Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Wrap-up

There is only one logical conclusion to be drawn from the last few hours of Knights of the Old Republic - the dark side makes you stupid. And I don't just mean in the ideological sense of order and peace being obviously better than chaos and war (though that is indeed part of it). It's like becoming a Sith robs you of your basic pattern-recognition skills. I attack the Star Forge and they mobilize its defenses against me. I effortlessly cut through them and they mobilize some more. And so on until I get to the bosses, and they toss a massive amount of attitude my way, as if I weren't a terrifying whirlwind of destruction, and even when they're beaten and I'm deciding what to do with them, they still go on and on about how the dark side is too powerful to oppose. Fools, if the dark side is really that great, why the hell are we in this position?

And the way they celebrate betrayal and petty violence, as if that impresses anyone - ugh! I hate them so much. Maybe if I were a Jedi, I'd fall to the dark side pretty fast, but I like to think that if I did, I'd at least have more style than these jackholes. That's probably the most aggravating thing about the story - the homogeneity of evil.

Take Bastila, for instance. The second big twist in the game is that after she sacrifices herself to hold off Darth Malak (which in retrospect is an even dumber move than it seemed at the time, considering I eventually had to solo him in a place where he could draw on dark side power, with a PC who was only two levels higher, and thus a three-on-one fight on neutral ground would have been a much better situation for me), she is not killed but rather captured and subsequently tortured until she becomes Malak's apprentice.

Okay, so it's a little offensive that being the victim of torture would turn you evil, and it bends the suspension of disbelief a bit to imagine that it would give you super powers, but even granting those two conceits - why the hell would the recipient of such treatment side with her worst enemy? It's not total loyalty, because the Sith have no redeeming qualities, but after I beat her, the only betrayal scenario she's willing to entertain is to take over Malak's job as head Sith. It seems like even though I failed the Persuade check to get her back on the light side, she'd still be interested in a deal that lets her keep her life and get revenge on the guy she hates, but no she's willing to fight to the death in support of a Sith philosophy that is transparently unworkable due to the fact that I literally just that very moment decisively beat her. And it's not as if she's defending some deep-seated worldview. She's only been a Sith for like a day and a half, and prior to that she hated them just as much as I do.

Grr. Anyway, in the end, despite being unable to save Bastila, I managed to defeat Malak, blow up the Star Forge, and become a hero of the Republic. So a bit of a bittersweet ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed this game. Don't let my complaints about Korriban and the Sith fool you. They definitely pushed my buttons, but that just made destroying them all the sweeter (again, I'd probably fall to the dark side, but the Sith can still go fuck themselves). The gameplay was a casual implementation of the d20 rpg rules, which was kind of fun to see in action, even though it is way too easy to get yourself into trouble with character builds. It could have used a bit of polish in a couple areas. Backtracking was a pain and towards the end my equipment list was out of control huge. However, none of that really detracts all that much from the main draw - Knights of the Old Republic is a Star Wars roleplaying game, and being able to enter that universe with a digital avatar is a total blast.

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