“Oh, my dear friend. How I’ve missed you.”
Bioware’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remains one of the greatest Star Wars games ever made thanks to its charming cast, deep storylines, and expansive planetary exploration. Given its proven legacy, the only question that remains is whether or not Knights of the Old Republic is still worth your hard-earned credits seven years after its initial mobile release in 2013. While the touch control functionality can be a bit awkward at times, the mobile port of this Star Wars adventure provides the perfect way for players to re-experience this classic or step into the Old Republic for the very first time.
A Welcomed Change of Pace
From the opening crawl to the finale, Knights of the Old Republic captures the spirit of the Star Wars universe. Set 4,000 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire, you explore an era rarely seen in any Star Wars titles both before or since the game’s release.
You step into the shoes of a Republic soldier initially tasked with locating Jedi Sentinel Bastila Shan, the galaxy’s best hope of stopping Darth Malak’s revolting Sith army. Despite originally releasing on the Xbox 17 years ago, the game still feels like a breath of fresh air. There is no talk of clones, the Skywalkers don’t exist, and there’s not a Death Star to be seen in the sky. Not having to battle the typical stormtrooper or wise-cracking droid armies is a wonderful deviation from the norm.
After nearly two decades, Knights of the Old Republic is about as stunning as a tusken raider. Though at this stage in its lifespan, these sub-par graphics are to be expected given its age. The real value lies in exploring the planets and cultures of the Old Republic, as well as the conflicts that led to the rebellion of former Jedi Knights to form the latest Sith insurrection.
Taking Open World to a Galactic Level
Bioware is known for its world-building talent and this game is no exception. Knights of the Old Republic often drops you into a foreign planet with very little information. There is no hand holding on this adventure. You will find no quest markers or compasses guiding you to the next step. The Force is not with you on this journey.
Luckily, exploration is exactly where the game shines. Talking to locals rewards you with valuable information about next steps in your quests. They also guide you to additional storylines that provide context about the worlds you are inhabiting. I enjoyed the game most while learning about the planet’s history through rewarding side quests. One such planet, Taris, has a history of systemic racism towards alien species, a criminal underworld rivaling that of the Hutts, and a newly oppressive Sith presence occupying the planet. Examining or overlooking these details is entirely left up to the player.
While strolling through planets like Kashyyyk and Tatooine is a blast, the navigation of the world itself is another story. Movement is done by dragging your finger up, down, left, and right on the screen. This made me ache for a joystick on more than one occasion. The choice of toggling an auto-run feature helps, but movement became a quick deterrent for longer play sessions.
This is YOUR Star Wars Story
Knights of the Old Republic’s classic RPG playstyle features a Dungeons & Dragons-esque combat system with a heavy emphasis on stats, skills, and a bit of luck. Three character classes are available at the start of your journey – Soldier, Scout, or Scoundrel. Upon gaining experience, players pour skill points into a pool of attributes like Demolitions or Awareness. This allows players to craft a character’s combat-style to their liking. Having the freedom to create anything from a melee-focused Jedi to a blaster-pistol wielding scoundrel helps to craft a story of your own in the vast Star Wars universe.
Combat itself is a round-based system. Behind-the-scene “rolls” determine the outcome of each combat interaction. The pause and play strategy style of gameplay translates seamlessly to mobile. Though there are moments when selecting enemies and objects using a touch screen is frustratingly difficult. Thankfully, the round-based combat ensured that it never led to dire mistakes for my three-person party of galactic heroes.
Is it Hardcore?
Without a Doubt.
Despite the clunky movement and fluky targeting, Knights of the Old Republic still stands as one of the most compelling Star Wars stories ever told. RPG and Star Wars fans alike will have a blast experiencing the era of the Old Republic.