Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords

aka: Jiu Gongheguo Wushi II: Xisi Lingzhu, KotOR 2, Star Wars: Caballeros de la Antigua República 2 - Los Señores Sith
Moby ID: 15792
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Five years after the events depicted in Knights of the Old Republic, the Sith have become stronger and more determined to rule the Galaxy. The Jedi Order is nearly exterminated. A mysterious ex-Jedi has been exiled from the Order and is traveling alone. This Jedi had served under Darth Revan (when the latter was still on the Light side of the Force) during the Mandalorian Wars, but due to enigmatic circumstances was forced to retire. Now the past is catching up with the Jedi, and soon he or she will have to choose the side to fight on.

The Sith Lords looks and plays very similarly to its predecessor, also being based on the Star Wars d20 role-playing rule set (which, in its turn, is similar to the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons) and having the same combat engine, character development, and a Light and Dark ethical system, which judges the player's decisions and actions and influences story events and characters' responses. Additions to the gameplay include a lightsaber-crafting system, which allows augmenting lightsabers with various items, new Force powers, and the possibility to influence the alignments of the characters in the player-controlled party through conversation choices and other decisions. Most of the exploration and the combat sequences is done using a party of three, including the protagonist and two companions. However, certain parts of the game will force the player to travel alone, or to control a party made exclusively out of companions.

A large part of the military equipment can be upgraded using any workbench that can be found throughout the game world, including one available at all times on the ship that the player uses to travel between planetary systems. Different types of items have more than one piece that can be augmented. For example, the armor has two slots for upgrades (overlay and underlay), while ranged weapons have three (targeting, firing chamber, and power pack), and lightsabers have six. The easiest way to get additional upgrades is to either buy them or loot them, however they can be created as well at a workbench with the right components and enough repair skill. Medical items are a different sort and they can be crafted using lab stations.

At various moments during the game, the player has the opportunity to play some mini games: a card game called Pazaak, shooting targets using a turret from a first-person view, and swoop racing.

Spellings

  • 旧共和国武士II:西斯领主 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Xbox version)

332 People (259 developers, 73 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 59 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 140 ratings with 10 reviews)

A great RPG experience

The Good
I played Knights of the Old Republic so when I heard that a sequel was coming out, I had to buy it.

Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (KOTOR2 from now on) has a darker and much more polished plot with the same engaging and well thought RPG engine that made its predecessor a classic and game of the year.

The interaction between the characters and you is great due to a outstanding voice acting that makes the game great just for that alone.

The missions are varied and you get to see new planets and places inside the Star Wars universe

The Bad
It has a lot of resemblance to its predecessor, up to a point where you feel like you are replaying the first game.

The game is somehow not that difficult and some force powers make it even more easy - force lightning is a good example of that.



The Bottom Line
Star Wars is by far an endless source of stories and many games made the franchise a classic for gamers, but none caught my attention so much as the KOTOR games.

If you love Star Wars, you are bound to enjoy this game and even if you don't, KOTOR2 offers a great RPG experience that shouldn't be missed.

Xbox · by Shin_Akuma (15) · 2005

Impending classic beset by major hindrances

The Good
The year 2003 was a year wrought with lameness for the gaming world. Many may disagree, but I found nary a game that year piqued any splinter of interest. Thankfully, Lucas Arts gave us Knights of the Old Republic, probably the best release of that year, let alone the best RPG. It boasted the literally malleable and ever-popular Star Wars universe, BioWare’s design skills, and more than anything, and an engaging story that crushes anything George Lucas has mustered in recent times. In 2004, developer Obsidian attempted to continue that greatness with Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.

In the grand scheme of things, it is very similar mechanically to its predecessor. The graphics engine, the conversation system, combat, travel, menus, and character system remain virtually unchanged, so players shouldn’t expect any disconcerting overhauls with these aspects. However, some very convenient modifications have been made in some of said aspects to make playing a bit less frustrating than in the original. Firstly, the combat system has been tweaked to allow control of the party’s behavioral stance; character units can be commanded to be aggressive, stand ground, or be ranged. The big plus of this is that when an enemy is sighted, your party won’t run in all guns blazing toward the enemy, something that grew very annoying when you were attempting to be stealthy, or simply weren’t prepared to attack. The “Ranged” stance is particularly useful if certain characters aren’t specialized in melee combat (such as characters with blasters or Jedi Consular). Secondly, the menus have been tweaked for convenience as well, mainly by categorizing items under separate titles, so that one isn’t scrolling all up and down trying to locate a particular item [I found this to especially be a problem with data pads]. Third, the character system has been updated to include a slough of new Feats and Force Powers which, of course, add some more fun to combat, but I won’t list them here. Another nifty (but inconsistent) feature is the ability to influence the alignment of your party members during conversation.

Unfortunately, these are about the only good aspects I can congregate for this review. While the aforementioned improvements are welcomed and cause the gameplay to be more manageable, well…shift your eyes below.

The Bad
While the prequel began with an anxious and semi-intriguing, yet short preliminary mission, KOTOR II begins with an optional (and tedious) introductory mission with T3-M4 aboard the torn asunder shell of the Ebon Hawk, with nothing but two unconscious bodies for company. Playing as T3-M4, you roll around the ship making what repairs you can to get the Hawk space worthy again; aka, “A Day in the Life of an Astromech Droid”. Though this mission provides some quaint fun on first-time play, I can’t see myself wanting to play each time I install the game. After skipping or playing through the introduction, your character wakes up in a kolto tank (I guess bacta had yet to be discovered) on a fuel mining asteroid station, wherein the game officially begins. If there were a better metaphor for the game’s overall design and player experience, I’m not a skilled enough writer to think of such.

The design of the game is noticeably inferior to BioWare’s. While the handy yet comparably diminutive mechanical improvements are a good thing, they are a galaxy away from maintaining the quality of the prequel. With the exception of the first character to join your party (and one certain sarcastic and bloodthirsty yet loveable character from KOTOR), the rest of the characters lack any kind of peculiar and/or charming charisma to inspire the player. The characters in the original game were a group of widely varying beings from completely different backgrounds, different alignments, skills and areas of expertise, but each one brought their own useful and appealing element to the game, like any good RPG should possess (or like the Star Wars films). I could barely wait to take each party member with me on different planets/missions and experiment to see what results I would get, or to converse with each one to find out more about their personality and personal history. Instead, you’re given a party of humdrum; boring characters that don’t motivate you to do any of the latter…in fact I would have been ecstatic to dismember most of them with a lightsaber. The game is also riddled with strange and game-stopping bugs (usually contained within conversation triggers) that even the patch failed to repair. The only path around these bugs is to either reload a saved game, or even such seemingly trivial actions as entering a room from a different door where a conversation will take place (?!). With a few notable exceptions (most all of which involve hijinks on the smuggler planet of Nar Shaada), the planets/missions themselves are exercises in pure tedium. Rather than wanting to carry out various trial and error experiments during the missions, I just wanted them to…end.

The plot of the game was truly an unwieldy, shoddy story to be behold. Admittedly, it is in fact difficult to depict the faults without giving away said “plot” (I use that term loosely), something I never take delight in doing, even if I happen to find it to be less than desirable in many facets. I would that guess that it could be compared to the following scenario: if the overrated hack of a director named M. Night Shamaylan was given the opportunity to write and direct a Star Wars film, it would more than likely end up very much like the plot of this game. Much like every other aspect of the game, instead of sitting in front of my monitor with great anticipation of what would unfold, I just wanted it to…end.

The Bottom Line
What we have here is a paradigm example of rushing the development of a game to hit stores shelves in time for the holiday season, something publishers never seem to learn. Not to mention the more detrimental dangers of changing developers in the middle of a series. As another reviewer said, this game has the feel of a buggy, glorified expansion pack, rather than a legitimate sequel in its own right. And in my own opinion, I fail to see how anyone could view this as an “improvement” over the first game. At the very least, it’s the game development equivalent of delivering the script of a notable and reliable director into the hands of college drunk and letting them overhaul said script for their own devices.

This game is worth owning for completist purposes, but I can’t see any other reason for purchasing this tedious, bug-ridden refuse with plot holes the size of the Betelgeuse.

Windows · by HandofShadow (49) · 2006

Obsidian's debut, and a brilliant sequel.

The Good
Being a fan of Black Isle's Fallout and Planescape Torment RPG's I was looking forward to seeing what Obsidian would do, as the company was founded by Black Isle members, as I'm sure your aware. Well it’s a sequel, and it's one of my favourite types of sequel, in the vein of DOOM2, Thief 2, Fallout 2 etc - i.e. essentially more of the same! Using the same engine for a third title in the series would of course be pushing it, but it's all good and proper for another 'once round the block'.

I played Bioware's KOTOR through with a female light-side character so I decided to play the second game with a male dark-side character, and it was a lot of fun, there's always opportunities to be irredeemably evil and belligerent, whenever there's the opportunity to be a pitiful goody two shoes, indeed as some of the dark-side dialogue responses were so funny in the first game I only managed to become a rather weak light-side character early on and it was only with an irritating level of self discipline and tongue biting that I managed to get on in this manner, and I'm pleased to say the laugh out loud responses are still crop up throughout the second game. There's some pretty major branches in the way you choose to solve problems or play throughout events in the story line, both light and dark-side characters will be presented with the same problem, but it's up to you which path you choose, may the force be with you...

The game is in 3D, but you can only look up and down about 30 degrees or so, although doing so often reveals the sheer scale of the surrounding architecture, some 'Wow" moments can be missed if you don't look up every now and then! As previously mentioned the game uses the same engine as the original KOTOR, so there's also no levels above levels, you can't jump over things or crawl under them, or swim - whilst playing the first KOTOR outing this kind of left me longing for the real-time fighting in and out of the scenery(and swimming) of Appeal's beautiful Outcast. These limitations are, however, soon forgotten or hardly noticeable as there is just too much fun to be had(incl. Force Powers), besides the 3D environments do add a good level of immersion, and did I mention that they offer some of the most fun gaming to be had in recent times?

So it's a while until you get a light saber, but patience is a virtue - as is collecting bits and bobs so you can construct one at a workbench. There's workbenches and lab stations dotted throughout the game, both enable the breaking down and creation of items, many items can also be upgraded. There's in engine cutscenes galore, and plenty of FMV sequences, I didn't nearly unlock all of them - as talking to your party members can gain or lose the level of influence you have on them, gain dark side/light side points and experience points and unlock extra background storyline or FMV's. Your party members, be they comrades or mere pawns in your destruction of the galaxy, are all very unique and hail from all walks of galactic life. Every single line in the game is voice acted.

The Bad
Although the game is stated to support Windows 98 on the back cover I experienced numerous and frequent crashes to the desktop, always whilst loading and transitioning to another area of the map, this was with an ATI radeon card the latest patches installed(at time of writing the latest version is 1.0b, it's about 12mb worth of downloading and is available from the LucasArts website). So I played it on XP and this solved the problem, only one crash throughout the majority of the game.

I encountered some other bugs when I first loaded up the game, there was one where the swoop bike got stuck on the roof of the track – but this got fixed in the latest version.

Some of the more 'dungeon-crawly' times can get a little tedious occasionally and the combat become a little easy on the normal difficulty during the latter half, though there is a hard difficulty and mowing down hordes of opponents did really add more to the experience;)

The Bottom Line
A brilliant sequel with lots of happenings to find yourself in as the story progresses, on a par or even better than the original, but do install the patches!

Windows · by Jack Lightbeard (2685) · 2006

[ View all 10 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Re: @#$^$%@#$^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Zovni (10504) Jan 3, 2011
OpenGl Drivers hell.. Scott Monster (986) Apr 25, 2009
@#$^$%@#$^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Scott Monster (986) Apr 20, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cut content

KOTOR2 was originally intended to have a longer more well developed ending involving the rest of your party members. However this was cut out and it is rumoured that Obsidian Entertainment was pressured to finish the game in time for the holiday season by Lucasarts. They were only given a 12 month development timeline.

A part of the cut material was an entire planet inhabited by droids. Unfortunately, the entire planet was cut from the game due to time constraints, making several of HK-47's subquests impossible to complete and leaving a crucial subplot unresolved.

The influence system that was introduced to the KOTOR series in this game was originally going effect the game far more than it did in the final version. Like the HK factory and other things the time constraints forced Obsidian to scrapped most of the consequences of influencing certain characters to the Light or Dark Side. An example is that in the original version if you influenced Atton to the Dark Side he would KILL the Disciple, and if you influenced him to the Light Side he would sacrifice himself to save the Exile and the rest of the Ebon Hawk crew. In the end, because of lack of time, the influence feature did little more than change the characters appearance (if the went to Dark Side) and gave them a little more attitude.

Cut content restoration

Because Obsidian was not allowed to work on the game post-release, fans worked on mods to restore the content. The effort by the modding group Team Gizka failed, but the unrelated project "The Sith Lords Restoration Project" was eventually released in 2009. As of 2012 it reached version 1.7 and is still in further development.

Game start

The events of the original game are relayed from the player to another character, giving the player the option to base the sequel on either ending (and the protagonist's gender) the original game offered.

References

  • At the end of the game when the exile asks Kreia about the future she says something along the lines of "The Mandalorians die out over the course of millenia, until the only relic left of them will be a bounty hunter clad in their armor, killed all too easily by a Jedi. She is referring to Boba or Jango Fett (or both) from the Star Wars movies.
  • If you ask Kreia about what will happen to the Republic in the future, she will claim that the republic will fall over the course of 1000 years. This is referring to Star Wars: Episode III where, 1000 years after KOTOR 2 according to Star Wars continuity, Emperor Palpatine destroys the Republic and reforms it as the Galactic Empire.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – #5 Xbox Game of the Year
    • 2004 – Xbox RPG of the Year
    • 2005 – Best Character of the Year (PC) (for Kreia)
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 02/2006 - #3 RPG/Adventure in 2005
    • Issue 04/2006 - #4 RPG/Adventure in 2005 (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Rambutaan and Zack Green.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Nintendo Switch added by Plok. Xbox One added by Kennyannydenny. iPad, Linux, Android, iPhone, Macintosh added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Rebound Boy, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, tarmo888, MegaMegaMan, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added December 7, 2004. Last modified February 16, 2024.