GET YOUR GAME ON: ‘Old Republic’ is new again

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First Posted: 6/3/2013

Released in 2003, “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” was one of the best games to come out on the original Xbox, and still stands as one of the best “Star Wars” games that has ever been released. This week, “KOTOR” was released as a downloadable game for the iPad ($9.99). Normally, I would say there aren’t too many games that would benefit from touch controls, but this game really does hold up with the Xbox classic.
Before “Mass Effect” and “Dragon Age,” “KOTOR” was one of the first games to put Bioware on the map and was one of the first games I played that had moral choices and different dialogue to choose from. It was also the first game to pull off a good “Star Wars” RPG.
Set 4,000 years before “Star Wars: Episode I” took place, there were many events that occurred in the “Star Wars” universe. The Jedi have been pretty much wiped out by the Sith, and it is up to you and your band of friends to bring balance to the Force and save the galaxy. One of the most noticeable innovations is the morality meter; all of your conversation choices and actions will contribute to your Light or Dark Side meter. If the meter swings far in one way or the other, you will be come a good Jedi knight or an evil Sith overlord. Now you get to determine the fate of the entire galaxy and the Old Republic.
Bioware hasn’t changed all that much about “KOTOR,” but it surprisingly holds up pretty well from what I remember playing years ago. The gameplay isn’t quite as polished as the newer Bioware games like “Mass Effect,” but it is pretty competent. I think, for the most part, the iPad version is an improvement in many ways. The first improvement is in the graphics; it has been 10 years, and with the high-quality screen on the iPad, they are able to make this game look gorgeous. And even though the voice acting is the same, it is still better than most present-day games. After a decade, the graphics are a bit dated and chunky, but they are still cleaned up and look sharp.
Playing this game on a mobile device is actually quite functional because it retains the pause and play gameplay of the original; you simply tap on the character you want to fight and the screen pauses, letting you decide what you want to do. Selecting things with the touchpad works great, and it makes navigating your inventory and backend menus quite easy. In some places, the text can be hard to read on the smaller screen, but this is only is an issue when you are talking to someone because you have to read each selection and tap the number of the one you want to say. It works well for the most part, but acts screwy from time to time.
Overall, the only thing I had a problem with is the movement controls. When you want to run around, you have to drag your finger on the screen, and then the character moves there. It usually works, but it’s clunky because sometimes it’s hard to see what is going on with your hand on the screen.
The story is exactly the same along with all the great twists and turns, and the touch screen and updated graphics are a vast improvement. If you missed this game on the Xbox, then you have to play this gaming masterpiece. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the plot twists are epic and some of the most shocking moments of the “Star Wars” story. Even if you did play it before, it is actually worth downloading to experience it again; it still holds up after all these years.
If you are a “Star Wars” fan, you are going to love this game because it fleshes out a ton of backstory in the universe and tells a really memorable tale. If you have no interest in “Star Wars” and are just looking for a good game to play on your iPad, then this is definitely worth a download. This game is truly a worthy addition to the “Star Wars” universe.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at