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Knights of the Old Republic Review - Xbox

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Knights of the Old Republic has been anticipated by quite some time, and with good reason. Developed by the strong force of Lucasarts, and the current RPG champions, Bioware, the game was one RPG and Star Wars fans have been waiting for a long time. Its not often a "non-traditional" (swords, spells, etc) sci-fi RPG appears, and combining this with the ever-popular Star Wars franchise is a dream that has kept many a nerd awake long hours in eager anticipation! Appearing on Xbox, and now also PC, Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) definitely doesn't disappoint on any count, and sets new standards for both game storytelling, and RPG across all platforms.

The storyline starts impressively enough. Set many centuries before the current "sextology" (is that even a word? :-) ) of movies, the Jedi and Sith armies are both at their peaks. The insidious Dark Lord Revan and Darth Malak lead the army of the Sith as they try and conquer the galaxy, and attempt to drive the Jedi to extinction once again. The battle that has raged for thousands of years continues, Light and Dark, Jedi and Sith. The resources of Malek and Revan seem limitless, unusually so in fact. Just how have they managed to gather such a large force in such a short time to rival the Jedi Republic? And what of the mysterious Star Forge that seems to guide them?

The main part of the game begins with a major battle between the Jedi Bastila and Darth Revan on the Endar Spire. After the battle, the ship disintegrates, you are forced into an escape-pod landing, and everything goes blank. Finding yourself on Taris, blanketed by a Sith imposed embargo, you're effectively stranded. Reports surface that Bastilla has been captured, and with her resides possibly the only chance against the Sith - her powerful Battle Meditation. Your first task is to track her down, and then get on to more important things such as defeating Malek and driving the Sith back.

With an intricate plot, and large number of sub-quests, KOTOR has many many hours of gameplay and is one of the longest games I've completed in a while. Some 55 hours it took to solve the mystery of the Star Forge, completing the majority of the side quests. There probably is more depending how you want to play it out. There is also the option to play through again playing a Dark Side character, or vice versa - but whether gamers will want to play through the entire game again is debatable.

Gameplay

KOTOR combines RPG elements with the Stars Wars universe brilliantly. It picks up the usual stats system, and you can choose which class you wish to specialise in: "Scoundrel", "Scout", or "Soldier", your appearance, and male or female. Also available are a number of Force Powers and general Skills to choose from, which can be gained at each level up. The ... (continued next page)