Knights of the Old Republic in the test - the first bioware role-playing game in the Star Wars setting
Memory loss is not only annoying after lavish company parties: As a hero in the role-playing game Knights of the Old Republic, you wake up on the cruiser Endar Spire. Without memories, but in the middle of a space battle against the Sith Armada. Luckily, roommate Trask helps you to reach a rescue capsule despite being brainless and hostile squads.
Right in the middle
The hectic escape from the »Endar Spire« introduces you to the operation aside and is also the beginning of one of the most varied adventures in role-playing history. Because developer Bioware (Baldur's Gate 2, Neverwinter Nights) has successfully transported the D&D rules into the Star Wars universe. And invented a captivating story with lots of side quests. Around 4,000 years before the action of the films, the Jedi Knights are guarantors of order and justice on hundreds of worlds. But evil is also powerful and constantly looking for disciples. You alone decide whether you want to pursue a career in the 50-hour epic as a Jedi benefactor or mean Sith Lord - or somewhere in between.
The falcon takes off
After the emergency landing on the planet Taris, the first party member, Republican pilot Carth Onasi, will help you. He knows a few details about your past and helps you leave Taris.
The first hours of play are spent organizing a ship - the lightning fast »Ebon Hawk«. The speedster now serves as a mobile base, and the party jets between the seven planets of Knights of the Old Republic. The first flight takes you from Taris to the Jedi Academy on Dantooine, where the Council of Elders gives you a difficult assignment: Find the Star Forge, a massive armory that, under the command of Darth Malak, spits out an infinite number of Sith warships. If no one stops Malak, the Republic is doomed, and fighter Juhani (right) will save you from the dark side so she can join your group. Or you kill them and have to do without the Jedi-Lady, the ancient guardian droid paralyzes our warriors with an ice jet. Ion weapons and appropriately modified light sabers are effective against him.
Light figure or dark man
Knights of the Old Republic forces you to make profound decisions all the time. In almost all of the many conversations, there are at least three possible responses. Friendly heroes collect power points for the bright side, but have to pay more at retailers. On the other hand, if you want to be mean, you can negotiate prices with the blaster. For this, the program distributes dark power points. Bad boys threaten to cremate the business when buying a droid - the robot is then free. Or we haggle, depending on our charisma value. Ion weapons and appropriately modified light sabers are effective against him.
The highlight: your points account influences later conversations, the selection of side quests and, ultimately, even the plot. Knights of the Old Republic has two completely different end phases. Most adventurers will want to go through it twice.
All-clear for veterans of organic goods: Despite 3D graphics, the game remains clear at all times. The camera automatically takes a suitable position in conversations and fights. Battles are similar to Baldur's Gate 2: as soon as the party sees an opponent, the game pauses.
You can choose the next actions in peace, up to four can be clicked into a queue. With weaker adversaries you do not need to intervene, the characters act quite intelligently independently or based on your script specifications.
However, if the party is facing harder nuts, constant pausing and tacting is mandatory. After the victory there are experience points and loot. At the beginning of the game, the optimal hero line-up consists of ranged and close combat. Towards the end, however, the Jedis make their grand entrance with light sabers and power skills.
Fight with depth
Baldur's Gate 2 connoisseurs will have to get used to the fights a bit. Formations are missing, the party sets up independently. However, this does not mean that the draft is lacking. Unlike other role-playing games, the optimal use of weapons and skills is very important.
A typical battle looks something like this: As soon as you have spotted the enemy, you should hinder them. This can be done with paralysis spells or adhesive grenades. At the same time, a ranged man with skills like the sniper shot attacks. Heroes with a high perception value often succeed in a surprise jump attack. Although the range of throws, sayings and shots is not shown, your people automatically put themselves in a good position. If the effect of spells or grenades wears off, you can go into close combat. Again, the skillful use of combat and power skills counts.
All Talent Scout
Before starting, determine the gender and manipulate the hero's appearance. You also determine whether he is a fighter, scout or thief. Later in the game, you can choose between three Jedi classes. Basic skills such as repair or increased attention are much more important than a pretty face.
There are also talents that make it easier, for example, to deal with weapon types such as blasters. Skill points are given when leveling up. You distribute them yourself (also for the party members) or let an automatic system work, which, however, uneventfully expands the character.
Powerful characters also invest their points in Jedi skills. How much "mana" it costs to use depends on your power direction. A Dark Jedi uses up all of his supply for a paralyzing spell, his good computer part only a thimble full. The energy flash is expensive for the latter. Neutral sayings such as the light saber throw or the "persuasion" known from episode 1 cost the same for all Jedis. This means that behavior in conversations indirectly has a massive impact on battles. You can easily change your attitude later through your behavior.