Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Switch Review

My first experience with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic back in 2003 is intrinsically intertwined with lucid hazy thoughts from watching my older brother play the game while I was recovering from having my wisdom teeth taken out. My blood was full of antibiotics and painkillers, and my stomach full of instant mashed potatoes.

With KOTOR, BioWare had left the safety of Baldur’s Gate & high-fantasy worlds, and they ventured into a galaxy far far away with the release of the first Knights of the Old Republic title. Nearly 20 years later, BioWare is wading through some troubled waters, the lore additions of KOTOR may-or-may-not be canon, and fans are anxiously waiting on additional details for the recently revealed ground-up remake. Until then, returning fans and interested new players have a great new way to play this classic, on the Nintendo Switch! 

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic tells the story of a band of heroes, or potential villains depending on your choices, in stopping the advances of the dark sith lord, Malak, and his army of Sith. As your custom-created character, you will recruit the likes of the Jedi Bastilla, republic hero Carth, meat-bag tenderizer HK-47, and others during your travels around the galaxy. Each character will react either positively or negatively as to how your character handles conversations with strangers, dealing with enemies, and important events that will shape the future of the free Republic. Over the course of your galactic quest, you will be treated to twists & turns, and THAT reveal the remains of one of the most shocking surprises in all of video games, even to this day. 

Using a modified version of the 3rd Edition Dungeon & Dragon ruleset, the general gameplay remains a solid good time, albeit a bit cumbersome if you aren’t used to these style of games. It can be odd to see a blaster bolt fire at the floor when trying to shoot an enemy or wild swings that are easily sidestepped. I know that when I first tried playing the game on Xbox so many years ago, it baffled me too, but now that I have spent a lot more time getting into tabletop roleplaying games, the systems and mechanics make a lot more sense. For new players experiencing this game for the first time, just go in knowing that this is not an action RPG and that the experience is much more akin to a turn-based affair.

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Aspyr, the same studio behind the Switch ports of a bunch of other Star Wars titles and the upcoming remake, took the reins for this KOTOR port as well. The new offerings here are scant with the only real update coming from the textures appearing on models having a higher resolution.

During my time with the port, there were the occasional odd graphical hiccups where a character I was speaking with was strangely cloaked by wonky shadows nearby, but that was the extent of the problems. Loading times were fast, the game was smooth, and it was a genuinely great experience on the Nintendo handheld. For people who find accurate gameplay time to be important though, it should be noted that the game clock will keep on ticking when the Nintendo is in its resting state. 

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Coming in at $14.99, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on Switch is an easy recommendation. While certainly showing its age in the gameplay and visual department, the fantastic story, characters, and lore found within have stood the test of time and remain some of the best that the old Expanded Universe had to offer. Even in this age of NFTs, Dogecoin, season passes, and games-as-a-service, Knights of the Old Republic remains a WRPG classic that Switch owners should run out and experience. May the force be with you.

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