Obsidian have made some classic RPGs over the years. Games you may be familiar with include the likes of South Park: The Stick of Truth, Alpha Protocol (for better or for worse), the recently released The Outer Worlds, Fallout: New Vegas, and of course, the one we’re interested in here, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Otherwise known as KOTOR II.
I played KOTOR II before KOTOR I because I was a child when my Mum and Dad were kind enough to buy me an Original Xbox, and I didn’t understand the relevance nor need to play an original before a sequel.
It seemed that there was a sense of irony with the fact that I didn’t play KOTOR I because my brother and I got profusely stuck playing KOTOR II for about the first year of owning the game. Without understanding the need to change armour and weapons to defeat more difficult enemies, we were not able to progress as quickly as I would have liked. That and the complicated map design for the first Pegasus Mining Area confused us, as we attempted to use our combined brainpower to overcome these obstacles so that we would hopefully unveil this absolute gem of a game which was to be found further along the line.
Thankfully, we managed to overcome these obstacles and left the Pegasus Mining Field, and from there began to see and understand the wider scope of the game, uncovering characters, plot, and lore which was, and still is, a deeply interesting philosophical debate sown into a fantastic RPG Star Wars game. It was here where we slowly began to understand the importance of this game.
At 15 years of age, KOTOR II stands remarkably tall all these years later. Playing through the game again reminded me how good the voice-acting performances are, how extraordinarily well the game is written, and how I still wished Obsidian would put in a New Game + mode so I can play the game over and over again. I can’t hide my feelings about this matter – I’m still bitter about it.
I don’t want to explain, who you are or why you’re venturing on this journey within the Old Republic era of Star Wars, but rest assured that the answers your character is looking for will be well worth the search come the 10-20 hours you put into KOTOR II. You will have to persevere through a slow opening first act and may not get a lightsaber until a fair few hours into the game, but once you do begin accessing powerful armour and items, will quickly feel like a Sith Lord made to make a mark within this universe. Or perhaps you will choose the path of the Light and vanquish the numerous dark lords spread around the galaxy.
Either way, you will have many choices to make across your KOTOR II adventure, all spanning multiple planets with the fate of these systems tied to your actions and your actions alone. Whilst you’re journeying on this galactic adventure, you’ll be interacting with your many party members who will have their own distinct personalities and backgrounds, and secrets which they won’t confide in you until you’ve spent enough time with them. The Handmaiden, for instance, is someone who has deep emotional trauma and won’t express her feelings without many hours of interaction and conversational exchange.
We could do this deep dissection into every one of the characters within KOTOR II because they’re all that complex and interesting level. Like the evil Wookie bounty-hunter Hanharr, who is hell-bent on killing the one person he owes his life to. Or the mysterious Atton who at first seems like a typical Han-Solo, but turns out to have a much richer life before. These characters are one of the key components as to why this game is so rewarding.
If you haven’t played KOTOR II and you enjoy RPGs, Star Wars, or both, then take my word for it and go finish this game. Scratch that, play and finish KOTOR I, then go and complete this game and tell me you don’t think it’s at the very least one of the top 5 Star Wars video games of all time. The dark philosophical nature of this and its predecessor make these two Star Wars games easily some of the best Star Wars experiences ever made, and some of the best RPGs ever created.
Do the right thing and go experience the Sith Lords: learn about the repercussions of using the Force and the capabilities one has when their morals are shattered in the ashes of the past.