Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - 28 hours

Man, Korriban is the worst. I'm a level 18 character, only two levels away from the cap, which more or less makes me one of the most powerful Jedi masters in the galaxy. The Sith have built an academy on Korriban that blocks my access to the last piece of the Star Map I need to stop Darth Malak and save the galaxy. The obvious solution to the problem - walk up to the Sith's front door and start laying down the law.

But no, the game wants to railroad you into an infiltration plot, so you have to make nice with the locals and pretend to want to be a Sith. But when you get in, you find there are other candidates, and only one gets to join the ranks (which, conveniently, you need to do because the Star Map is in the forbidden tomb where only Sith are allowed). Again, the solution to this problem is obvious - use your massively superior combat abilities to simply kill off the competition.

But no, the game will not allow you to initiate hostilities, not even as a dark side option, so you have to do a series of fetch-quests. The whole thing is galling because it's basically forcing you to aid the Sith in order to advance in the game.

And the punchline to this is, at the end of the quest, there's a moment when the academy master's protege betrays him (because of course there is), and I wound up killing them both, and when the school at large finds out about it, I fail a persuade check and they attack me en mass, but because I'm level 18, I wound up easily dispatching the whole school, which is exactly what I should have done in the first place. Argh!

Anyway, I have now finished all of the main planets. Tatooine and Kashyyyk were fun, but didn't really have all that much I feel compelled to comment about. I got a couple of fun new companions, HK-47, the psychotic assassin droid who drily and matter-of-factly comments on his contempt for all organic life, and Jolee the wisecracking rogue (but not dark) Jedi.

The biggest event of the game happened between levels. I was caught by one of Malak's ships. After being subjected to one of those "you are imprisoned and forced to escape without any equipment" sections that people are still inexplicably putting in games, and dealing with Karth's old mentor who really had terrible judgement when it comes to his enemies (considering he was aware of the game's big plot twist and thus should have known he couldn't possibly win against me), I come face to face with Malak himself.

So, I'm not just level 18. I'm a level 18 soldier/jedi guardian. Malak is a tough foe, but his level scaling assumes that he could theoretically be facing a scoundrel/jedi councilor and since they make you fight him solo, the encounter is presumably balanced along the assumption that they don't want you to ragequit on an unavoidable boss fight. The practical upshot of this is that I tore through him like he was made of paper.

Which just goes to show that cutscene incompetence is a tool of the dark side. My fight with Malak was one I was scripted to lose, because he needed an opportunity to tell me a terrible secret - I am actually Darth Revan, the prior leader of the Sith forces, believed to have been killed by the Jedi!

It turns out that they actually managed to recover her near-lifeless body and were able to use the Force to psychically implant false memories, in the hopes of creating a sympathetic pawn to lead them to the Star Forge. Because executing someone is wrong, but maiming them beyond all recognition is perfectly acceptable.

Bastila sacrificed herself to unnecessarily delay the final boss battle (seriously, I am almost certainly over-prepared for this fight), and that gave me the time I needed to get back to my ship and fly to Korriban, where I could sped the next few hours dicking around with some Sith who really should have known better than to cross me.

Now, I have all the information I need, and the only thing left to do is fly to the Star Forge and shut it down. Hopefully, the next time I meet Malak, the game will actually let me use my full set of abilities.

1 comment:

  1. One funny event I remember from playing through this game years ago: I was not an overleveled fighting specialist. After succeeding at the underwater mission, I was heading back to the submarine to head to the surface. A party of Sith waylay us, and I don't know how many times I batted my head against them and died over and over. A dozen or more, certainly.

    In the end, I found out that if I ran one character for the submarine (down the hall from the fight), I could initiate the transition to the next screen without completing the fight. Heck, I think two of my characters were dead by that point, only the R2-D2-alike made it.

    I've always been amused that the game worked that way. Though a read of Rock, Paper, Shotgun's revisit to Deus Ex shows that it wasn't alone.