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Knights of the Old Republic


As I write this review, I am unemployed right now, so as with any unemployed situation that I have been in, I turn to video games in my time of great need.  I was scoping on eBay for a couple of weeks, and I finally came up with a sweet deal:  a used copy of the hit role-playing game "Knights of the Old Republic" for $29.  I love PayPal!

I got the game and friends, I must say:  the combo of RPG and the "Star Wars" universe is pure genius, as you take command of a band of Jedis, rogues and Wookiees throughout the universe on various quests.  The standard RPG elements of take character, build experience, learn new spells, kill off free-ranging baddies and solve mystery that could save entire universe are here, with subtle changes to two normally-bad RPG negatives that turn the whole "KOTOR" experience into pure gold.

1)  No more random battles

Man, the number of times I play a "Final Fantasy" game and have this exact situation happen is now innumerable:  I cross a large, enemy-ridden field once to get to an objective for a quest.  Just walking across the field with no bad guys on it would take 10 minutes of game time, then you add in the sick number of battles I have to fight against lowly Skeletons or Orcs, and it turns into half an hour real quick.  Then, after crossing the field, I get my objective and have to walk back over the same field.  Now, I know that I just killed everything on that field...and now, I've got to suffer through a bunch of random battles again.

In "KOTOR", the great part about exploring a level--be it spaceship, desert, or forest--is that going through it once allows you to clear it of all the bad guys on it...and, even better, you can see the enemies that are on each level, so that you could avoid fighting with these guys if you want to.  So, when I forgot to pick up something on a deserted spaceship, I can go back, run in, pick it up, and run out without the fucking random battles that normally kill this kind of game for me.

2)  Conversation between NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) that actually matters

Those conversation bubbles that pop up between characters in other RPGs always leads to me just pushing a button to skip the conversation altogether.  In "KOTOR", your actions in conversation lead you down very different paths depending on your choices; you also are building up character points in the Force column all game long, which lead you towards becoming a Dark Jedi (bad guy) or Light Jedi (good guy) in the end of the game.  I loved this; I intentionally made every bad guy decision that I could the first time I played this game, and your character's appearance changes drastically as you are dragged towards the Dark Side.

"KOTOR" is a great game, and a great adventure for those that are willing to invest the 40 hours or so in getting through the game and doing all of the side quests.  And, how badass is it to become a Jedi, complete with dual lightsabers?

Rating:  Opening Weekend


Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09