The Let's Play Archive

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

by Doc M

Part 1: The Fallen Spire

Part 1: The Fallen Spire

I miss these guys. They made or at least published some of my all-time favorite games.

I miss these guys as well. They also made some of my all-time favorite games. Yes, I know BioWare is still around, but in such a sorry state that I'd rather pretend they weren't.

The Xbox version has this FMV at the start. I believe this was the game's launch trailer, and like all trailers it's rife with spoilers so I'm not showing it. It was removed from the PC version for whatever reason, and before KotOR showed up on the Xbone backwards compatibility list I had not seen this trailer in well over a decade.

Anyway, welcome to Knights of the Old Republic. There was an Xbox-exclusive Press Start screen, but I cut that out because who cares. Let's do this! First off, we're gonna have to create a character. A lot of the commentary in this section is carried over from my original LP, but I've made changes wherever I've felt like it.

There are three character classes in KotOR, all of them available for both male and female characters. We're picking the latter for this LP for no particular reason. The canon main character is male, but having seen what the Old Republic MMO and its tie-ins did with the story of this game and the sequel I'm more than happy to toss the official canon out of the nearest airlock.

Soldier is obviously the tank of the bunch, with a ton of health and great attack and defense stats. They don't get many skills or feats to play with, though, so they're boring and only good for killing things. Scout is the middle of the road type of guy, decent at everything but doesn't shine at any particular area. They do, however, get access to stat-boosting implants from the start. As I tend to roll rogue-type characters in RPGs, with a focus on talking my way out of trouble, we're picking Scoundrel as our starting class. Scoundrels have the lowest combat stats, but make up for it with their versatile skill set.

Strangely, it's the Scout that starts off dressing up like Han Solo, instead of the Scoundrel like you'd expect. From what I recall, old Star Wars expanded universe stuff made that outfit into the official Corellian smuggler uniform or some nonsense like that.

If you want to, you can simply pick the Quick Character option to get straight into the action. Obviously, we're not picking that because we want to set everything up ourselves, but the option is there.

There's a decent number of appearance options for both genders, although a lot of them look pretty crummy nowadays and weren't all that great in 2003 either. This Asian female character model is perhaps my favorite in the game, so we're choosing that one. Sadly, there is no customization of any sort, so the appearance you pick is what you'll be stuck with.

If you're having trouble understanding all the RPG stuff, the game has these handy tutorial popups. They can also be disabled if you prefer.

Here's our stats sheet. You can click Recommended to distribute the 30 available attribute points in a way the game deems optimal. I usually do that and then fine-tune the stats to my liking instead of putting all the points in manually. In this case, I've gone for a DEX/WIS/CHA build, as that'll suit our character quite nicely. KotOR uses the d20 system from the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, but no knowledge of D&D is needed to play the game as it explains itself quite well. Full disclosure: I've never played D&D in my life and don't know all that much about the deeper workings of the d20 mechanics, so you should not expect this LP to double as a minmaxing guide or anything like that.

I'll admit 10 STR is a bit worrying, but we'll find various ways to increase that as the game progresses. 10 INT, on the other hand, is perfectly fine because 10 is the cutoff point for the extra skill points you get as a Scout or Scoundrel.

Having set our attributes, next up are our skills. As the game is explaining here, skill use is all based on your skill ranks, the appropriate modifiers from your attributes, and d20 rolls.

So, let's see what we've got. The recommended skill point allocation focuses heavily on Demolitions (setting/disarming mines) and Stealth, but I am never going to use Stealth and don't need Demolitions just yet so I just put a bunch of points to Persuade and Security instead. I also put a few points into Computer Use and Repair (which are cross-class skills and therefore require two points for each rank), because those are always useful.

Next up, we've got feats. The game explains them better than I ever could with that popup.

We start with a number of feats already unlocked at character generation, and annoyingly they don't all fit in a single window. Armor Proficiency: Light means our character can equip light armor; Critical Strike increases your melee attack's Critical Threat range and can stun enemies unless they make a successful Fortitude save; Sniper Shot is Critical Strike for ranged weapons; Weapon Proficiency: Blaster Pistol and Weapon Proficiency: Melee Weapons means our character can equip blaster pistols and melee weapons respectively (as you probably already figured out); and Sneak Attack I is the first level of a Scoundrel feat that adds extra damage to attacks against stunned or immobilized enemies. Finally, there's Scoundrel's Luck, which grants a passive defense bonus (+2 at the initial rank).

I add Flurry to my combat feats. Critical Strike is going to be our main combat feat as it can stun enemies and allow us to get in a sneak attack for extra damage, but being able to make an extra melee attack during a turn is nothing to sneeze at either and can wreck trash mobs. The problem with Flurry is the hefty Defense and Attack penalties at the first rank, as we'll leave ourselves kind of open and will also whiff a lot until our Attack modifier is sufficiently high to offset the penalty and we unlock Improved/Master Flurry to reduce the penalty.

Finally, we have to decide on a name for our character. Since I have no imagination, I'll just let the randomizer do its thing. This particular name is definitely not going to cut it, though, so let's press the Y button another 439 times.

I was tempted to go with this one, but didn't want the Brinstar theme from the original Metroid to be stuck in my head for the entirety of the LP.

About 742 Y button presses (and many suggestions that incorporate existing Star Wars names such as Leia, Padme, Mothma, and Mara) later, I got one I found decent. I didn't want to spend any more time in this screen than I already had, so Zila Galcyon it is. Of course, now I'm going to have that one Orbital song stuck in my head instead of the Brinstar theme, but I can deal with that.

So, that's our initial character. 7 HP isn't great and our Fortitude sucks, as does Will to a slightly smaller extent, but we'll manage. At least we are reasonably hard to hit, even if we will eat shit pretty much as soon as something worse than a stiff breeze manages to hit us. But now that that's done, it's time to start the show!

A very, very long time ago.

VIDEO: Opening Crawl and Intro Scene (not my upload because I don't want Mickey Mouse to show up at my door and break my kneecaps)

Four thousand years before
the rise of the Galactic
Empire, the Republic verges
on collapse. DARTH MALAK,
last surviving apprentice of
the Dark Lord Revan, has
unleashed an invincible
Sith armada upon an
unsuspecting galaxy.

Crushing all resistance,
Malak's war of conquest
has left the Jedi Order
scattered and vulnerable
as countless Knights fall in
battle, and many more
swear allegiance to the new
Sith Master.

In the skies above the Outer
Rim world of Taris, a Jedi
battle fleet engages the
forces of Darth Malak in a
desperate effort to halt the
Sith's galactic domination....

As the opening crawl mentioned, a space battle between the Republic and the Sith rages on above the Outer Rim planet of Taris. What looks to be a Republic capital ship is under heavy fire from Sith fighters.

That... is less than ideal.

The crippled capital ship begins a slow descent towards the planet below.

Meanwhile, aboard the ship, Republic soldier Zila Galcyon is resting in her quarters after a shift.

The explosion we saw in the FMV shakes the entire ship, waking Zila from her sleep.

Pictured: more convincing "I just woke up" facial animation than we saw in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Just as Zila gets up and is trying to figure out what's happening, a fellow soldier enters her quarters.

Slow down, champ. First off, we have no idea who this is.

We tell him as much. We can also ask about the Endar Spire, but that'd be silly because surely Zila knows the name of the Republic cruiser she's stationed on.

Trask here is Zila's bunk mate and she's never seen him until now. Sure. Apparently, the soldiers' quarters on Republic ships are co-ed as well, which seems a bit irregular.

Zila doesn't know who Bastila is either, so hopefully Trask can fill us in.

One of our primary duties is to guarantee her survival in the event of enemy attack! You swore an oath just like everyone else on this mission. Now it's time to make good on that oath! I know all about your reputation, how you used to smuggle spice and blasters along the Corellian Run. I guess the Republic figured since they couldn't catch you, they might as well hire you. And I'll admit, the Republic is in desperate need of someone with your kind of skills. Desperate enough to overlook your shady past. But now that you've signed on for this mission you're part of the Republic fleet. And Bastila needs all troops at her side during this attack!

Okay, jeez. I was just asking. At least we got some of Zila's backstory in that spiel.

Since we are Republic soldiers here, we should do our job instead of complaining so let's get on with it.

Right, let's find our equipment then.

We also get the first entry in our quest journal. I probably won't be showing the journal all the time, but since this is the first update I thought I should at least take a look at it.

The footlocker in our quarters contains our gear, all of which sadly doesn't fit in the window. We also get a computer spike (used for hacking), a security spike (for picking locks, although our Security skill is more than enough for any locked doors we might encounter at this time), and two medpacs. Regular medpacs heal 10 HP + Wisdom modifier + our Treat Injury rank.

Let's just equip our clothes and blaster pistol. That is all we have in terms of equipment right now, but since we're here we might as well go over the different equipment slots. In the top row we've got slots for implants, headgear and gloves, the middle row has the body armor slot and one energy shield slot for each arm, and the bottom row has weapon and belt slots.

By default, the Party Inventory screen shows all items you've got. Since there is no carry limit that I know of, this tab will get very cluttered unless you use one of the sorting options.

The Character tab. Nothing super exciting here at this point, but might as well show it off for posterity. We've gained a grand total of 50 XP, which we earned by retrieving our gear from the footlocker. The Scripts option lets you choose from a few AI presets for your party members, but we'll take a look at that when it becomes a bit more relevant.

Alright, looking good. Hey Trask, check us out!

We should stick together; you'll have more success with a party than on your own.

And so, Trask joins us as our first party member!

We can have two party members following us around, and this screen is where you choose them. Obviously, at this point we only have Trask.

I know it's supposed to be the tutorial and all, but this just sounds awkward. Why not just say "Let me unlock the door"?

Anyway, let's take a look at Trask before we use him to unlock the door. He doesn't have any cool equipment for us to steal.

Here's Trask's character tab. We can see he's got a good amount of health, which will come in useful because Zila is made of paper at this point. I forgot to look at his skills and feats, but it doesn't really matter because he's not going to stick around for very long.

The right shoulder button (or the black button if you're on an original Xbox) switches party members. Right, Trask, get that door open!

Trask doesn't want to lead for some reason. Maybe he's just one of those people who prefers taking orders to giving them.

Okay then, let's move out.

We manage to take about three steps before we're interrupted by a message from Carth here. He wants us on the bridge, stat.

If he says things are bad, you better believe it. We have to get to the bridge to help defend Bastila! There's a map of the Endar Spire and a copy of Carth's message in your electronic journal, just in case we get separated.

Let's move out.

The white button, or the left shoulder button on later Xbox controllers, pauses the game, letting us issue commands to our party members without pressure. I totally meant to press the button here to show off the tutorial, I wasn't just pressing buttons randomly because I forgot which button did what.

Same here, obviously. In combat, we can queue up multiple actions such as combat feats or items, and Y is used for clearing queued actions.

Then there's Solo Mode. Make your own Han Solo or even Ben Solo jokes if you feel like it. Solo Mode lets you wander around as one of your party members while the rest stay behind, which can be useful for things like stealth or disarming mines but isn't really something you'd use all that often.

Alright, with all that out of the way, let's finally get going.

Wait, how is that door locked? That's the only way to our quarters, and presumably Trask came through that same door to get to us! Did he lock it behind him or something?

If I didn't know better, I'd assume there is no Sith ambush and Trask just woke us up because he realized he locked himself out of the rest of the ship.

In the next hallway, we encounter a Republic soldier fighting two Sith troopers.

Naturally, he gets gunned down.

Trask Ulgo, a true patriot.

It's our first combat encounter, and that means more tutorials. While we can move around in combat, all the actual mechanics are based on dice rolls. Moving will also cancel your current combat action, so it's probably not a good idea to run around like a headless chicken.

These Sith go down easily, even with our crummy starting weapons and stats. If they get a couple of lucky hits in, they can take down Zila pretty quickly due to her abysmal HP pool but Trask should still be able to tank his way through each encounter at this point.

As we loot one of the dead Sith, we get to see a power conduit explode and take a utilty droid with it. There are many random explosions going on during this section, but all of them are purely for show.

KotOR had to run on the original Xbox, so the maps are split into smaller chunks with load screens in between. The game also autosaves on many zone transitions, but not all of them so you should save manually pretty often. Saving manually and in different slots is also recommended in general because this game can be somewhat glitchy, especially on Xbox. Of course, you don't need me to tell you that you should save often and in different slots. You've played CRPGs before, right? If you have fewer than 30 save files, you're doing it wrong.

Unsurprisingly, the next area contains more Sith trying to blast us. This one actually manages to land a hit, but fortunately it's only for 2 HP.

This footlocker contains a couple of swords and some frag grenades.

More importantly, it also contains a combat suit. More defense is very much appreciated.

Pushing forward, we run into more Republic and Sith soldiers engaged in combat.

One of the Republic soldiers gets unceremoniously blown up.

Another falls victim to this Sith trooper's double-bladed vibrosword.

As it turns out, the Sith don't care if one of their own guys gets blown up by a frag grenade along with the Republic soldiers.

We should probably heal just in case.

Since we do have some grenades and those Sith are grouped up like that, I think we all know what to do here.

Nice. Trask will easily mop up the survivors.

Oh look, more Sith soldiers. Seems to be a running theme. Nothing special about these guys, so we'll move on to the next door.

Yes, staying back does seem like a good idea in this situation. I wouldn't worry about getting in the way so much as getting chopped to bits by the Sith's lightsaber.

As we look on, the Jedi manages to slay her Sith opponent. Nice work, maybe she could tell us where to find Bastila, and even if she can't it'd still be handy to have a Jedi on our side.

Er... never mind then.

Maybe we could still retrieve her lightsaber? We're not trained or anything, but I'm sure we could still take down some Sith with it.

Sadly, no lightsaber for us. Must have been destroyed in the explosion. We do manage to find a vibration cell, which is a melee weapon upgrade part. Adrenal Strength, on the other hand, is a stimulant that boosts our strength temporarily. Stimulants are fairly easy to come by and the boosts they provide are very useful, so injecting yourself with enough drugs to kill a bantha is a viable strategy for many fights.

We've finally reached the bridge, so let's just head through this door and see what's waiting for us on the other side.

I should equip a melee weapon, too. Either that, or I'll have to stay back and use my blaster.

What if they have lightsabers?

Your melee weapon is made using a cortosis weave. It's strong enough to stand up against anything, even a lightsaber.

Ah, of course. Cortosis, the rare and super resistant metal that appears frequently in the Star Wars EU. It clearly wasn't that rare in 3,956 BBY, so all melee weapons we get our hands on are made using a cortosis weave.

Unfortunately, our pitiful STR means our noodle arms can barely lift a sword, let alone hit anything with it. Still, we'll equip the long sword because Trask won't let us progress if we don't equip a melee weapon.

Despite our lack of strength, we manage to do a decent amount of damage with the long sword and gain a level in the process. Leveling up restores all your health, so it can sometimes save your ass.

The Sith want Bastila alive, but once she's off the ship there's nothing stopping them from blasting the Endar Spire into galactic dust!

Of course she wasn't on the bridge, that would've been too easy. And since Bastila's no longer on board, the Sith might blow up this hunk of junk any second now. Yep, escape pods it is.

You can let the game handle levelups if you prefer. Obviously, we won't do that for Zila because we want to have full control over her attributes, skills, and feats, but the auto level up feature can be handy for leveling up your other party members.

Grabbing another rank of Computer Use, as well as a couple of Awareness ranks.

For my level 2 feat, I select Two-Weapon Fighting because, well, I want to specialize in two-weapon fighting. Essentially, this means our attacks will whiff more often, but will dispatch enemies very quickly when they hit. Reducing the Attack penalty from dual-wielding applies to both melee and ranged, and the penalty is reduced further as you unlock the higher ranks of this feat.

I originally took some really shitty feats here, so I rerolled my character and got these instead. The rest of this update is from the original recording, but I just decided to show off the feats we're actually using for the playthrough.

The ship is still spinning out of control as the battle rages on outside. There is nothing we can do, so we'd better stop admiring the view and abandon ship before we go down with it.

So, off we go.

Yes, there usually is something behind a door. Excellent observation, Trask.

Okay, that is bad.

Was that Sith just going to stand in that tiny hallway and wait for someone to show up? What would've happened if Trask hadn't opened the door? That is not the way to the escape pods!

We may never know. However, what we do know is that Trask is toast. He certainly didn't need to heroically sacrifice himself so we could live, because again he could've just ignored that door and let Darth Whatever stand there like an idiot until the Endar Spire blows up, but that's just not how Trask rolls. He's going to sacrifice himself and that's that.

No time to mourn Trask even if we cared, because we need to get going.

Bastila's escape pod is away - you're the last surviving crew member of the Endar Spire! I can't wait for you much longer; you have to get to the escape pods!

Working on it, Carth!

Naturally, there are plenty of hostile Sith soldiers between us and Carth, and we're now on our own so we can't rely on Trask's bundles of HP any longer. I've actually managed to get a game over here on a previous playthrough, because you still don't have a lot of HP as a scoundrel and I think I also forgot to equip the combat suit.

I've played through this section more times than I can be bothered to count, and it definitely doesn't get more exciting on each playthrough.

You could reprogram the damaged assault droid to help you, if you have enough repair parts. Or you could use computer spikes to slice into the terminal and use the Endar Spire's security systems against the Sith.

Eh, it's just a few Sith. I'm sure we could take them. We've been doing fine thus far.

But since we have these computer spikes and repair parts, we might as well take a look.

First, the security console. Let's see what we are dealing with here.

Okay, that's not so good. Four regular troopers, and an elite trooper or officer of some sort in the red armor. For some reason, I thought for the longest time that the red-armored Sith just had the regular silver armor on the Xbox version, but clearly that is not the case.

Anyway, I'm going to hold on to my computer spikes because we'll need them later, so let's fix this droid instead.

We could activate the droid's shields with another four repair parts, but I'd rather hold on to those as well. Just engaging patrol mode is more than enough to handle the Sith in the next room.

Alright, droid, do your thing.

The droid proceeds to do its thing, quite efficiently too. We'd have gotten some extra XP if we had used the console to overload the conduit AND repaired the droid with the parts, but not so much that it'd have been worth all those computer spikes.

The Sith in the red armor had an ion blaster, which is normally useful against droids but didn't help him so much. He also had a prototype vibroblade, which is an upgrade over our long sword because it can be modified. We did pick up that vibration cell earlier, so we'll shove that into the vibroblade as soon as we can find a workbench.

Oh, hey Carth.

Bastila's escape pod's already gone, so there's no reason for us to stick around here and get shot by the Sith. Now come on - there'll be time for questions later!

Carth makes a good point. That is a sentence you will not see many times in these updates, but there it is.

For some reason, the game gives us an option to step away from the escape pod. I assume that's just in case you forgot to pick up some items or something, but I've never felt the need to use it. It'd be funny if choosing that option caused an instant game over, but I don't think it does that either.

Somehow, we've escaped the Endar Spire with our lives.

The Spire itself has fallen.

VIDEO: Crash Landing

While we may have gotten off the ship, that is still a very hard landing because some idiot decided to put a building in our way. Next time, we'll start our search for Bastila if the crash didn't kill us.