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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Microsoft Xbox, 2003)

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a role-playing video game set in the Star Wars universe. Developed by BioWare and published by LucasArts, the game was released for the Xbox on July 15, 2003.

Four thousand years before the events depicted in the Star Wars movies, the political and ideological situation is not much different from what we have seen in the prequel trilogy: the Republic and the Jedi Order are fighting against two powerful Sith lords, Darth Revan and his apprentice, Darth Malak. It is said that the former was successfully defeated by the Jedi, and that Darth Malak betrayed his mentor and is planning to take on the Republic by himself. His aggression is so successful that some Jedi have decided to join his ranks. A seemingly ordinary soldier of the Republic is traveling aboard a space ship that is attacked by Darth Malak's minions. Narrowly escaping, the soldier meets a female Jedi named Bastila, one of those who have fought Darth Revan in the decisive battle. With her help, the soldier must learn to become a Jedi, stop Darth Malak, and discover the truth about his or her own past.

Knights of the Old Republic is a role-playing game that uses the Star Wars D20 rule system, which is similar to the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Character development and combat are handled similarly to BioWare's previous RPGs such as Baldur's Gate series. Combat engine follows similar "real-time with pause" rules. There are only three active combatants on the player's side. Several characters join the party and can be switched at the player's will.

Eventually, the protagonist will have to train at the Jedi academy to earn a lightsaber and force moves. Force powers include stun, force pull (which pulls opponents or objects toward the player-controlled character), the Jedi Mind Trick, which persuades people to see things the player's way, and many others. The player has various weapons at his or her disposal, from the lightsaber to blasters, grenades, ion rifles, etc.

Throughout the game, the player will visit many Star Wars locations that appeared in the movies, such as Kashyyyk, the homeworld of the Wookiees, the desert planet of Tatooine, and others. Interacting with characters in various ways and performing side quests influences the protagonist's stand with the forces of Light and Darkness. The player can turn the main character into a flawless Jedi, a ruthless Sith, or anything in between. Some of the player's choices influence major events that occur within the storyline.

The journey will span seven worlds as players ultimately decide on a path of good or evil, from the confines of the Jedi Academy on Dantooine to the forests of Kashyyyk, the Sith realm of Korriban, and the desert planet of Tatooine. Developer BioWare moves away from the interface used in its Baldur's Gate series to create a new turn-based combat system using the 3D engine. Players will also be able to ride a swoop bike to earn cash rewards, fend off enemy ships from behind a gun turret, and participate in other events, such as an original card game loosely based on blackjack, that offer a diversion from the main storyline.

As players grow in ability during the course of adventuring, whether it's by completing quests or through the rigors of combat, they can return to their main vessel, the Ebon Hawk, to train, build custom weapons, or to swap members in and out of their party. The Ebon Hawk also serves as the primary means of transport between worlds. Knights of the Old Republic is exclusive to the Xbox console at the time of its release, with a PC version of the game available in November 2003. Both games feature interfaces and settings unique to the platform on which they appear. Those with an Xbox Live connection will also be able to download bonus content, including additional worlds, characters, and quests.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic received "universal acclaim" according to review aggregator Metacritic, and won numerous awards, including Game Developers Choice Awards' 2004 game of the year, BAFTA Games Awards' best Xbox game of the year, and Interactive Achievement Awards for best console RPG and best computer RPG.

Knights of the Old Republic has seen success as the game of the year from many sources including IGN, Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer, GMR, The Game Developers Choice Awards, Xbox Magazine, and G4. Computer Games Magazine named it the best computer game of 2003, and presented it with awards for "Best Original Music" and "Best Writing". The editors wrote, "The elegance and accessibility that BioWare made part-and-parcel of this game should be the future standard for this genre." According to the review aggregator Metacritic, the PC version received an average score of 93 based on 33 reviews. In total, the game has won over 40 game of the year awards from various publications. Interactive Achievement Awards awarded it for Best Story and Best Character Development. IGN gave KotOR additional awards in Best Sound (Xbox category), Best Story (PC category), Xbox RPG of the Year 2003, PC RPG of the Year 2003, Xbox Game of the Year 2003, PC Game of the Year 2003, and Overall Game of the Year 2003 across all platforms. In 2007, IGN listed it at #27 on its list of the Top 100 Games of All-Time.
Product Information
Publisher LucasArts
Game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
UPC 023272319755
Platform Microsoft Xbox
Genre Role Playing Game
Control Elements Gamepad/Joystick
Number of Players 1
ESRB Rating T - Teen
ESRB Descriptor Violence
Release Year 2003
Game Special Features
  • Become a Jedi whose decisions and actions help determine which path to take: the Light Side or Dark Side
  • Master more than 40 different Force powers, including the Force Push, lightsaber throw, and other techniques
  • Features a voice cast of 52 actors, music from John Williams, and sound effects from the Star Wars films
  • Players can equip various armor types on different parts of the body, which changes the character's appearance
  • Weapons include dual-edged lightsabers, blaster pistols, concussion grenades, rifles, and more
  • Game Series Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Series
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