Here’s the obligatory Star Wars game. Truth is it would be a worthy podium finisher, even if it wasn’t part of the Star Wars cannon.
I must admit before KotOR I had barely picked up this style of RPG. In fact I’d barely touched any RPG’s to date and I really only purchased this on the strength of the Star Wars universe itself.
From beginning to end I was blown away. The story is so unbelievably good, the choices you make feel that you are affecting the universe and the events therein. I have played through the game several times and still don’t think I have seen everything it has to offer is testament to the choices and methods you can go about to achieve goals. There is also an open ended nature that allows you to explore in your own order. Admittedly on most of the planets there is only one main goal, although it may take a visit or two to get there, but generally once you have invested in the main quest on a planet you are there for the long haul.
The story takes you on many different planets and gives you a good feel for the motivations and allegiances different parts of the galaxy have.
To skip how good the story really is, is to ignore the greatest strength of the game. It gives you characters and situations that feel real, motivations feel real (even if they are alien motivations). There has been a lot said about the ‘twist’, it is one of the most awesome turn of events in any game period. The thing is if you are paying complete attention the clues are there, they are just not so easy to spot. It completely changes the way you look at the main character. Although I have to say that the story reaches a point where it asks you are you sure that you want to commit to this path, allowing to completely reverse the character consequences with the final choice is a bit of a cop out.
Another downside is that your companions do feel a little contrived so there are no holes in your possible, a Jedi of each class, a soldier, a thief, a combat and utility droid but their back stories have been so well fleshed out that the don’t appear superfluous to the game and most importantly fit the universe.
The combat is fairly fast paced and is generally handled manually, by pausing, queuing commands and doing this for each of your party members. Similar to other RPG’s this game is also about acquiring new and better loot, deciding what is better for what characters. It actually doesn’t do all that much new but what it does is outstanding in almost every way and for that it makes my list, and a worthy occupation at that.