Though Bioware is now renown for the Mass Effect series that was released in 2007, an equal if not superior RPG experience was released 4 years prior to this, KOTOR.
KOTOR was one of the leading names in cinematic story-telling in the early 2000s along with the earlier Metal Gear Solid titles. The game was worshipped at the time of its release in 2003, gaining a multitude of Game of the Year awards and for good reason. The game featured strong RPG-orientated gameplay that was accessible to less dedicated RPG newbies but still held surprising amounts of depth for veterans, allowing players to develop extensive character builds.
Though the gameplay maybe well-developed, especially for its time, the thing that makes KOTOR truly timeless is how well written both the characters and stories are. For instance, a droid companion that is met within the game named HK-47 has amusing and sometimes hilarious dialogue when he offered more sadistic solutions to the problems that your character faces. This individual character was so well written it was awarded the original game character of the year award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2004.
Player choice is rewarded greatly in the game with the dark/light side alignment system within the game which gives you access to two completely different endings of the game; this is something even later titles created by Bioware failed to achieve with “cough cough” Mass Effect 3. Even the music that was orchestrated for the game meets the high standards that had been set by the cinematic universe.
The game also featured reliably entertaining side quests and activities that never became too repetitive or intrusive to the main story experience. All of the praise that has been attributed becomes two-fold when looking back at the game over a decade later when it’s apparent how much the RPG genre has deteriorated with titles like TESV:Skyrim and new Bioware releases such as Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age Inquisition. KOTOR stands as a testament that RPG don’t necessarily need to be stripped to the core to appeal to large demographics and interesting story and characters don’t need to be sacrificed in the RPG genre.
The game has recently become accessible on Steam and even on IOS making it easier to play than it had been previously on the classic Xbox and PC.