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Author Topic: KOTOR II: Changed for the Experience (spoilrs in l8r posts )  (Read 1892 times)
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ATB
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« on: January 22, 2005, 11:28:59 PM »

Where does one go after completing a masterpiece?  What possible next game experience will not be a let down unless one has the fortune to head directly into another sublime experience?

That is my quandary after completing KOTOR II.  The feelings are still fresh, but I am ready to tab this my number one XBOX game of all time…possibly my number one game of all time… but let’s not be hasty.  Having played Civ II, Disciples II and HOMM III back in my PC days, I have to be rational…and get some distance between the games end, the afterglow, and let history record the result.

KOTOR II has been an absolute obsession to me since cracking it open on Christmas Eve.  I started as a Jedi Master and was so captivated, that half way through, I began again as a Sith Lord.  My intent was to catch him up to where my original character was and resume the Jedi path- but my Sith Lord was just too powerful.  He is Lord of the Sith Lords.   How can I make such a claim?  I put a disproportionate  amount of attribute points into Wisdom, the foundation to the Force strength and affinity.  He was absolutely overwhelming to his foes...

The story in KOTOR II is not a tidy thing.  But are the stories of life nice and neat?  Who’s evil? Who’s not? Who is beyond redemption?  Who can be saved?  Who would choose the dark side and who would be corrupted by the charisma of the truest of all Sith Lords?  

The pacing was flawless.  The character development the most complete of any game I can remember.  The writing, finer than most of the most highly acclaimed ‘cinematic events’ I’ve ever sat through.

But there’s something beyond-  I think the game may have…changed me.  In some small way, I’m wiser and more thoughtful as a result of playing it.  I found myself so enamored and so deeply held by the master craft of this story, that at times I forgot that it was a game- it seemed…almost spiritual.

Was it perfect? By no means.  Was it a seminal gaming experience?  Without question.

I remember being moved by the original KOTOR as well.  There’s something amazing about the mechanics of choosing to be good or evil in these games (far more compelling than Fable...or any other game with such avenues that I've played).  It spills over into real life; into our thought processes for nearly every action we take: After getting home from work do I clean the dirty dishes that my wife didn’t get to or do I get annoyed that the kitchen is not as clean as I *think* it should be?  Do I take the extra time and energy to shovel my neighbor’s walk or do I not and think to myself ‘if they slip and fall, things like that happen in life’?  Do I contribute to Tsunami relief to provide even the smallest measure of comfort or do I chalk it up to ‘***t happens?’

KOTOR II could be component  material for a philosophy course:

Instructor: You will be playing through Knights of the Old Republic II.  In this game you will have the opportunity to perform good and humane actions (light side) or those that cause harm and corruption (dark side).  The only rule for this assignment is be true to yourself…or to the self that you keep in chains-tucked away, unseen by anyone because it is too terrible.

What a game.

Now, I'm not saying that I haven't pondered on this level before regarding the choices one makes in one's life.  As one who struggles to seek after Christ, I ponder them often...KOTOR II was just another facet, a different perspective, a different retelling of some of the those struggles...
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Starshifter
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2005, 12:30:19 AM »

ATB -

Absolutely well done!

As I said in one of my earlier posts in another thread, you "think" like me.  I have precisely the same feelings.  I felt that way after completing KOTOR 1 and to this day, I still miss the characters and the worlds I visited so much that there are times I feel sad that I will never be going back to it.   It is truly a unique experience that goes beyond the game and it's unfortunate that so many people who play the game will miss it.

The best part is that I am experiencing it again in KOTOR 2.  It is almost as if I have "friends" to come home to each night.  I am really attached to the characters.  And when one can really care for computer generated characters in a way that makes them seem, in your mind, to be "real" then in your words it is a "masterpiece."

The only other game in my life to bring emotions out in me was the original "Wing Commander" on the PC, which is my number one favorite game of all time.  As a matter of fact, the name of my character I created in that game was never used again in any other game since then because it was such a "religous" experience that I just had to retire that name.  Nothing, in all these years, since I played that game on my 386 - 20mhz machine, came close to drawing emotions and feelings from me - until now.  KOTORS 1 & 2 are making me feel that way again.  And for that I am so thankful.

I still have a ways to go in KOTOR 2, but it is going to be one wonderful ride that I plan on enjoying for a long, long time... biggrin
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2005, 12:30:51 AM »

Stop it!  You're making it hard to wait for the PC release!
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El Guapo
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2005, 01:14:50 AM »

Whoa.  I loved the game, but I was never moved to write an omage (sp?) to it like that.  I guess you're going to be writing Obsidian a thank-you note.

The game was great, and I have to say that it was one of the few games that left me wondering and thinking by a lot of the interesting questions it posed.  It also made Revan into a much more interesting character than he would be on KOTOR 1-alone, which is all the more remarkable given that he's not the main character this time.

Though I have to say, while the ending didn't bug me like it did other people, I really would've appreciate even a short video showing me doing something Sithy, even if it was just kicking a puppy for no reason.
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2005, 02:16:21 AM »

Play Planescape: Torment.  That is all.  Cool
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2005, 04:35:14 AM »

Quote from: "Fellow"
Play Planescape: Torment.  That is all.  Cool


I tried this way back then.  I got bored about an hour in.  I don't know why it didn't grasp me.  I think it was because I couldn't relate to the the main character - that creepy dead blue pieces guy.  I really tried though.  I love games with a strong story, but Planescape just didn't do it for me.  Maybe I should have given it more time.  But, that was like so many years ago.
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2005, 05:40:27 AM »

Quote from: "Fellow"
Play Planescape: Torment.  That is all.  Cool


Well, I liked both KOTOR 1&2 but I didn't get the sublime experience that you did. You apparently don't play too many role playing games, because in the scope of roleplaying over time, the story in both was only marginal. To me the graphics and being absorbed by the worlds were the strengths of both and not the storylines, which in 1 to me was very nearly a bad one because I totally hated and didn't buy the plot twist. Although I did like Bastila and her plotline. The second was more consistant throughout, but made poor use of all the extra characters and didn't have a strong lead like the first one did. Having a "good" jedi kill the jedi masters was to me contrary to what good is. A good jedi does not seek revenge. I don't agree with your analysis but it was very well written and expressed.

Planetscape torment had one of the strongest storylines I have ever experienced in a game but unfortunately it was largely lost by a very lousy realtime combat system, that kept me from finishing it and enjoying the story. I maybe got halfway through it. I still own it.
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2005, 07:05:16 AM »

I had much the same feeling about Torment as you apparently did with KOTOR2, and had VERY strong feelings about the original KOTOR.

Looks like I am getting KOTOR 2 in a trade this week..I was going to wait for the PC version, but this is a cash saver, so I am looking forward to it.
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2005, 07:30:17 PM »

Yeah, you liked KOTOR2 a lot more than I did.

The storyline had it's pull on my for a long time; but it was truly incomplete. The pull and suggestion of some of the game would indicate (without using spoilers) that there would be a lot MORE, and just as they showed you that opportunity, they stick you into a funnel of pointless ejection and burdened with a myriad of plot-holes and pointless obtuse dialog to leave you wondering : "Why did I pay full price for the first half??"

That, and the mechanics of the game are actually WORSE than KOTOR1. It distracted me from the game. I'd go play it again, but I'd have to buy it (as mine was traded in). I don't see that happening unless the PC version gets a significant upgrade from the xbox version(highly unlikely). I can wait for a used copy; I'm not in any hurry to play it again.

I don't see products as being "art" or "spiritual", to me it boils down to "entertainment". As such I think it's important to recognize that the spiritual aspect of the game is just another element; a commodity if you will, being sold with the Star Wars Light Side(tm).

To each their own, I suppose. I'm glad you could enjoy yours more than I did mine.
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2005, 08:03:10 PM »

I loved KOTOR 1 and couldn't wait for KOTOR 2.  I won it a few days after buying it, obsessively playing it when taking breaks from studying for finals.

As someone said elsewhere the first 2/3 of the game were extremely well done, and something I really had anticipated and enjoyed.  So many little things to do, characters seemed really well fleshed out...then I ran into the end world.

The story just abruptly ended.  There wasn't closure, you never got to see your other characters, you destroyed these really galaxy destroying sith lords with ease.  I honestly think they ran out of time and shipped by a hard date because they had to.  The game clearly wasn't finished; the end world was really poorly done in comparison to the rest of the world.

Still loved it, but was extremely soured by the end experience.  To me, you could have a great game, but if the ending stinks, the game experience is lessened (began at Questron for me....and continued through the alien world in Half-Life etc.).
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2005, 03:56:12 AM »

I've read that the game actually resuses two planets from the first one, and not just revisits them but actually uses the artwork and everything...
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2005, 08:23:24 AM »

*SPOILER*
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Anyone else love that whole sequence when you finally meet the three Jedi Masters on Dantooine?  The way the music works and Kreia's monologue was all so heartbreaking.  It was the moment that established so many things, but it also marked the point where the devs ran out of time.
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farley2k
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2005, 04:34:01 PM »

I am squarely in the camp of where is the rest of the game.

Some thoughts

"The story in KOTOR II is not a tidy thing. But are the stories of life nice and neat? Who’s evil? Who’s not? Who is beyond redemption? Who can be saved? Who would choose the dark side and who would be corrupted by the charisma of the truest of all Sith Lords? "

Yeah life isn't tidy, but that is because of shades of gray, not because the credits just start rolling.  

For example - the story with Mira - in my game (as a light character) she defeated the wookie on Malichor 5 and then started running the same direction my character had gone......and that was it.  I never saw her again.  As far as I know she is still on the planet.

Or the droids - the remote setup the bomb things...then Go To came around the corner...and said "we'll wait".....well the bombs never went off, and again I never saw those characters again....

This isn't just messy "life" it is crappy work on the part of the game developers.


"The pacing was flawless. The character development the most complete of any game I can remember. The writing, finer than most of the most highly acclaimed ‘cinematic events’ I’ve ever sat through. "


I would agree until Malichor 5.  Suddenly Keira who was beaten by that evil guy twice, just waltzes in and runs the show.  

Suddenly all my friends are gone, except Mira and the remote....but they are left nowhere.

The pacing of the last planet was rushed and very unsteady compared to the rest of the game.


"But there’s something beyond- I think the game may have…changed me. In some small way, I’m wiser and more thoughtful as a result of playing it. I found myself so enamored and so deeply held by the master craft of this story, that at times I forgot that it was a game- it seemed…almost spiritual. "


I am happy you got so much out of the game but really what is so great about the story?  You do good things people's lives are better, you do bad things and their lives are worse......I don't think that idea is all that amazing....in fact I would call it common sense.


At one point in the game there was a glimmer of something more.  I gave a begger 5 credits on Nar Shaddar and he got mugged right away.  Kiera lectured me about how helping him only hurt in in the long run.  However that was the only time such a thing happened for me and I didn't buy her crap by that point in the game anyway.


Also all my good actions, in the end meant nothing.  Kiera, the ugly guy, the weird guy with the mask - all dead.  The good guys all alive......

That isn't revolutionary it is practically sterotypical.
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ChrisGwinn
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2005, 11:05:52 PM »

Quote from: "Fellow"
Play Planescape: Torment.  That is all.  Cool


Written by the same person, by the way.
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Fellow
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2005, 11:09:19 PM »

Yes indeedy.
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2005, 11:15:36 PM »

Just wanted to make a note: I think this thread has devolved into the realm of a few spoilers, so we might want to edit the title to reflect that, no matter how minor. I know I am savoring experiencing the story and as soon as I saw a name or planet I just frantically clicked out of the thread smile
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farley2k
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2005, 02:18:14 PM »

I think that is my fault about spoilers but I couldn't see a way to discuss the concepts of good story, pacing, etc. without specifics.


Sorry.
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