Originally released on the Xbox just under ten years ago, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic ($9.99) is considered by many to be the best Star Wars game ever released, and those who don’t agree with that would at least put it among the best. A big reason why the game succeeded so massively is that instead of inventing their own systems, Bioware leaned heavily on the existing d20-based Star Wars tabletop RPG. This becomes more and more apparent in the game as you go through character creation and then experience the round-based combat which is limited by the number of actions you can take each turn just like a tabletop game.
You can have two other party members accompany you through your adventure, and KOTOR was among the earliest games to feature all sorts of branching dialog trees complete with a morality system that not only influenced conversations, but also which party members you could have as well as the actual ending of the game itself. Admittedly, it seems a little dated now, with most of these choices landing on the two extremes of the “Light" and “Dark" side of the force, but it’s still cool to see in action.
Like any good RPG, there’s also all sorts of side elements such as mini-games that involve racing, a Star Wars-ish version of blackjack, and sometimes you’ll even need to man a cannon to shoot down enemy fighters when travelling from planet to planet.
As far as where KOTOR lands on the Star Wars timeline, it actually takes place 4,000 years before The Empire was even a thing. The bad guy in question is a dude named Malak, who is not only an Ex-Jedi but also, of course, a Dark Lord of the Sith. You’re on the hunt for something called the “Star Forge" which is said to be the source of Malak’s power. A large part of the game is both searching for and learning about the mysteries of this device.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic absolutely ripped it up on Metacritic, rocking a overall 94 in its original Xbox release. Since then the game has been ported a bunch, and the iPad is its most recent resting place. We’ve yet to really sink our teeth into the game yet, but an exclusive IGN review from this morning seems mostly positive aside from the somewhat predictable control issues that occur when you take a game originally designed for a controller and apply it to a touchscreen.
We’re going to be playing through KOTOR today, so stay tuned for some more in-depth coverage including a review and a TA Plays video.