Yeah, I suck. But it was thrown together in five minutes. My desk has gotten tidier since when I took that, though.

And now, because nobody demanded it and I needed an update, my short review of KOTOR 2. With pictures! Oooh! Aaah!

This is just a brief, capsule review, so bear with me. Also, there are spoilers. But to begin with, I play Light Side because I prefer to roleplay and actually get a feel for a game, compared to the Dark Side approach of killing things and being an arse.

The good of this game? The cast, as a whole, are far more interesting than the last lot. Atton is a lot more likeable than Carth and has the advantage of being force-sensitive, and the “Moody Jedi Bitch” role is filled by both Kriea and the Handmaiden (Until she gets to know you). HK-47 is back and tends to talk back and make sarcastic comments a lot more often compared to the first game. T3-M4 actually has some uses and can kick serious arse (He takes down three Hk-50 units solo). Mira is pretty fun to use (What with having a portable rocket launcher) and is double the fun since she can be trained as a Jedi. The only characters I didn’t like that much were Bao-Dur (Who I never really got to know) and Visas (Who was a dull, dull character). G0-T0 wasn’t a bad character per-se, he was just very irritating.
Since I was a light-sider, I managed to get both the Handmaiden and Mira trained as jedi, and proceeded to apply whup-ass in large amounts. People may go on about how hard the End Game segments are, but I proceeded to kill everything horribly. Three level 20+ Jedi with Force Lighting/Storm and Master Heal tend to make a mess of everything, and to be honest, if they had been with me in Trayus Academy it would have been almost laughably easy. Due to a rather amusing glitch that allows me to max-out my level, I may go through again and try my luck at level 50. :D

The plot is nice, too. The Exile’s story is slightly more plausible than that of Revans, and the nods and links to the end of Knights of the Old Republic are enough to give the story coherence. You do see Bastilla, and Carth, and Jolee has a few items name after him (And a great piece of dialogue – Talk to the Handmaiden about love, you’ll see). Canderous shows up for the party, and the droids are back. The only ones who aren’t referenced are Mission, Zalbar and Juhani, but a lot of people won’t care as aside from T3-M4 they are perhaps the most disliked characters in the game. ‘specially Zalbaar, stupid wookie.
The basic gist is after the Mandalorian Wars (Which Revan had finished pre-KOTOR), after the horrific final battle of Malachor V, the sheer amount of death and carnage wreaked cut you from the Force. As the sole Jedi survivor (The other Force users had turned to the Dark Side), you stood before the Council who sentenced you to exile, which you accepted. Now you’ve returned to reconnect yourself with the Force, understand why the Council really exiled you and to stop the rising Sith threat. By the application of whup-ass, Dominate Mind, a few credits here and there and a slave bikini from ROTJ (Woohoo!), you accomplish all these, as well as make yourself money, visit interesting places and influence people. And occasionally kill people in interesting ways.

The game tends to focus a lot more on the action and the main quest rather than side-quests like the last game, since the main side quests (The casts backstories) have been removed in favour of the Influence system. You say/do things a character likes, you gain influence. More influence you have, the further you can delve into a characters past. In the cases of Atton, the Disciple, the Haindmaiden and Mira, you can train them as Jedi if you have enough influence. Oh, and Bao-Dur too. Whilst it makes it harder, it does encourage a second run through to get to know your party better.

The problems? It’s not hard. I never died once throughout the whole game, and never lost a character (Except once, on Telos). Even the final “area” (Trayus Academy) is a walk in the park compared to the absolutely horrendous Star Forge in the first game. I will admit Darth Trayus is a bit tough, but no more than Malak was. The only difficult bits is knowing how to gain Influence with the rest of the cast. Know that, and if you play your cards right you can get a pair of jedi early on (Kriea doesn’t count, she has one hand). Get three Jedi, and there’ll be nothing in this game that can stop you.

The game is also filled with glitches, bugs and errors. So was the first to be fair, but this even more so. This is really not the devs fault, more the fault of LucasArt for rushing them. Since they were rushed, they left out a sizeable chunk of the game (The HK-50 “factory”) and with it, some hilarious scenes involving HK-47 playing interrogator (“Command : You will talk!”). This is really disapointing, as it would have led to more HK-47 based hilarity, but odds are it’ll never see the light of day now.

The final problems? The length. It’s short. Perhaps shorter than the first, perhaps because the final planet isn’t from Hell like the Star Forge. But the lack of side quests, the ease in which most enemies are killed (Trayus is the only enemy in the game that is difficult. Sion was tough, and so was Nihillius, but they’re very beatable) and the sad fact the only really difficult area was when you find the Secret Tomb, as when you’re Light Side your force points don’t regenerate and some of the battles are against large numbers of opponents, does make the game feel slightly rushed.
Something I did notice, that few worlds (Telos and maybe Nar Shadda) are as long as the counterparts in KOTOR 1. They seem to be about half to two-thirds the length. This is, of course, a bad thing.

The ending is a bit depressing as well, but if you’ve played through the game you’ll understand why it goes that way. What made it worse is apparently a substantial chunk was axed (Apparently a scene involving Mira, Atton, the Haindmaiden or Disciple and Visas going up against Darth Trayus only to have the snot beaten out of them) which does detract from the ending overall. Though I must admit, flying off into the unknown whilst Malachor V self-destructs has a certain style.

Overall? A good game. One on the level of Knights of the Old Republic, certainly, and in some ways is ahead of it’s predecessor. But if more time was taken, then perhaps the game would truly outrank its forerunner.