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Review IGN opens up KOTOR 2 review season

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
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Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords

The first <a href=http://www.lucasarts.com/games/swkotor_sithlords>KOTOR II</a> review is <a href=http://xbox.ign.com/articles/569/569096p1.html>finally here</a>, courtesy of <a href=http://xbox.ign.com>IGN</a>. 4 pages filled with hype, stupidity (they still think it's a turn-based game), and some details here and there. The score is <b>9.3/10</b>. It could have been higher, but the graphics that were da bomb yesterday aren't trendy enough today. Go figure.
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<blockquote>The combat system has not been changed from the original. It's still a brilliant mixture of real-time and turn-based action. While you can pause the game and queue the actions of your three-person exploration team, you can also choose your actions on the fly. Though everything happens in real-time, behind the scenes everything is still determined by rounds. So you will see your Jedi standing still for a second before delivering an action, because their turn hasn't happened. It's a smart system that utilizes the best of real-time and turn-based role-playing games. The interface is easy, the menu systems fantastic -- just like the original.
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There are a few new wrinkles added to combat that make things a little more interesting. It's going to take some time before you receive your Lightsaber (it took me 17 hours to acquire mine), but once you have the handy energy sword you begin learning Lightsaber Forms. Think of these almost like martial arts styles. You can switch to any of the forms you've learned at any time, even outside of combat. Each form has its benefits and drawbacks. Shin-Cho works well when you are surrounded, while Juyo is an overly aggressive form good for one-on-one battles (but leaves you more open to Force attacks). It's surprising to see how vulnerable certain forms make you in the wrong situation and how powerful they can be when chosen wisely.</blockquote>
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I hope that those lightsaber styles are implemented as good as they sound. KOTOR's combat was way too boring and dull.
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Thanks, <b>kumquatq3</b>
 

Mendoza

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17 hours to get a lightsaber? Was he including time he spend sleeping between sessions? The whole of the first KotOR only took me 25 hours to complete, so I must have had my lightsaber after 5 or 6.

I like the sound of the new lightsaber styles though. Anything to add more tactics into the combat has to be good.
 
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dojoteef

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Unfortunately, the review said the combat was just as easy as that in the original, so I guess the different lightsaber styles might not have added that much to the game.
 

Screaming_life

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dojoteef said:
Unfortunately, the review said the combat was just as easy as that in the original, so I guess the different lightsaber styles might not have added that much to the game.

hmm, i'm a little dubious about it as well.... it sounds like specific types will be better in certain situations and that you'll soon learn which is best, so it's just a matter of remembering to change... so in effect you wouldn't experience the negative impacts of a certain type cos you'd only ever use it at the right time.

It would be good though if there are situations where there is no "correct" type to use
 

errorcode

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how does that help gameplay?

"Here's our strategy system, have fun. Oh, by the way, sometimes no strategy will work and that fight will just be a motherfucker. Cheers!!"

i mean, really now...
 

Otaku_Hanzo

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He describes the fighting styles exactly like they were in Jedi Academy but with different names. That could be good, but if they haven't changed the rest of the combat engine any, I'm not gonna hold my breath. I do want to give the game a try, but will have to wait until February when they release the PC version.

That is when it's supposed to come out for PC, right?
 

Spazmo

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February 2005, yes. Remember when it was going to be simultaneous release? Oh, those halcyon days...
 

Otaku_Hanzo

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Well, hopefully they'll be taking the extra time to tweak the game for PC. Fact of the matter is though, Microsoft probably didn't want the PC sales impeding on their precious Xbox sales any. Heaven forbid that should happen. :roll:
 

dipdipdip

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Sounds neat. What I look for in an RPG, and what IGN guy look for in an RPG, are two totally different things, so I'm not worried about stale graphics (I still play Geneforge, Wasteland, and Darklands) and dodgy framerates. The way you can "influence" your party to the light/dark side sounds every bit as neat and dynamic as I could've hoped for. I only hope that the party members have different dialogue depending upong their alignment.

I'm picking the game up on Tuesday just after exams. It's funny that I should be the optamistic one here, considering my very first posts here revolved around me bashing the original game to kingdom come.
 

kumquatq3

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4 pages filled with hype

I have to disagree, the article basically had 2 or 3 lines saying that its pretty good and people should play it, and 3 and a half pages of negitives.

You can disagree with what they liked or disliked, but it wasn't nearly the type of thing you saw with K1.
 

Vault Dweller

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The score was awfully high for 3.5 pages of negatives. Everything but the graphics' got 9.5.
 

kumquatq3

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Vault Dweller said:
The score was awfully high for 3.5 pages of negatives. Everything but the graphics' got 9.5.

O, I agree on that, and I'll get to that at the very end, except that "Presentation" got a 8.5 as well.

But then this was a IGN review.

Normally it's a love fest with a 9.3 score. Read it again. This reviewer basically, in his eyes, wrote down several points of concern and even addressed them multiple times:

KOTOR II's overall story is not quite as strong as the sweeping epic of the original

Many of the smaller story elements -- the music, the questions about the very nature of good and evil -- are stronger than the original KOTOR, but Obsidian didn't do the best job at tying them all together. The story starts strong but stumbles across the finish line. And KOTOR II suffers from some of the same problems of the original.

I like KOTOR II's story, especially since it ties in with the events of the first game, but it doesn't come together in the end as well as it should have.

There's no level cap, so you can get pretty powerful before the final battle. By the time you reach the last few areas, you'll be able to rip almost any enemy to shreds. In a way this makes sense, since you are building up your power to be a great Jedi (or Sith). Scrubs shouldn't be able to touch you. One of the last worlds is just a mess of Apprentice Sith being slaughtered by your superior swordsmanship. The only problem is this ease remains in some of the final boss battles. I won both of the final battles without dying or feeling particularly challenged, a far cry from the difficult end-game against Malak in the original KOTOR.

Obsidian has done little to improve on the technology of a year-and-a-half ago. Yes, there's now rain and snow and the environments look great, but there's still some major framerate issues throughout and the load times are just as long as before. Though the worlds may be a bit bigger, the individual sections between loads seems about the same size. Those load times remain a killer, especially since some quests require you to traverse back and forth between sections multiple times.
It's a real shame that Obsidian couldn't do more to improve on the technology. When the first KOTOR hit, a lot of this was forgivable. It was a new engine and a spectacular game. Obsidian worked on an established engine and overall it looks almost identical to last year's offering. There are also a number of bugs in the game. This was the case with the first game as well, but again, I'd hoped for a smoother experience the second time around, but KOTOR II actually seems a little buggier. With better presentation, load times, and a little better storytelling in the end, KOTOR II would actually be better than the original.

^ some of the negatives

What about the "hype":

KOTOR II is one of the rare Star Wars games that doesn't seem mystified by the universe, but instead approaches it with a sociologist's eye. What is the real difference between Jedi and Sith? How is that difference perceived by the common man (or Wookie or Twi'lek)? Does the Republic -- on the brink of dissolution -- deserve to be saved?

When the dialogue is silent, KOTOR II's emotional core is punctuated by an excellent score. This is one of the best soundtracks of the years, with more than an hour of original music.

There are a few new wrinkles added to combat that make things a little more interesting. It's going to take some time before you receive your Lightsaber (it took me 17 hours to acquire mine), but once you have the handy energy sword you begin learning Lightsaber Forms. Think of these almost like martial arts styles.

Star Wars' morality play is given a bit of an upgrade for The Sith Lords, as pretty much every mission and really almost every conversation have options for good or evil. Some of your choices have major consequences and an immediate affect on the situation.

Learning the personalities of your party members is not essential to beating KOTOR II, but if you ignore influence, you'll be missing out on one of the best RPG elements in The Sith Lords

Thats about as good as it gets. All of the above seem thought out and not really too ass kissy, do they? Hell, I thought the "good points" were presented well. And remember, the guy has to have an opinion, it is a review.

Now the only 2 statements I can see issues with:

As it stands, The Sith Lords is still a fantastic game, warts and all.

This is, of course, a matter of opinion....but he does properly put it at the very end of the review, after you have heard what he has had to say about the game. It's pretty clear in context that it is what he thinks, rather than a statement of fact.

IIRC, the vampire review you guys ran did something similar.

The combat system has not been changed from the original. It's still a brilliant mixture of real-time and turn-based action

This is, of course, also an opinion. The difference here is that he is presenting it with a air of fact about it. That it is brilliant.

He doesn't go into why tho. So you can call him wrong, but only on a matter of opinion. And at the same time, he tells you it's the same as K1, so if you hate K1s combat, he gives you a reference.

Note, btw, he is calling it a hybrid not TB. He calls it TB later in the ratings captions. The caption, I assume, is a mistake as he clearly shows he thinks it a hybrid system in the main article.

So if that one line makes it a "hype" filled review of K2, you guys are fucking hard around here :wink:

Now, I'm not saying the guy nailed the review (the game isn't even out) or that it's the most amazing thing ever written, but I didn't think it was nearly as bad as some of the K1 reviews or even "bad" at all. And Ign still does suck, in general.

What I fault this guy on is not that he didn't explore what he felt were the negatives of the game, but for not explaining why he liked the game so much. He assumed that saying "it's just like K1 in this regard" alot was enough, and it's clearly not enough to show why he chose 9.3. I would have liked details, such as why he felt the combat was brilliant.
 

Azael

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Sounds pretty good, I suppose. I'll check this game out when it hits the PC market next year, if for no other reason than to see if Avellone still has some of that magic he displayed in Planescape: Torment. The whole deal about influencing party members sounds interesting, as does the apparent slew of Dark Side options. I didn't hold the story of the original, or its rather predictable twist, in as high regard as this reviewer, so I'm not sure what to make of the story in this not being as "epic" as in the original. Maybe that's a good thing?
 

Saint_Proverbius

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I thought the part about the fight with Malak being challenging at the end of KotOR was a little funny. I don't know about anyone else, but when I was fighting Malak the first time, right before Bastilla does that stupid bullshit where she basically flings herself on Malak for capture, I was kicking his bald ass silly. I was giving that metal jawed bitch the smack down of his life time there. Yet, when I face him a little later, he's ridiculously powerful.

I'd rather have the bad guy be a little weak than have a bad guy who is weak when you face him once, then uber later on.
 

dipdipdip

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Screaming_life said:
The only thing that kept me playing the first one was the story!

Same here. I was actually ready to quit just after the Leviathan, and this was after the PLOT TWIST TO END ALL PLOT TWISTS. It was pretty much for the same reason Saint describes. That scene after fighting Malak was terrible, and I felt I knew exactly where the game was headed from there on in, and I did. It didn't surprise me in the slightest that Bastilla went "evil," because I felt she made a shitty Jedi to begin with.

It's really hard for me to believe that I could actually favor the original's story to the sequel. It would really have to be all kinds of terrible. I hope I don't end up agreeing with these knuckleheads in the end. I know I sure as hell didn't when it came to the first game.
 

Vault Dweller

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kumquatq3 said:
Normally it's a love fest with a 9.3 score. Read it again. This reviewer basically, in his eyes, wrote down several points of concern and even addressed them multiple times:
I see what you mean, and I noticed that "criticism" that basically doesn't criticize at all. Here is my interpretation:

KOTOR II's overall story is not quite as strong as the sweeping epic of the original
Nothing is as good as KOTOR's original story that had a "spectacular twist"

Many of the smaller story elements -- the music, the questions about the very nature of good and evil -- are stronger than the original KOTOR, but Obsidian didn't do the best job at tying them all together. The story starts strong but stumbles across the finish line. And KOTOR II suffers from some of the same problems of the original.
Since he says that KOTOR, the awesome game of the year, had the same problems, but K2 did many things better, is it really a criticism?

I like KOTOR II's story, especially since it ties in with the events of the first game, but it doesn't come together in the end as well as it should have.
Not sure what that means, too subjective, and the reviewer is clearly stupid (he thought that the fight with Malak was tough). Imo, KOTOR's story sucked ass, especially the "spectacular twist" that anyone who didn't have ADD saw a mile away.

There's no level cap, so you can get pretty powerful before the final battle. By the time you reach the last few areas, you'll be able to rip almost any enemy to shreds. In a way this makes sense, since you are building up your power to be a great Jedi (or Sith). Scrubs shouldn't be able to touch you. One of the last worlds is just a mess of Apprentice Sith being slaughtered by your superior swordsmanship. The only problem is this ease remains in some of the final boss battles. I won both of the final battles without dying or feeling particularly challenged, a far cry from the difficult end-game against Malak in the original KOTOR.
Well, that's the part that concerns me the most. I thought that KOTOR was very easy, if K2 is much, much easier, well, that would really suck.

Obsidian has done little to improve on the technology of a year-and-a-half ago.
<snip>
With better presentation, load times, and a little better storytelling in the end, KOTOR II would actually be better than the original.
See once again, he hoped it would be better then the great and awesome KOTOR (tm), but it's not. It's about the same. Doesn't look like criticism to me. Btw, you cut the last sentence in this quote: "As it stands, The Sith Lords is still a fantastic game" Yep, very critical and negative. (I know you posted it separately, but it's a part of the "criticism" and should go together with it)

All of the above seem thought out and not really too ass kissy, do they?
I've never said anything about the "ass kissy" stuff, but these parts are hardly negative.

So if that one line makes it a "hype" filled review of K2, you guys are fucking hard around here :wink:
What else is new? :wink:

What I fault this guy on is not that he didn't explore what he felt were the negatives of the game, but for not explaining why he liked the game so much. He assumed that saying "it's just like K1 in this regard" alot was enough, and it's clearly not enough to show why he chose 9.3. I would have liked details, such as why he felt the combat was brilliant.
Absolutely agree with you here
 

Volourn

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Thought it was a decent review. My biggest beef is that the actual score doesn't follow the actual opinion. he'd been better off scoring it 8-8.5.

LOLOLOLOLLIPOP
 

Mendoza

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Saint_Proverbius said:
I thought the part about the fight with Malak being challenging at the end of KotOR was a little funny. I don't know about anyone else, but when I was fighting Malak the first time, right before Bastilla does that stupid bullshit where she basically flings herself on Malak for capture, I was kicking his bald ass silly. I was giving that metal jawed bitch the smack down of his life time there. Yet, when I face him a little later, he's ridiculously powerful.

I'd rather have the bad guy be a little weak than have a bad guy who is weak when you face him once, then uber later on.

I think he's supposed to be more powerful at the end, because he's using the power of the Star Forge. I thought Malak was a pretty bad boss though - I always got the impression he was second best to Revan, that Revan always called the shots, and that Malak was too weak to earn the title of Dark Lord. It probably wasn't helped by how wimpy he was on the Leviathan. After the big twist, I lost any respect for Malak, since he was clearly my inferior.
 

suibhne

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The endgame fight was ridiculously stupid, anyway. Sure, it was quite challenging (at least for a combat-weak character like mine), but the gimmick was stupid and the resulting fight no more complex than paint-by-numbers. I was reminded of lategame levels in RTS titles like Starcraft, of the point where you've already won the level but still need to spend an hour mopping up the map. The droid combat right before that was boneheaded, as well - though it represented just about the only opportunity for MULTIPAL SOLUSHUNS in the whole Star Forge.

Meh.

On the whole, I really enjoyed KotOR because I'm a Star Wars fan. It played out more like a stat-heavy adventure game than a great RPG, and the plot twists were so contrived they could have been lifted from a Lifetime movie about Dark Jedi, but there was enough atmosphere there to keep me entertained (at least until the punishment of the Star Forge). And IGN's review leads me to suspect I'll enjoy KotOR 2 much more, for its greater intellectual maturity if for nothing else.

I didn't think PS:T was all that and a bag of Nietzsche, but I still thought it was a great game - and it was refreshing to play a game that took ideas seriously. If Avellone & Co. accomplish the same thing in KotOR 2, I'm sold.
 

Volourn

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"at least for a combat-weak character like mine), "

It's almost impossible to make a 'combat weak character" in KOTOR; but you somehow managed. Good for you.
 

Spazmo

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The Malak fight was easy to cheese through. I'd just keep running away from him and using force heal, staying right outside the range of his saber. Then, when I had full health, I'd turn around and slice him up a bit. When he slapped me too hard, I'd start running again. Repeat until credits roll.
 

suibhne

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Volourn said:
It's almost impossible to make a 'combat weak character" in KOTOR; but you somehow managed. Good for you.

He was a Consular, but perfectly adequate for normal (easy) combat; I only ran into his weaknesses in the big fights.

His combat-related attributes were all around 8, if I recall. His Wisdom and Charisma bonuses, on the other hand, were somewhere around +10 or higher by the end of the game, so his Force powers were almost unstoppable. Going toe to toe with many enemies would have been problematic, but Malak was the only one in the game who could regularly resist his Force Wave.

Obsidian indicated they'd be making more of a difference between different Jedi classes, so Consulars (e.g.) will be less effective in combat than they were in the first game. I approve. :D
 

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