This will not, I think, be the most useful discussion of Knights of the Old Republic, simply because I can’t help but viewing the game through the lens of Bioware’s latest, which had the benefit of a couple more years of experience. With that warning in place:

Fun game. I kind of nibbled at the first planet, which had the result that it took me a while to get past it. I took a peek at a guide, and realized that I should either give up on the game right there or pick up the pace; I decided that I liked the game enough to want to keep going, and finished about a planet a week after that. (Admittedly, the first planet was longer than the others.) And I’m glad I did; it’s possible that the level design got better after the first planet, but I don’t think so: I think the plot just worked better when I was constantly making progress. (Obligatory Jade Empire comparison: that game, on the other hand, I was addicted to right from the start. But its later areas were notably weaker than its earlier ones, while KOTOR maintained its quality throughout.) Though it is also true that the plot got more richly woven as the game progressed, and the Major Plot Twist worked well for me. (For what it’s worth, the fact that it’s a Star Wars game didn’t matter much to me one way or another; maybe that gave me a negative bias, but only a very small one.)

The combat system is based on an underlying turn-based system, but you can just sit and let all your characters move and attack according to their defaults. This loses the richness of a real turn-based system, but is a lot less tedious; I probably would have been impressed if I’d played it before Jade Empire. I didn’t, however: I significantly prefer the latter’s complete abandonment of turn-based RPG combat.

Leveling up was pleasant enough; not too much in the way of micromanagement. Ditto for character classes. Party management was handled quite well: at (almost) any given time, you can pick two of your (up to) nine companions to use, but experience points accrue to the party as a whole, so you don’t have to worry about keeping all your characters leveled up. (Again, though, Jade Empire shows that we can do better by going even further in these directions. Yes, I realize this means that I’m not a traditional RPG fan.)

Good difficulty level. Even the final boss fight wasn’t too tedious.

Like several recent games (including Jade Empire), you can play it taking a good path or an evil path. Unlike all the other such games, I was tempted by the evil path, and if I were to replay the game (highly unlikely, if for no other reason than that I basically never replay games), I might well give that a try. I think being set in the Star Wars universe helped here: the evil side is relatively well fleshed out.

Almost 40 hours long; longer than I like these days, but that’s more because of my time constraints than anything else.

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