Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A special treat


What follows is a "concept" Uncensored review I did of KOTOR for PC Gamer about six months ago. Regrettably, Uncensored got dropped for a couple of months after I submitted it, so it never got printed. I found it lurking on my hard drive on my laptop at work, so in these Stateless times, I thought I'd post it to cheer you all up. So then; KOTOR in 300 words. Enjoy!


Rice Crispies are evil; the breakfast food of the Dark Side. Don’t think so? Consider this – what noises do rice crispies make?


Snap!


Crackle!


Pop!


What sound does Sith Trooper’s neck make when you use Force Kill on him? Snap!
What noise does the Dark Side power Force Storm make when you use it? Crackle!
What does a Twi’lek’s heart do when you’ve drained out the last of their life using Death Field? Pop!


See? EVIL.


The Rice Crispy Evil of the Dark Side is only one of the possible ways that you can play Knights of the Old Republic. You can also follow the Golden Grahams ethos of the Light Side – sugary sweet, fortified with all sorts of virtuous things, and too much will make you want to vomit.


Like Planescape: Torment, KOTOR is a game that explores the morality of the player. KOTOR makes you choose your character’s moral path in a very unusual way. Whilst your character will ultimately get forced down the Light or Dark path, KOTOR gives the player significant freedom to place a magnet against their moral compass. Cruelty, compassion and apathy are all valid methods of confronting the moral questions the game poses, as is any combination of the above. KOTOR also makes the consequences of the choices you make immediately apparent, though disappointingly, word of misdeeds perpetuated on one world don’t follow you to the next, limiting their long-term impact.


KOTOR is not without flaws; notably occasionally shoddy voice acting and too many “fetch X for Y” filler quests, but those looking for an epic space opera won’t be disappointed. Bioware’s panache for plot, pacing and characterisation added to one of the most unusual plot twists of recent times all make you ask this question: Are you Rice Crispy or Golden Graham?

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