Blog of the Blood God: Knights of the Old Republic II Unexpectedly Lives On

Blog of the Blood God: Knights of the Old Republic II Unexpectedly Lives On

A new update highlights an RPG that still holds a certain fascination a decade after its release.

It's funny what games live on in our collective memories. By all rights, Knights of the Old Republic II should have faded into history, hidden by the long shadow cast by the original. Instead, it lives on thanks to an army of modders determined to resurrect Obsidian's true vision for what (in their mind) should have been one of the best RPGs ever made.

Yesterday, word hit that Knights of the Old Republic II was unexpectedly getting a large update on Steam, bringing with it achievements and support for 4K monitors and console controllers, as well as easy access to the popular Sith Lords Restored Content Mod. To the extent that KOTOR II has a "definitive version," this is probably it.

Fans of KOTOR II have long been tantalized by its ambition and potential. Released just over ten years ago in December 2004, it was the sequel to the very popular RPG by BioWare, which marked a point when many established PC developers made the leap to console. KOTOR II's developer, Obsidian, was one of those studios, having risen from the ashes of Black Isle Studios, which had closed its doors the year before. Obsidian brought a certain allure to the project that has persisted through the years, their calling card being fascinating but often half-finished and extremely buggy RPGs.

Given that they had only a year to pull together more than 40 hours of content, though, what they accomplished with KOTOR II is notable. As with Fallout: New Vegas, which had many of the same issues as KOTOR II, Obisidian's sequel was praised for having a superior story, with many reviewers at the time calling it the Empire Strikes Back to the original Knights of the Old Republic's Star Wars. It was darker than KOTOR, with far more plot options and an interesting antagonist, though it's hard to beat the big twist from the original game. And like Empire, it had an open-ended conclusion.

As it turned out, that was not by design. LucasArts reportedly pushed Obsidian hard to finish KOTOR II by Christmas, and they complied. As a consequence, though, a large amount of content was cut, much of it remaining on the disc when the game shipped. That content has been the object of fascination among RPG fans ever since.

To a degree, I think KOTOR II's impact is overstated. It's worth playing, especially now, but one of the charges leveled against it upon release was that it recycled too much content from the original game; inevitable, perhaps, given the game's development history, but one that still holds true today. It does not benefit from a new setting like Fallout: New Vegas, which had a very different flavor as a result. It has its merits, and Kreia is fantastic as a blind Force-sensitive who serves as the protagonist's mentor (though the ultimate twist isn't hard to spot), but I found it to be a less complete experience in comparison to the original, which is arguably BioWare's best RPG.

It still holds a certain fascination among RPG fans, though, and it has held up better than I would have imagined in 2004. If you haven't tried it yet, it's certainly worth picking up, especially with this brand new update. I never would have guessed that we would still be talking about KOTOR II after all these years, but here we are. Now go play it.

Interested in more RPG coverage? Check out our weekly RPG podcast, Axe of the Blood God, updated every Friday.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

Related articles

"The Biggest Concern with Stadia is That It Might Not Exist"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | As Google streaming service preps for a bare bones launch, Microsoft positions Project xCloud as a compelling alternative

"If You See Someone Running Around and Screaming, You're Going to Run Around and Scream"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | VR news, lawsuits, and a big splash on mobile from Nintendo mark a busy week for games in America (and for America, generally).

Starting Screen | NeoGAF's Fall is a Sign of the Times in More Ways Than One

STARTING SCREEN | On the sudden end of a long-standing gaming community.

You may also like

Press Start to Continue

A look back on what we tried to accomplish at USgamer, and the work still to be done.

Mat's Farewell | The Truth Has Not Vanished Into Darkness

This isn't the real ending, is it? Can't be.

Eric's Farewell | Off to Find a New Challenger

It's time for us to move on, but we'll carry USG with us wherever we go.