When it comes to Star Wars games, few are remembered as dearly as the two single-player Knights of the Old Republic games. The fallen or redeemed Jedi Revan essentially defined the early 2000s era of Star Wars games, and his popularity hasn’t been replicated since. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords almost reached this same height, though, as it carried the torch of the first game.
It’s no surprise that after the original Knights of the Old Republic was ported to the Switch, KOTOR 2 would follow. This Obsidian Entertainment title has been ported by Aspyr, the company responsible for the original KOTOR Switch port, the Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast port, and the in-development Knights of the Old Republic Remake.
Everything fans loved about the original is present in this Switch port, and when it works, it’s a good example of how a Switch port should be. Knights of the Old Republic 2 players take on the role of the Jedi Exile, as they explore the galaxy, gather new companions, restore their connection to the Force, and come face to face with the Sith Lords hunting them. The story was stellar in the original release, so it’s obviously just as great here.
Players will complete side quests, have conversations with their KOTOR 2 companions, and engage in turn-based combat. Truly, the gameplay of KOTOR 2 is where this Switch port shines the most. Whether it’s cycling through abilities like Flurry and Power Attack, swapping Force abilities like Push or Force Lightning, deploying shields, changing targets, and so on, it all feels really smooth on the Switch. The age of this 2004 title doesn’t really show, and it seems like a game designed specifically for the Switch.
In both handheld and docked mode, the quality of the game’s graphics does not suffer. Everything loads in well and is clear on every Star Wars planet and in every gameplay segment, with just a few of the cinematics coming in as a little blurry. It’s a fun, nice, and relaxing experience on the go or on the TV, and it’s easy to get lost for hours in the galaxy far, far away.
In the narrative and moment-to-moment gameplay, fans are going to find a lot of substantial content, perhaps more than they even remember. Each planet stands out as unique, every companion feels alive, and the Light and Dark Side choices weigh heavily on the narrative, the companions, and the gameplay. KOTOR 2, in terms of moment-to-moment gameplay, translates well to the Switch, but while it’s great in the moments that it sucks players in, it comes with a huge and fatal flaw. The immersion is perfect while it lasts, but it comes crashing down constantly.
In short, KOTOR 2 on the Switch is a technical nightmare. Sometimes, a Switch port will fail because the game doesn’t really feel like it’s made for the Switch, no matter how good the base game is. That was the case with Aspyr’s Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Switch port. It is a case of just because it can be done doesn’t mean it makes sense to do it. This time around, though, KOTOR 2 is a great port when it works, but players will struggle to make it work.
There’s a host of smaller bugs players can no doubt wave off. Sometimes the AI will stand around, audio will dip in and out, invisible walls will force players to power themselves through an open door, and enemies and allies will jump around the screen. It’s par for the course in most games. However, during our time with the game, it crashed constantly—at least once every hour. The game seems cognizant of this even, as its seemingly most common loading screen tip is “save often and in more than one slot.” A game has to work, and functionally, this is asking a lot of players.
If that was the worst of it, however, some fans would no doubt trudge their way through because of how rewarding it is when it does work. But piled on top of that are a number of game-breaking bugs. During our playthrough of KOTOR 2, we encountered two major game-breaking bugs, with the final one making it impossible for us to finish the game.
The first would cause the game to crash whenever boarding the Ebon Hawk. There was no other workaround than loading up a much older save and trying to complete the planet again, but it was possible to work around it. Luckily, it seemed tied to the completion of certain quests and an event that triggers on the Ebon Hawk, with the game being unable to process it all happening at the same time. The second one, however, was much worse.
One unavoidable moment in KOTOR 2’s story sees players transitioning from one separate party back to the main party. When players go to transition from the first party to the second, there is a cinematic. For us, the game crashed at the end of this cinematic, every time. Reloading all the way back to the beginning doesn’t fix it, skipping or playing through the entire cinematic doesn’t fix it, and ultimately everything we tried failed to fix it. The game, in its current build, is unbeatable. This is something that Aspyr will hopefully fix in a post-launch patch, but it’s incredibly heartbreaking to get so far, have the perfect party and builds, and then hit such an impenetrable wall.
Knights of the Old Republic 2 is a great and beloved game, and its gameplay, mechanics, and systems all translate well to the Switch. It’s great when it works, but the frustrating problem is getting it to work.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords releases June 8 for Switch.
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- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords Switch Review
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