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Knights of the Old Republic 2 Review at GameSpy

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Series' started by chevalier, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    OK, guys, this is outside of my job, but I'm sure some of you will be interested. While Xbox reviews have been popping up for some time, GameSpy has recently posted a review of KotOR 2 for the PC. It praises the storyline and explores the depth of the moral choices in the game, also in the dialogues with the NPCs, which are said to be more compelling than in the prequel. Those of you who enjoy playing the Dark Side will find the news rejoicing in that the reviewer expressly claims that the Dark Side aspect is rendered much better in KotOR 2 than it was in 1.

    The first extract I'm giving you is about the storyline:

    In many ways, that's the vibe I got from Knights of the Old Republic II. All credit to Obsidian Entertainment, a developer made up of Black Isle refugees, for creating a storyline that may be one of the best I've seen since the legendary Planescape: Torment.

    Here's another one. I've chosen a Light Side vs Dark Side passage so as best to reflect the spirit of the game and the review itself:

    In just one example, the ethos of the Jedi is explored through Atris, one of the Jedi Council currently in hiding. She is unquestionably a Light Side Jedi, yet her devotion to peace at any cost blinded her to the perils of pacifism when she urged caution and negotiation while the Mandalorians were torching whole planets. When you first meet her, she remains trapped in her moral arrogance, refusing to believe that sometimes resistance to aggression is the better choice and that the Jedi Council's caution caused millions to die and might have been indirectly responsible for Malak and Revan falling to the Dark Side.

    The nuances of the Dark Side are also explored. Different gradations of "evil" are examined -- how the noble ambitions of Revan and Malak in the first game became twisted into a parody of their former selves and how that compares to the game's new villain who has no interest in conquest or control -- only destruction. Much of that comes through dialogue with one of your companions, Kreia, a woman who who has "fallen" from the Dark Side and now maintains an aggressively hostile neutrality to both sides of the Force. Kreia is, without a doubt, the most compelling character in the game. Her constant challenges on why I made the choices I did was the reason I kept her with me through the entire game.


    And here's another snip, covering the downside. Namely, the bugs:

    Unfortunately, as good as the storyline and basic gameplay are, there are more than a few issues that keep this game from reaching the bar set by the first KotOR. The first: bugs. There a lot of them; most are just annoying, but a few are deadly. While I didn't experience any total crashes, it happened to our managing editor twice and neither of us have underpowered systems. A more annoying bug was one that caused the game to fold down onto my Windows taskbar whenever it switched out of the game engine in order to show an FMV cutscene. There was a weird bug that caused in-engine cutscenes to be blurry if your character was running with Force Speed just before the game shifted to the scene.

    Then there were all the little things. Cutscenes where the camera was inside a character's head, leaving nothing but eyes and a mouth talking on the screen, or cutscenes where two characters were having a conversation and one of them was completely missing. Any one of these might be forgivable (except the crashes, of course), but all of them together just mark a title that desperately needed another few weeks (or months) of polish.


    And something the author of the review considers worse than bugs, which is the AI:

    Worse than the bugs, however, and far more inexplicable, is the truly god-awful A.I. possessed by the characters. I can't count the number of times my companions got in my way while I was trying to maneuver through a tight spot. During combat, I'd be getting pummeled because one of my characters decided not to bother getting involved in the fight and was two rooms away staring at the wall. One mission in particular had me tearing my hair out, where I had to escort a Czerka employee out of a military base. It would have been easy (considering I had killed all of the monsters already), except that the employee just refused to follow me. He would take a few steps and then stop. I was reduced to continually asking him to follow me again and again, moving him a few steps each time toward the exit. Thanks, that's 20 minutes of my life I'm never getting back.

    The graphics is also far from being praised:

    The same kind of "half-baked" feel applies to the graphics. One of the few issues I had with the original game was the lack of graphic variety in both the environment and the character models. If anything, this problem is even worse in KotOR II. First, now that a year has slipped by, the graphics, which were really only "good" back in 2003, are showing their age. That being said, there's a lot that a talented team of artists can do with design that can overcome behind-the-times technology (see World of Warcraft for a great example of this). None of that is evident in KotOR II. Every interior location seems to be the same collection of sterile, boring, corridors and rooms without any apparent indication that these are places people actually live. There's a distinct lack of signage, artwork, or any of the ancillary details that could bring the world to life.

    The voice acting doesn't appear to have been rehearsed enough:

    The sound is also somewhat of a mixed bag. The music, much of it re-used from the first game, is excellent. Most of the voice-over work is very good also, although there are a few more examples of bad voice-acting than I remember from the first game. The major problem is that, to my mind, even in the good voice work, there just isn't the same sense of conviction in the actor's voices I remember from the first game. There were too many times I could hear voice-actors wrestling with the (admittedly complicated) dialogue. It's as if the entire voice track consisted of first and second takes.

    Even though the complaining takes much more place than the praise, the reviewer is ultimately happy with the fact that he has played and finished the game. Here's the final word from him:

    Here's the thing, though. Despite all the annoyances I've just listed, this is still a great game. In my review of the first game, I mentioned that I sat and played the game for eight straight hours. Well, the exact same thing happened this time. The story and RPG elements of the game are just that good. The game compels you, keeps pulling you onward to the next revelation, the next philosophical discussion, the next plot twist, and for all the times I cursed at my monitor when the hinky A.I. screwed something up, there was never a question in my mind that I wasn't going to finish this game. I simply had to find out how the story ended, and while there were some stumbling blocks along the way, I'm extremely glad I took the trip.

    Read the whole thing at GameSpy.
     
  2. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    Word :/

    Does this mean that it's officialy out already? Or did they get it first merely for review purposes?
     
  3. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I don't know, either. The Xbox one has been available for purchase for some time, but this was the first time I saw a PC review.
     
  4. Fiatil Gems: 4/31
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    The PC version comes out this tuesday in the US, not sure about in europe. I have it preordered, and this review definitely isn't stopping me. A few bugs, but they're all pretty patchable, and the overall review was positive.
     
  5. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    hmm, that means it'll probably get here in a week or so. ah well, it said the story was excellent and thats about 85% of what I'm after anyway :)

    Did they up the system requirements from KotOR? :o
     
  6. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I've heard a rumor that actually they brought them down a little by using the same engine, but a bit more wisely. Anyone know something more on that?
     
  7. Oxymore Gems: 13/31
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    Taken from the official site.
     
  8. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    I'm looking forward to trying that out. KOTOR was very enjoyable already so I have high expectations.

    Only drawback is that my comps specs are pretty meagre - my 650 MHz CPU speed especially - but I have a GF-3 and plenty of RAM, and then: KOTOR ran on my comp like charm.
     
  9. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    A word of warning: KotOR 1 required GeForce or Radeon or anything using the advanced DirectX 9 features to run. On those old TNT or TNT 2 cards, you will actually run it, but it will be all white etc. Unless there's a patch for that, but I don't know.

    As for the bugs and the story, I can stand a bugged game with a great story, while a technically immaculate game with a poor story feels like a waste of time and sort of makes you sad, as in, they made such a great engine and all but couldn't put it to sensible use. If enough people buy KotOR 2, I think the devs will make a patch for those nasty bugs. Remember the heavy patching needed for NWN? And NWN still didn't end up like ToEE did on people's tongues. Guess the playability and the story were redeeming factors.

    Can't wait to play KotOR 2. The bad thing is, they might want to translate it into Polish around here, thus shooting down the quality and delaying the release by eons.
     
  10. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    @ Chev

    Is there no way for you to order an English version, maybe from the UK or something? You'll have to forgive my ignorance here - I don't really know how inter-nation shipping works in Europe.

    ps - I too am stoked for this game. :banana:
     
  11. Fiatil Gems: 4/31
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    According to the interview with Chris Parker at Obsidian..
    "When we finally finished up the Xbox version in November, we needed a short break. And it was short. We still had five versions for the Xbox to do for Europe (PAL plus French, German, Italian, and Spanish), and five versions for the PC (English plus the localized versions). We also had to make interface modifications for all those titles which really hadn't even been started yet. As December started, we were in full swing again."

    Link http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/star-wars-knights-of-the-old-republic-2/584907p1.html
     
  12. ejsmith Gems: 25/31
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    Yep, looks like the same engine. It's a pretty decent engine. I prefer "minimal" interfaces, and quite a bit of text log.

    KotOR 1 had a bunch of bugs when it shipped. I think the Xbox version was really bad, but it seems like the PC version 1.1 came out pretty quick, and had an extensive list coupled with the nominal "bunch of other minor bugs quashed". I still get the desktop-flash on v1.3 of the original game. It's very minor, like a peek-through of a taskbar window.

    The graphics on the first one were obviously designed to take advantage of the Geforce 3 MX inside the Xbox. They at least did a good job, if you consider the PC game a port from console. The second game is no different.

    Strong enough for a PC, but made for an Xbox.

    Honestly, it sounds like Blizzard sent more cash than Obsidian/Bioware did. I'd expect EA to be able to send more cash than Eidos.

    As an independent reviewer, Gamespy is an excellent managed-review producer.
     
  13. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    We're in the EU now since April, so there are no custom fees, but shipment still costs more when cross-country and games already cost more in the shops over there than they cost in Poland and it takes longer before they become cheaper. Well, sometimes depends on the particular game and some of them are actually cheaper over there than here, but those are exceptions. It's a tough choice, but getting translated games means getting more or getting it faster. Students have to count every penny. ;) And I also need to buy a new graphics card for this game, hehe... My old TNT2 won't handle it.
     
  14. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Ah I see.

    Last I heard, the official US release date for PC is Feb 8. So naturally I'll be getting it immediately. Probably post a review, too. I'll let you know how it is - but I can't imagine it'll be anything less than bad-ass. :tie:
     
  15. Morgoth

    Morgoth La lune ne garde aucune rancune Veteran

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    It's an old engine they use, so my videocard(geForce 4 ti4200) should still handle it right?
     
  16. wenchwogg Gems: 3/31
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    I have already played and completed the Xbox version as a Darkside Sith Maruader.

    It was a blast -- I enjoyed it even more than the original.
     
  17. The Kilted Crusader

    The Kilted Crusader The Famous Last words "Hey guys, watch THIS!" Veteran

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    I look forward to getting my hands on this one - even more so, since my original KoTOR is broken and I've been without Star Wars RP goodness for months :)
     
  18. Eric Xanthus Gems: 10/31
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    My wife is driving me crazy asking when the game will come out. And I think she's going to *make* me go buy a new graphics card. I'm a very addicted life-long gamer, but my wife is making me a little nervous with her enthusiasm...
     
  19. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    Don't tell me she was really into Carth?? :D


    @Chev

    They can do that? Over here they sometimes (rarely) translate the game's language, but only after the original (english) game is released.
     
  20. Eric Xanthus Gems: 10/31
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    No, she thought Carth was a whiny pretty boy. Which he is. :) In-game romances take on a slightly different character when you are married...
     

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