Thursday, June 11, 2015

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - 20/20 hours

I don't normally wait so long between updates, but my home internet went out early Monday morning and I just now have the ability to post. During that time, I played Knights of the Old Republic in Steam's offline mode for a period of time that is at least nine-and-a-half hours, not counting reloads, so, despite the fact that my game counter currently shows 12 hours, I'm pretty sure I made it to the end.

And this is the end, because having to summarize such a large chunk of the game in a single post has made me realize something disappointing - the plot to this game is incoherent at best. It's not something I recognized when I was younger because its worldbuilding and characterization are both really good, but as far as I can tell, what seems to be happening is that there exist some dangerous Sith who want to kill Jedi out of some sort of ideological grudge (and possibly one of these is a life-consuming monster who wants to devour the whole galaxy, but doesn't actually feature prominently in any of the local plots) and bounty hunters who want capture a Jedi in order to sell them to some mysterious underworld figure, and in the face of these problems you have to travel from planet to planet to find the missing Jedi elders to . . .

And you know, that would be a tolerable enough state of affairs were it not for the fact that the individual planet plots are not much better. Onderon was a hotbed of political activity as a local group, led by a heroic but ruthless general, wanted to secede from the Galactic Republic, opposed by the Queen and her Jedi adviser. But I'm not entirely sure what happened towards the end. The building plot just fizzled. I met up with the Jedi master, he told me that it wasn't safe, the local military attacked me, and I fled the planet with a promise that the Jedi would contact me when the time was right.

Nar Shadda wasn't much better. There's some kind of a gangland plot where the various rival bounty hunters are closing in on you and you have to track down the Exchange (standard interplanetary criminal syndicate) in order to end this threat once and for all, but I may have done some inadvertent sequence breaking, because I've mostly been advancing by stumbling around randomly until I fall ass-backwards into an event. It's an approach that eventually led me to the underground lair of a Quarren crime lord, where I lost control of my standard party and was forced to play as the bounty hunter Mira in a solo escape from a deadly trap and . . . bleh.

As exciting as the scenario is on paper, Mira simply doesn't have the oomph necessary to solo a dungeon at level 18. The enemies are too strong. I had to expend a huge amount of medpacks and shields just to get past the first patrol, and even then I wound up having to reload about a half-dozen times. I could just tough it out, but honestly, I think I've seen enough of this game.

I still love it, but at this point, I have so much on my plate that I'm not inclined to overlook its flaws. Knights of the Old Republic II is at turns brilliant and baffling, and well worth playing through at least once, but since I've already done that, I'm comfortable not doing it again.

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