Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords - recenzja gry
Star Wars has been with me since I was born. When I was a child, I must have watched the Trilogy a hundred times (not counting the new episodes, which I did not like very much). As a Star Wars fan, I could not remain indifferent to the promising Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic . I must admit that they confused me more than the autumn solstice - the hours passed by me like minutes, it was hard to break away ... No wonder that I expected the continuation with flushed face. Finally, it's time to put your sweaty hands on the box with KOTOR 2 .
Before I start talking about the game itself, I would like to remind those less familiar with the subject that KOTOR 2 is not the responsibility of the authors of the first part - BioWare Entertainment - but the company's partner and debutant on the market - Obsidian Entertainment studio. It includes Fergus Urquhart, among others, which speaks for itself. You can learn about the impact of this change on the quality of the product in the following review ...
KOTOR 2 takes place about five years after the events of the first part. The scenario concerns the Mandalorian War, which had a visible impact on the galactic balance of forces between Good and Evil. The Old Republic is in decline, members of the Jedi Order are dead, and one of the last knights has lost touch with the Force and is in exile. In short - it's not very interesting. Now imagine that we are playing this Jedi in exile and that it is our shoulders to heal the situation. Not bad, right? You are probably curious why the main character was moved away from the Jedi path. I'll explain - it happened after he broke the Jedi Code and went to the Mandalorian War to fight for the oppressed. However, no one in the Order wanted to understand this, and thus the Jedi said goodbye to his lightsaber.
On the one hand, the story of KOTOR 2 is darker and much more complex than the one we got to know in the prequel, but on the other hand there are some shortcomings in the script and a certain inconsistency. We started out in Part One as a completely green individual in matters of the Force, while the hero of the two is an old Jedi who lost his blessing. His past should mean something by now, but at the beginning we are de facto nobody - we barely swing a vibro-blade, we use any supernatural ability once an hour, and everyone around us is just kicking us around. So we learn everything completely from scratch. This can be explained in a way, but - anyway - you would like to go crazy with a lightsaber in your hand, and you have to wait so long.
We start the game on the Ebon Hawk spacecraft known from the first part. The vehicle is severely damaged, the hyperspace drive is down, the crew is in a serious condition, close to a living soul - who can save the day? Droid T3-M3 (we remember it from the first installment). This is what we control during the prologue, in which a woman's voice, delicate as silk, explains the basic aspects of the game. The prologue went smoothly, so we quickly begin to grasp the rules. You might as well omit it if you feel up to the high seas right away.
Of course, we do not swim alone. During the game, we meet a total of nine characters who can join us, and at the same time a selected two travels with us - the rest rest on the ship at that time. Each of them has its own history, character and opinion on many matters. Particularly interesting are the conversations between team members, in which they argue, then exchange views ... stuff about Jedi, their rules, etc. Apart from her, our team will include Bao-Dur (warrior with horns), Atton Rand (great pilot and shooter) and Hanharr (representative of the Wookie race).
When discussing our team, it is worth telling about the first of the novelties in KOTOR. It is our influence on individual companions (Influence). Depending on what we do and what we say, the companions create a different opinion about us. We also meet situations where we can - let's say - support a selected character in a quarrel with another. If we say a good word to one of them, she will like us more, while the other will be offended. Another novelty is the new use of workshops, which are now used not only to improve weapons or armor, but also to create items (e.g. first aid kits). We put them together thanks to the components found earlier - if we have too few of them, we disassemble the redundant item. The so-called Prestige Classes, i.e. extensions of the three basic types of Jedi (Guardian, Sentinel, Consular). They allow us to focus on either fighting with the lightsaber or developing the Force, or both at the same time.
While playing KOTOR 2, we visit several planets - two of them are remembered from the first one, the rest are completely new. We already know Dantooine - the former seat of the Jedi Order, where we now visit its ruins. We also remember Korriban. As for the new planets, we have Nar Shadaa (a great smuggler community), Onderon (a heavily forested planet), its moon Dxun, and another one I won't say anything about for your sake. On most of them, we meet a lot of NPCs, many of which will ask us to perform a task for them.
Let's move on to the quests that KOTOR 2 has been running since. Some of them are as simple as the construction of the flail, but there are also those that require more commitment from us. One of them, although not necessary, is the repair of the HK-47 droid (remember it?) - we collect the necessary parts from various places and finally put the tinplate on its feet. It is similar with a lightsaber, which we can create ourselves, completely from scratch. With some NPCs we can play the card game popular in the galaxy - Pazaaka. It resembles our blackjack, but here we hold cards that deduct or add points to our pool. The second (more expensive) game is pod racing, something that we saw not only in KOTOR's number one, but also in the first film episode. It is a typical arcade game. We will also have to shoot the soldiers with the Ebon Hawk gun.
With a very large number of quests that the gentlemen from Obsidian Entertainment included in their product, we still spend a lot of time fighting. In fact, while performing almost each of the tasks, we have to face smaller or larger groups of enemies. The fighting mechanism has not changed completely compared to its predecessor. They still use the principle of active pause, thanks to which we stop the game at any time to give orders to the heroes and set the fighters back in motion after a while. However, the stupidity of the team members is still annoying, because of whom we repeat the moderately difficult fights several times. What is especially shocking is the lack of caution when choosing the target of attacks by comrades. It is known that if one of the opponents has a small amount of energy, while the others are quite healthy, you should attack the weakest with all your strength to get rid of him. The characters from our team seem to have a different opinion and usually you have to give commands to each of them in turn.
Of course, the Jedi Knights are the most difficult to defeat in combat. Their weapons, lightsabers, consist of several parts with different properties, and there are special fighting techniques with their use. We traditionally use different Jedi abilities in combat. Of course, their range has grown a bit, new powers have appeared (eg Battle Meditation and Force Sight), so we have even more to think about when advancing to the next levels of experience than before. Of course, there are abilities that can only be displayed on the Light Side, and vice versa. Interestingly, not only our hero can remain a Jedi, because with favorable winds we will persuade some companions to explore the paths of the Force! However, the difference between knights dedicated to developing the Force and those for whom the most important thing is to swing the sword efficiently is quite visible. The latter is simply easier to do - a good warrior is an almost insurmountable opponent.
Finally, a sad thing. The point is that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords are sometimes terribly boring and repulsive. First of all, I mean the beginning of the game. If it weren't for me to write a review - I would probably put the game on the shelf for a while and rest a bit. The initial chapters are limited to learning about the Mandalorian War or the Jedi Order and performing tasks like "move / take something". This is not what I expected from this game. What's more, the ending does not bring decisive solutions and gives a lot to think about, explaining not much. In general, the last hours spent with KOTOR 2 are not very satisfying. You can see the rush of Obsidian Entertainment, which did not come out for good in the game.
KOTOR 2 is not a long game either. If we decide to follow the main road and skip the side paths, we will finish the whole thing in about 35 hours. This is not much compared to other cRPGs, including the first part, but we extend the fun time by 5-15 hours thanks to side quests. As the game looks a bit different for Jedi and different for Sith - you can complete it twice, trying different solutions. However, due to the aforementioned shortcomings in the game, it would take a lot of persistence ...
Another unpleasant thing is the amount of bugs in the game. It is a sad matter, because there are more of them than in the first one. There, for example, I did not encounter any errors in the camera positioning, and here, during conversations, I often admired the pointless view, because it did not present any of the interlocutors. Here it happens, for example, that a character crosses a wall with one of the body parts, and the camera is positioned so that none of the interlocutors can be seen. It's also hard not to come across the example of looping dialogues, where most of the answers lead to a turning point. The worst thing, however, was that when I switched from the game to the desktop several times (and sometimes the play came out without it), the program crashed - to put it badly. In my opinion, the auto-save system, which saves the game only in really important moments, does not work well either. Until I learned to press F4 every few minutes, I had to get over a few returns to much earlier fragments.
One of the worst drawbacks of KOTOR 2 is the outdated graphics. It is true that it is not the robe that makes the role-playing game, but the engine (this is the one from Neverwinter Nights) could be refreshed a bit. Well, it has hardly changed since the first part, which makes the character models and surroundings out of date. Only the outbursts, which still please the eye, are still relevant. In fact, we only have two minor rework, and they both concern the character heads. Now the lip movements are more realistic and harmonize very well with the sentences spoken. We also have eye-catching fringe that flutters in the breeze. Besides, it's a good old KOTOR. Even so, it can clip even on good computers. Sometimes, during a fight, we watch a real slide show. Well, when the lightsaber duels cannot be denied charm and effectiveness - that's a fact.
The sound system keeps the level, although it could be better - that's my impression. Personally, I liked the composition of the rhythms in one more, but here it is still very good. The main advantage is the large number of songs, thanks to which they are not repeated too often. It was a good move to add the option to listen to all the rhythms we already heard in the main menu of the game. All the sentences spoken by the characters were recorded by well-chosen actors and there are many of them. No wonder, after all, the speeches take up over 600 MB on the hard drive. However, texts from non-human races are still irritating - they are limited in each case to a few repetitive statements.
In KOTOR 2 we will not experience multiplayer mode. Obsidian Entertainment decided to follow the path set by BioWare and - despite pressure from some players - did not introduce multiplayer. Is it a good move - judge for yourself.
I have to tell you that after the first few hours of the game I wanted to give the game a low score. However, the further into the forest, the better - KOTOR 2 was starting to pull me in more and more. That is why I am telling you: do not be discouraged by the initial chapters, because you will miss a really interesting adventure! If you were excited about the first part of the game - the second part will be almost the same for you. Even weak graphics for those times will not overcome the force of the Force that emanates from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords. It is true that the game does not meet all hopes, but it does not change the fact that it is a very good cRPG - period.
Artur "Roland" Dąbrowski