Tamriel, Wasteland, galaxy all saved

I just finished Knights of the Old Republic, which, I remind you, is just $10 on Steam.  As you can see, I am one light-sided dame.  I gave in at the end and wore the goofy Jedi robes, losing 4 defense, because I foolishly followed the game’s recommendation and got Force Stasis, which not only doesn’t work with armor, but gets rid of Stun which does.

kotor dao
The Light Side makes you sparkly

The ending is good– mostly intense combat.  (Spoilers ahead.)  I defeated the final battle droids very easily, but to make up for this the fight with Darth Malak was quite hard, since I couldn’t do anything to the imprisoned Jedi, so he had his full nine lives.  I’d still say he was rather overconfident, but Sith managment skills do not emphasize reflection on one’s mistakes, or even frankness from subordinates.

Annoyingly, though so far as I can see I said all the right things to Bastila, she wouldn’t abandon the dark side.  Also Carth just wouldn’t warm up to me, perhaps because his son ended up dead, the poisonous little Sith punk.

Some of the best later dialog is from Jolee, the disgrunted old guy you meet on Kashyyyk.  Mission is fun too.  And perhaps the most interesting decisions to make are found at the Sith Academy.  You’re in a tricky position: to defend the light side you have to not only pose as a Sith but gain prestige in Sithy ways.  On the other hand, I figured that even for the persnickety Jedi, Sith are always in season.

I didn’t try the dark side path, but the game gives you a fairly clever dark side motivation for defeating Malak in pretty much the same ways if you were good: you want to supplant the dude.   It’s certainly a starker and more satisfying choice than the one at the end of Mass Effect.

On the whole the game is well balanced… combat remains fun; the dialogs are well done; the party members are all attractive enough that I wanted to spend some time with each of them.  Some of the non-combat skills are severely under-utilized though.  I used computer a few times, stealth not much, repair almost never.  Hacking was more interesting in Fallout 3, but less annoying than in Mass Effect.

Now I’m tempted to watch the original trilogy again, for the first time since it came out.  You may place your bets now as to whether this will be great fun or a huge disappointment.