Finished it, didn't like it.

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Finished it, didn't like it.

Postby MordorMan » Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:17 pm

Yes, it’s time for some negative thoughts for a change. I would like to share them with you. Please forgive me if I am repeating points that already have been made by others on this forum, but I like to be thorough.

I think in general my problem with this game is that I don’t think it is a good RPG. Rather, I would classify it as an ‘interactive movie’. A long time ago (in this same galaxy), I played “wing commander”, a game that was classified as an interactive movie. I think it means that it looks nice, but you don’t have to do much to get involved. Just click somewhere at the appropriate moment. This holds true for KOTOR, I think. It certainly looks great, but playing it did not give me a sense of involvement or achievement, something which is essential for a RPG in my opinion. In detail, my problems with the game are:

- The plot is terribly linear and predictable. I did not get the feeling I was able to influence the chain of events in any way.

- There was never any need for clever tactics, all fights could be won in a straightforward matter. There is never a need to really use your demolition or stealth skills, or use your force powers in a clever way

- Leveling up is no fun at all. There is no way to specialize your character in a meaningful way. The skills or feats you choose don’t matter very much in gaming experience. The fun of role-playing is making choices in character development and then learning to live with the advantages and drawbacks of that choice. Call me crazy, but I really like to ponder for a long time on which attribute I will spent the single extra point I have gained in 10 hours playing time.

- The game is too easy. Fighting is just clicking on the fight button and then relaxing in your chair to see what happens. The puzzles and dialog choices where also very simple.

- Why does the main character always turn out to be a demi-god in the end? This is not a KOTOR comment really, but holds true for other RPG’s as well. I would like to play a RPG once where you remain an ordinary person throughout the game. An ordinary person that just had the will/intelligence/character/stamina to evolve into someone that could challenge the big bosses. No more destinies, please. It ruins the sense of accomplishment.

- The dialogs where okay, but not as good as in the BG series, which dialogs had me laughing at loud at times. I guess we were spoiled with BG. Also, the NPC’s did not really come to live in KOTOR.

- The game environment felt very restrictive. If I see a mountain or tree in the distance, I would like to able to walk towards it, just to look what’s there. Also, after playing Morrowind, I sincerely missed the ability to jump.

- There are some pretty unrealistic aspects to the game. Things like that disturb involvement in the game, especially when some other aspects, like the graphics, are very realistic. Examples are your ability to carry a truckload of items without a backpack or without getting tired, or being able to instantly transport yourself to the Ebon Hawk. I’d rather have a consistent level of reality.

- One of the obvious good points of the game is the graphics. The lightsaber fights are amazing to watch, with rotating viewpoint and all. But I can’t help thinking that if Bioware had not spend so much trouble on the graphics the game might have been better. I honestly believe that realistic graphics have very little to do with the sense of getting into the game by the player. I can remember games I played with very sorry graphics in which I was much more immersed than I ever was playing KOTOR. It is a kind of magic the game developer has to achieve by the right combination of game elements. Nice graphics alone won’t do the trick. It is much more important for the game to be consistent, the developer should know that the gaming world has to be formed inside the head of the player, not on the screen. When reading a good book, does anyone complain that there are no 3D graphics? I don’t have any problems with Bioware continuing to use the infinity engine, as long as they are able to create a consistent (realistic within the game’s context) world.

All in all, I am still waiting for a proper RPG after the BG series and Morrowind. KOTOR might be a nice game for people who just want to look at pretty pictures, but I expect something more. I think this game was developed with the idea that it should be appealing to the general public in order to sell many copies. Sadly, this makes the game less appealing to the true fans of the genre. You see the same effect in the big Hollywood movie productions. They take a nice theme, have a great budget and many skilled people working on the project but the end result just always is shallow because of the many concessions that have to be made in order to make it acceptable to a very general public. I know Bioware can make a far better RPG if they aren’t aiming for mass appeal.
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Postby hannibal360 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:22 pm

Get out of this forum right now :mad: .....
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Postby fable » Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:27 pm

@Hannibal, please read the forum rules. Mordorman has a right to his opinion on this game same as anybody else, and he's welcome to express it, here. Flaming won't be tolerated on this board. As long as he in turn abides by the rules, this thread lies firmly within the forum guidelines. I would only add that his initial post is thoughtful and well-structured--and remember, I've played through KotoR, twice.

Since Mordorman has placed this thread, here, obviously he intends it for a intelligent discussion of the issues raised. Anybody who can't handle that, frankly, shouldn't post. If you have something useful to contribute, whether in support or in contradiction of his comments, feel free to do so.
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Postby Kool69 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:00 pm

I agree i sincerly miss the ability to jump, I would also like to see that if you threatened a guy (who might actually be a noble and you not know it) on Tantoonie to give you credits, then maybe on some other planet, he has hired some bounty hunters to seek you out and make you pay retribution for your actions, With the demi-god set-up for alot of games, Morrowind, KoTOR, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc, i would like to see my character start off as a simple adventurer to eventually earn the right to be that Great Hero or the mst feared assassin of the lands. That would be cool, and i wish you could customize your character down to ever little pixle. About fighting, i would like to see the real time maxtrix kept but you be able to move around, ambush your enemies, hide behind a outcropping or boulder to heal your wounds. This would also bring into skills such as Stealth, Demolitions to lay traps around an encampment our your enemies while they dont even realize your there.I do have to give them a thumbs up for their efforts in KoTOR, however they might want to take more time next time to make a truely AWESOME game....
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Postby fable » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:00 pm

Okay, I've removed several spam posts, and an apology. Apology accepted. Let's get on with the discussion. ;)
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Postby fable » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:42 pm

Just removed a few more spam posts. Guys, either deal with the topic, or cut it out. If the spam continues, per previous mentions in this thread (and elsewhere in this forum, and in the forum rules), memberships will be suspended.
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Postby Kool69 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:46 pm

Fable what about our small conversation about not being enough buttons? Did it get deleted too?
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Postby fable » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:49 pm

Small discussion? Mentioning that there weren't enough buttons for that? :rolleyes: You can do better than that. Anybody knows that an interface can be amended. Besides, the current Action Bar system would be easy to change, and accomodate this. Just add places for jumping on the Bar (while marking the spot you wanted to land), etc.
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Postby Kool69 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:56 pm

Ok ok ok i see what you mean. As my teacher always says,"2 sentences are NOT a paragraph!" Any ways, more classes for sure! (ex for D&D) Paladin for super good folks, assassins super bad, but wheres the people who want to do good but still want to look after numbro uno? More Alignments maybe... Also elemental damage didnt seem to play a great part after the first half of the game... Spark for low levels characters a red dragons fire attack for those HIGH level people.... that difference was not seen in KoTOR if you ask me....
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Postby fable » Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:08 pm

The game is too easy. Fighting is just clicking on the fight button and then relaxing in your chair to see what happens. The puzzles and dialog choices where also very simple.

I've complained about this since the game first appeared. It does seem as though instead of increasing the AI for combat, Bioware simply lowered the threat from enemies. This allows your over-powered team to plow through 'em with minimal human interference. Of course, you can always take command, but since your team become near-gods by two-thirds of the way through the game, you don't really need to bother.

The puzzles? Bioware has never put much effort into those. The idea of using a poorly disguised Tower of Hanoi for one of the Korriban challenges was ridiculous--not to mention, damn obvious.

- The dialogs where okay, but not as good as in the BG series, which dialogs had me laughing at loud at times. I guess we were spoiled with BG. Also, the NPC’s did not really come to live in KOTOR.

Disagreement in your party had virtually no effect in KotoR, while it could split your group up in BG2. Occasionally, too, in BG2, party members would usurp your function and take control of the dialog or events--not so, in KotoR. I suspect this is because KotoR was aimed at pleasing a broader, hence often younger, playing audience. Bioware underestimated their intelligence.

- Why does the main character always turn out to be a demi-god in the end?

Bad writing, and poor expectations, again, of the player's intelligence. They assume we're incapable of enjoying a game unless we fantasize being made some kind of godlike being at its conclusion. Some real classics in the CRPG genre didn't do this: Ultima VII, Betrayal at Krondor, Planescape: Torment.

- There are some pretty unrealistic aspects to the game. Things like that disturb involvement in the game, especially when some other aspects, like the graphics, are very realistic. Examples are your ability to carry a truckload of items without a backpack or without getting tired...

A very anti-RPG element, IMO. The final battle with Malak was ridiculously easy; after all, he has only one relatively small source of healing available, while in my last game, I had 34 lifesupports, 74 advanced medpacs, 48 regular ones, etc. Presumably, I told him to wait while I had several trucks dump all the contents on the floor before our glorious combat. :rolleyes:
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Postby DiGuru » Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:09 pm

I finished KotOR a few days ago as a light character and I am now 1/3 of the way with a dark character.

I loved it. As an interactive movie, yes. 65 hours of it! But I agree with MordorMan. It feels cramped. You cannot do anything unexpected, just because you feel like it. It is even quite hard to look up or down. And there are just a few mildly challeging points in the whole game.

That said, it is very good in it's own right. The atmosphere is more like Star Wars than the recent movies. That's quite an accomplishment.

As I am playing the second time through as a dark character, I expected things to be quite different. But while I'm doing just about the opposite of the first time, it does not seem to have any impact on the story at all (although I expect the end to be different).

I have mixed feelings about playing a dark side character. The dialog options are much more interesting and actually made me laugh a few times. But I see a dark side person more like a calculating bastard, who has quite a lot of interest in everything around him or her, to figure out the path with the biggest reward at the end. And playing along to get there. Especially the Leader of the Sith!

Instead, it seems that dark is equal to getting as much money from everyone as possible and killing them all. Preferrably both. That's the behaviour of some psycopathic maniacs. In RPG terms: chaotic evil on a short fuse with a wisdom of 3 and an intelligence of 8 or less...

The Jedi Council is not very smart as well, I cannot imagine they didn't saw or heard what I did and try to stop me. I expected the dark game to send you to the Sith academy instead of the Jedi academy or something. Or that I had to be sneaky as hell or kill all Jedi's to escape.

But it is a much better game than 99% of the others. Quite worth my 50 bucks. It's a superb story. But I don't expect to play it again and try other possibilities when I finish my dark game.

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Postby Kool69 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:20 pm

Maybe two whole different stories for lightside and dark side characters. darkside u dump your poor "friends" on taris while it gets blasted escape to Korriban, learn the dark ways of the jedi, get party members that are only under your control because of your power and you have to constantly show them that because they will try to overthrow you, interrupt you while you are speaking. just what you would expect from your average to mildly chaotic sith.....
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Postby DiGuru » Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:26 pm

Originally posted by Kool69
Maybe two whole different stories for lightside and dark side characters. darkside u dump your poor "friends" on taris while it gets blasted escape to Korriban, learn the dark ways of the jedi, get party members that are only under your control because of your power and you have to constantly show them that because they will try to overthrow you, interrupt you while you are speaking. just what you would expect from your average to mildly chaotic sith.....


Yes, that's exactly what I was expecting. That would make for a quite interesting alternative story!

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Postby coolcanadian » Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:40 pm

Originally posted by Kool69
Maybe two whole different stories for lightside and dark side characters. darkside u dump your poor "friends" on taris while it gets blasted escape to Korriban, learn the dark ways of the jedi, get party members that are only under your control because of your power and you have to constantly show them that because they will try to overthrow you, interrupt you while you are speaking. just what you would expect from your average to mildly chaotic sith.....


and then after leaving all your friends on taris you got some new characters while at the sith acadamy. Get dark jedi and other characters. that way theres characters for each alignment. you still get hk-47 though as hes the best
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Postby Armisael » Wed Jan 21, 2004 11:08 pm

I agree on most counts. Yes, the RPG elements in KotOR are severely watered down. There is essentially no tactical element to combat, largely due to exceedingly limited control over party members, and anyway, the game's so easy that in the end it doesn't even matter (certainly not a good thing in my view). I was extremely disappointed with the interface in particular, the way item handling was done, the lack of a quick weapon change and a myriad other things that I'd assumed by now were par for the course in a BioWare RPG. And I personally don't believe the story was anywhere near strong enough in KotOR to carry the game.

Disagreements -- I didn't miss the ability to jump here any more than I did in NWN, it's not that kind of game. Compared with Morrowind the environment may have seemed restrictive, but the Elder Scrolls series aren't exactly your typical RPG experience, so this wasn't a great concern for me either. KotOR's contemporaries are more along the lines of NWN and the Infinity Engine series. And good graphics need not necessarily detract from the overall game experience, although I see where you're coming from.

Oh, and one big disagreement on the point of storylines, directed chiefly at fable - what d'you mean you weren't a god in Torment? You were literally immortal, and had the benefit of having lived hundreds or thousands of lives beforehand from which to conveniently draw experience through memories and such. The fact is that the PC in an RPG is almost always outstanding in some way, because the plot of most RPGs is centered in some way around the PC (who is, in many games, the only certain constant), so much so that it's practically become an inherent notion when discussing RPGs at large. It's not always a bad thing, and it doesn't preclude good writing, unless you'd like to argue that Torment was poorly written... didn't think so. ;)

Oh, and in Ultima VII you were the Avatar. The walking personification of Virtue? Champion of Britannia? 'Nuff said, really. Nice to see I'm not the only one around here who loved Ultima, though...

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Postby fable » Wed Jan 21, 2004 11:50 pm

Originally posted by Armisael
Oh, and one big disagreement on the point of storylines, directed chiefly at fable - what d'you mean you weren't a god in Torment? You were literally immortal, and had the benefit of having lived hundreds or thousands of lives beforehand from which to conveniently draw experience through memories and such.


You're missing the fact that my remarks were in answer to the question, "Why does the main character always turn out to be a demi-god in the end?" At the conclusion of PS:T, you've literally given up your godhood. Of course, you have gained access to those past lives, which I pointed out in a poster in another thread (who didn't think the NO could survive the Blood Wars), but still...you're no longer immortal. You have enormous resources at your disposal, but you can, and ultimately will, die.

Oh, and in Ultima VII you were the Avatar. The walking personification of Virtue? Champion of Britannia? 'Nuff said, really. Nice to see I'm not the only one around here who loved Ultima, though...

I must disagree, though you've got good taste in games. :D Again, the question was *at the conclusion of the game,* and at the end of Ultima VII, while you're more powerful than at the beginning, you haven't become a god or anywhere near one. Champion of Britannia? A fine title, but there are many people out there who are stronger, wilier, more influential and more powerful than you; my avatar was repeatedly killed during play, and even by a small group of ordinary bandits. Finally, by the game's end, you became somebody who had gathered clues, proven your virtue, and been blessed with friends and allies who helped you triumph over far more powerful foes than yourself.
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Postby Armisael » Thu Jan 22, 2004 12:50 am

Fair enough. That's not really how I read the original post -- he was talking about remaining an ordinary person throughout the game, and I understood it to be a complaint about how the PC in any given game usually ends up being exceptional, with the game inevitably revolving around his or her fate. I'm just saying, I don't think that has to be a bad thing.

I always got the crap kicked out of me by slimes in Ultima VII, but I still think of the Avatar as a godlike figure... I feel vilified by the fact that he is one come the end of Pagan.

Edit: actually, on a similar subject, why didn't the individual NPC business schedules from Ultima VII/Part II ever catch on? :mad:

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Postby Fnord » Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:53 am

While I definitely enjoyed playing through KotOR, I think I'd have to agree with most of the observations made here. And sadly, I'm seeing it more and more in games. Deus Ex: Invisible War was disappointing to me in much the same way.

And frankly, I think it's something that gamers are just going to have to deal with. The importance of the progression of gaming technology is usurping that of content and immersion. As developers spend more and more time ensuring that their games will run at high resolutions and bit-rates and with perfect shadow detail, they have less and less time to devote to writing compelling storylines or to fine-tuning the detail level of the game's environment. As well, the cost of producing games is higher now than it ever has been in the past. The ability of small, independent development houses to create popular, well-selling products is dwindling. It now falls to much larger companies, who can afford to pay coders, artists, animators, writers, and big-name voice actors, to make profitable games. But justifying the price tag of making a big, pretty, interactive piece of software demands that it also appeal to a broad audience, which essentially means that kids have to like it, too.

Between the time constraints and mass-market appeal, we end up with a slew of companies chasing after the Halo success story. The gaming industry is slowly becoming the movie industry. I'm almost tempted to say that KotOR reeks of Hollywood, and that's what my biggest gripe with it is!

This is why I'm so eagerly awaiting the arrival of Half-Life 2 and Doom 3. Even if the games themselves are entirely sub-par, you can bet that a number of smaller development houses are going to license those engines and make some really cool games with them, where they focus less on bells and whistles and more on immersion and solid gameplay. It would be nice to see more of this same kind of game development in the RPG arena, but it doesn't really seem to have caught on yet. I'd like to see what some other developers could do with KotOR's engine.

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Postby MordorMan » Thu Jan 22, 2004 2:53 am

Ha, I understand there was some flaming done in this thread? Alas, I missed it. But it proves that there are people who really enjoyed the game to the level of feeling the need to stand up for it. It was not my intention to ruin anyones enjoyment of the game, and I can see that for many it proves a great experience. I think I was just trying to say I did not like the game as a RPG.

I think there is much thruth in the analysis made by Fnord. I like the idea of there being hope in the sense that the smaller development houses might take advantage of the technological breakthroughs made by the big ones.
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Postby Kameleon » Thu Jan 22, 2004 8:36 am

I think the point that people are missing (or perhaps the comments were deleted :o ) is that KotOR is a console game, with a PC version. Sure, Bioware developed the two versions independently, but they couldn't just have one version being better, could they? Lowest common denominator and all that. Without wanting to make sweeping generalisations about console gaming (or maybe I am), console games tend to be less intelligent, and more catered for young people. Before you shout at me "but what about X and Y and Z, they were mature and wonderful and brilliant", I know that there are exceptions, and I know that there are also ridiculously childish PC games. But look where the Fallout shoot-em-up is. KotOR has to cater for the people who will buy it on their Xbox because it's a Star Wars game, or perhaps because they liked BG: DA, and as such it's not going to be as beard-heavy as PS:T, just one example of a game which I think would have bombed in all but the reviewers' minds on a console. But once I think of it as a console game, I can enjoy it much more, as I love making a perfect super-powerful character as much as anyone. Sure, I miss the lovely little touches and the massive expanses of space you could go to for no better reason to see what was there, but in my opinion anyway BG2 had already started on that route (I'm not gonna go into this now, but just think about the number of areas that had no relation to anything in the story in BG compared to the number in BG2) and Bioware saw success in that. It is linear, but linear to me doesn't have to be a bad game. I enjoy it for what it is, a Star Wars console RPG. With purple lightsabers :D
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