The release and runaway success of BioWare’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in 2003 was one of those big cultural events that never happened to me at the time. I was a high school student in the last year of preparing for College Entrance Test in China, and knew little beyond China, not to mention to have a chance to play Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on Xbox, PC or Mac.
A few years later I started my carrer on covering MMO games, I still have not played this game although I wrote a few pieces of articles about Star Wars: The Old Republic. Ten years later, Star Wars: Knights of the Old has been re-created for iPad, giving me a new chance to play this epic game.
From the moment you first launch the game, you will role play a male or female character from three Classes – Scoundrel, Scout and Soldier. After you choose a character, you will be brought to the Character info panel where you are able to customize his or her portrait, attributes, skills, feats, and name, or you can simply use a portrait to launch a quick character on the other and directly get into the game.
The game opens with your character awakening aboard the Endar Spire, which has been ambushed by a Sith Battle fleet. Trask Ulgo, ensign with the Republic Fleet, hastily ran up to tell you that you will have to find Bastila and make sure she makes it off the ship alive. Bastila is the commanding offer on the Endar Spire in charge of your first mission. Your primary duty, in the words of Trask Ulgo, is to guarantee her survival in the event of enemy attack. Now it time to make good on the oath you swore to complete your first mission.
Before starting your mission, you need to familiarize yourself with some basic controls. You can swipe left or right and face the camera towards an object, then swipe upwards to cause the character to run forward. Swipe to the edges of the screen to rotate the camera, tap on an object to select it and then tap on it again to perform the default action.
Character progression is primarily achieved through talking to Trask Ulgo and completing his missions that require you sometimes to get through a door, and sometimes to combat againt enemies. As a newbie playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, I got lost at my first character simply because I skipped a few useful tips. Even when I was faced with a locked door, I jus ran around and cannot find a way out. Finally I had to recreate a new character and read and liten to all words from Trask Ulgo to start my adventure again. It is strongly recommded to follow Trask Ulgo since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a game with a strong focus on plot line. Trask Ulgo will tell you everything you need to know to complete missions. If you do not read words or listen to what Trask Ulgo were saying, you would probably spend a lot of time on solving puzzles.
There are security doors betweeen each room. Each room where you are in lockdown because of the attack, you will have to switch who is the party leader by tapping on their portait in the lower left corner of the screen to unlock doors. In most areas, you can use the Party Selection screen to quickly switch party members in and out as you need them. This is done instantly and without having to return to your base.
The game pauses when an enemy is in sight, and the selection reticle will show up in red. You can tap to select other hostile targets. This auto-pause option can be disabled on the Options screen. Pressing the Pause button will pause the game. While paused, you will can issue commands to your party. Press the Play button when you want to unpause the game. Whenever you spot an enemy, tap the targeted enemy to enter combat mode. This will lock the camera on your selected target. Tapping the target again causes your character to perform the default action and attack each round. Your chances of hitting a target are determined by your statistics and behind the scenes cambat rolls. Combat is not affected by your aim, your character’s movements or the movements of your target. When encounter a group of enemies, you will automatically attack one of your hostile targets. In each round, you just need to tap the targetted enemy once to engage in the battle. You do not have to tap it again ultil you select a new target. While engaged in combat, you can use the Target and Action munus to activate items, feats and Force powers each round. Otherwise your character will automatically perform their default attack each round.
The entire user interface has been redesigned for the iPad’s touchscreen. Navigating through the game’s menus is quick and easy. Even the combat works well, thanks to the system that lets you pause at any time, get a grasp of the situation, and strategize accordingly. In combat, the redesigned interface makes it quick and easy to select targets, attacks, and items. Swipe gestures get a little frustrating for moving your character outside of combat. The movement doesn’t severely inhibit gameplay, but it’s clunky and you’ll be running into plenty of obstacles. You can improve the movement quite a bit by heading into the game options and bumping up the movement sensitivity a bit.
Those of you who, like me, are experiencing this for the first time are in for a treat. The graphics hold up surprisingly well considering the age of the game, looking particularly good on a retina display. The story is expansive and every single line of dialogue is voice acted, even when spoken by the most minor of NPCs and sometimes in alien languages. Overall, the voice acting is very good, bringing the characters and universe to life. Unfortunately, all that voice acting adds significantly to the game’s file size, which exceeds 2 GB after installation.
If this would be your first time playing the game, you should definitely pick it up. It’s a gaming classic and the story is excellent in its content and execution. If you’ve already played through Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in one of its earlier iterations, it might be time for you to try it again. The remade interface works great and, for the most part, the touchscreen controls are very usable. It’s really cool to have access to all these great Star Wars characters and locations with a handheld device.