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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II Switch Review – Nostalgia Force Awakens

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The force is awake and thriving this year. With all the new shows, comics, and games, one can’t help but be excited as a Star Wars fan. Despite the many Star Wars games that we have played over the years, there is one fan favorite that stands out from the rest. The Knights of the Old Republic games were innovative for their time, and most would consider them to be the blueprint for a successful RPG.

It allowed Star Wars fans to assume the role of a Jedi or a Sith Lord, make character decisions, and really get a completely original Star Wars experience. If you never got a chance to play the original and its sequel, or if you’re looking for a nostalgia trip on a handheld device, look no further. Developer Aspyr has reignited this classic flame with their latest port installment of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords for Nintendo Switch.

Aspyr (pronounced Aspire) is no stranger to converting beloved Star Wars games onto the Nintendo Switch. They have been consistently porting over classic games such as the original Knights of the Old Republic, Republic Commando, Jedi Academy, The Force Unleashed, and more. They have done a great job with the previous titles and I’m glad to say that they have continued the streak with this one. Knights of the Old Republic II is completely the same game that the fans have come to love, and being portable on the Nintendo Switch just enhances the experience for new and old fans of the series.

KOTOR II was originally released by developer Obsidian Entertainment under publishing from LucasArts in 2004. After the critical acclaim of the original game, the sequel expanded upon the same format but also provided some changes that enhanced the games features and overall experience. Many of the features are the same, but your character based options and choices are what make this game truly unique. Most regard the story of KOTOR II to be one of the best Star Wars narratives out there and if you are a Star Wars fan then you must experience this game. This is a game that exists outside of the realm of the Skywalker Saga and allows you to explore the immersive universe and characters.

The game is a stand-alone sequel that takes place five years after the first game and about 4,000 years before The Phantom Menace. The Sith Lords have hunted the Jedi to the brink of extinction and have nearly destroyed the Old Republic. It is up to you, a lone Jedi struggling to reconnect with the force, that may be the answer to its salvation. Gather a team of diverse allies and make your way through the galaxy, making choices that have far-reaching consequences, not only for yourself but your team as well. The choices you make will determine the fate of the Old Republic, and your path into restoring or destroying it.

At the start of the game, you must choose your character and Jedi class type. You have the choice between  a male or female human Jedi, along with varying character abilities based on the type you choose. The Jedi class types are Guardian, Sentinel, and Consular. I would recommend Guardian and Sentinel if you are new to KOTOR or its been a while since you’ve played this series. Consular Jedi are more advanced in force specific powers and require less training in combat. Be mindful on what you use your resources on and how you build the characteristics of your Jedi. They will play a role in how you influence others, including your team. The controls on the Switch take a little time to get used to but it’s pretty much straight forward. There are no touchscreen capabilities but the graphics and controls transfer over smoothly onto the Switch’s interface.

The menu screen has a lot of options and information which some might find a little overwhelming. This is what I believe to be one of the most important assets to your playing and something you must always be focusing on as you progress. Press the plus button to access the hub and see your equipment such as armor, weapons, tools and how much damage or help they can provide. You have your inventory where you can store items to craft or use to open or repair things. There is a character option in the menu where you can see your stats and upgrade your character’s abilities in multiple ways. You can view characters on your team as well as view a journal of entries from your progress through the story. Lastly, there is a location map but you can also view a little piece of it in the top right corner outside of the menu. You can of course save at any point in the options menu, which is something I highly recommend, being that this game as some glitches currently.

The combat system is round-based and pretty much a numbers game of attacks and reactions. As you upgrade your gear and abilities, be aware of the stats and how they face certain opponents. The best thing is that you can access your weapons list at any point and attack with ranged or close contact weapons mid-fight. The game requires you to be strategic with all your interactions, and be mindful of exactly what you have in your arsenal. There are many tactics and skill-based guides available to dedicated fans online. Being that this game is a reformatted version of the original, all the sources for progression will still apply to the Nintendo Switch version.

The level of freedom is astounding in this game. It may not have the same graphics as modern titles but there is something nostalgic and fresh about playing this game on the Switch. There are many locations and worlds to explore, each with unique character back stories and items to find. The choices you make and the team you gather are unique to your play styles and no two experiences are going to be exactly the same. The replay value on this game is incredibly high and I think that is going to be a major selling point, but be warned that this game requires time, patience and about 50 hours or more to really complete. Currently there are some glitches that might prevent you from totally completing it, but I’m sure Aspyr will have an update at some point soon so I wouldn’t worry.

Overall, I’ve had a wonderful time playing this game. After watching Obi-Wan and playing Lego Star Wars, I’ve been in the Star Wars mood, and this game is so fresh and original that I feel like I’m in a new but very familiar world. I love the choice based options and it really makes you feel like anything can happen. The story is wonderful and the Sith Lords you come across are memorable and menacing. Star Wars fans new and old will relish in this excellently crafted restoration of KOTOR II. The game is now available on Nintendo Switch for $14.99 with free DLC content available on the Nintendo eShop. Download the game, explore the galaxy, choose your path of destiny and of course, may the force be with you.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This review was written based on a digital review copy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords for the Nintendo Switch provided by Aspyr.

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