There Will Be A Bargain: The Humble Star Wars Bundle

I guess I'll be able to immediately recognise the Dark Forces box art until the day I die

Hey cats, it’s hip to like Star Wars again rather than feeling dirty every time it’s mentioned. Of course, once JJ Abrams releases two hours of lens flare and nonsensical deus ex machinas it will be deeply uncool to like Star Wars again, so make hay while the sun shines. Star Wars videogames certainly are: first we get GoG re-releasing a bunch of previously out-of-print titles, and how the latest Humble Bundle is all about games from A Long Time Ago. For whatever you want to pay, you get KOTOR, Jedi Knight 3 and Dark Forces, which ain’t a bad set. There are more games if you want to pay more, but Republic credits are no good out here.

So, beat the average- currently 11 bucks and change and you get KOTOR 2, the surprisingly great shooter Republic Commando and the so-so multiplayer pew-pew of Battlefront 2. Stump up $12 and you get punished by two Force Unleashed games and the mostly OK RTS Empire At War.

You probably have most of this stuff in your Steam library from some sale or another, but if you somehow missed out on the landmark Knights of the Old Republic, this is pretty much as close to free as it gets, I guess.

114 Comments

  1. JimboDeany says:

    It’s a trap!

    • Velko says:

      Are these not the bundles we’re looking for?

      • Turkey says:

        Stop right there non-canonical scum!

      • Shadowcat says:

        Yoda: If once you start down the DRM path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Microsoft’s apprentice.

        Luke: Newell. Is the DRM side stronger?

        Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          GabeN: If you only knew the power of Steam!
          Luke: But you never reveal any sales data, so how *would* I know.

        • skittles says:

          To be honest I don’t care about the Steam DRM.

          I will not be getting this over gog.com though, as at least gog fixed these games. The Steam versions of the older ones are unfixed buggy turds. So yeah… It’s a trap!

  2. Guvornator says:

    I liked Empire At War although it’s pretty crashy. Not sure why you’d have a Star Wars bundle without X-wing or Tie Fighter – I have a suspicion they’ll be the ones “coming soon”, although there’s the diabolical risk that you might end up owning Yoda Stories and Rebel Assault instead…

    • grundus says:

      None of those are on Steam, though, so it’ll probably be the other Jedi Knight games or something. Speaking of which, I used to love those games when I was a babby and I’ve owned them on Steam for years, I should play them.

    • Rizlar says:

      Take that back about Rebel Assault!

      • Guvornator says:

        Make me (could make for an interesting StratGir tonight…)

      • Henke says:

        Rebel Assault was the first game I ever bought on CD-ROM, but not even nostalgia-glasses can cover up the fact that it was a pile of garbage.

        • Rizlar says:

          They mustn’t be working properly, here, try mine.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Teenage me would disagree. And I would as well. It’s certainly not the best Starwars-related title, but I enjoyed it a great deal.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          Rebel Assault was amazing for its time.

    • Great Cthulhu says:

      I thought EaW was pretty great even. Only game of the bunch that I’d consider replaying.

    • demicanadian says:

      STOP…
      INSULTING…
      YODA STORIES…
      RIGHT…
      NOW…

      • -funkstar- says:

        The fact that this made me laugh betrays that, yes, I did in fact buy and play this.

      • Hebrind says:

        I loved Yoda Stories too, also the Indy game that was in the same vein. I was, however, about 10 years old…

      • Yserbius says:

        Correct. Indiana Jones Desktop Stories and Yoda Stories were awesome. AND THEY SHALL REMAIN THAT WAY FOR AS LONG AS I REFUSE TO PLAY THEM AGAIN.

        But seriously. It boiled down a 90s adventure game to it’s absolute essentials, threw in rougelike mechanics and some action for good measure. It was a pretty amazing casual series, especially since they came on 1.4 floppies.

    • flojomojo says:

      I wish I were hungry. I have all these on Steam, and many of them in superior form (no DRM, better compatibility with modern systems) on GOG. I like Star Wars, I like games, I like Humble, and I like charity, but as much as I’d like yet another copy of KOTOR (to go with my Steam, GOG, Mac, Android, and iOS versions?), I need to skip this one.

  3. dysomniak says:

    So I was gonna buy this, but then I balked at the $11.xx “average price, clearly driven up by that stupid $12 tier. Of course it will go down in time, but of course I just plopped down $12 even though I only wanted the two KotORs and Dark Forces for nostalgia (I only ever had the shareware as a sprog)

    Yeah, yeah, I’m part of the problem. I di swing the charity slider up though, since it’s not like any devs are making money on this one.

    • Guvornator says:

      You shouldn’t feel too bad, as according to the Guardian it’s already doing great business. I note Kyle Katarn has donated $100 … link to theguardian.com

    • Optimaximal says:

      Dark Forces was a one-level demo, not shareware.

      Yeah, I played that level many many times…

      • dysomniak says:

        Never underestimate the replay value of a one level demo to a broke ten year old!

    • Drivic says:

      Yeah I’m kinda in the same boat.

      Been waiting for the KOTOR games (maybe KOTOR2 only, even) getting a decent deal for a while now and, for some reason, as soon as I saw the bundle my brain added that, since I did have a mild interest in Battlefront II and Republic Commando, I should immediately jump into this and end up with a shit ton of games I’m certainly never going to touch.

      Oh well, at least some of it is for charity, I guess…

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Play Republic Commando. Right now.

        • Drivic says:

          Honestly, I’m hoping the KOTOR games increase my interest in the franchise a lot. Otherwise I just can’t see myself playing it, as great as the reviews and recommendations for the game may be.

          Nothing against the game, it’s more a matter of a very moderate interest in the franchise and an already heavy backlog…

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            If you have very little interest in Star Wars (I hate the word ‘franchise’ but fair enough), then Republic Commando is probably the one SW game you’re most likely to enjoy – because aside from a couple of in-jokes, it has very, very little to do with anything else SW. It’s very self-contained. Mostly it’s just a good shooter with an excellent sense of pace and some very likeable characters who don’t ever get in the way.

  4. Optimaximal says:

    Dark Forces 4 – Jedi Knight 3 – Manchester United 1

  5. Skeletor68 says:

    Surely extra games will be Dark Forces 2 and Mysteries of the Sith?

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I hear they’re notoriously bad at playing nice modern systems. Haven’t tried my copy in a few years but I can certainly remember having a lot of trouble last time I did. Not that I’m suggesting that’ll stop them from being part of the deal, but it’s worth pointing out.
      Dark Forces 2 was one of my fav Star Wars games, but it’s obviously been a long time since I’ve played it so who knows how well it’s held up…

      • pepperfez says:

        Jedi Knight went up on GoG in the last round of Star Wars stuff, so there’s some solution in place for modern machines.

      • frymaster says:

        the versions that came out on steam seemed to have fixed several issues. I’m assuming the GOG version is the same (minus the steam requirement, natch)

        • Vandelay says:

          I recall my Steam version being really janky to get working. I seem to remember I couldn’t even get hardware accelerated mode to work.

          Which is a shame, as it is easily the best of the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight games.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Yeah I tried the non-Steam version of Jedi Knight 2 some years ago and it just would not proceed past the second level. Jan has to follow you after you clear the area out and she was just bugging out so nothing happened, could not find a solution. It’s odd seeing how Academy is the same engine and that works fine.
        So Jedi Knight 1 and 2, which aren’t in the bundle, seem to have issues running on modern systems.

        I have had Jedi Knight 1 working on windows 7, but it is a little bit janky as far as resolution etc goes.

  6. commentingaccount says:

    Two comments.

    1. YAY OTHER PEOPLE WHO HATE JJ ABRAMS

    2. I like Force Unleashed 1. Haven’t tried the second. I don’t get the hate for the series. If I paid 60 bucks for it, I might get irritated, but it was a small little game where you cut the shit out of people with a lightsaber or throw them around like toys. It doesn’t have to be exemplary… Sometimes, it’s okay for a game to just be okay.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      I enjoyed the first game and played through to finish. The second one lacked whatever cohesion the first had for me in terms of story.

      • skyturnedred says:

        And apparently the port is really bad.

        • TheTingler says:

          It’s actually the first Force Unleashed game that has the quick crappy port – the second game was actually ported pretty well in comparison. We didn’t get the DLC from the second game though, the conclusion to the “alternate history” stuff from the first game (which is included in the Steam version) that was actually quite cool.

          • frymaster says:

            The port of STFU1 was…. odd. You could rebind the keys, but the only options for the quick time event (grr!) prompts were gamepad buttons (if using the gamepad) or the default keys. So if you’d rebound stuff you had to translate on the fly.

    • Philomelle says:

      The reasons for disliking Force Unleashed differ from person to person, but several most common complaints are:

      1. It’s completely style over substance in terms of gameplay. While it certainly plays well, it has no in-depth systems at all. 90% of the combos you unlock are just slightly different ways to cut up the same often helpless mooks, which leads to the game becoming very repetitive as it goes on. Doesn’t help that the game is huge and the gameplay wears out its welcome halfway.

      2. Story-wise, it tries way too hard. It spends a lot of time hyping Darth Vader as a scheming mastermind even though he is anything but lore-wise, and it ends up misfiring on a lot of his characterization in the process. The whole thing with you founding the Rebel Alliance was pretty nonsense.

      3. The developers spend more time telling us how powerful Starkiller is than showing it. He spends a lot of time throwing around buildings and lightning-zapping people, but if you’re anything of a Star Wars fan (and the game was actively advertised mainly toward hardcore fans of the franchise), you’ll know that every single Jedi in the series can do all those things but choose not to because it’s inefficient. Starkiller is essentially a lot of achieving less with more, which makes him run contrary to a Jedi experience.

      On my side, I was mostly spent the game wondering why I cannot play as Juno Eclipse instead. A decorated Imperial pilot and war criminal who slowly grows into becoming a Rebel commander is a story about a hundred times more compelling than yet another Teenangst McBroody fulfilling his dumbass destiny of rebelling against the forces of dorkness.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        “The developers spend more time telling us how powerful Starkiller is than showing it”

        Playing around with entire star destroyer in a rather silly set piece surely is a good show, though i’m not sure if it’s wise to go with such nonsense since that made him pretty much the strongest force user ever existed.

        Absolutely flawed game and hard to defend, but i enjoyed my time with it. The story was rather mediocre but hey, it’s a power trip, you have to take it the right way. The coding is extremely bad though and it still performs at the same framerates for me than it did years ago, plus the FPS can’t apparently be lifted by anything i tried.

        Oh and the sloppy controls.

        • Philomelle says:

          I’m pretty sure there was at least one Jedi who threw around entire planets, and Revan in The Old Republic era is no slouch either. A major issue with Force Unleashed’s writing is that it assumes such humongous things are impossible because none of the Force users in the series ever did them, but Word of God states that Jedi actually are that powerful and simply choose to not do such things because they believe in “less in more”. Do keep in mind that Palpatine actually worked up support against the Jedi Order by arguing that an entire order of super-powerful warrior gods being involved in politics made it only a matter of time before they went on a massive power trip.

          I do agree that it’s a decent power trip, I simply find that it doesn’t get along with Star Wars canon very well and Starkiller is a boring character.

          Far as FPS goes, the game actually employs a hard 30FPS lock. Unfortunately, unlocking FPS is a problem because the game is programmed around that refresh rate and forcibly unlocking it causes gameplay problems such as Force Grip behaving incorrectly. The developers themselves would need to push out a fix, which they obviously won’t do at this point.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Well don’t get me wrong, if i can give a 6/10 to Force unleashed i’ll give 4/10 to Starkiller. The best character was probably Kota.

            But then i agree that it’s best to just let the story be forgotten.

          • Philomelle says:

            My favorite character was Juno, but mostly in concept. They had a good idea for her but then reduced her to being mostly a pretty damsel for Starkiller to rescue for himself.

            But it’s generally an unfortunate thing about Force Unleashed that it has some great character concepts in the secondary cast that are ultimately wasted on a lot of vapid “hurr hurr Starkiller is so kewl watch him chop things” drivel.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            One of my favourite things about the Old Republic stuff is that it kind of proves Palpatine was RIGHT on that point. KotOR 2 in particular has firmly cemented in my mind for all time that the Jedi Order was always bound to do more harm than good. About the only problem with it is that it doesn’t really come up with a ‘better’ alternative.

            Haven’t played Force Unleashed and have no desire to do so but hey, look at me I’m being moderately relevant!

          • Philomelle says:

            The best alternative is honestly to not give Jedi as an order any political influence. Individual people, sure, but not the group.

            The Jedi Order is essentially an organized religion created so people from all species, cultures and walks of life can learn how to handle their mysterious super-powers which happen to be connected to some mystical lifestream. It only stands to reason that when you give a lot of political influence to a huge religious organization of completely different and often incompatible people who are only united by having super-powers from the same mysterious source, things are bound to go to shit sooner or later.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I don’t know about you, but I never expect any FPS games to have a good story. Imo, that’s the wrong reason to play FPS games, but that’s just me. Even though TFU 1 got praise and even a prize for its story (it won a Writers Guild of America award for Best Video Game Writing) I wasn’t expecting anything better than most fan films. I liked the story, though, and it’s good that I enjoy watching the cutscenes, because you can’t skip them.

        It has great gameplay and well designed levels, but feels very console-ish and flawed in places, especially the controls. I really like the throw/knock people around effects, but the bad port makes you enjoy trivial things in other games, like being able to look up and around yourself.

        If I buy this bundle it will be the 12 dollar option, because I want TFU 2 (and Battlefront 2 and Republic Commando from the lower tier), so I can safely wait until they’ve announced the other games before spending money or not.

  7. Melody says:

    Sell me on Kotor please?

    From the little (very little) I’ve seen it didn’t look good at all, and in my experience people have a way of praising Bioware for stuff that is quite mediocre at the end of the day. For now, the only reason why I kinda want to get it is just that everyone keeps talking about it, and I want to know what the fuss is all about, but I’m really really skeptical that it will actually be any good.

    (Also, I’m not particularly a Star Wars fan, so there’s that)

    So, thoughts on Kotor?

    • Velko says:

      It has some great setpieces, some great characters, some great writing, but personally I found the mechanics and UI had not aged very well and it was slightly annoying to actually play. I own both KOTORs and have finished neither (and yes, I played enough of 1 to get the GREAT PLOT TWIST).

    • Cinek says:

      Get KOTOR2 with The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod. It’s much better game than the original KOTOR.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        And i still strongly stand by Kreia as my favourite Bioware character ever.

        Honorable mention goes to Shale and HK-47, though i feel the latter might be a tad overrated ( but still overall excellent ).

        If there’s one thing that KOTOR2 does worse is the typical Obsidian polish, or lack thereof.

        • Zekiel says:

          She might well be my favourite ever videogame character. On the other hand some people seem to hate her, so there is that. But in general the writing in KOTOR2 is absolutely amazing – really engaging, allowing for roleplaying. It also deconstructs The Force which I found fascinating (but may be irritating if you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan).

          • Philomelle says:

            I didn’t find it irritating at all. The whole thing with the Force is that even within the story’s universe, it’s a concept that people are aware of, but nobody knows the actual answer for its true nature. The result is that there are countless interpretations invented by numerous Jedi in order to come to terms with their powers, a lot of them having roots in ancient teachings and some being very different from those.

            Neither the Jedi Order nor Kreia are inherently wrong. They simply chose different paths on their road to enlightenment.

          • Koozer says:

            SPOILERS AHEAD

            I went into KotoR II blind, and I hated Kreia solely because I couldn’t chuck her out of an airlock right at the beginning, while my character invited her aboard and gave her a nice cup of tea and a packet of biscuits. Then near the end OH NO she’s actually a baddie that has been interfering and ruins everything, what an incredibly clever twist that couldn’t at all be avoided by chucking her out of an airlock right at the beginning.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Meh, to be honest i’m quite baffled that people can enjoy KOTOR2 while disliking Kreia. She’s a main part of it all but most importantly she’s responsible for the intellectual edge that sets the sequel apart.

            If you remove that you’re left with just your usual unpolished Obsidian job.

          • kyrieee says:

            She’s a main part of it all but most importantly she’s responsible for the intellectual edge that sets the sequel apart.

            That’s selling some of the other characters short I think. There’s a lot going on with them, you just need to dig a lot deeper to find it. G0-T0 in particular is a very interesting character, but some players might not even figure out his identity, let alone his story.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            It’s mostly that she was memorable enough for me to properly remember her role, while when it comes to the rest my memory is incredibly fuzzy.

            All this talk about this game is making my “install” button glow, i guess i’ll have to give it another go and clear my mind a bit.

        • Sonntam says:

          Kotor 2 was made by Obsidian. I’m not sure why you call Kreia a Bioware character.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Yeah, i know, that’s a weird mishap. I mentioned Obsidian below if you notice.

            Well, i guess i wanted to give Bioware a gift!

    • Guvornator says:

      Essentially, think of it a sort of proto-Mass Effect. Thanks to the time it was made it’s actually tighter than ME, there’s a lot less trekking around, which I appreciate. I really enjoyed it at the time, but it made a few mis-steps, and if you’re iffy about ME and not a Star Wars fan then it’s possibly not for you. However, it’s worth $11 just for HK 47 alone.

    • kyrieee says:

      KotOR II is written by the same guy who wrote Planescape Torment and has what’s maybe the best female character in any game I’ve ever played. It’s also in many ways a critique of Star Wars, so chances are you’ll like it even if you don’t love Star Wars.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Wait, are we talking Kreia here? Because it always upsets me how few people like her character…

        • kyrieee says:

          Yes, Kreia. I wasn’t aware that she was disliked. She’s the best part of the game!

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Seeing all the positive comments in this thread re: Kreia is actually really cheering me up, I have to say. Before today I’ve seen very little of it, so I guess I just assumed she wasn’t well-liked.

            *MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ANYBODY JUST TUNING IN*

            The final battle of KotOR 2 is one of the only times in the history of gaming where I’ve ever felt like they successfully pulled off that “now you fight your former friend/mentor” thing. Kreia never actually lies to you, you can see that confrontation coming from a mile off, but by the time it all starts up, it genuinely feels like everything’s falling apart and you’re going to have to do something you hate and you can’t stop it.
            Her line at the Jedi Enclave right before everything goes royally boobs skyward, that amounts to “Everything I did, I did for you” was such a punch to the gut on my first playthrough.
            I have a lot to say on Kreia regarding how atypical a female character she is and how refreshing her views on the force are and just her characterization in general, but what stands out for me is that she managed to make a fairly tired trope WORK magnificently, at least for me.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Are you guys actually sure about loving Kreia so much? Are you from a different universe? I was starting to feel horribly, horribly alone in this.

        • Zekiel says:

          No I love her too. So much so I always have to go to the bother of logging into any forum talking about her to say so. Even if I have nothing else useful to add.

          Actually how about this: I think she’s one of the rare examples of a mother-figure in a game. (A mean, scary mother-figure, but a mother-figure nonetheless.)

        • Wulfram says:

          Maybe we’ve swapped universes?

          I come from a universe where everyone seems to love her, and feel alone in being tired of her pontificating. If I have to listen to this sort of tosh, I’d at least rather it be Star Wars tosh.

          Though to the credit of the game, at least it works fine if you pretty much ignore her rubbish and just play a proper Jedi

          • Philomelle says:

            How is it rubbish? Her interpretation of the Force is certainly radical by the Order standards, but it’s been a long-running story thread that the Order’s interpretation of the Force is equally wrong and at least partially constructed to make themselves more appealing. It’s why everyone on the Council hates Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode 1, because he uses very old-fashioned Living Force philosophy instead of the whole “we are epic knights in shining armor and everyone should love us” bullshit that the Order spouts.

            Ignoring her interpretation doesn’t mean you play a proper Jedi, it simply means you’re ignoring the whole aspect of being Jedi where none of them have any idea about what the Force really is.

          • Wulfram says:

            Well, her whole “don’t do nice things because if you do people get randomly murdered” was rubbish. I can’t remember the rest of her stuff well enough to give specific criticisms, I just know I thought it was rubbish.

          • ansionnach says:

            I have to say I found the part where she suggests that doing good could have bad effects was weak, primarily because they only gave you a binary choice when responding to Kreia’s badgering. I did really like the character, though. She’s far from perfect and we had our arguments when I started to find her pontificating annoying… but I found that overall it worked. There was a point where I realised that I no longer cared about gaining her respect so as to min-max what I’d been treating as another stat… and it was then that I realised the character had actually taught me something. Ironically, we got on better once I didn’t care about her disapproval any more.

          • kyrieee says:

            That part might have been a bit heavy handed, but it’s still very much in keeping with the main theme of the story. A forced ‘fail’ scenario like that is always going to be troublesome though.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            The whole plot of KotOR 2 is wrapped around a giant ‘forced fail scenario’ in a way, though, so they almost certainly knew what they were doing with that scene. I agree it came off as far too ham-handed, but honestly, the reason it stands out so starkly is because the rest of Kreia’s characterization is so well done.

          • ansionnach says:

            Yeah, that’s why I mentioned it. The rest of the game more than makes up for this slight hiccup. The music is absolutely superb: vast, lonely, mysterious and more than a little sad. Some of the dialogue with characters like Visas, the Handmaiden and Atton can be quite touching. There’s so much tragedy in there. Along with the music it can be an overwhelming experience if you’re even slightly Force sensitive (or just the regular kind). Some people really hate the slow start but I thought the beginning was the most polished part of the game. Would really like to see what would have happened if it had been completed. I rarely welcome or call for remakes of old games… but funding an Obsidian remake of this could be the greatest service Disney could do for Star Wars fans (or maybe just me!).

    • Turkey says:

      You should play it if you’re a videogame historian and you want to document how Bioware went from Baldur’s Gate to Mass Effect.

      • ansionnach says:

        Laughed quite a lot when I saw this… but, yeah – I agree!

    • Philomelle says:

      Speaking as a Star Wars fan, the great thing about KotOR is that it’s the closest you can get to the original Star Wars experience. It doesn’t rely on cameos and references to the original trilogy at all, it is its own adventure that stands on its own two feet. That already imbues its narrative with more confidence than most other Star Wars spin-offs.

      The story itself is very good and a lot of characters are better than most things Bioware came up with since then. I think the only games they released with a cast so alive are Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age 2. They’re actual people with actual interests and lives that just happen to cross over with the player’s, not Commander Shepard’s personal harem of varied xenophilic fetishes.

      The game’s UI is a bit of mess, owed in part to the game running on what is glaringly D&D combat with some renamed terms but trying to meld it with Star Wars aesthetics. The inventory management is a gigantic pain in the arse only comparable to the horrors of Skyrim. On the other hand, combat flows very smoothly and you always have every single option easily accessible.

      So really, it’s a lot like original Star Wars movies – rough and flawed in certain ways, but there is so much heart in everything that you learn to forgive the things it does badly.

      Note – while it has more freedom to roleplay your character’s choices and consequences than most other Bioware games (it’s sometimes very Witchery in how you can handle things), the romance options are strangely the opposite. There are three of them, one for male and two for female characters, and the sequel pretty bullheadedly assumes that the primary romance for its gender happened. It led to a lot of facepalming on my side because I RPed a lesbian and a character in KOTOR2 went off about how she totally romanced that one dude she wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Amusing upside – the two games’ protags know each other lore-wise and you can call bullshit on rumors surrounding the KOTOR1 protagonist during conversations, pretty much going “That doesn’t sound like him/her at all”.

      • Melody says:

        Now I’m interested! Good job :D

        • rabbit says:

          enjoy! I absolutely luuuuuuuuurved them both – both pretty slow starters if memory serves (particularly KOTOR 2 if you approach things in the ‘wrong’ order, which I did) but really great stories.

        • Philomelle says:

          You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Just don’t let the third-person 3D engine confuse you, there’s an old-school RPG in the vein of Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate behind the presentation.

    • djbriandamage says:

      KOTOR is still the best single player RPG I’ve ever played, 12 years after first playing it. It has fun ethical quandaries, meaningful player perks that affect dialogue trees and combat, and a unique turn-based combat system based on the AD&D ruleset. Great writing and an awesome twist ending.

      I love the sequel too – it has Kreia, perhaps my favourite supporting character in any game.

      Keeping this short to avoid gushing out spoilers :)

    • ansionnach says:

      The first game has many problems. I’m a Star Wars fan but when I first played it back in the day I found it dull and tedious. The first planet is this for many people and it took me several failed attempts to get any further. It does improve somewhat after that but the game’s mechanics are shallow and its gameplay is quite limited. I say this because the game uses a modified variant of the Neverwinter Nights engine (I would call it a de-enhancement…) but it completely lacks any of the complexity of that game. In fights you just slug it out with the enemy as there’s little capacity for strategy, making combat very repetitive and not at all engaging. On the highest difficulty it isn’t very hard but there are massive difficulty spikes at certain bosses, and little in the way of satisfying strategic options to get you past them (making use of glitchy scenery or retrying until you’re inexplicably lucky is about all you can do).

      Plot-wise the game is generic with a phoned-in, black-and-white plot, uninteresting characters and lazy writing. A very important exception to this is HK-47 – conversations with him can be very amusing… but you can see the best bits on youtube and skip to KotOR2, which is much better in terms of writing and plot.

      There’s very little choice in KotOR if you came from BG2. Unfavourable comparisons with a true masterpiece aside, I find it more than slightly annoying that you end up with all the characters hanging about on your ship whether you want them or not. Perhaps the most fun I had in the game was choosing to put the one evil character to the sword early on. On the highest difficulty she’s hard to beat and had been chasing me around a field for hours, killing me over and over again. When I finally beat her and she was suddenly unconvincingly contrite I didn’t sway in doing the right thing! But yeah, if you wondered why you end up best mates with all these losers you hate in Dragon Age 2… it happened here first.

      In spite of all of the above, the game isn’t without its merits. I’m not sure what they are, but I did manage to play all the way through, eventually. Think I was hoping to find something hidden within (the reason why people like it other than it maybe being the first “RPG” they’d ever played…). The best I can say for it is that overall it’s okay and just about bearable. I mainly persevered to “earn” the right to move onto the second game but I’d advise people to go straight to number two – you’re not missing much by skipping this one.

      KotOR2 has its problems as well, very few of which are to do with the writing and storytelling. It’s fabulous, with some great characters, one of the best Star Wars plots (maybe this and the Thrawn trilogy are all you need story-wise beyond the three original films). It has a more fully-developed crafting system which I had great fun with. Unfortunately, the game was not finished, and even though the fan patch improves things a lot, it does not address the important issue of game balancing. This is something the may only get fine-tuned at the end of development and even on the highest difficulty KotOR2 rarely presents any challenge at all. It’s still worth playing through for the story – and it’s the only one I’ve seen that really captures the feeling of odd mystery that I think the original trilogy had (the long, silent sections where you explore the universe with the droids in the first film, for example). I think I’d call this one an RPG as it does allow you to explore your character rather than make the odd jarring decision here and there. The first Jedi Knight probably has more actual role-playing than the first KotOR!

      If you enjoyed Planescape Torment you may well like the second one. For Chris Avellone both games arose when he tried to take what he didn’t like about something and turn it into something worthwhile, as he explains here:

      • Philomelle says:

        Wait, there was choice in Baldur’s Gate 2?

        The only choices I remember were “Glad to serve god and country, ma’am,” “Behold as I twirl my villainous mustache!” and, whenever the quest ends, “But I want gold!”. In fact, the whole thing in Witcher where Geralt demands gold up-front is a parody of how BG2 often turned that into your one and only ethical decision in the entire quest.

        • ansionnach says:

          People criticise the assumed starting party for BG2 but once you get into the game you can tell them all to get lost, and even kill them if you want. Party choice in KotOR is a joke. If I’d had my way I’d have only taken Mission and Jolee along, maybe with Carth flying the ship if I could sew his lips together.

        • Volcanu says:

          There was far more choice in terms of dialogue options than most CRPGs since. Your example of there being only binary “very good” or “very bad” responses is really wide of the mark. That’s true of later Bioware games (most notably Mass Effect 2 and 3) but definitely not BG2 which allowed you to be a much more nuanced character – despite the presence of AD&D alignment.

          There were often multiple ways to resolve a quest too. And a large degree of freedom in terms of what and when you wanted to do things (although not total).

          The final choice at the conclusion of Throne of Bhaal is one of the best (and hardest) ‘choices’ in any game I have played.

        • ansionnach says:

          I haven’t played BG2 in over ten years. Was mainly talking about party choice above but the comments about it being binary are quite at odds with my memories. The game is quite long and I don’t think it’s fair to pick out what seem to be examples of how you resolve some minor quests given the heart of the game is not like this at all.

          I finally managed to persevere and finish KotOR just over a year ago. When I moved onto the sequel I found it utterly compelling, as though I lived in its world while playing. I found in it a similar child-like wonder to what I felt when I saw the original films. Anyway, my views on KotOR are both informed by playing it at the time of release and recently. They didn’t change much. It is one of the most criminally overrated games I’ve ever played. Not terrible, not bad – more passable to decent, and sometimes even almost good. From a gameplay point of view there’s more on offer than the sequel but neither shines in this area. All told, considering the time investment it isn’t worth it. If your time on this earth is limited and you want to inject some of your free hours with midi-chlorian-free Star Wars then perhaps read the Thrawn trilogy and play KotOR2, the X-Wing and Dark Forces games first. Then watch the original trilogy over and over and maybe write your own subtitles for Artoo and Chewie.

          I don’t think many would absolutely hate KotOR, it just falls well short of a recommendation for me. I think to like it a lot you would have to have quite a lot of love for Star Wars and maybe have little experience of RPGs like the Ultimas, Torment, Fallout, BG2 and Neverwinter Nights multiplayer. As somebody already mentioned, this is where Bioware fell under the influence of the streamlining singularity. I do think that it’s their worst effort (have played all their RPGs except Jade Empire and Inquisition), so their later, more streamlined games are much better. Perhaps this is because after KotOR they learned to streamline while still offering us some actual gameplay?

    • Jinoru says:

      Its Star Wars Dungeons and Dragons. d20 all day.

      That said, because of the time frame the story takes place in, 4000 years before the movies, the story takes a very fresh look at a bunch of Star Wars elements. Its great to play through.

  8. JustAchaP says:

    Is the Dark Forces the GoG version? I have the Steam version and its pretty bleh.

    • Velko says:

      These are all Steam, I believe. In what ways is the Steam version bleh-ier than the GOG version?

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Aside from not having to run a game through the Steam client, GoG is usually very good with making sure a game runs to the best of their ability. I’ve heard it say that Steam often doesn’t which means that buying older games through Steam is a much riskier proposition.

        • RedWurm says:

          This. I got Commandos on steam a while back, and it requires a third party mod to make it playable. Some older games on steam are basically whatever came on the game disc and precious little else.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          I buy a lot of older games – my cd collection largely expired under mysterious circumstances and I’ve been gradually rebuilding it digitally – and I see a LOT of reviews and forum posts on steam complaining that this or that older game simply doesn’t work. I tend to end up getting those ones from GOG, and out of the fifty-or-so games I’ve got from them, only one has failed to work, and I got my money back within 48 hours. (And that was actually a new release, not a classic)
          Long story short – if it’s an old game, I’d say don’t buy it from Steam.

          • ansionnach says:

            I’m not a legal expert but I think that when you buy a game, you only buy the licence to play it. You don’t own the actual game. The upside of that is that if your discs expire it should be perfectly legal to obtain a replacement for free. If the guards come to your door you can show them the original box. Just beware of the dark side. Anger… fear… aggression… lending books, games or films to friends. The dark side of the Copyright Law are they!

  9. Jason Moyer says:

    It’s kind of amazing that there have been a million Star Wars and Lego sales in the past 2 years, but the Steam version of Lego Star Wars hasn’t actually gone on sale during that time.

    • Jalan says:

      Because those titles, along with LEGO Indiana Jones 1 & 2, are LucasArts titles and not Warner Bros. titles like the remainder of the LEGO games. In theory there was no excuse for them not to be in the whole “Disney comes to Steam at last” celebration sale, but apparently the rights on them are more complicated than they appear.

  10. djbriandamage says:

    Jedi Academy is overlooked too often. It’s a first/third person action game of a Jedi in training. It’s got the best lightsaber combat I’ve seen in any game, and some very satisfying platforming thanks to your Jedi powers and outstanding level design (by id’s best buddy Raven).

    You start with a list of 5 Jedi policing missions and must complete at least 4 of them. They’re inventive and diverse, usually with much more interesting objectives than “kill all jerks”. Then you do some linear story missions, followed by more selectable missions, and so-on.

    Nice graphics, great music and voices (you can even choose your fully-voiced gender!), and it uses the scalable Quake 3 engine which lets you run at modern resolutions and aspect ratios.

    Buy the bundle as there’s lots of great games, but don’t overlook this gem. I’ve finished it over and over and over.

    Also, you can explode C3P0. Without penalty.

    • ansionnach says:

      Sounds interesting. My Jedi journey ended at Mysteries of the Sith (the ending of which was abrupt and I didn’t understand). Dark Forces is one of my favourite FPS games… and I think that in terms of balancing it’s truly rewarding on hard mode. Haven’t played either of the Raven games. Got a lend of them back in the day but handed them back without really playing. Mixed reviews plus the fact that it was a different developer sapped my enthusiasm. Must give them a go. Not sure what people would think of JK and MotS now. I’d suspect that JK hasn’t aged well and perhaps the same goes for MotS, which improved lightsabre combat and let you fight a rather underwhelming rancor. This would make Dark Forces by far the best game of the in-house bunch. Thoughts?

      • TheTingler says:

        Both of the Raven Jedi Knight games (Outcast and Academy) are great, and definitely the best Jedi experience to play right now. Outcast probably has the better story (and continues on from Jedi Knight) and has proper gunplay at the start, whereas Academy starts you as a Jedi from the beginning with a fresh user-made character (you can choose gender!) so is probably a better place to start if you just want to be a Jedi and not worry about stuff like the Valley of the Jedi.

        • Koozer says:

          Academy’s levels are also a little more linear than Outcast’s. Academy often lets you pick your next mission though, so swings and roundabouts. Outcast is closer to older hunt-the-keycard FPSs.

          • ansionnach says:

            I think one of the reasons why I liked Dark Forces so much was that it was a departure from the Catacomb, Wolfenstein and Doom key hunts as the missions had varied objectives and an actual plot. That game was released here almost twenty years ago, though, and I probably didn’t play it much later than that. Maybe my memory is fuzzy?

    • eljueta says:

      Agreed, still the best lightsaber combat anywhere. I bought this just to replay it. (And maybe KotOr)

    • Koozer says:

      My favourite level was the one where the player is taken captive and stripped of their saber and weapons, so half of the level is spent getting clever with force powers until you can loot a gun or find your lightsaber. I was pretty disappointed there was only the one level like it.

      EDIT: The one that has you hopping around some kind of sky installation, disabling various bits of equipment for an X-Wing to blow up was pretty fun too.

      Dammit, now I’m reminded of how much I want another Jedi Knight.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I don’t understand why Jedi Academy got so panned compared to Jedi Knight 2. Both were excellent, the narrative in Jedi 2 might have been better but the added lightsaber styles (dual wield and Darth Maul style double-bladed) were great and as you say, the level design was brilliant (although this applies to all Jedi Knight games, some of the best level design ever in my opinion).

  11. wyrm4701 says:

    so-so multiplayer pew-pew of Battlefront 2

    I think you will find that it is Alec who is mistaken about a great many things. Battlefront 2 has a gamemode that pits at least one indigenous planetary species against another force, with no respect for balance or proportion. The Ewoks vs. Empire option is an illuminating challenge. I’m partial to Jawas vs. Sandpeople, myself.

    Still, bit pricey for the whole bundle, all things considered.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Recently re-bought Battlefront 2 for myself and my brother and – after a bit of a headache getting through the post-Gamespy wasteland – we’ve been playing it together like crazy. Every bit as good as I remember, which is to say, absolutely excellent. ( The AI’s fairly rubbish though, would be nice if it offered a bit more of a challenge, as even Elite mode is laughably easy most of the time )

    • frymaster says:

      I think you will find that it is Alec who is mistaken about a great many things

      Most awesome way to disagree with someone ever :D

  12. OctoStepdad says:

    at least a buck to relive some Dark Forces childhood memories. YES PLEASE!

  13. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    ‘surprisingly great’ Republic Commando is right – though actually, I wasn’t surprised, because people said it was great, I got it quite a while after release, and it turned out it was v. good.

  14. ansionnach says:

    Not quite on topic but one thing that annoyed me when I played the first Jedi Knight was all the talk about the “light side” of the force. There’s no mention of this in the original (real) films – there’s only the Force and its dark side. On a morality spectrum the opposite of dark is good, not “light”. Anyway, it seems this light side nonsense has snowballed into midi-chlorians and Hayden Christensen and Gungans appearing in Return of the Jedi. Now JJ Abrams is quite possibly going to seal the fate of Star Wars (unless he isn’t true to form). Probably can’t be worse than the prequels, but still… why couldn’t they get Chris Avellone to write them… and why wasn’t Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis the fourth Indy film?!? *Grumble*, *grumble*

  15. defunct says:

    I avoided KOTOR II because Obsidian. Obsidian had a track history of butchering every game they made by not finishing it. NWN2 was the last one I bought from them and I said I’d never be fooled again. It was an unfinishable mess for me. I literally could not complete the game because I went down a bug ridden plot path. It took them forever to actually come out with a patch to fix it. And then when I got it, I finished the game and the ending was so horrible that I wanted nothing more to do with it. YEARS later I tried playing it again, but I couldn’t even get through the first part of the game without being disgusted.

    When KOTORII came out, it stuck right with that bug ridden, unfinished, horrible mess that Obsidian was notorious for, and I do not regret not playing it. Until now. Now I wanna know who this character is that everyone is talking about, but I don’t want to deal with another Obsidian disaster.

    As a side note, there IS one game they made that I loved. Fallout LV. And I think it was partly because I so much loved the games they made while they were Black Isle, Fallout 1 & 2. In this case, I waited more than a year after release before I bought it so they could take care of the unfinished, buggy state of the game, which was exact what it was when released. There were, yet again, people that complained they couldn’t get any further in the main quest line because of bugs.

    All that said, I might pick up KOTORII because of comments here. If I can overcome my fear of getting punched in the face again.

    • ansionnach says:

      I don’t remember having any technical issues with KotOR2 and the restored content mod. One thing I would suggest you avoid is the M4-78 mod. Since Obsidian was bounced into releasing a year too early by Lucasarts, very little of M4-78 was done… and the modders haven’t done a good job here as it’s dull and tedious – completely lacking the life Obsidian imbued into the rest of the game. I went back to a much earlier save file to completely avoid this bit.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I’ve played KotOR 2 through to finish I think twice. In that time I recall one occasion where a plot-line completely bugged out and my only option was to reload an earlier save. So yes, it’s Obsidian, it’s buggy. On the other hand, I’ve played the game through to finish twice, and honestly the only reason I haven’t gone back and played it even more is because I ended up so attached to the characters and the story from my first run – “my” crew and my story – that my second run felt really weird, and that put me right off.
      It’s more stable by far than most of Obsidian’s games, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful gem if you can tolerate what bugs ARE there. And seriously, I only found the one. (Save when you get to the snow, would be my advice)

  16. StarkeRealm says:

    Jedi Knight 3? I mean, there was a third Jedi Knight game, but it wasn’t numbered…

  17. JiminyJickers says:

    Haha, I already own them all. Some of them more than once.