Friday, December 25, 2015

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Jedi Knight storyline review

 Warning: Some spoilers for the Jedi Knight storyline.

    I’m way behind on my reviews for this but I figured I might as well finish them up so I can get around to reviewing Knights of a Fallen Empire. Better late than never, am I right? Ironically, I managed to complete the Sith storylines without ever stopping to do the Republic ones and that was probably a mistake on my part as they’ve proven to be far more interesting than I gave them credit for. I suppose after thirty-years about reading about the good guys trouncing the bad guys, I was interested in seeing things from the Dark Side.

    Even if I always played Light Side.
A true Jedi never uses the Force for attack.

    The first place to start with my journey across the Republic side of things was, of course, the Jedi Knight. It's the obvious starting point for anyone who wants to begin in the Old Republic setting and a great deal of effort has obviously been spent to make it feel like the Original Trilogy. It's a series of fighting super-weapons, saving the day, redeeming Dark Siders, and going directly against the Ultimate EvilTM.

    Indeed, if there was any single character class which can be said to be the "hero" of the Old Republic game then it would be the Jedi Knight. Which is a bit troubling when you think about it since there shouldn't be any main hero of the game. Still, it's entertaining and has a lot going for it even if it sometimes verges on being a trifle "been there, done that."

    The premise of the Jedi Knight storyline is you are the strongest padawan the Jedi Academy on Tython has produced in centuries. Recruited by your master, who might as well have a 'Dead Master Walking' sign around his neck, you soon find yourself promoted to Jedi Knight before stopping the destruction of Coruscant. Accidentally ticking off a powerful Sith Lord, they stop their campaign of revenge before discovering something terrible about one of their companions. This results in them being set on a direct campaign against the Sith Emperor.

Oh Kira, you are my teenage Mara Jade crush brought to life.
    As mentioned, the biggest flaw of the storyline is it's designed to make you the biggest and baddest thing in the Old Republic setting. This isn't necessarily a bad thing since a lot of people definitely want to play the role of Luke Skywalker or Anakin Skywalker but it seems very specifically designed to be played a Light Side male in a romance with companion Kira Carsen. This isn't, necessarily, a bad thing but Knights of the Old Republic had interesting variations from the standard LS male playthrough with Carth Onasi and a Female Protagonist as well as an appeal to the Dark Side.

    About the only real part of the storyline which was surprising was when your character is defeated during a Second Act confrontation with the Sith Emperor and brainwashed into being their puppet. Unfortunately, we don't really get a sense of what happened during this time and I think they could have done something more with this section. For example, a playable assault on the Jedi Temple or an assassination attempt on Satele Shan. Instead, it seems like you're hanging around the Emperor's Palace for a month sorting through his mail and torturing the occasional prisoner.

Poor Lord Scourge and the LS Jedi Knight.
    I will say that I think Kira Carsen is an incredibly likable character and her romance with the Jedi Knight is probably the best in the baseline game. She's witty, entertaining, and if you like redheads then she's one of the most attractive companion characters.

    I also love how they handle the issue of Jedi romance and it does add a little spice to an otherwise perfectly arranged relationship. I would have liked more insight into the issue of Kira being a Sith by birth but I suppose there's only so much you can do with that.

    Instead, the character I most enjoy from the Jedi Knight storyline is Lord Scourge. The former Emperor's Wrath, he's decided the Sith Emperor is too crazy to serve even though he remains loyal to both to both the Empire as well as Sith. I really enjoyed the conversations the Jedi Knight had with him on subjects like love as well as the hypocrisy of the Jedi. He's an honorable opponent and it's interesting to see a Sith Lord who can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time without being a goody-two-shoes.

     I can't say I felt much more for the other companions. T7 is a cute character, it's true but it's not like you're going to get much interaction out of an astromech droid programmed to like you. Doc is entertaining but I wasn't exactly blown away by him either (and he seems like a far less interesting love interest than Kira Carsen). Sergeant Rusk bringing his gung-ho warmongering mentality to the crew keeps things from being a little too sacharine but I would have liked for them to go further.

The Sith Emperor being defeated by the power of lightsaber is kind of underwhelming.
    I quite liked the depiction of the Jedi Order in the storyline. Rather than portraying them as hopelessly flawed and corrupt or perfect, the Jedi Order is depicted as a well-meaning organization with severe dogma issues which haven't quite blinded them the same way they have the Prequel Jedi. The Jedi of this time have a sanctimonious self-certainty which makes them unable to relate to most people even as they try to do their best. You meet plenty of Jedi who want to love and be open with affection but risk censure or disbarment for that most human of emotions (whether they're human or not). Likewise, the Jedi have issues with hubris as none of them seriously entertain the idea the Sith Emperor is batting in a different weight class than them.

    The villains of the storyline are something of a disappointment as all of them are variants on the "evil" Sith Lord with the sole exception of a renegade padawan. It would have been nice to shake up things with a Grand Moff or crime lord. The Sith Emperor is also at his most one-note-ness with a plan to wipe out the entire universe in order to ascend to become a god. Really, I found it more interesting to see Sith interested in supporting him due to their belief they would ascend to a kind of Sith Lord heaven in reward for it.

    There's quite a few fun supporting characters in the storyline despite its generic-ness. I also love the plotline regarding trying to help Kira Carsen overcome her status as one of the Sith Emperor's children. As mentioned, it works best for a male Jedi Knight romancing her but a good plotline is a good plotline. Indeed, it is the good characters and sidequests of the Jedi Knight which elevate their storyline more than the actual main quest. Indeed, I had a lot more fun with General Var Suthra and Leeha Narezz than I ever did worrying about the Emperor destroying everything.

A Dark Side Jedi Knight plot would have elevated the material considerably.
    In conclusion, I recommend the Jedi Knight questline with some reservations. There's a lot of good moments even if the whole is kind of eh. It tries so hard to be big and awesome it misses the little beats the other sections succeed in. I think it would have been better if they'd taken more risks like the revelation of Darth Revan's identity in the original Knights of the Old Republic. For example, instead of Kira Carsen being one of the Emperor's Children, it would have been better to have the Jedi Knight be one.



  1. The Jedi knight storyline is the one that seems to have the most put into it. sicne many characters throughout the three arc's pop up again if players choose certain decisions, everything seems to be weaved together in a way other storylines aren't so. Plus it's the only storyline outside of a cameo in Sith Warrior that the Emperor appears and engages in.

    Yes I think the dark jedi knight would have been interesting to see, since they seem to hint to a potential to fall to it, or to turn per say in certain bits of the game. But overall I think this got scrapped due to EA gutting the writers budget after the game came out.

    I think they realised Bioware of how bad the Sith emperor had been written, which they seem to have changed by Fallen Empire, with the current story they are doing there, while not forgetting his Sith identity. At least has him be a character than a plot device.

    Of all the republic stories, I think I like the trooper one best. Though the Consular and Smuggler storylines are pretty good in their later acts. Consular act one is a bit of a bore to go through overall, but form Act two is quite interesting I think. Same with Smuggler stuff, there's quite a bit in that class story that connects to Imperial Agent storyline I believe.

    1. Yeah, I've played through the Makeb and Revan storylines but am going to try to do the Smuggler and Trooper storylines before I proceed to review them. It seems better that way.

      As for Emperor Valkorian, I've got to say it's hard to actually hate him because any person whose premise is, "I thought the Sith Empire was so mind-numbingly stupid I decided to start over somewhere else" has automatically got my Sith's respect.

      I'm imagining their confrontation being like Magneto and Shaw in First Class. "I agree with every word you said. We are the future. But, unfortunately, you destroyed my planet."

  2. That and the fact Valkorian has such a great voice and lines to go with him, despite the fact he has been a horrible parent to his children. Very much in the way Ozai of Avatar was to Zuko and Azula.

    In fact Valkorian's children act very similar in a way to Zuko and Azula from what we have seen to of them in Fallen Empire so far.

    Along with a certain character reminding me of Ursa their mother.

  3. ' The villains of the storyline are something of a disappointment as all of them are variants on the "evil" Sith Lord with the sole exception of a renegade padawan.'


    Shutting up now. :) And yeah, the Children of the Emperor were fascinating. I also find Kira super interesting due to her being so Sith in her "Jedi should rule" belief. Makes one really wonder what about the line between Sith and Jedi

    1. Yeah, I like how the two sides have almost no similarities at the start but gradually start to show more the way things progress.