Gameplay 8.9
Graphics 9.0
Sound 9.0
Value 8.9
Distributor: EA
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
April 2005
Reviewer:
Andrew B

8.9


Star Wars Knights of the Republic 2: The Sith Lords

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic was an amazing RPG title on the XBox that was released in 2004 and featured some of the best storytelling to date. Not only did it establish itself as one of the most definitive role-playing games on the XBox but it was one of the most accurate and official Star Wars games of date. Fortunately when you are onto something good, it's only fitting that a sequel is made and this is where Star Wars: Knights of the Republic 2: The Sith Lords comes into play that roughly takes off two years after the first game. 

The storyline of the Sith Lords involves a whole new cast of characters (and some returning from the original), each with their own back story there is a lot of dialogue. All dialogue is spoken by voice actors and makes each conversation more realistic; however the realism also extends to listening to a lot of dialogue throughout the game. What was good about the first game were the options available to the player during conversation where your questioning and responses had a direct effect on individuals. Well these make a welcome return as players can opt to be nice (light) or nasty (dark). Players can also digress from the main story and like many other RPG's, partake in a wide variety of activities such as Pazak (a card game similar to blackjack), Swoop bike racing (a time based racing event) and a wide number of side quests that are not necessarily tied to the main story. Simply put, there are a lot of things to do across the 7 main locations that you will travel to and with a wide variety of alien and human characters you will often become side tracked at every turn as you either help or be nasty to people.

The Sith Lords is a story intensive RPG where players get to choose a character skin and then distribute points and various abilities to their character, whilst following the gameís meandering story line. There are a lot more powers and abilities to add to your character this time and with the wide number of classes available during the course of the game, which will make those hungry for stats very happy indeed. For those of you who wish to ignore this aspect of the game and focus on getting through the story will be able to do a quick level up or character create, thus taking the headache out of levelling and such.

In my opinion it is worth learning to create/level up your character yourself as this gives the player a lot more scope and flexibility with their character and letís face it, its not that hard to understand either, as everything is explained well enough in the gameís menus. Once you have chosen a name and created your character then the game begins. The first port of call is a tutorial and preliminary mission involving a droid (T3-M4) from the first game. This section is a great introduction to many of the gameís features and whilst remaining simple in story terms is a worthy intro all the same and will help those new to the series greatly. For those of you who are more experienced the option to skip this section is on offer, although fans of T3-M4 will probably want to play this section anyways.

The battle system of the Sith Lords is extremely reminiscent of the previous title where players do not have direct control over their characters swing of swords but players can move their character freely at any time. Just like any other RPG players take turns to attack each other, however due to the animations and freedom of movement feels very much like real time battles. During combat players must choose what type of attack they are to perform, and depending on what skills you have chosen will be available from a non intrusive attack menu. Again unlike traditional turn based role-playing games, this system is on the fly, which means players must be able to keep up with the on screen action at all times. Yes, you can simply leave your characters to fend for themselves as they will continuously attack without your input, however this means that you will probably lose as there are so many options available to player during the course of battle. Things like replenishing health, laying mines, tossing grenades, performing power attacks, switching weapons and of course using those force powers you gain throughout the story. For characters in your party you can set their AI to various types which for the more intense battles is much appreciated.

The force powers have had a rewrite as there seem to be a lot more to choose from this time round and as with the original, the powers are affiliated to light, dark and universal. Meaning those with a dark affinity will be able to use certain dark powers more effectively than those who are neutral or light and vice versa. Overall there are enough offensive and defensive powers here to keep most players entertained for some time especially as it would be impossible to gain maximum powers for every one available during the course of one play through. Either way the force powers are very cool and once you start getting a few of these under your belt makes battling far more engaging as you perform combos on unsuspecting foes.

Graphically, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords is a rather impressive looking game that contains some of the nicest looking gaming environments to hit the XBox in a long time. Best of all, all the environments in the game have at traditional Star Wars look and feel to them that really helps you immerse into this universe. All the characters can a fair amount of detail and look extremely realistic, especially when they are interacting with the gaming environments. There is also a plethora of lighting and special effects in the game and one cannot help but smile when you first use your lightsabre. The only problem with the graphics is that sometimes the frame rate chugs every now but unfortunately it rarely effects the gameplay too much.

The musical score of the game is very much Star Wars and although obtrusive at times during some dialogue, it remains of the highest standard. With orchestral pieces throughout, the gameís musical score is solid and relevant to the on screen action at all times. The sound in the Sith Lords is of a very high quality and as mentioned earlier features a whole host of voice acting across the board. Each character has a voice including some of the more obscure creatures in the game. The voice acting is a big part of the game, and such is performed very well indeed. My vote has to go to the person who voiced the character Kreia, as she delivers a smooth and highly convincing performance throughout. Other sound effects such as light sabres and blaster fire all sound authentic as Iím sure they have been lifted direct from the movies. If not then they do a great job and make those battles extra sweet. Who can tire of the sound of light sabres being drawn?

In conclusion, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords is a brilliant game that I would recommend to all Star Wars fans, new and old alike. With some of the best RPG to hit the XBox in a long time and a very enriching storyline, this game is truly one title that will have you playing it time and time again. Highly recommended and may the force be with you... always!






 
 



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