Review: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Is Bare Bones on Switch, Still a Classic
I really loved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic when it first launched almost 20 years ago, and it’s a game that has aged, not poorly, but not as gracefully as other games. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comes from an era of video games when 3D was still relatively new, and role-playing games were making an awkward transition from isometric points of view to third person. And while Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic definitely suffers from being a product of its time, it also holds up surprisingly well.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a role-playing game played from the first person, either solo or in a group with two other members. Combat is determined by background dice rolls, based on the old Star War Roleplaying Game, so twitch reflexes won’t save you from bad luck. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic you play as a person who gets caught into a larger plot involving a Dark Jedi called Malek—with a famous twist. It still has a compelling story with good character development (penned by now infamous writer Chris Avellone, who was accused of sexual misconduct last year), but for someone who hasn’t’ played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic since the original on Xbox, relearning how to play its specific brand of third person role-playing game required me to relearn a few things.
If you’re a modern gamer coming in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you might struggle a bit. Even as someone who played it on release, I didn’t remember how awkward the control scheme can be. It also doesn’t help that the original came with a manual to explain some of the finer details, while you’re stuck learning everything in an awkward, front loaded tutorial. This tutorial helped set me back on my path to becoming a light or dark Jedi, but it also took me out of the game a bit: the game’s story urges you to hurry, while a tutorial naturally slows you down. It’s too bad that will be many people’s first impressions, because once you get used to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’s older style game systems. The best comes when you’re finally able to get a hold of a few force powers, and start making your journey towards the light or dark side.
While Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has enjoyed many rereleases (and even an upcoming remake) its transition to Nintendo Switch is handled well. It’s essentially just the classic game on a smaller screen. It’s bare bones, but it gets the job done. Unfortunately, there were some strange issues with the port, and I’m not sure if they’re intentional or not. Death sounds were absent in my playthrough, and looking around the internet, I’m not the only one missing enemy death sounds from my game. There is also a large text box that stays during combat sequences, and as far as I can tell, you can’t turn it off. It’s not the first time Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would make its way to a mobile format. It has enjoyed mobile releases over the last decade or so. I was hoping the Nintendo Switch version would bring a little more polish and quality of life changes, but I guess I’m just going to have to wait for the remake.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is definitely a classic. If you wanted to jump into the original version before the remake, the Nintendo Switch release is a perfect excuse. There are some strange technical issues—notably, missing death sounds—but it’s a perfectly playable port, especially once you get used to its somewhat strange controls. Just don’t go in expecting a fully modernized game.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is available now on Nintendo Switch.
A Nintendo Switch key was provided to us for this review.
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Chris Avellone didn’t write KOTOR. Drew Karpyshyn did. Avellone wrote the sequel for Obsodion.
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