Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, (Windows, macOS) Xbox, & iOS)
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price: US $15.00 | UK £12.29 | EU € 15,00
Release Date: June 8th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to Sandbox Strategies.
Back For Seconds
From a galaxy far far away comes the sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed Star Wars games to date, Knights of the Old Republic 2 (KOTOR 2). Developed by Obsidian who managed to work some kind of magic by developing an RPG in a small year-long development cycle. It was no surprise the game originally came out on Xbox and PC with a few bugs. But despite this fans loved this title some would even overlook the game’s issues and still proclaim this the best in the series.
Over 15 years since its original release you can now enjoy the game in its full glory on Nintendo Switch. Aspyr has once again knocked it out of the park, porting a Star Wars game to Switch. Although, unless you are desperate for more of the Old Republic, you may want to sit on this one for a bit until a free DLC comes out which will feature more content, dialogue, missions and a revamped ending. Once this arrives it will make this the definitive KOTOR 2 experience next to PC.
Choose Your Path
Picking up five years after the events of the first game, you play a Jedi known as the Exile who was thrown out of the Jedi council for doing a naughty in the Madalorian wars. After waking up with a common case of video game amnesia. It’s up to you to take on a ragtag crew of memorable characters to seek out the remaining Jedi and take on the Sith. Or just be bad and kill them. That’s up to you really. After a bit of a slow start, the narrative is really the main selling point of this game. Possibly even the best narrative I’ve seen in a Star Wars video game to date.
You quickly warm to characters, especially a droid known as HK-47. You, as the player, have influence over the path of your team as well as the story overall by leaning to the light or dark side. Often these choices tend to lean towards goodie goodie or comical baddie but it’s interesting to play around with the options and discover the impact they have on your story. References are made to the original KOTOR including previous characters and you even revisit areas from the first game which look distinctly different this time around. So to get the most out of the experience you will want some familiarity with the first.
Explore and Talk
Gameplay is more of the same as the first game which is not a bad thing. Exploration and investigating dungeon-style areas are the headlines of this title. Much of the game will be spent in dialogue and making narrative decisions. So expect to pause pretty frequently to chat to NPCs and even your own teammates. This stuff can be skipped but you may miss out on some important plot points. For the rest of the game, you essentially take on the main quest, head into an area dispatching enemies and looting chests with a little light puzzle solving. But now and then you will enjoy the odd mini-game surprise.
As the player, you do get to regularly choose how to solve the basic puzzles. A simple example is to get into a locked room you can either hack the door via a computer or simply blow the thing up if you want to brute force your way through. It’s this variety that provides an incentive to replay the game later to see how things turn out the second time. The highlight of the exploration is flying to new planets and exploring a new setting and meeting its inhabitants. A small niggle to note is it’s not always clear where your next quest is. A remnant left from the retro days. So expect to possibly wander around a bit at times trying to figure out where to go.
Combat is essentially the same as the first game. An action turn-based system. When you enter a combat situation the game pauses allowing you to queue up your actions like attacks, force abilities or item use. When you unpause the game your character will carry out the chosen actions. A background dice roll will occur to determine if your attacks are successful. It’s quite important that you make sure your character is equipped with the right weapons and armour they are proficient with. If not, your success in battle is severely reduced. With that in mind, it can take a bit of time for a new player to make sense of everything, which is what happened to me with the first game. But when it clicks you will find a pretty deep and rewarding experience with the combat.
Weapons and armour can be upgraded at a work bench allowing you to customize your Jedi and teammates the way you like. I like in this entry how you obtain your lightsaber and force powers a lot quicker than in the first. Levelling up allows you to sink points into specific traits but if you want to keep things simple you can opt to just stick with the recommendations which is excellent for newbies. The difficulty is kinda determined by your initial character selection at the start of the game. Making the game suitable for young padawans and Jedi Masters alike.
The Retro Feel
Graphics are starting to look a little dated. Don’t forget one would probably class this as a retro title now being originally released in 2004. Textures for the backgrounds look a product of the time with rough edges but the character models do look surprisingly decent. Make no mistake, this still looks and feels like a well-thought-out sci-fi universe whether you like Star Wars or not. What holds up is the incredible voice acting from the cast and the iconic John Williams score.
Performance is a bit variable but competent in TV and handheld. The game is prone to a bit of slow down here and there and even odd graphical glitches where the character models appear as shadows for some reason. These are not game-breaking but are noticeable. What is frustrating is the occasional crash to the dashboard, so make sure you manually save your game as often as possible. Some of these glitches may not be entirely on Aspyr, they’re likely dug into the game’s engine so deep that the only way to rectify them would be to totally remake the game – which is unlikely going to happen soon. The good news is that Aspyr is hard at work addressing bugs and glitches to patch later.
Conclusion – The Force is Strong With This One
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, is more of the same in terms of the gameplay but provides an excellent story that is sure to please fans of Star Wars or just fans of sci-fi RPGs in general. If you loved the first game this is an easy recommendation. If you’re new, play the first game and if it clicks jump on this one. At this stage, the game does have bugs that Aspyr is busy working away fixing. Maybe consider waiting for the free DLC which is on the way and will add extra content. But if you need that RPG fix this is still playable. KOTOR 2 is a gem of a game that has found a welcome home on Nintendo Switch. The force is certainly strong with this one.
Final Verdict: I Like it
I still need to get around to the first one and they are already releasing the second!
I have it on Xbox one and it’s a great game. I see all these reviews on who the best characters are and Bao-dur always gets overlooked. He starts off as a tech wiz and can open up force fields with his artificial arm. But I never see how versatile he is. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who knows that he is force sensitive. I’m not sure how I did it but I think I took his side against Mandolore when they start to argue about the war. After that the next upgrade he will have force powers and can be played as a Jedi. Having a character who is a Jedi and can open anything is a big advantage since most of your skills are Jedi based Bao-Dur is the best character besides the outcast you start with. Has anybody else unlocked his force abilities. If siding with him doesn’t work I also had him in my party everytime I was able so that might have helped too.