Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic wowed gamers when it released back in 2003, with its expansive and lore-rich adventure offering an exciting look into the expanded Star Wars universe. It has aged really well since then too, which was evident when we published our review of the re-release on the Nintendo Switch late last year (you can check that out through this link). In that review, we mentioned that we hoped that Aspyr would follow it up by bringing the sequel to the console too.
Six months on and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II is now available, offering another stellar experience that in some ways betters the original.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II takes place five years after the events of the first game, with the Sith now dominating the galaxy and steadily wiping out what remains of the Jedi. You take on the role of a Jedi exile, a force user who was previously expelled from the Jedi Order for disobeying commands, as they look to evade capture by the Sith. It’s up to you to help bring the Sith down – or, instead, you could embrace the Dark Side and seek revenge on those who pushed you away.
With the strong cast of characters, wonderful world, and intriguing scenarios you find yourself in, there’s plenty to appreciate about the narrative. It has some of the best writing I’ve seen in any RPG and it’s hard not to find yourself engrossed from start to end. Much like the original, there are a lot of choices to be made in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II that shape how the story progresses. Do you play nice and be friendly to everyone like a true Jedi? Or do you unleash your powers to display your dominance over those around you? You get to play how you like, with your actions bringing with them consequences to the world that help make the game all the more compelling.
It is worth noting that you don’t have to play the original game in order to enjoy the narrative here, with new characters and story threads explored within Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Events from the first game are referenced and there are definitely elements of it that will be spoilt if you play this first, but it’s not essential if you’re only planning on playing through this entry. Admittedly, I think it’s better to play both games anyway, but you won’t be confused as to what’s going on if you only play this.
“There are aspects about the game which I think excel over the original; things like the combat which gives you more freedom from the get-go, the morality system which offers more diversity with the good and bad choices you make, and the overall writing which made characters more likable and memorable.”
Combat feels just like the first game, with your party of three able to use either ranged or melee weaponry as they battle enemies. Players can switch between targets with the shoulder buttons, issue commands, and then watch battles play out in front of them, with the left bumper pausing the action if you want to plot out your attacks. By default, a standard attack is automatically selected when you target an enemy in combat, but you can flick between actions on the UI with the d-pad to use specialist skills, your force abilities, or to use an item. There are some RNG elements in place that dictate how successful your attacks will be, but it never feels unfair or that the odds are stacked against you.
It comes together to make for a fun combat system that offers plenty of strategy but without ever feeling overbearing. Whilst some enemies might require a different approach than others, I never felt like I was ill-prepared for battle or that my party didn’t have the necessary skills to handle any situation. Of course, there were plenty of occasions where I died and had to re-evaluate my approach, but it was never frustrating. Even newbies to the RPG genre should feel comfortable here, with nothing about the combat mechanics feeling too convoluted or intimidating.
It’s all complemented by a levelling up system that offers plenty of diversity to players. Whilst you’ll pick an initial class that has set stats and abilities to begin with, levelling up allows you to upgrade their attributes, skills, and feats, with each improving different aspects of how your character feels to play. Attributes focuses on individual stats such as strength or intelligence, skills improve how you handle outside of combat (whether that’s hacking computer systems, healing, or sneaking, just to name a few), whilst feats offer specific boosts across all aspects of your character. I might have made it sound a bit more complicated than it is (and there is plenty for players to mess around with), but it’s an easy system to handle that really lets players fine-tune their skillset. You’ll be able to play EXACTLY how you want to play, with a ton of flexibility and diversity on offer across the board. And hey, if you don’t want to mess around too much, you can auto-level to adjust to your class too – you can be as involved with the process as you want to be.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
In many ways, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II feels just like the first game, which can only be a good thing. However, there are aspects about the game which I think excel over the original; things like the combat which gives you more freedom from the get-go, the morality system which offers more diversity with the good and bad choices you make, and the overall writing which made characters more likable and memorable. Admittedly, it does feel a little less epic in scale when compared to the first game, but in other areas it shines.
That being said, it has always been known that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II did leave a lot on the cutting room floor and there are areas of the game where that shows. However, free DLC has been promised for the future that adds extra areas, story details, and player interactions, so here’s hoping it fills in a lot of the gaps that PC mods did in the past. If I’m being completely honest, I would have rather seen the game launch with the DLC included – it might even be worth waiting for it before getting stuck into this release, especially since it’s meant to restore a lot of extra content.
Once again, Aspyr have pulled off a fantastic Nintendo Switch port, with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II offering a steady frame rate, a slick resolution that remains sharp when playing handheld, and short loading times that don’t keep you out of the action for too long. It’s easy to read the text when playing handheld too, which is important given that it’s a story-heavy experience. It also holds up well visually across the board, and whilst it’s clear that this is a game that came out in the early 2000s, it never looked like a relic that belonged in the past.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II Review
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II brings another brilliant old-school Star Wars RPG experience to the Nintendo Switch, and, much like the original, it has certainly stood the test of time. Sure, the visuals can feel dated in places, but the excellent writing, enjoyable combat, and freedom to shape your character and story ensure that it still remains essential playing in 2022.
Developer: Aspyr, Obsidian Entertainment
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC