Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Despite the richness of its storylines, amazingly detailed environments and massive public appeal, the world of Star Wars seems to find it very difficult to translate into the world of videogames.
That is until recently, when BioWare released Knights of the Old Republic for the Xbox home console. Since then, this game has rapidly worked its way to the top of the pile of Star Wars games. Not, admittedly, a very hard task, but it has also become regarded as one of the finest adventure games and scooped over 100 awards. Thankfully, the Mac version is every bit as good as the original. If you already know about Knights of the Old Republic then you need read no further. Go out and buy it – the only proviso we would add is that you should have a G5 if you want to run it properly. If you have a G4 then you really need a high-end graphics card to get it going.
Your efforts will be rewarded
It’s well worth the effort to get this game up and running, though. You start out by choosing one of three different classes: Guardian, Sentinel and Consular, and which class you choose decides which Force Powers you get to develop. These Force Powers are what make you a Jedi – or not, as the case may be. By far the biggest feature of this game is its open-ended morality system. Your character starts out with a blank slate, and depending upon your actions, will slowly gravitate to the dark or light side of The Force. Throughout the game you will be presented with situations that have a number of outcomes. A standard bounty hunter mission can see you paying off a debt to free characters from their burden, capturing them, or killing other bounty hunters. It is this sheer wealth of options that provides the game with wide scope and plenty of replay value.
You can always float around in the middle, a bit like a liberal of the Star Wars universe, but the game rewards players with the courage of their convictions, and holier-than-thou Jedis will find it much harder to use Force Powers reserved for the dark side and vice versa. Choosing a side also affects the physical characteristics of your character – constantly follow the dark path and be prepared to gain some nasty physical deformities.
I find your lack of faith disturbing…
It’s not all about the mystical force, though. You’ll also have to be a dab hand with a lightsabre or good old-fashioned blaster if you want to progress. Which brings us to the combat. You can develop your own style by choosing weapons at will. Star Wars purists will want a lightsabre by their side, which can be powered up using crystals. However, it is also possible to create a Jedi skilled only in using blasters, although such a thing does seem to border on blasphemous. The combat itself is a joy to behold thanks to some stunning visuals. Fighting is a mixture of real-time and turn-based movements. As you move you and your team members around you can then pause the game to issue combat commands.
Speaking of team members, you will meet nine of them throughout the game and can keep up to two in your team at any one time. This may seem like a limited amount, but the joy of this system is that each character is given the same depth as your main character and each one has their own story to tell.
Almost everything about this game is perfect. The character development is superb; the combat is exceptional; the environments convincing… heck, even the story is better than the last two films. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, this is by far the best adventure game you can buy, but if you’re a Star Wars freak, then this is as good as any game can get.