Is this classic worth playing again on Nintendo Switch?
Check out our review of the Nintendo Switch release of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Find out if arguably the best Star Wars game ever made plays well on the console, if the gameplay and graphics hold up after nearly two decades, and whether you should buy it again.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS, and welcome to our review of the Switch port of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which is being republished by Aspyr who handled most of the recent Star Wars ports. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, but we’ll try to go easy on the spoilers if you haven’t played it before. Last thing, don’t forget to subscribe for more video game content every single week, and check out our playlist of the best Star Wars video games ever. You’re not going to want to miss it.
Although most Star Wars games pre-Disney takeover are no longer considered canon, it’s been good to see a bunch of the best being given a second life on modern hardware. The likes of Episode I Racer, Republic Commando and Jedi Academy can now all be experienced on the Switch by fans new and old, but of the games to be re-released from this era, one was conspicuous by its absence.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or KOTOR if you want to get acronymical about this) is widely regarded as the best Star Wars game for very good reason.
Developed by BioWare, one of the titans of modern RPG titles, KOTOR takes place 4,000 years before the events of the Star Wars films, a time in which the Sith plague the galaxy in great numbers. One such Sith, Darth Malak has launched an armada against the Republic, and it’s not long before your create-a-character is caught in the middle of it all.
Although it had a foray on mobile devices about 8 years ago, this is the first home console version of KOTOR since it first released nearly two decades ago. Now in this review I’ll first be covering the updates and specific features of this release, before moving on to more general thoughts about the game as a whole. Hi
But the question is, is it still worth playing on the Switch in 2021? Watch on to find out…
First things first, this isn’t the remake that’s recently been teased for the PS5. This is a faithful port of the original game, for better or worse. Despite some HD polishing, this is a game that’s very much looking its age, which depending on your levels of nostalgia, will either be a nice throwback, or a little jarring.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a dealbreaker either way, as it never really relied on its visuals even back in the day. All I would say is try it out in handheld most first, it’s a bit more forgiving on the smaller screen.
The control and menu set up is also a little bit of a relic of its age. Aspyr have done as good m a job as they could to map the controls to the Switch, but ultimately it’s a 20 year old RPG; you’re going to have to get used to menus, squad commands and other fiddly inputs. If you’re a player of a certain vintage, I’m sure this won’t be an issue, but newcomers might need to exercise a bit of patience.
And as for changes, that’s pretty much it, which is good as it gives me a chance to wax lyrical for a while!
This game single-handedly fleshes out the Star Wars universe more than anything that has come before or since. You can explore the galaxy, learn about the ancient Sith and discover why Tusken Raiders hate outsiders so much. It’s no surprise that several novels and comics expanded upon some of the characters introduced in KOTOR. And as you can expect with any BioWare RPG, each character has a deep, fully fleshed out backstory. Bastila Shan, Jolee Bindo and the Assassin Droid HK-47 might not be names that mean anything to you if you haven’t played the game, but if you have you’ll know them just as well as all the main cast of the films, and I wouldn’t blame you if you preferred them – they’re just that endearing.
Gameplaywise, all the RPG mechanics are there; you choose your class, level up your stats and make your character your own. Combat is round-based and you can have up to two companions at a time, all of whom are fantastic and memorable. This might all sound fairly standard when it comes to roleplaying games, but as is often the way, it’s the characters and dialogue options that offer the most lasting moments. KOTOR boasts over 300 speaking characters and 15,000 lines of dialogue in total, a ridiculous level of detail, given it’s nearly 17 years old. This makes it the most organic, lived in Star Wars world committed to video game, and necessitates multiple playthroughs to experience everything – something that is definitely worth your time.
Then there’s the plot twist near the end. I’m not going to mention it directly in case you haven’t played it yet, but suffice it’s one of the few genuinely jaw-dropping moments in gaming history – up there with Aerith’s death in Final Fantasy VII and Bioshock’s ‘Would you kindly…’ payoff. If you’re lucky enough not to know the plot of KOTOR, do yourself a favour and play it immediately, regardless of the platform!
That actually leads me on to whether you should pick up KOTOR on the Switch. If you already have it on PC or console, it’s probably not worth getting it again; it’s exactly the same game with no real incentive to double up on copies. You’re better off waiting a little longer for the remake to drop next year. However I will say if you only have it on your phone, it’s probably worth a purchase as it’s infinitely better with physical button inputs.
But if you’ve never experienced KOTOR before, whether it passed you by or you were too young back in the day, it’s a no brainer. This is an excellent, faithful port, and all the elements that made it special the first time around are still as magical today. Having this gem available on more systems can only be a good thing, and I implore you to lose several wonderful hours to not just the best Star Wars game ever, but one of the best video games of all time.
Are you going to pick up KOTOR on Switch? Do you have any fond memories of playing it back in the day? Please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your thoughts. And don’t forget to subscribe for more Star Wars videos, and you can always visit upsidedownshark.com to keep up with everything we’ve got going on.
Until then my name is Tom, we’ve been UDS, and may the Force be with you!