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

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords
KOTOR II
Developer(s) Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher(s) LucasArts
Release Date(s) Xbox: Microsoft Windows:
Genre(s) Computer role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) ESRB: T
OFLC: G8+
USK: 12+
PEGI: 12+
Platform(s) Xbox, Microsoft Windows
Distribution

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords (KotOR II) is a role playing video game released for the Xbox and Microsoft Windows. The Xbox version of this sequel to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was released on December 6, 2004, while the Windows version was released on February 8, 2005. It was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by LucasArts.

Development

The game is the sequel to BioWare's commercially and critically acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The change of developers came at BioWare's suggestion based on their familiarity with Obsidian Entertainment's previous work,[1] as BioWare was busy developing Jade Empire and started focusing on their own intellectual properties.[2] Development on The Sith Lords started around the same time of Knights of the Old Republic's Xbox release.[3]

The Sith Lords was constructed using an updated version of Knights of the Old Republic's Odyssey game engine, which Obsidian obtained from BioWare Company.[1] BioWare also provided technical assistance to Obsidian's developers.[1] New features include more combat animations and interface scaling.[4]

Producer Chris Avellone in an interview after the game's publication stated that he wished "there had been more time" to work on the game, and that some content -- such as a droid planet -- was cut.[5] Material created for the game but not integrated into it remains in the released source files.[6]

There are three official patches for the game. Two update the quality of the movies and music while the third fixes gameplay issues and introduces additional content.

Story

The game takes place five years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic,[1] in a time when the Jedi have been nearly exterminated by the Sith. The player's character, a former Jedi Knight exiled from the Jedi Order, is referred to as "the Exile" or "Jedi Exile." Throughout the game, the player's character restores a connection to the Force while, with the help of non-player character companions, trying to stop the Sith. The player makes choices that turn the Exile to either the dark side or light side of the Force, and travels to six planets to either help or hinder the Republic's efforts to bring peace and stability to the galaxy. Kill all remaining Jedi Masters (dark side) or persuade them to unite against the Sith (light side).

Characters and locations

See also: List of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic characters

While both The New Essential Guide to Droids[7] and Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide (for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game)[8] refer to the Jedi Exile as "her," the player chooses at the game's beginning whether the Jedi Exile is male or female. The Exile's backstory reveals that the character served under Revan during the Mandalorian War and ordered the activation of a devastating mass shadow generator at the climactic battle over Malachor V. The deaths that ensued created such a substantial "wound" in the Force that the character was forced to sever all connections to Force, and the Jedi Council ordered the character exiled from the Jedi Order. As the game progresses, the Jedi Exile rebuilds a connection to the Force and creates unusually strong Force Bonds with other characters and places.

Among the characters who join the Jedi Exile are Kreia, who acts as the Exile's mentor in a manner akin to Obi-Wan Kenobi or Qui-Gon Jinn;[1] pilot and ex-assassin Atton Rand; Mandalorian War veteran Bao-Dur and his droid remote; the criminal droid G0-T0; and the Sith apprentice Visas Marr. T3-M4 and Canderous Ordo (now identified as "Mandalore"), both featured in the first game, also join the Exile's team. Other characters join the Exile's party only under certain conditions. HK-47, who appears in the first game, joins the quest if the Exile collects and uses the parts necessary to reactivate it. The Wookiee bounty hunter Hanharr joins if the Exile is aligned with the dark side of the Force; Hanharr's competitor, Mira, joins if the Exile is light-aligned or neutral. If the player's character is female, Mical the Disciple can join the player's quest, while Brianna the Handmaiden joins a male Exile.

Enemies include Darth Sion, Darth Nihilus, and Darth Traya. New playable locations include war-ravaged Telos and the orbiting Citadel Station, Onderon and its jungle moon Dxun, Nar Shaddaa and Goto's orbiting yacht, Peragus, the starships Harbinger and Ravager, and Malachor V. Korriban and Dantooine from the original game are revisited. The Ebon Hawk, the main character's ship in the first game, is also the player's transportation in this game.

SWKOTR2 character large

Character menu with Light and Dark side scale.

Partial cast

Character Name Actor/Actress
Kreia Sara Kestelman
Carth Onasi Raphael Sbarge
Malak Rafael Ferrer
Mandalore John Cygan
HK-47/HK-50 Kristoffer Tabori
Brianna, The Last Handmaiden Grey DeLisle
Visas Marr Kelly Hu
Mira Emily Berry
Mical, The Disciple Greg Ellis
Bao-Dur Roger G. Smith
Atton Rand Nicky Katt
G0-T0 Daran Norris
Darth Sion Louis Mellis
Atris Elizabeth Rider

Critical reaction

The game was generally well received by fans and critics alike. Mirroring the success of the first game, The Sith Lords has garnered over thirty-five "Game of the Year" awards.[9] The game received high marks from several reviewers: 8.5/10 from Gamespot, 4.5/5 from Gamespy and 9.3/10 from IGN. Based on 30 professional reviews, Metacritic gave the game an average rating of 85 out of 100,[10] compared to 93 for Knights of the Old Republic.[11] GameSpy called the Kreia character the "Best Character" of 2005.[12] However, the game was criticized for being incomplete due to a rushed deadline.[13]

Patches, upgrades, and modifications

In addition to gameplay patches from Obsidian, the company released a pair of media upgrades to improve soundtrack and full motion video (FMV) quality. The FMV upgrade improves the quality of the in-game pre-rendered videos by increasing their resolution from 640x272 to 1600x680.[14] However, the user's monitor must support at least 1600x1200 or 1680x1050(widescreen) resolutions or the videos will display at 640x272.[15]

The soundtrack, as originally released, is MP3-encoded monaural audio with a 10.9 kHz low-pass filter.[16] Not only was the music not stereo, but most higher frequencies (treble) had been discarded by the filter. Obsidian released an upgrade for the music that presented it in higher fidelity and full stereo.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Developer Interview 2. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2007-08-22.
  2. "Atari Announces Neverwinter Nights 2; Obsidian Entertainment to Develop Sequel to BioWare's Revolutionary Product". Retrieved on 2008-01-14.
  3. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Developer Interview. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2007-08-22. Event occurs at 0:28. "We began development on The Sith Lords right around when the first product came out on the Xbox"
  4. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Developer Interview 2. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2007-08-22. Event occurs at 2:56. "...as you increase the resolution in the game, the interfaces will scale the same way"
  5. "Chris Avellone Interview". Retrieved on 2008-09-04. "I do wish there had been more time and I wished I had had more time to work on the end game, and that was my fault. We did get a lot accomplished in the time we had, and I probably should have cut another planet (the droid planet got the axe). I still think it's a good RPG, we probably should have just made it shorter."
  6. "Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Missing Content". Retrieved on 2007-09-04.
  7. Wallace, Daniel (2006-06-27). The New Essential Guide to Druids. Del Rey. ISBN 0345477596. 
  8. Thompson, Rodney (2008-08-19). Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0786949236. 
  9. "Obsidian game information". Obsidian Entertainment Inc..
  10. "Overview over Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (PC) ratings". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2007-06-29.
  11. "Overview over Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC) ratings". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2007-06-29.
  12. "2005 Game of the Year". GameSpy. Retrieved on 2008-10-02.
  13. Buecheler, Christopher (2005-02-15). "[http://www.gamespy.com/articles/588/588057p1.html The Resident Cynic: A Rush and A Push On KotOR II and the continuing tradition of rushing games out the door]". Gamespy. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  14. Isn't the movie patch totally pointless?, Obsidian Entertainment Forum, October 2006.
  15. Which pathes/fixes for Kotor2?, Obsidian Entertainment Forum, November 2005.
  16. Music is degraded to *MONO* 10kHz @ 48 kbit/s (analysis), Obsidian Entertainment Forum, February 19, 2005.

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