The best Star Wars RPG of all time – Review

Knights of the Old Republic is the best star wars RPG of all time. I am here to tell you why.

Developer: Bioware, EA, Obsidian
Publisher: LucasArts
Platforms: PC, Xbox, Mac, Android, iOS
Game Release Date: July 15th, 2003 (Original Xbox)


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A brief history of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, (or Kotor for short), is not set among the same time as the original films, or even the prequels for that matter. It is set around 4000 years before the formation of the Galactic Empire (19bby for all the nerds out there). The story starts years after the Mandalorians war which saw 2 Jedi knights lead an army of Jedi against the Mandalorians against the wishes of their Jedi masters. Revan and Malak are the two captains of this effort. after the end of the war, (and victory for the republic) the two war heroes journeyed off to the Unknown Regions not to be seen again for years. That is until the 2 returned, now known as Darth Revan and Darth Malak with a large Sith armada and waged war against the republic.

Darth Revan, was the leader of the whole front and Darth Malak assumed the role of his apprentice. That is until during one of their sieges Revan was captured by the Jedi and assumed killed at the hands of the Jedi. The Jedi Knight and character in the game Bastilla Shan, was apart of the Jedi force which overwhelmed the Sith Master. Darth Malak then assumed the role of Sith lord and now commands the Sith fleet. Phew. History lesson is over and now begins the game.


Humble beginnings

Who are you going to be? (image courtesy of strategywiki.org)

You start the game off with a variety of different character customization options. Male, Female and different class options. Are you going to be a master of the force, wielding masterful force powers to dispatch your foes? Perhaps you want to follow in the footsteps of a certain purple lightsaber wielding duelist and become a strong melee fighter? The choice is completely up to you, but just choosing a class does not restrict you from changing it up if you decide you want to change paths later in the game. The character creation is not super in depth but you have a few different head options to choose from. You have a list of skills and feats to choose from which are very self explanatory just by mousing over the different attributes. Strength make hard hit, Endurance make bit health. With me? Good.


Gameplay time!

Kotor uses a DnD style dice rolling system in place for the game. This does not mean you will be staring at a virtual dice every time you want to make a decision in the game, that part is hidden behind closed doors. Every action you make will have a dice roll, from Charisma checks to Power strikes in combat everything you do will has a slight amount of luck involved. This does of course mean save scumming is a viable strategy if you want to get those perfect dialogue options. I’d be lying if I said that hadn’t been done by me from time to time. Yes, i know what you’re thinking, Jeff how could you? Well, Juhani that’s why. Now leave me alone.

Strength make hard hit, Endurance make bit health. With me? Good.

The game uses a real time, pause-able, turn based combat system. What does that mean in human talk? Well you can think of Pokemon or Paper Mario as a turn based combat system. Except in those examples the game waits for you to decide before the opponent gets a turn. In Kotor all the combat happens at the same time and nobody necessarily takes or waits their turn. You can pause the combat and queue actions to be performed in order. You can even swap characters and queue multiple actions for your party at the same time. The characters are one of the things that makes this the best Star Wars RPGs. Speaking of your party…


Party Selection screen for knights of the old republic
Kotor’s cast of characters available to bring along on your quest!

Characters I can actually care about?

Knights of the Old Republic has a cast of hundreds of characters throughout the galaxy, all with their own alignments, motives and stories to discover. The game has a total of 9 different characters to add to your party of misfits. From a Wookie with a life-debt to a Assassination droid every character is unique in their fighting style, back story and sense of fairness. You will find yourself actually being interested and every single character in the game is beautifully fleshed out through hours of dialogue and most characters having a quest line revolving around their story. You will learn how Jolee Bindo became a ‘Grey Jedi’, having interesting views against both the Sith and the Jedi and not really finding his place between either. This is just one of the fantastically built characters in the game, each having their own stories to discover. Bioware really knows how to make fantastic characters in a videogame.

The universe is vast and beautiful

The game, surprisingly only features 5 planets, which actually made me do a double take. After years of playing the game and enjoying it I never even thought to count the planets. The thing that makes it so surprisingly is that each planet has so many different smaller maps and areas to explore. Each feels completely different to the next from the confusing jungle mazes of Kashyyk, to the court room in Manaan, the game has so many wildly vast setting you can find yourself running around for hours. The graphics, for the time were absolutely incredible and to be honest even after playing the game on Steam many, many years later it still holds up pretty damn well. Am I biased? Well yes, of course I am, I love the game. But that doesn’t stop real facts coming out my mouth. It is one of the most well thought out Star Wars worlds with every location being completely and utterly unique. This game is a testament to Bioware’s incredible world creation.

Screenshot from the game Knights of the Old Republic from the planet Manaan
‘Selkath by the canal’ Manaan, circa 2003, Windows 2000

See no evil, be no evil?

Knights of the Old Republic has an alignment system in the game, meaning yes you can choose to either be a Jedi knight, or dark lord of the Sith if you wish. You can choose to murder or help in many different social interactions in the game. But be aware, your party members do have their own alignment and if they see you doing something that don’t agree with they will let you know about it. Some of the choices will affect not only your gameplay, but also the story of the game. There are multiple endings and multiple playthroughs is recommended as you will miss out on a lot of amazing story content by choosing a side. The games story is absolutely incredible. If you consider yourself a fan of the Star Wars series you must experience this story. You really must. That characters, the story, the planets are just incredible and immersive.

Really? “The Best Star Wars RPG?” YES

That about wraps it up for my Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic review. I would love to talk and talk endlessly about this game but I really don’t want to get too deep into spoiler territory. The game is incredible. An absolute masterpiece and the absolute pinnacle of 2000s story RPG. I think if you’ve read this far you can guess my love for this game and the score that I am going to give.

SCORE: 10/10

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is an absolute must-play. It is the greatest Star Wars RPG ever created and easily one of the best RPGs of all time. The story, the setting, the sound. Everything about the game wins for me.

I’ve included the game in my post about the best star wars games of all time. The game has also has a sequel which is set to be released on the android play store and iOS store on the 18th of December. BUY THIS GAME.

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