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Happy 10th Birthday KOTOR II: TSL


Shem
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Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was released on December 6, 2004. Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the game. Where has the time gone? It just occurred to me shortly after midnight about the milestone.

 

Here's to 10 years ago! :cheers:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, almost hard to believe it's been 10 years, even though only 8 since I first played it. Though, sometimes, it feels like it's been that long since I last picked it up. First RPGs I'd ever played were K1 and 2. One of their best features, having played TOR for awhile, is that they AREN'T an mmo.

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Initially what I wanted to do for a mod was make some certain hairstyles for K2 Player Characters and some other cosmetic alterations as a sort of nod to favorite characters elsewhere. It quickly became apparent to me I had other interests in the 3D world and generally needed and wanted to expand my skill set. Certain creative things within my mind started surfacing I hadn't thought about giving life to before. I realize I could have probably used gmax and maybe done what I wanted to by now. Or not. Though I'll continue to call CGI as "art" and not art for too many reasons.

 

So if I have been absent much lately, part of it is that I'm finding new areas and new beginnings. Though I'll always want to come back here and reminisce about old EU. :)

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There've been a couple of pieces on KotOR II recently in the gaming/online media, such as This Xbox one. It's pretty short, and the first part makes some decent comments, but the second half, IMO, is just shoddy - in particular this gem:

 

The popular belief is that Obsidian were pressured to put the game out in time for Christmas, but we're talking about a game with two gender-exclusive companions, a fully implemented crafting system and a card-playing mini-game. If they'd had an extension, would they have finished what they started, or added a fully featured NPC shaving simulator?

 

I don't think anyone here needs reminding of the actually established cuts made to the timetable, but some of these objections to new features are ludicrous, given that Pazaak is a holdover from KotOR I. After this, it descends into sneering at d20 and dice-based games. It also attemps to claim KotOR II was the last game to be built on turn-based combat. It's a pity, given that the start of the piece makes some well-founded points about the game's characters, that it descends into halfwitted editorialising.

 

The better, and much more recent piece is last week's Vertical Slice of TSL's opening:

 

You wake up, suspended in a tank full of healing chemicals. You drift off, only to wake up again, outside the tank, lying on the ground. There are strangers suspended in the tanks around you, hanging in suspended animation, peaceful. Only one thing: they’re all dead. Everyone’s dead, and you don’t know where—or who—you are.

 

This is how Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 begins. For the big, exciting sequel to what many still call the greatest Star Wars game of all time, it’s not the opening you’d be expecting. In Bioware’s original game, you begin as a seemingly insignificant cadet on a Republic ship thrust into a disastrous battle. Within minutes, you’re in league with the ship’s commanding officer, being hunted by the Sith, and fighting to save a legendary Jedi with whom you seem to have a mysterious connection. It’s exciting, fast, and feels important.

 

Here, though, you’re alone, irrelevant, and confused. And the game works hard to make sure you stay that way for a while.

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@Darathy: Or other fans (a dear friend in my case) who initially were aware of those cuts, drifting over time to having forgotten these facts and then echoing the whole "Obsidian screwed up what would have been a good game and (blahblahblah)" nonsense.

 

The characters of KOTOR 2 know more than you do, you see, and they're not sharing. Instead, conversations happen naturally, dropping little hints of a greater truth. When you meet Boa-Dur, he calls you General, but doesn't explain why. He also alludes to something that happened during the war, back on Malachor V. That's where it all starts to fall apart.

 

Doesn't explain why? He told you he made the Mass Shadow Generator and went through on the player's orders to activate it. Did this person even play the game? Also, didn't even bother proofreading.

 

 

Let's be blunt. KOTOR 2 is an unfinished game.

(This BBCode requires its accompanying plugin to work properly.)

Tell me something we DON'T know, captain obvious.

 

By the time you reach Malachor V, everything is petering out. The signs were there from the start: cut content, loot randomly generated rather than placed by hand and oh so many bugs. The ending violates the "show, don't tell" rule so hard you can almost hear the money running out.

 

Money running out? I assume you have good evidence to support this notion, or at least some kind of news article?

 

Fact: timetable for K1 was 36 months. Timetable for K2 was 12 months.

 

KOTOR 2 was made in that moment, forever frozen between Baldur's Gate and Mass Effect. That's its thing, to be caught between worlds. It's too sophisticated for a proper Star Wars game, too flashy for the old-school RPGs, too wedded to dice for the new, and too broken to be great, but just broken enough to be unique.

 

Seriously? :dozey: Who made this guy an authority figure on star wars?

 

So the typical black and white story mechanic for SW is convoluted for not being real enough, yet grey morality in contrast is also convoluted and "too sophisticated"? I thought the overly simplistic story approach was a general gripe of star wars?

 

Sounds like you're using an extension of the special pleading fallacy which I call the double edge fallacy: no matter what a person, group or published piece does, it will never be "good enough". So much for consistency.

 

Maybe you'd care to actually try out the TSLRCM? Of course, ONLY if you have any TIME for the PC version.

 

...Yeah, don't let me waste your time there. :rolleyes:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think the rather mild popularity of KotOR 2 (in the grander world of gaming with its Grand Theft Autos and Call of Doodies) has meant Kreia has always been a bit overlooked when people make their lists of best characters in games. She occasionally gets the appreciation such a character deserves, but never enough, if you ask me. Avellone wrote her perfectly, and Sara Kestelman voiced her brilliantly.

 

On that note, if you find any interviews with Kestelman where she talks about her work in KotOR2, be sure to post it. Haven't been able to find anything myself.

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If I'm allowed continuing (Darathy's) trend of honoring KotOR 2 with articles, Jake Muncy's The Jedi Exile and bare life in Knights of the Old Republic II is interesting.

 

That’s why the Jedi Exile’s story strikes me as an important one. Knights of the Old Republic II guts the mythology of Star Wars and puts it toward more transgressive purposes, revealing the vanishing points where the black and white categories it espouses start to dissolve, using the figure of homo sacer to show the way they lose their usefulness in the face of the Other. There are realities that can never be captured by our big cultural myths, and for a moment, this strange game from a decade ago shows that, revealed within the fabric of one of those very myths, as clear as the Exile in front of me.

 

11 years and still relevant enough for an article or two every few months, apparently. :)

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