Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic | Review | Switch

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic released at a time when Star Wars movies were in full swing. At the same time, they weren’t getting anywhere near as much Star Wars content as they are now in the modern era. Putting myself back in the timeframe of the game’s release in 2003, it truly was an exciting time. The game was pretty groundbreaking for the time, but you’re probably wondering if it’s something that still holds up today. Well, whether you played the heck out of the game back in the day or are looking to dive into a great chapter of Star Wars, you are definitely in for a treat here. Let’s get into it. 

Knights of the Old Republic takes place roughly 4,000 years before the events in the Skywalker Saga. The Galactic Republic is pushed to the brink of collapse under the threat of a Sith fleet led by the maniacal Darth Malak. You take control of a Republic soldier (who will later become a Jedi) in an attempt to stop this dark menace from taking over the galaxy. 
While you will come across a number of familiar alien races, planets and tropes found in classic Star Wars, characters in KOTOR set themselves apart and serve to make the game a memorable experience. The story is fleshed out extremely well and offers plenty of room to explore and get into lore from the era. The extensive dialog choices are enough to make you want to come back for subsequent playthroughs just to see what can be done or said in various situations.

KOTOR is a menu based RPG with action elements. When you face off against opponents, the game pauses (by default) and lets you choose your attack or action. Of course, you can cycle through targets and just generally take your time to make sure you’re choosing the most effective course of action. Additional weapons, abilities, force powers and more are added to the gameplay over time and yet things still remain intuitive. 

A morality gauge representing both the Light and Dark Side of the Force is present throughout the experience. Where you fall on this is determined by actions that you make throughout the story. In my most recent play through of the game for this review, I went ahead and tried a Dark Side run. It really opens things up for a lot of humorous situations. Not only that, but you can see your character look more and more “evil” the further down the Dark path you go - in this case, they’ll grow paler and their eyes will turn yellow. While the “pale” aspect of the Sith was kind of debunked a few years after the release of the game (see Revenge of the Sith), it’s still a nice visual touch to make it absolutely clear that your character is a psychopath. 
KOTOR is not as open ended as a game like Grand Theft Auto, but the freedom in dialog and actions is great and there really are numerous outcomes that can happen. Tons of side missions litter the planets you visit, too, and you can easily sink dozens of hours into the game without seeing the end credits. Extensive customization for weapons and armor also add to the depth. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
The graphics and performance of KOTOR on the Switch are quite nice. The game runs at 1080p and maintains a consistent framerate throughout the experience. While it does show its age a bit with some slightly low-poly character models and environments, developer Aspyr did a great job at making things look good enough with this fresh coat of HD paint. Even with that said, one thing you will notice are the somewhat low resolution cutscenes that appear throughout the game. Being FMVs and not in-engine assets, I can understand it, but it still stands out when compared to the smooth, HD look of the rest of the game.
Things on the audio front are top notch. You’ll hear familiar laser blasts, the hum of lightsabers, familiar ship engine sounds, wookies grunts, Hutts and other things that you’ve become accustomed to if you are a Star Wars fan. Not only this, but the game is entirely voice acted featuring compelling performances that really tie the overall narrative together. 

Japan Connection
Being a Japan based channel, I always find it interesting to look at the Japan side of things, especially with western developed games. For KOTOR, its history in Japan is non-existent as the game has never seen an official release or localization. Until just recently. Aspyr DID add Japanese localization (written) to the game in late January 2022 via a patch. It wasn’t until May 12, 2022 that the game saw an extremely subdued release on the Japanese eShop. This is awesome for Japanese gamers who may have never had a chance to try out the game in their own native language. My only complaint here is with the text itself in the game, which is a bit pixelated. From the time of the initial patch to the May 2022 release, this still hasn’t been fixed. 

KOTOR still holds up as an awesome Star Wars experience. For me personally, it is one of my favorite games of all time. The story beats are great, offering a look at a time period in Star Wars that is quite unique. Not only that, but the voice acting also assists in pulling off a believable, intriguing story. Gameplay is fun, there are tons of things to customize and performance is top notch in this Switch version of the game. Simply put, whether you’re plunging into the world of KOTOR for the first time or twentieth, there is quite a lot to like in this port. It’s definitely a must have for any Star Wars fan looking to play an awesome RPG on the go or at home. 

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