It has been eighteen years since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic first came out, but my love for the game hasn’t waned in that time. It’s one I actually come back to every couple of years for a fresh playthrough, which is something that will be even easier to do with the game’s release on the Nintendo Switch. Sure, it might be coming to the PlayStation 5 in the form of a fancy new remake sometime in the future, but SOMETIMES you just want to play the original, right?
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic takes place around 4000 years before the events of the movies, so you shouldn’t expect to see iconic faces here. That doesn’t mean that the Sith and Jedi aren’t still at war though, with a Sith Lord known as Darth Malak unleashing his forces upon the Galactic Republic. Playing as a customisable Jedi and joined by a varied group of allies, players head out on an adventure to bring down the Sith, with the choices made along the way determining if you follow the light or dark side of the force.
The game’s narrative is engaging throughout thanks to the interesting characters you encounter and the well-written script, whilst there are plenty of details to be found on the adventure that will keep a big smile on the faces of hardcore Star Wars fans. The choices you make along the way feel significant too, ensuring that the player truly does shape how events pan out in the game and what ending they’ll get.
Personally? I’ve always been a bit of a b*****d when playing the game and let the dark side dictate my choices, but hey, it’s just as fun to be a squeaky-clean hero too. Either way, it’s a meaningful adventure that’s packed to the brim with lore and extras for the player to discover, so it’s easy to keep invested in the epic journey from start to end.
“The choices you make along the way feel significant too, ensuring that the player truly does shape how events pan out in the game and what ending they’ll get.”
Given that the game is eighteen years old, players shouldn’t expect a modern RPG experience with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic that’s packed with fancy bells and whistles. That’s not to say that it’s bad in any way though, with the old-school RPG gameplay still holding its own today. Your party can use both ranged and melee weaponry as they battle enemies, with the player simply selecting targets, choosing the attacks they want to perform, and then battling it out. It isn’t action-based so you won’t have to mash buttons as you fight, though you can choose different abilities, throw grenades, or heal characters, so there’s plenty to keep you involved in each showdown. Interestingly, there are both light and dark force powers for players to unlock for the main character, which really allows you to embrace your alignment perfectly – will you Force Push your way around like a Jedi, or will you Force Choke like a Sith? It’s up to you, with the variety offered ensuring there’s plenty of different ways to approach battling.
It comes together to make for a fun, albeit simple, combat system that offers enough room for strategy without ever feeling too overbearing. Even newbies to the RPG genre should feel comfortable here, with nothing about the combat mechanics feeling too convoluted or intimidating. You can even auto-level in the game if you’re worried about your stat allocation, whilst multiple difficulty settings ensure that those who just want to experience the story can do so with minimal threat from foes.
“Interestingly, there are both light and dark force powers for players to unlock for the main character, which really allows you to embrace your alignment perfectly – will you Force Push your way around like a Jedi, or will you Force Choke like a Sith?”
Whilst not in combat, players will explore a variety of familiar locales that bring with them NPCs to interact with, treasure to find, and side quests to complete. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic features a meaty world that’s packed with things to do, whilst the areas you explore are expansive and offer plenty to see. As mentioned, it’s a lore and text heavy game, so it’s nice that it has a sizable world to spread it all across. I suppose the only real caveat is that there’s a lot of backtracking across areas that can take a while due to their size, but hey, you probably won’t mind too much when you’re scouring through the likes of iconic locations such as Kashyyyk or Tatooine, especially since there’s plenty to discover in each area. There are even mini-games to play along the way, which adds a fun action-orientated twist to the slower pace of the other elements of the game’s design.
It’s clear then that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is still a great game to play, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not dated in a lot of ways. This is especially evident with the visuals, which certainly look like they belong in a game from 2003. That’s not to say that it’s an ugly game and there have been some enhancements made here and there to ensure it’s better looking than its original Xbox counterpart (the consistent frame rate is a plus too), but some sketchy character models and iffy textures can stand out in places. That being said, you won’t notice it so much if you’re playing on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode, so maybe it won’t be so noticeable anyway.
Oh, and a quick note: the text is perfectly clear when playing handheld, so that’s never an issue. I was worried that it might be a problem given that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a text-heavy game, but everything was big enough and clear throughout.
“Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic features a meaty world that’s packed with things to do, whilst the areas you explore are expansive and offer plenty to see.”
My favourite thing about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the Nintendo Switch is the fact that I get to play the game conveniently on a handheld. I know, I know, it has been available on mobile for a while, but I prefer the convenience of having a proper control stick and buttons, as well as a dedicated handheld console to play on that won’t have phone calls or text messages pinging through. The game is eighteen years older than it was when I first played it, but I am too, which means I don’t always have quite as much time to play games as I used to. Being able to play an all-time classic like this on the Nintendo Switch is all the more convenient then, with the port an impressive one that doesn’t falter or hinder the experience in any way.
The only thing that felt awkward was the controls, but even they were fine for the most part. It was mainly the targeting system that felt clumsy, with it often difficult to pinpoint the enemy you want to hit or object in the environment you want to interact with. It’s something players will get used to after a few hours play, though there were still occasions where I’d clumsily interact with the wrong object after spending twenty-hours with the game.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Review
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has aged well over the last eighteen years, with the adventure still proving as enjoyable now as it was in 2003. It feels great to play on the Nintendo Switch too, even if the controls can be a little clumsy in places and the visuals are dated, though that latter issue is one you won’t notice so much when playing handheld.
Whether you’re a returning player or embarking on the journey for the first time, you’re sure to have a good time with this impressive port of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Here’s hoping Aspyr Media keep up the pace with their Star Wars releases and bring the sequel to the console too…
Developer: Aspyr, Bioware
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC