on the movies) slowly lift an X-Wing out of a swamp, not toss it around as if you were launching it from a catapult. From that basis, it’s easy to assume that you’d be playing more of a guns-n-swords kind of character, not someone with access to space magic.

    In a way, I’d almost blame (if I can use that word) video games and tabletop RPGs for giving Lucas the incentive to be more Force-centric. People imagined all kinds of cool things one could do with that sort of power, and that made all the other stuff in Star Wars look pale by comparison. The Force pretty much became an answer for everything, especially if the writer or director involved (often wearing a -5 INT flannel shirt) was stuck for what needed to happen next. Force Run came directly from video games (and was oddly only used once in the films, even though there were LOADS of places it would’ve come in handy), as did the odd sense you get in the prequels that some kind of “power level” and “feat” system was at play with a lot of the duels.

    So if my hypothesis is correct, then in a way, KOTOR really contributed to the awfulness of the prequel trilogy. That could make it the worst video game ever! :)

    1. Supahewok says:

      Ehh. Kotor came out in 2003. The worst of the prequel films, Attack of the Clones, came out in 2002. Both it and Phantom Menace made more use of the Force as a magic power, although not to the extent of Kotor.

      There were Jedi-centric storylines in the EU in the 90’s, but kinda like you said they weren’t the sole focus of the universe. Luke setting up the Jedi Academy was one storyline, Rouge Squadron was another, Han Solo and Boba Fett had their things. I guess it was around the turn of the century with the Yuuzhan Vong that the EU became all Jedi, all the time. I don’t know if I’d blame video games and table-top for that though; the books I used to read did not, for the most part, make use of the extended lists of powers developed for games.

      1. Zombie says:

        Meh, I’d consider the Phantom Menace the worst of the three movies. There’s really nothing good in it, just stupid plot, stupid characters, child actors and a dumb, stupid main villain. The second one wasn’t great, but everything from Obi-wan, Anakan and Padme fighting against the animal things in the Geonosis area onward was awesome.

        1. Supahewok says:

          I was 6 or 7 when Phantom Menace came out, and loved it. My perspective probably isn’t fair, but I think the movie was made for kids, and as a kid, I enjoyed it immensely. And whenever I watch it again, I can watch it as a kid and ignore some of the dumber stuff. It isn’t fair to those who saw the original trilogy themselves as kids (and its a valid point that Phantom Menace could have been for kids and adults, like the original trilogy), and had higher expectations, but it is what it is.

          Attack of the Clones, on the other hand, didn’t feel like it was made for anyone. I don’t see a way for anybody to enjoy it in its entirety. So its dead last in my book.

          1. I’m with Red Letter Media on this one: Just because a movie is targeted at kids doesn’t mean it can be excused for being bad.

            Also, I’ll quote Mr. Plinkett’s rather blatant assessment of the “it’s for kids” idea about not just the Phantom Menace, but the whole prequel trilogy:

            “After all, these are just simple movies made for kids and not adults at all. Which is why they have assassination attempts, sexual innuendo, decapitations, kidnap, torture and suggested rape, hookers, boring political dialogue, forced amputations, drug dealing, mass murder.”

            1. Mormegil says:

              And taxation disputes. Which kids always love.

            2. Smiley_Face says:

              It can’t entirely excuse it, but the fact remains that it wasn’t just made for kids, but was Enjoyable for kids, and as a result it isn’t entirely bad. Attack of the Clones, on the other hand, had the really painfully bad romance thing going on, and… Yoda fight? Jango?

              Phantom Menace had Neeson and MacGregor doing a pretty watchable double act most of the way through, incorporating whoever happened to be in the room with them. Clones has MacGregor run off on a solo-mission and look befuddled, while Christensen mumbles about his pain.

          2. djw says:

            I was 32 when Menace came out. From my perspective as an adult for all three pre-quels Menace was definitely the worst.

            The opening sequence and the fight at the end were good, the rest was dull, and they introduced midochlorians… I’m not a Jar Jar hater, but he was in to many scenes, and that pod race was pointless and way too long. And Anakin made C3P0? Blech!

            I’m sure those points would have been completely irrelevant to me as a 7 year old, so liking it as a kid seems reasonable. Just be glad you didn’t have to suffer through it as an adult that watched the first Star Wars as a 7 year old.

            1. Except the first Star Wars isn’t awful. I can objectively cite the cast (many of whom were already great actors or continued to have amazing careers), the coherent plot, special effects which were just as spectacular as current-day ones (for the time), and dialog that didn’t make your IQ drop.

    2. Zombie says:

      The Rogue/Wraith squadron books, along with the Republic Commando books, were some of the best stuff in the old EU, and I’m still kinda sad they don’t count towards anything anymore.

      1. I think they’re going to pick and choose with the EU. If a movie contradicts it, it’s out, if they think it’s cool, it’s in. It’s like a comic book universe reboot. Some stuff gets referenced if it’s useful, deleted if it’s bothersome.

  21. New theory about Carth’s flirtation: The visors you’ve been giving him have a “feature” that many in the Star Wars universe refer to as “Cantina Goggles.” They make everyone of the gender/species you’re attracted to seem a lot more appealing than they are.

    1. Supahewok says:

      Why would they need to? Obviously Carth has his eye on that booty. You don’t need no visors to see that.

      New new theory: Carth thinks that whenever he talks to Regina he’s talking to her butt. Its a cheek by jowl relationship.

      1. Maybe he does what Rutskarn has been rumored to do; He just makes a screencap of what he’s interested in and watches that while talking to other people.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I like how this game pulls of the “too old to be trained” waaaaaaay better than the prequels.Both in that you are actually too old and that you are a danger to be threaded around carefully,but also in that they have a good motivation to actually train you despite those reasons.

  23. Sam says:

    The thing about the twist is just like they said, it’s not giving a mysterious things are afoot around you, question everything, trust no one, not even yourself line anywhere. Jedi Council saying the PC is “specially gifted in the Force” sounds like just another bland meaningless praise of the player for wish fulfillment. The PC having mystic dreams of the past looks like gifts and powers are being thrown at the players feet like a bad OC. Everything just working out in your favor is just game logic. Otherwise there’d be no game, right? Then the little inconsistencies start piling up. It’s like Shamus’s “spiderweb crack” for plot holes. But in a good way.

    At first the player just looks over the little things, either through generosity or trust of the author, so over time a pile starts building up in the back of their mind. “Hey, wait a minute, Carth has a point, why was added to the Spire at the last second? And why was just so lucky to be one of the only survivors?”

    Until finally all the slowly built confusion is drawn to a head with the confrontation where everything is laid out in simple terms. That’s when all the little inconsistencies and niggling doubts fall into place. It’s not Bioshock Infinite where everything is given an informative pamphlet and unquestionable NPC voiceover to just barely qualify as foreshadowing and not directly telling the player what is going to happen, and then not connecting properly anyway.

    1. Smiley_Face says:

      Well, I think the surviving the Spire pretty much comes down to luck/Force, right? I mean, was there something more going on with your survival?

      But of course, that’s what’s so great about it – you’re told that something else is going on, and you sort of turn to the usual suspect for the Star Wars franchise, the Force, and since it fits, you don’t feel the need to construct alternate scenarios.

  24. Phil says:

    “We are all KoshYoda.”

  25. Phantos says:

    Ed Asner as a jedi master is still the most memorable part of this game for me.

  26. Jabrwock says:

    I don’t think those speech checks were just low, I think they were so low it auto-succeeds. If you choose to lie, the game just assumes you’ve figured out the twist early and are playing along because you don’t want the Jedi to find out.

  27. Dt3r says:

    I like the idea that the Endar Spire was looking for the mu relay after it fell through a plot hole from another universe.

  28. Tuck says:

    Mark of the Ninja had a good twist. Never saw it coming, but looking back through the game it was signposted all the way through.

    And then it gave you a choice which felt meaningful!

  29. EwgB says:

    Well, Shamus can’t be the only person to have played Jade Empire. There are currently three people in the comments who admitted as much. Adding myself that makes five!

    But speaking cereal, I actually played Jade Empire after reading that post by Shamus. Or rather I read enough to only slightly spoil myself (wow, that does not sound good in hindsight!), after which I went out and bought the game (I think it was down to 10 euro at the time). And I loved the game! Not just the twist, which, in addition to the foreshadowing, Shamus talked about in the post, I still didn’t see coming (how could Mister Miyagi lie to you!). Also the art style (not necessarily the quality though), the setting and mythology, the characters, Great game.
    The only negative thing from me would be the mechanics. The fighting styles were interesting in principle, and looked good if you like old kung-fu movies like I do, but the gameplay ended up being kinda boring and repetitive. And the roleplaying elements (by that I mean not actually “playing a role” but the typical “level up, get powerful and gather magical pants” stuff) were kinda weak and ultimately unnecessary. I believe the game would have worked better as a modern action-adventure, with the whole roleplaying mechanics turned down a couple notches.

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