Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (KOTOR II), in traditional Star Wars episodic fashion, takes place after the events of the first game and remains canonical to the overarching Star Wars plot line. The plot is loaded with political intrigue, a storyline seeped in Star Wars lore, and the introduction to races that haven’t even been brushed upon in the films. If there’s anything the KOTOR series of games is good at, it’s exploring the deep lore of the Star Wars universe, and I’m here for it.
The player in KOTOR II is an unnamed ungendered Jedi Exile who was banished from the order due to abandoning the Jedi way and following Revan into the Mandalorian Wars. The plot line is filled with Mad Libs style storytelling, where the player can choose the who, what, where, when, why and how the Exile reacts to scenarios. This is the true beauty of KOTOR storytelling, the ability to choose your own adventure.
The Exile’s choices affect the storyline tremendously, and as a new mechanic in the series, the main characters’ choices directly affect the companions that follow the Exile. If the leader of the Mandalorians suggests the Exile side with a warmongering General Vaklu over Queen Talia, and the Exile sides with the Queen, Mandalore will lose confidence in the Exile for making ‘bad’ decisions.
Even the droid, T3-M4 is seeping in personality, and quips directed at the droid never receiving a memory wipe become an ongoing gag for the cast. The voice acting for the cast is PHENOMENAL, especially Kreia, her voice sounds riddled with fatigue and wisdom. Imagine ‘grizzled Jedi veteran,’ and her voice would assuredly show up. The Exile can also push companions so far that they outright leave or attack the exile.
This also applies when having two companions that dislike each other travel with you. They may bicker back and forth with distaste, adding more flavour to the dialogue sections of KOTOR II. This is an amazing concept that is executed incredibly well, and the title holds well even after the two decades since release. You can even have certain party members become Jedi in their own right, which is an awesome feature.
The attention to detail and deep lore is where KOTOR II: The Sith Lords becomes a Rancor to be reckoned with. The title seamlessly guides the player into its universe, even those that have not played the first title by supplementing interactions with highlights of events from KOTOR. This serves as a solid reminder of what happened without feeling cumbersome. Having a diverse cast, reintroducing members of the first title and expanding their personalities, and deepening the lore are elements that fuse to create one of the best 1-2 punches in Star Wars storytelling to date.
“The attention to detail and deep lore is where KOTOR II: The Sith Lords becomes a Rancor to be reckoned with.”
Obsidian’s initial ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,’ attitude on the combat is apparent, as it remains largely the same as the first game, albeit cleaned up a ton for this Nintendo Switch port. Combat flows much better and retains a certain tactical/real time aspect to it. You can have an engineer fracture an opponent’s shields, while the Exile goes in for a huge power blow.
Selecting combat options while having the game paused with LB, allows your squad to bulldoze enemy confrontations with ease. Working with all three player-controlled characters is the key to victory in combat, and the seamless transition in the heat of the moment works admirably.
The Ebon Hawk ship returns from the first title, and functions as a great base of operations, a modicum of transportation, and a world hub. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords the Exile can talk to squad mates, create items, upgrade equipment, and advance certain side quests, such as installing extra components in the HK-47 murder droid that has seemingly been left behind by the previous owner. This is world hub 101, everything works amazingly here, and there are some segments where combat must happen on the Ebon Hawk, and it doesn’t feel cramped or downright awful.
With all the excellence Knights of the Old Republic II brings, there are some downfalls. The game doesn’t autosave often enough, and there’s a massive problem where the title ejects the player out of the game on Nintendo Switch, and it shuts down ‘due to an unexpected error.’ This closes the title and can lose precious time the player spent making progress.
This error happens often, but can luckily be combatted by saving constantly, which I would highly recommend if you’re playing on Nintendo Switch. The mini-games, such as the swoop bike races, and turret sections are clumsy and remain feeling unfinished. But besides port issues, and general bugs — which there are now far less of, but still exist — the title stands the test of time far better than its predecessor.
“Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic II: The Sith Lords is a love letter to Star Wars fans everywhere.”
Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic II: The Sith Lords is a love letter to Star Wars fans everywhere. This has consistently remained one of the best RPGs ever made, especially for Star Wars aficionados, even 20 years later. However, the Nintendo Switch port still faces general issues like framerate chugging, error messages that eliminate progress and repetitive dialogue. These issues are far from game breaking, and shouldn’t deter those wishing to try out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords on Nintendo Switch.