One of the (many) reasons I love both KotOR and KotOR 2 so much is the characters. They’re well written, interesting, and more often than not pretty funny. So here are my top ten favourites. Note: spoilers, duh.
Kreia is a former Jedi Master, turned Sith Lord, turned companion to The Exile. While she may be controlling and manipulative, she’s an excellent buffer to have in your team, due to her ability to apply any buff that would normally only be applied to herself to the Exile also! Invaluable, if your Exile is no good at the force.
9. Carth Onasi
Carth is your first proper companion in the original KotOR, and he’s actually not too bad. If all you need is a gunslinger to back you up, Carth’s your man. He’s pretty paranoid about being betrayed (he would not get on well with Kreia). His standard setup is dual wielding blaster pistols and donning heavy armour. While he lacks a decent skill set and intelligence stat, he can defend himself well enough in melee, so he’s likely to stay alive long enough to be of use. Fiercely loyal to the Republic, and a hardened veteran of the Mandalorian Wars, he’s a solid choice, if at times a bit dull and whiny.
8. Bastila Shan
Just as loyal as Carth is to the Republic, Bastila is to the Jedi. She is adamant that she made the right decision not joining Revan to war with the Mandalorians. Although she is quite preachy, she’s a useful asset to have with you in KotOR, as having balanced stats helps a lot; she will be equally as good using force powers as with her double lightsaber. While she’s available to use, again, a reliable choice.
The R2-D2 of the KotOR era, T3 is the first companion on this list to feature (as a playable companion) in both KotOR and in KotOR 2. Although he can technically be a ranged fighter, if you really wanted, his main skill is his skills. They’re pretty awesome. As you might expect, if you need anything breaking into, or a computer sliced, T3’s your guy. While in the original films R2 had an amazing personality for a character who never spoke a word, T3 is slightly less charismatic.
If you’ve gone down the consular/force user route for KotOR, then Juhani may well prove to be invaluable. Her setup is simple; single lightsaber, decent strength and dexterity stats. It’s probably not even worth telling her to use any force powers, just get her to power attack anything in your path, and you’re sorted. Given that her homeworld was devastated by Mandalorians, she’s been plagued by idiots being xenophobic, and finally slavery, she’s still one of the best out there.
5. Atton Rand
If T3’s the R2 of the series, then that would make Atton the Han Solo of the KotOR world, albeit with a darker backstory. A soldier who fought under Revan in both the Mandalorian War and the Jedi Civil War, he eventually ended up as the first companion of The Exile in the Peragus mining facility. In classic Han style, he’s rogue-ish, wisecracking and handy with a blaster. He is essentially “Carth 2.0” (ie Carth but with skills).
4. Canderous Ordo
Yet another veteran of the Mandalorian War, Canderous fought for the Mandalorians (you know, being a Mandalorian). He’s the only character to really be suited to the heavy ranged weapons of the games, both as “Canderous” in KotOR, and as “Mandalore” in KotOR 2. But, with a great strength stat and the ability to regen health, he makes a good tank too. Like T3, he makes an appearance in both games, and each time to great effect.
A Zabrak, Bao-Dur appears in KotOR 2 only. He served under The Exile in the Mandalorian War, and is renowned as an expert mechanic and engineer, responsible for the creation of the Mass Shadow Generator at Malachor V. As a companion, he’s skilled in anything mechanical, suited towards blaster rifles, and has the unique ability to destroy any force field due to his crazy arm (see below).
On top of all that, he creates The Exile a lightsaber, and (also due to said arm) excels in unarmed combat. Would you really want to be punched by that?
Everyone’s favourite killer robot/comedian! HK-47 is, put simply, an assassin droid, and an evil one at that, making him one of the best purely ranged fighters either game has to offer, using a blaster rifle to destroy anything and (if he had his way) everything. With enough skill in repair, you can upgrade his functionality too, for things like boosted dexterity, and health regeneration.
1. Jolee Bindo
Everyone’s favourite cranky old man/comedian! Jolee Bindo left the Jedi after they refused to punish him for secretly training an apprentice/wife (who went on to turn to the dark side). He considers himself something of a “grey Jedi”, finding both the Jedi and the Sith equally annoying, probably part of the reason he lived on Kashyyyk in the forest for so many years, isolated from either group. While he might be slightly more prone to the light than dark side of the force, he is a master force user, able to use light side buffs and stuns, along with devastating dark side attacks with ease. Unless you’re playing as a consular yourself in the original KotOR, Jolee should always be on your team, if only for some crotchety old man wisdom/rants.
So, who do you think should have made the list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
It’s safe to say that I know KotOR like the back of my hand, seeing as I’ve been playing it for ten years straight now. I may have a soft spot for RPGs in general, but looking back at its release and playing it for the very first time, very little has changed in my mind, I still love this game to bits.
What really sticks out at me about KotOR is the level of control you have to tailor your character and your party to your needs. As you might expect, you play as a jedi in the old republic, thousands of years before the events of the films take place. But by no means does that mean you’re limited to playing as Mr Standard Jedi, no no, you can choose whether you dual wield or not, wear armour or not, use the force or not, even if you want to use a lightsaber at all! Though, let’s be honest, most of us want to go hack-and-slash through some droids. The combat is best described as dice rolls, but no knowledge of 20-sided dice is needed to be able to build a good character, and the combat still flows smoothly.
As in almost any Bioware RPG, the morality factor is central to the way the game plays. It’s up to the player to decide whether they go the ‘holier than thou’ route by being nice and helpful to everyone, or the ‘unnecessarily evil’ route by killing everyone, essentially. Unfortunately the good/evil system does boil down to those two choices a lot of the time in KotOR, but there are some head-scratchers in there. As it happens, on my most recent playthrough, I was a chaotic, evil, dual wielding Sith warrior. Because, why not?
On top of the level of customisation you can add to nearly every weapon and armour in the game, you have almost free reign on which companions you choose to take out with you into the wild world, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Carth (soldier, decent ranged fighter, but whiney), Bastilla (also whiney), Mission (street-smart rogue), T3-M4 (loveable utility droid), HK-47 (everyone’s favourite psychotic assassin droid), Canderous (big tough guy), Zaalbar (standard wookie), Juhani (awesome melee jedi), and finally to Jolee (comedic, cranky old man, excellent at buffing). There really is enough choice to complement whichever type of character you want to play as.
While the worlds and locations you will visit tend to be somewhat linear, the environments are beautiful and varied, with a soundtrack to each that enhances each area. From beginning in the sprawling city-planet of Taris, to the farmlands of Dantooine, the desolate world of Korriban, the ocean city of Manaan, the jungles of Kashyyyk and the desert wastes of Tatooine, there is enough variety to keep the adventure fresh and interesting as you go.
And the plot? Well, let’s just say that it’s not going to blow your socks off. As plots go it follows a fairly straightforward path, with nothing much happening throughout the bulk of the game. However, the main story is supplemented by side quests, and quests related to each of your companions, adding some much appreciated extra hours to the game. Along with a certain plot twist (which will not be spoiled here, fear not), there is enough to keep the player entertained through to the last minute of gameplay. With excellent voice acting on par with any quality Bioware game, and featuring such talent as Phil LaMarr and Jennifer Hale, the conversations and cutscenes are well worth paying attention to.
All in all this Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a classic, make no mistake. If you haven’t played it before, I recommend giving it a go. Any thoughts on KotOR?
First released: July 2003 ; Published by LucasArts ; Developed by Bioware