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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for iPad is just as good as the original

Chris Holt | May 31, 2013
To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of its original release, Knights of the Old Republic--arguably the greatest Star Wars game of all time--has been ported to the iPad, and is now available on the App Store for $10.

Speaking of enemies, the characters of KOTOR are memorable and diverse, from the mouthy assassin droid you acquire to the absent-minded "gray" Jedi you befriend. The plot shines due to the details--even the small side quests have interesting twists, turns, and character arcs. You'll constantly want to check in with your comrades to see how they're taking the latest event as well as has help them along throughout their own quests; and after hours of battling with them, KOTOR succeeds in getting you to care about these characters and their struggles.

Graphically, KOTOR still looks fairly impressive on the iPad. It's hard to compare it to how it looked in 2003, but to my eyes Aspyr deserves credit for making the characters look distinctive and the flash of a lightsaber as beautiful as it should be.

But KOTOR definitely shows its age when it comes to the game's environments. The game initially feels like you're talking to a lot of people in empty rooms, and it made me appreciate how far Bioware has come in introducing larger set pieces and more detailed environments in the last ten years. For example, the first area that you'll play through is Taris, which takes several hours to complete. But from its sewers to its cityscape, it never really accomplishes anything beyond generic science fiction, and too many quests are of the fetch variety. Like many Star Wars games, most of the beginning hours are a drudgery of awkward blaster battles, which is a major shortcoming. Let's face it: the wow-factor of the galaxy far, far away is the space wizards with their laser swords--the sooner you acquire them, the more fun you have.

After slogging through the initial stage, your cast of party members quickly grows, you get your lightsaber, and instead of having a bunch of awkward shooting matches, you suddenly have a party of badass Jedi warriors going on adventures. By hour five, not only do the stories and characters begin to really blossom, but I was geeking out on the novelty of having a ship, a crew, and the option to fly to several planets to complete quests at my leisure.

Bottom line
While people often have said that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was the game that finally realized the potential for the Star Wars universe, that's not true: KOTOR is way better written than most of the Star Wars films. If you missed KOTOR the first time it came out, or never had the hardware to run it, you owe it to yourself to check out easily one of the best RPGs of all time, and yes, likely the best Star Wars game, too.

 

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