Revisiting KOTOR II: (#10) A (kinda) happy ending

Start with the first post in this series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#1) A Fresh Start.

Our tenth installment of this series will be our last, and it ends on a good note because the ending of KOTOR II was not as bad as I remembered.  It wasn’t life-changing or anything.  But I did not feel the urge to throw anything this time.

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Darth Traya reveals herself

The Sith Triumvirate has reformed and it’s our job as the last of the Jedi to stop them, one by one.

First, Visas Marr, Mandalore, and I must stop Darth Nihilus from bombarding the crap out of Telos.  We get aboard the Ravager and plant some bombs, which would have taken much less time if I hadn’t missed one stupid computer in a corner, which I instead scoured the ship looking for, only to backtrack to a room I’d been in multiple times already.

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There sure are some pretty views, though.

We make it to the bridge to face Darth Nihilus.  Visas Marr helps me take down her former master, and she and Mandalore even come to a kind of understanding.

One Sith down, two to go.

Darth Traya has re-opened Trayus Academy on Malachor V; she and Darth Sion await us there.  So it’s time for me to face my demons and return to the site where I caused so much destruction at the end of the Mandalorian Wars.  Fate (or perhaps the Force?) is pulling me back to Malachor.

The Ebon Hawk crashes into the remains of Malachor V, and, finding myself alone on the planet’s surface, I make my way to the Trayus Academy.

In the meantime, Mira faces down her rival from Nar Shaddaa, the bounty hunter Hanharr, and Bao-Dur sends his remote to re-activate the weapon that destroyed Malachor before, so that Trayus Academy will be permanently  obliterated.

So at that point I got to control the remote, and had to go back through the entire map of Malachor that I’d already been through with my main character.  But the remote is pretty speedy, and it was worth it for the twist at the end: G0-T0 tries to stop the remote, but is in turn stopped by HK-47, being the badass that he is.

Back in the Academy, we’re now on a deadline.  Literally.  Before the planet blows up.  My Force-sensitive companions decide to face Traya, but it does not go well for them (which really is not too surprising, considering I never got Mira, Bao-Dur, or the Disciple to tap into their Force powers during my playthrough).

Atton takes on Darth Sion and (easily) defeats him, and Sion is able to finally let go of his hate and let himself die.  Controlling Tyria again, I’m able to free my companions as I fight my way through Trayus Academy.

But facing Traya is something I have to do alone.  She’s been using me, a “wound in the Force,” for her crazy schemes that go beyond even Jedi vs. Sith.  I have to stop her, and I do.  Then I defeat her crazy floating lightsabers.

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Fighting floating lightsabers…definitely a new one for me.

Before she dies, Traya tells me what she has glimpsed of the futures of my companions.  I still don’t get much closure in this area, but it’s better than nothing.  Then I head out alone into the unknown regions to continue the search for Revan, and Malachor V is destroyed.  Again.

The combat in this last part was shockingly easy.  I had no trouble beating any of the three Sith lords, and I never even bothered leveling up all the way.

All in all, I thought the Restored Content greatly enhanced the ending, fleshing it out more and giving my companions a bigger role, which was one of my complaints about the original.  It still felt a little abrupt, but not nearly as bad as before.

I liked how philosophical the end was, but it was a little confusing because I didn’t get the full backstories of my companions due to lack of influence with them, so I wasn’t quite sure how some pieces fit together.  I definitely did some searching on Wookieepedia to fill in some gaps.

Keep in mind that I played my Exile as Light Side the whole time, so my ending reflects that.  I’m not sure how the end would play out if I’d gone Dark Side.  Or even neutral—this game actually doesn’t penalize you as much for staying neutral as the original KOTOR did.  There are even some items solely for neutral characters, like Jolee’s Robe.  That’s great from a roleplaying perspective.

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Jolee’s Robe, restricted to Neutral Jedi (such as Jolee Bindo from KOTOR)

I had a lot of fun doing this replay of KOTOR II.  I completed the game in about 48 hrs 45 min.  Who knows, I may even play it again in the future.  But I’m also looking forward to moving on to other games, maybe getting back into The Old Republic, or trying some of the Final Fantasy games my husband has been bugging me about.

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Revisiting KOTOR II: (#9) Optimal Accuracy Ratio Achieved

Start with the first post in this series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#1) A Fresh Start.

We’re in the home stretch with this KOTOR II series; these last 2 installments will be end-game content!  There will be some spoilers, but some things need to be said for the gameplay to make sense.  I promise you’ll still enjoy playing the game even if you read everything I’ve written.

We’re still hanging out on Dantooine, where my character, Jedi Exile Tyria Drace, arranged to meet the Jedi Masters.  Like most work meetings, things don’t go as positively as I was hoping.  

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Meeting with the Masters at the Jedi Temple on Dantooine

Rather than wanting to team up with me to stop the Sith, the Masters drop a philosophical bomb on me regarding my lack of Force powers after the Mandalorian Wars, and how I recently regained my Force connection: in short, they’re blaming me.  But isn’t it good that I can use the Force again? No, I’m an abomination who’s leeching off my companions.

Then Kreia shows up, despite the fact that I specifically on purpose did NOT choose her to come with me to the meeting.  She just can’t take a hint.  This is when things start going really bad, but the scene actually has some really great cinematography and voice work so it’s hard to be too upset.

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Kreia manages to get even creepier by removing her hood.

As I’m trying to leave the planet, I discover Kreia has been kidnapped by the Handmaidens of the Telos Jedi Academy, at the same time the Sith also converge on that world to wipe out the last remnants of Jedi knowledge there.  Remember how Kriea left that Sith guy, Colonel Tobin, on Onderon alive?  Yeah, that’s coming back to bite me right now.

So that means I’m headed back to Telos.  I arrive at the Academy to find that Kreia is actually not there; she’s already left, but not before speaking with Academy leader Atris and helping her to realize that she has already fallen to the dark side.  Atris has been influenced by the Sith holocrons she collected and now can’t see the difference between Jedi and Sith.  Man, the sound those holocrons make is creepy.

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So now I have to go stop the Sith attacking Taris.  But first…

Guess what else is on Telos?  That’s right, THE HK DROID FACTORY.  One of my primary reasons for playing the Restored Content version of this game.  You may remember that HK-47, a dark side assassin droid, is one of my companions who was introduced in the first KOTOR game.  He likes to shoot things and refers to humans as “meatbags.”

The HK factory managed to fulfill my every dream in terms of the story and snarky HK dialogue, while at the same time being the absolute worst slog I’ve ever had in terms of combat.  After spending HOURS on this level, I would recommend that if you ever want to play through the HK factory, instead just go to YouTube and watch an edit of the dialogue.  

You play through the factory as HK-47 solo.  I had to upgrade all his stuff, and equipped him with two modified blasters (there is a workbench in the level) to get the most firepower.  

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Blasters ready, shield up.

The factory is being run by HK-50 droids, and not only are they pumping out more HK-50s, they are manufacturing a new line of prototype HK-51 droids.  The HK-51s still have a few…minor kinks to work out.

So I’m running around the factory, having an existential crisis about what it means to be an HK-47 assassin droid and trying ineffectually to shut everything down, because my programming does not allow me to harm other HK droids (as I found out before on Korriban).

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I talk with the HK-50 droids, but they simply snark about how superior they are, and gloat about how Revan scattered them among the Republic fleet, where they have posed as protocol droids to ruin treaties and generally cause mayhem.

But it turns out the original model is best, because eventually I figure out how to cheat my programming to destroy the factory and gain the ability to attack the other HK droids.

As I venture into other parts of the factory, I find HK droids training in torture methods as well as how to mistranslate important matters of state:

Unfortunately, all this wandering takes an inordinate amount of time, because in every room there are between 3 and 6 HK units that I have to fight.  Remember, I am also an HK, so they have basically the same stats as me.  Therefore these fights consist solely of using a shield, queuing up 3 to 4 attacks, using another shield, etc. etc.

I was reduced to using Sniper Shot to raise my chance to hit, and for the criticals. I NEVER use Sniper Shot.

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HK-47 says “Optimal Accuracy Ratio Achieved” when he crits. I heard that a lot.

So as I said, the HK factory involved long, boring stretches of combat punctuated by great story and amusing quips.  I really appreciate that the Restored Content mod put this back in, but the combat is in no way up to commercial release standards.

We’re at 44 hours total play time.  See you next time to find out if the end is really as bad as I remember!

Continue on to the last part of the series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#10) A (kinda) happy ending

Revisiting KOTOR II: (#8) Dantooine…we’re on Dantooine

Start with the first post in this series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#1) A Fresh Start.

Dantooine is our last planet on our quest, and it’s also where things started to go a little off-track for me.  You may have noticed the time between these KOTOR II posts is getting longer; I blame Dantooine.

I knew that Dantooine was where my character Tyria Drace planned to meet all the Jedi Masters once she located them, so I kind of thought it would be nice to go there last so I could just continue the story after finishing the planet quests.  It turns out that Dantooine is a terrible choice for a last planet.  Not only was it a bit anticlimactic, but a bunch of glitches also popped up here which made me frustrated, and I started to lose interest in the game.

Because of the crystal caves, Dantooine is a great place to get lightsaber crystals…except that I’ve already souped up my lightsaber over the past several planets, so that didn’t help me all that much.  In fact, already having a lightsaber and wearing it openly made the natives kind of hostile to me, which didn’t help either.

Even this random crate behind the city compound has a lightsaber crystal.  I also got "Jolee's Robe" from a drop.
Even this random crate behind the city compound has a lightsaber crystal. I also got “Jolee’s Robe” from a drop.

On our way to the Jedi Enclave, we ran into a group of Mandalorian mercenaries.  I switched Mandalore into my party to get an interesting scene that actually made me mildly glad I’d visited Onderon and Dxun first.  Mandalore tried to command the Mandalorians to leave Dantooine and join the clan on Dxun, but they were rather unwilling.  So he easily beat up some poor unarmed merc, and then they were rather more willing.

Mandalore doing his thing.
Mandalore doing his thing.

We headed to the Jedi Enclave, which looks quite a bit more dilapidated than it did in the original KOTOR.

Unfortunately, I missed a quest prompt back in the Khoonda city building regarding a thief that hides in the enclave, so I wasn’t able to do that quest at all. Bummer.

I did meet my last companion in the temple, though: Mical, the Disciple, whom I recall being pretty lame.  Even worse, I had Atton with me when I met the Disciple (because I always have Atton in my party), and he was pissed that I let the Disciple join our party.  Ugh, boys.

I was already having trouble getting Atton to spill about his mission on Dxun because I was lacking influence, and now I’m even worse off.  I seem to have hit a wall in the conversations with all my companions, and I don’t know what to do to get more influence with them and get more of their backstories.  (Atton is the only one I’ve been able to turn into a Jedi.)  I really wish this was like The Old Republic and I could just toss companion gifts at them to get them to like me.

I did enjoy the “new” scene involving a Padawan hiding in the temple, but the Padawan had no vocal dialogue track so it skipped through her dialogue really quickly and I’m not sure I caught all of it.

Restored Padawan content
Restored Padawan content

Our next stop was the crystal caves, which are crawling with kinrath.  A mercenary there has a device made from a kinrath gland that lets him walk undetected among them, and so I get to say one of my favorite lines:

Yeah, the persuade doesn't work on him.  No gland for me.
Yeah, the persuade doesn’t work on him. No gland for me.

I had some problems in the cave; at one point my Force points wouldn’t refill and the graphics got messed up.  Also I got killed by the kinrath boss because it didn’t notice it in the mob of other kinrath until it killed my companions and by that point I was screwed.

Something's not quite right here...
Something’s not quite right here…

Heading back to Khoonda city I hit another fun glitch where my character was gliding around instead of running.  And when I went to set up the city’s defenses in preparation for a mercenary attack, the mines I set went invisible.  Hmmmm.

I successfully lead Khoonda’s troops to victory against the attacking mercenaries, in some of the easiest combat in the entire game thus far.  Hopefully now the people of Dantooine won’t hate Jedi so much anymore.

I’ve now met all the Jedi Masters in hiding throughout the galaxy and it’s time to meet them all together in the Jedi Enclave.

I forgot to check the exact time again, but it’s around 39 hrs 30 min  play time.  Next time we’ll be starting end game content, and I think I’ll be less snarky.

Continue on the next part of the series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#9) Optimal Accuracy Ratio Achieved

Revisiting KOTOR II: (#7) Onderon/Dxun, Part Deux–The Math Lesson

Start with the first post in this series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#1) A Fresh Start.

After finishing up on Korriban, we’re returning to Onderon to finish what we started in episode #5.  Our enemy is starting to come out into the light: a group of Sith has encamped on Dxun and is supporting General Vaklu in trying to overthrow the legitimate queen of Onderon.

It’s time to split the party: Atton will take Mandalore and Mira to Dxun to deal with the Sith camp, while I will take Visas and Kreia to Onderon to protect the queen.  Kreia found my choices…acceptable.  From her, that’s practically a glowing compliment.

Mira made short work of the mines in the jungle on Dxun, but I was having some trouble with the mobs of Sith in front on Freedon Nadd’s tomb, so I equipped Atton with a stealth unit and moved him passed ALL OF THEM into the tomb until I reached a load point, where it jumped the others up to him.  Nice.

One of my favorite things about the KOTOR games is the in-game references embedded in the names of items.  On Dxun, I picked up “Bindo’s Band,” which is headgear giving protection against both dark and light side attacks.  “Bindo” references the grey Jedi Jolee Bindo from the first KOTOR game.  I liked him so much I named my cat after him.

I got rid of the widescreen, because it stretches things out weird.
I got rid of the widescreen, because you can see here it stretches things out weird.

Once I got into the tomb, there were several computer terminals that could be access by solving puzzles.  I love these!!  Time to put my math/logic skills to work.

SPOILERS: it’s (6*2)-8+9*1=13, though I suppose the last one could be division also. I guess the parentheses are just to confuse you?

Unfortunately, combat inside the tomb was quite difficult and I kept dying.  I always keep myself underleveled, because leveling provides an insta-heal during combat.  (You can see the arrows over the character portraits in all my screenshots, indicating I’m able to level up.)  But typically I’m only one or two levels below where I should be.

At this point I checked and discovered that I had 7 levels of XP waiting to be used.  7 levels.  Oops.  So I leveled everyone up a bunch and things got easier.  And Atton got some good character development, facing down the Sith and becoming more Light side.  He’s still never going to be a Boy Scout like Carth was, though.  I think that’s why Tyria likes him.

Meanwhile on Onderon, my Force’s Angels team is fighting its way to the queen.  Kreia is unfortunately required for your party here.  I haven’t had her in my party in a really long time (she didn’t even have a lightsaber yet), so I had to level her and give her better equipment.  I actually tried to give her a red double-bladed lightsaber, until the game politely reminded me that I could not, because…she only has one hand.  I was sufficiently ashamed of my insensitivity.  Sorry, Kreia.

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Kreia, Tyria, and Visas on Onderon

Getting to the queen involved, what else, hacking computer terminals with logic puzzles!  In this case, it was to get into the queen’s bedroom, but she’s not actually there, I was just stealing her stuff.  Did I mention I’m Light Side?

Eventually we defeat the Sith and help the queen defeat the usurping general.  But as always, Kreia has her own agenda, secretly sending the general’s subordinate Tobin back to the Sith to tell them about the Jedi Academy on Telos.  That’s not going to end well…

After heading back to Dxun to meet up with the rest of our group, it’s on to our last planet, Dantooine.  We’re at 35 hrs 9 min play time.  See you next time to finish up the main storyline before endgame!

Continue on the next part of the series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#8) Dantooine…we’re on Dantooine

Revisiting KOTOR II: (#6) Not your Revan’s Korriban

Start with the first post in this series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#1) A Fresh Start.

Welcome back to my 2nd ever playthrough of KOTOR II, now featuring widescreen!

Widescreen
Widescreen

Today we’re on Korriban, one of two planets in the game that were previously featured in the original KOTOR.  Korriban is the ancient homeworld of the Sith (it’s now called Moraband in SW canon).

Korriban really highlighted difference for me between first and second KOTOR games.  In the first game, you infiltrate the Sith Academy, and then a lot of your time is spent raiding the tombs in the Valley of the Dark Lords, looking for artifacts of powerful Sith; it’s classic RPG dungeon crawling.

Now these tombs are all closed up, buried in rubble.  There is no tomb raiding-adventure-fun here.  Instead, after a brief trip to the (mostly empty) Academy, you enter a Force cave and experience visions of your past (and possible future?).

Looking wistfully at a closed-up Sith tomb on Korriban

Overall, it strikes me as way more philosophical than the first game.  The game is in someways less epic, and more about the personal growth and path of the Exile.

I made some mistakes with companion choices on Korriban.  Coming off the ship I took Atton and T3-M4 with me into the Sith Academy, then regretted not thinking to take Visas Marr, who has history with the Sith, having been an apprentice to Darth Nihilus (see menu screenshot above).

But Atton does have a cool orange lightsaber now, so that’s good.

Orange just seemed to fit his personality.
Orange just seemed to fit his personality.

When I saw a group of HK-50 assassin droids waiting for me outside the Academy, I switched HK-47 into my party because I thought it would be funny to watch HK droids snark and shoot at each other.  This was also a mistake, because HK-47’s programming does not allow him to fight other HK droids, and he becomes disabled for the fight, leaving my party outnumbered 3-2.

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Obvious statement: Thanks for nothing, HK-47.

With the help of HK-47, I’ve now discovered where these HK assassin droids are being manufactured: Telos.  But apparently I can’t trigger the HK factory until later on in the storyline, which is kind of a bummer because it’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to doing for the first time with the Restored Content Mod.

Soon, precious.
Soon, my precious.

The Force cave was very interesting.  First a warning: you can regenerate HP between encounters in the cave, but you will not regenerate Force points.  Use your Force powers purposefully.

I experienced several visions in the cave, going back through my past decisions that led to my choice to follow Revan, and then eventually my exile.  Many of the dialogue choices are great, and there’s a range of choices that really allowed me as a player to dig into Tyria Drace’s character and think about how she would answer.

The climax involves a showdown with Force-Revan and an Dark Side version of myself (which was actually decently hard).

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Notice I switched to the Force Regeneration lightsaber form (purple sphere)

Later, back on the Ebon Hawk, I had a conversation with Kreia that revealed even more about these past events, and her role in them.  I still find Kreia totally obnoxious, but at least I feel like I’m getting some good story out of her character.

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I forgot to check the total playtime when I saved, but it’s somewhere around 30 hours.  We just got a message from our Jedi contact on Onderon, so we’ll be returning there to head off a civil war!

Continue on the 7th part of the series here: Revisiting KOTOR II: (#7) Onderon/Dxun, Part Duex–The Math Lesson