capsule review

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

At a Glance
  • Aspyr Media Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

    Macworld Rating

Star Wars fans looking for a sprawling role-playing challenge need look no further than Aspyr’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

This rich and deep game offers dozens of hours of play in a world populated by lightsabers, wookiees, droids, and everything else you’d expect in a Star Wars game. Knights of the Old Republic takes place four thousand years before Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker enter the picture. The Sith, Star Wars’ resident bad guys, are waging war against the Jedi Knights, protectors of the Republic and all-around hero types.

In typical RPG fashion, you select your gender, character class (soldier, scoundrel, or scout), and physical appearance before you begin playing. At the game’s opening, you’re sent to rescue a captured Jedi warrior, who then recognizes your potential as a Jedi pupil. Eventually, you’ll be initiated into the Jedi order, where you’ll learn important offensive and defensive skills that help you tap into the universal power known as the Force.

Of course, what you do with your power is entirely up to you. Your alignment with the light or the dark side of the Force is mainly determined by your actions—the way you speak with nonplayer characters, the decisions you make, and the quests you pursue. All these things have a profound impact on whether you ultimately become good or evil.

Although Knights of the Old Republic is exclusively a single-player game, you’ll meet AI characters you can invite to join your party. You control each of these characters individually, so you can use each of their unique skills to complete the task at hand.

The game includes plenty of combat, which combines the turn-based strategy of an RPG with the real-time action you’d expect of a fully 3-D game. When your party encounters an enemy, the action pauses so you can tell them what actions to take. Combat then proceeds until one side has won or until you tell your characters to change their strategy or weapon.

Aspyr has set the game’s system requirements rather high. Thanks to some nifty graphical effects, the game requires Panther or later, 256MB of RAM, and at least a 1GHz machine with a DVD drive. Be sure to also download the patch (available from Aspyr’s Web site), which fixes a video problem on eMacs and resolves an autosave issue.

The Bottom Line The sheer abundance of game play and the ability to choose your own destiny make Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic a must-have for Star Wars enthusiasts.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Rich and complex story lines
    • Good character development
    • Unusual combat system

    Cons

    • Mac version costs twice as much as the current Windows and console versions
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