Last year, the classic console RPG formula that couldn't lose--that is, the Final Fantasy-esque gameplay found in most of today's popular console RPG's--was re-invented when uber-successful PC RPG developer BioWare released an epic sci-fi gem. Sure, BioWare was already one of the elite names with the PC RPG crowd, but surely it is a giant gameplay leap from PC to console... right? After last year, I'm afraid that line has been blurred, but back to the subject at hand. The Canadian developer's runaway hit, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic came to pass in glory and praise and will now be duly receiving the sequel treatment--yet not from BioWare. Like a perfectly executed olympic sprint relay, Obsidian Entertainment of Southern California has taken the baton from BioWare for what is now officially called: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords.
Obsidian is made up of key members who've worked on some of the best RPG's ever designed including Baldur's Gate, Fallout and Planescape: Torment. By any gamer's yard stick, those illustrious credentials should warrant them worthy of pretty much any RPG undertaking.
The Sith Lords is set 5 years after the original. As the Empire Strikes Back was to A New Hope, the stage is darker this time around and things are not quite so "cheery." The galaxy is in disarray after the climactic battle between Darth Malak and Revan in the last story, and appropriate enough for the title, there are several Sith Lords hunting the last of the Jedi. Apparently they're very efficient, as your character is now the last known Jedi... well, ex-Jedi now, and is an exile after having fought in the legendary Mandalorian Wars. These wars were a large part of the dark-sider Canderous Ordo's history in the first game and will now of course be explained even further. Of course, your ex-Jedi status makes you a target, and that's where the story begins.
In order to preserve the integrity of the storyline you chose in the first game, Obsidian is cleverly allowing your new character to tell the game what happened early on through dialogue with another NPC. This in turn will alter the course of events in The Sith Lords, especially which NPCs remain alive or are now deceased.
Unlike in the original game, which featured a large section where your character trained from force-sensitive wannabe to the first rank of Jedi in a Rocky-esque sequence, there will be no similar events in The Sith Lords. In the sequel, you begin as one of the 3 Jedi classes (Consular, Sentinel or Guardian), will gradually re-gain your lost force sensitivity, re-acquire new force powers and optionally hunt for your lightsaber.
Speaking of Force Powers, you'll have a healthy repertoire of new ones to learn and use in this game. These include Force Sight, which allows your character to see through walls and also witness the light-side/dark-side disposition of other characters via their "aura" color (red for dark, blue for light). Battle Meditation is the power that Bastila used in the last game, and which unfortunately, you never were able to take advantage of until now; it's conceivable that it will enhance other's abilities around you. Other new powers include Force Confusion, Force Rage and Force Clairvoyance, though there will be many more.
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