Aaaaand we’re back! I know, I know: it’s been awhile. Blame Celebration even if it was a delightful time but hey! We’re here again and that’s what counts. We’re kicking things off with the final step in this KOTOR journey and playing Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. It’s not just the standard game though. Oh no. I’m playing the modded version for the first time ever! For those who don’t know, KOTOR2 was basically rushed into stores and was never properly finished but much of the unfinished content was still on the discs… or something. (Honestly, I don’t really know what I’m talking about with coding stuff.) What I do know is that people have been working pretty much ever since to build a mod that would restore that unfinished content into the game and that the mod was available when KOTOR2 was finally made available for Mac via Steam a few years ago. (That was such a great day.) I figured this project was a good time to play through the game with the cut content for the first time and, well, here we are!
The game starts with you waking up in a bacta tank on a mining station in the middle of nowhere. Oh wait and no one else is there except for all of the dead people and the homicidal droids. How could this possibly get any worse? (It gets worse.) Between the not-actually-dead creepy old lady and all the droids trying to kill you and the definitely not a protocol droid who is also trying to kill you and the Sith Lord who sleeps with vibroblades… not a great day. And this is on top of you being a former Jedi who was Exiled from the Order after the Mandalorian Wars.
KOTOR2 is generally viewed as being an inferior game to the first one but it is highly superior when it comes to the first planet. Peragus kept me far more engaged than Taris. The game makes you work for it a little more and doesn’t give you tons in terms of weapons although I’ve a newfound respect for the plasma torch’s effectiveness against doors and also droids. What also helps this first act is the sense of mystery as you try and figure out what the heck happened and why you’re even there. It’s has way less of the level grinding, ‘oh hey meet your team’ feel that the first game did. (And yes, the cameo from my Space Husband Admiral Carth Onasi definitely helped.)
Speaking of Space Husbands or rather On The Side Casual Space Boyfriends, we get to meet Atton Rand in the mining facility and I could have sworn that his first line to you is “Are you an angel?” but perhaps the mod changed that. Tragically. Atton definitely took his initial cues from Han Solo but he’s hardly a character clone. The game lets you know that very early on with his intuition and bad feelings. I can’t wait until I get to play through more of the game and unlock his dark and tragic backstory. Oh and on a personal note? A friend of mine made an Atton costume for our KOTOR group and it’s downright unsettling how many of the things Atton says sound like they could’ve come out of my friend’s mouth. It’s insane.
Speaking of insane, it’s probably worth mentioning Kreia and Sion who clearly have history and who are both creepy in their very own delightful ways. I love how the game sets up Kreia as being all knowing but also has her be dealt a defeat so early in the game. (Plus it checks off the obligatory hand loss part of a Star Wars story.)
While this might not be a Bioware game, it was fashioned after one and enjoys making your make painful decisions. You get to make one at the end of the Peragus part of the game: shoot at the asteroids as a tactic against the Sith or don’t shoot at them and potentially die sooner. It’s one that bites you in the butt not too much later.
Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time playing the first KOTOR game and I’m a little more removed from Mass Effect but so far? The Sith Lords is holding up very well and I’m super excited to keep on playing. Next up…I think it’s a planet that I don’t actually love as much but at least Atris will be there in the end.