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Tarelius

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About Tarelius

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  1. It's been great reading the thoughts of people here in this thread. It seems like there are quite some people, who feel the same as I do, and who need to get it off their chests. Indeed, almost every post seem to agree with me, which has come as something of a surprise to me - you never know if you're the only one seeing things a certain way, until you talk with others about it. I d
  2. Me too.. I would gladly pay for something like that. If such an association could get respected and heard, it would be great. The other thing is, as stated, it has to be very reasonable and balanced in what it does, and the ones organizing it must certainly not be bloodlusting hatemongers However, that should go without saying.. Now we have two paying members for you already United
  3. Well, that is the purpose of what was suggested, the purpose of a lobby is to band together and bully someone, mostly the government and the media though, but a Gamers Association would, if it was to have the effect wished by United, have to function like that. Oh.. In a 'nice' and reasonable way hopefully..
  4. Shadowpaladin: Thanks for clarifying the GOTO thing
  5. Judging from the response you got so far, it is very wishful thinking indeed However, theoretically, such a thing sounds very ambitious and interesting.. Theoretically.. It would require an initial team of dedicated people willing to spend time, money and overall resources on establishing it, but it has potential to become very big and very influential. It is also something no one has really done before, and as such, it could be something very worthwhile.. What I was thinking was something along: - Respected homepage, with info, boards, review of games, options for complaining about games, etc. Strictly for members. - Paid membership, though the cost should be low. This is needed to gather resources for hosting the homepage, paying for trips, seminars, etc., and for paying salary to a select few people who would devote all of their time to it. Also this is needed to get recognition from the publishers. An association with 100.000 paying members, who listen to internal gamereviews in that association, WILL be heard, just because of this.. Indeed, if you have a lot of people showing unity towards something, and having money to back it up (e.g., being purchasers of products), those making the products will have to listen, there is no way they could not, as long as they feel not-listening/not doing something would hurt them economically. But this IS wishful thinking right now. Your suggestion at this point to start something like that logically entails that the people willing to work on this, go the way I have outlined. First, they spend time and money to establish it, then they make it their job, and then they can start to influence the industry through select representatives, seminars, presence and power of its members. It is nothing short of a lobby organisation, so popular in the US (and so potentially devastating, but in this case, much more beneficial), you are suggesting. At least if it is to be effective. Do you yourself want to work for this? Do others? If so, then I might be interested myself, in that I see a huge potentiality in it. But, I am not convinced there would be enough people with a burning desire to devote a good deal of their life to it.. Because that would be what is needed, ultimatively. Related to that, it would be really great if gamedevelopers got a Workers Union thing too, and if this Gamers Association worked closely with that Union.. Because if anything, developers are outrageously underpaid and overworked. Naturally I am especially thinking of EA employees here, but it is a common 'understanding' in the industry, that you work a lot and might not get that much in ways of payment (not always the case though), simply because you like it, and even more omniously, simply because if you don't, the firm will hire someone who does, there is no shortage of people eagerly wanting to get into the business, and thus, you have to work 12-18 hours a day.. Every day. Well, in the worst of cases. A Gamers Association as a lobby thing would be good, but we must not be bitchy and unreasonable in using that leverage, if such an association got influence and power. Afterall, developers are humans too, poor hardworking, idealistic humans mostly Most of the fault of everything lies with the publishers. It is where the power and money lies too, so a Gamers Association should exert its influence at that level, and a union of gamedevelopers should take care to improve standards for the developers.. The last is not going to happen, but the Association might happen, if it gets enough members. So.. Did you think all of this through, and is it something you want to work on? And what about other people? As for myself, I will for now, limit myself to what I have written, aswell as a semi-show of support, in that I think your initial idea a good, albeit incredibly ambitious one, when thinking it through. It has a lot of potential though.
  6. LOL!! Hehe, now that was funny, and I understand your reasons perfectly.. hehe, but seriously, it is great to have a game, where you actually think that such things might happen and prepare for them (though in a very meta-gaming kind of way there, heh). I will admit, I didn't give Goto any equipment or levelled him up in KoTOR II, because of the same thinking. Goes for Mandalore too, though I couldn't bear it not to develop HK-47. Too bad that nothing happened though. As for Carth and HK_47 standing in their 'underwear' at the end.. hehe, I am still laughing
  7. Shadowpaladin: I am well aware that the story makes 'perfect' sense in regards to Darth Nihilus, I am well aware that he was lured out by Kreia, and that he was weak at the time, i.e. could be defeated (I am not so well aware as to Kreias reasons for doing all of what she does, and having the opinions she has. Sure, I understand the basic reasons, but I had a hard time grasping the mainplot, as I said. Maybe because I had given up on it, maybe because some vital pieces were left out, probably because of both these things). However, me being well aware of the plot devices used, does not eliminate the fact, that the potential of Darth Nihilus is run over with a bulldozer, no matter the perfect sense-making explanations for it, nor does it eliminate the fact that the battle with him is too easy. The end fight with Malak in KoTOR I was really something by the way, would have been nice if Darth Nihilus was one of the characters you couldn't defeat directly, but had to do something indirectly with, no matter whether he was weakened or not. But anyway, his ship, empty and semi-filled with zombies.. Was a nice idea. I just think he had too much potential to be met and dealt with so easily/fast. But, that is one of the lesser quibbles I have with the game. Darth Sion's endbattle was better, imo, though it played out pretty linearily anyway. Trom: Bastila survived in my game of KoTOR I, and everything was set up for a happy-happy ending.. It was great - also because, especially with Bastilla, there were some alternate endings. As for the thing with the droid and Goto, yes, I noticed this too, especially so since three cutscenes happened at the same time when I entered the Ebon Hawk. First GoTO speaks with HK-47, then HK-47 tries to access the Navigation Computer and is shot down by my small helper (HK-47 getting more respect for it afterwards, but it was still confusing to witness all of these events. I know that the droid was trying to hide the fact that it had been on Malachor with Revan, but why? We never find out, though you can ask HK-47 a bit about it. Another thread cut away and not properly masked). After these two cutscenes, I then see Goto and the small droid flying to the engine room and Goto shooting it down. Comparing it with the first cutscene, I was really thinking that Goto wanted to infiltrate the party, and when the small flying droid showed up again, without a scratch, and without anyone commenting on it, I sorta' thought that Goto had created a new droid, inserting his own programs, etc. Would have been cool. However, later, Bao-Dur lets fall an underhand remark to the small droid about it getting upgraded with a more powerful laser, so that Goto cannot 'push' it around anymore. I guess that, with a bit of leeway and suspension of disbelief, he could be seen as referring to that instance, where the droid was shot down and destroyed by Goto in the engine room.. Hrmm.. This game cries to the heavens of not being finished/being gutted. And now that I am in the midst of pointing out details where more plot and quests were probably meant to go, didn't you discover the droids on Nar Shadaa who had some sort of signalling device attached to them, that sent out untraceable signals? The droid at the swoopracing and another, later had such a thing that I discovered. Also, there was the Bith Scientist trying to trace an elusive signal, giving you the quest to find a component for him. That quests justs ends when the scientist has apparently been killed (evidence pointing to his droid, which is not there anymore).. I would guess that this ties in with the HK clone plot.. And there are many other examples. It wasn't just a question of 3 months extra, but more like half a year or more, to get all that should have gone into the game, into it. And in the end, they didn't even have time to remove the most blatant pointers to the missing stuff. The last bit is something I have seldom experienced before, really. Anyway, 12 months is a very short time for developing this, and yes, it was released on schedule, though obviously the developers must have been way too ambitious with what they cram into the game during that schedule and at the same time, they either couldn't or wouldn't prevent it from getting released. They might not be to blame, but it's still too bad for everyone.
  8. Trom, I feel the same way as you do. KoTOR I was a very nice surprise for me, after I had almost convinced myself that we wouldn't see a game like PS: Torment ever again (at least on PC), KoTOR I came along. A game that merged adventure and more of 'real' roleplaying. Great story, dialogues that mattered, beauty, etc.. Well, here's to hoping it can happen again. Although one gets more and more jaded and would like to return to Might and Magic II and others (hrm, that might be more nostalgia than anything else ), it is possible to do great games today too. Sad thing is when what could have been great games do not quite turn out to be great especially if the reason for this is not the inability of the developers but rather something to do with business. And Shadowpaladin, you are somewhat right in what you say, that was why I wrote that some of it might be my own fault, in that the almost schematic, strict way of developing bonds and exploring the backstories of the NPC's, might be something I felt artificial, where others wouldn't. However, I did not powerplay, I played the role I had set for myself, and I could not get myself to agree with anything Kreia said, so I lost influence with her constantly. It didn't seem to matter one bit though, she was still with me and my teacher, though she should by rights have hated and despised me. As for Visas, I did everything to convince her of my point of view, the light side. That did matter.. And as for HK, well who didn't want to gain influence with him? ;D But I only managed to get that once, because I didn't want to say or do something not in line with my PC persona. So, I did not play just to get influence, but I did play to gain influence with the people I could, while maintaining my overall personality. And my point is still that the whole influence system was not fleshed out or realized properly anyway, and that roughly half of the characters had stories that lead no where, no matter what influence you might have gained. Also, that I got all out of Mira in one rush, during just one stay in the Ebon Hawk was not my fault, it felt like it was meant to be that way, or could happen that way, and it felt immensely.. Unfulfilling. Nothing like a struggle or getting to know your characters slowly, over time and struggles. In that regard, the Handmaiden and Visas were much better (though they still repeated themselves needlessly, after certain options had been played out). Overall, it felt like many things came out in a rush, some missing 'something', and afterwards, the characters were left to do and say.. Nothing. Like after you having 'conquered' them, they become meaningless, don't say anything new, and the game abandons them. In that regard, I don't really think it is my fault for getting that same impression. Well, sorry for the negativity, I hope it is constructive though, in the sense that it has arguments, reasons and is being put out in a calm manner. Still, depressing to read I am sure.
  9. .. And I can keep on ranting (bear with me ).. Well, the movie entitled Death of the Ebon Hawk.. I guess that hinted at what it was supposed to be, an emotional movie after you had done everything to save the ship and had hauled out the partymembers or some such. Instead, it was seemingly tugged on as a meaningless cutscene because it had already been made. In that light, it is very weird when the ship suddenly appears to rescue you (seems like Bao-Dur's droid did not wait for the generals orders before destroying the planet anyway), and also weird that you didn't get to rescue your teammates, who must be manning the ship. I spent several minutes around the Ebon Hawk crashsite on Malachor V (seems like the Ebon Hawk is made for crashing, especially in KoTOR II btw ), trying to find an opening and get in. I noticed that there was a blue exit line on my map, which usually indicates an area transition, and I thought that since I had gotten out of the Ebon Hawk, and since my party is not with me, they must be inside, needing help.. But no.. All of that had been cut.. Hrmffghrharhh.. (frustrated sound).. As for Darth Nihilus. yes, intriguing Galactus like character (with a name just as ridiculous, but that's StarWars.. And Marvel. .So that goes with the territory), and it would have been great if he and his ship was not just a half-hour hack and slash station on the way to completing the game. The difficulty of the game is also somewhat on the low end. I got his health down to half in one fell Power Attack strike , while he completely missed hitting me, and then Visas is saying that we cannot win, that he is too strong, etc.. After 6 seconds more of fighting, he is then defeated.. Yes, very respectable, planetkilling opponent indeed, especially after having gone for the entire game and heard about how powerful he was, building up tension and excitement for the meeting with him
  10. hehe, Carnifex, that Czerka Salvager in the military base, that was one of the most annoying bugs for me, since it impacted on the plot itself (in a small way). I also had to talk to him constantly to follow me, but he would not go through the Hangar doors at all, even after repeated (20-30 times) talking with him and positioning myself every which way to see if he would react. So in the end I just left him standing there. I guess that is why I couldn't enter the sublevel, and why that military installation also felt strangely ireelevant and empty, never got to know what had happened there. Oh well, such things wreck the feeling of immersion in the reality of the game too.. A lot However, such things can more or less easily get fixed with a patch.
  11. Ahh Trom, you mention the Influence system.It felt unnatural and removed me from the game itself, because I was seeing my NPC's as objects I had to handle in a certain way to get more influence with them, in order to get to more goodies/options. That might be my own fault naturally, but in any case, it was not fleshed out, and when dialogue options where you could increase influence came, they tended to come in a big, tangled mass - i.e. I got everything out of Mira after gaining 1-2 influence with her, from there, it was just a matter of exploring her dialogue tree, until I had her become a jedi. It didn't come out slowly, over the course of the entire game, in a natural way. With all the partymembers, I was very focused on playing with them and gaining influence, and constantly thinking about which party members to take with me, to be able to get deeper into them, and anxious not to miss anything. Naturally that HAD to feel very artificial to me then. Maybe that was my own fault, but it was hard not to act like that, when you think influence matters in regards to you getting to know your NPC's and developing bonds with them. However, when you discover that the game is broken, that dialogues might lead nowhere, and that only certain NPC's have a fleshed out story you can uncover (with Visas and the Handmaiden's not being purely optional, but something that develops in the course of the mainplot), the whole influence system, which has indeed been hyped a lot (I see that now, reading interviews) falls flat on its face. A real shame. But I guess that is the gist of everything I write here, and maybe we are all preaching to those already converted. Still, it feels good to get this out.
  12. Hey, great reading all the thoughtful replies to my original post here. It seems I am indeed not the only one feeling frustrated/sad at all. I guess that is a consolation, though it just makes it even weirder that Obsidian allowed this to happen. One thing I've become annoyed at, is reading the reviews of this game. I usually do not read many reviews of games before I have played them, or participate in the 'hyping' phase of a game, before its release - with KoTOR II, it was clear that I would buy the game no matter what, and I didn't want to have any impression of the game beforehand. However, I noted that the score of all eviews I saw was exceedingly positive towards KoTOR II. Now that I have read the reviews, I have only found one that touches upon the real issues behind the game, and mentions the lacking time/features/polish, and that's GameCritics at GameSpy. I certainly did not want to have read that review/rant before finishing the game, or it would have destroyed my experience even more But it is still the only one. How come reviewers have been so happy and lenient with this game? One reason is of course that they WANTED to like it, just as we (some of us almost desperately, I guess) wanted to like it. KoTOR II follows a great game, and has all the right things going for it. The second reason is the simple one I think, that the reviewers have not played through the game before writing their reviews. There is no way an honest reviewer would neglect to mention the fact that the last parts of the game have been hurried through, with plotholes and obviously missing features whose semi-presence has not even been cut out to spare us the feeling of emptiness and what-if. So either reviewers are not honest, or have not played through the game. I really think it is the latter, but it does annoy me that everyone has been so positive and hyped up about this, masking the issues that lie behind. It's like a real expensive flawed diamond, where everyone tries to overlook the flaws, because it is so expensive. At least that's the impression I get by reading reviews now. Anyway, nice reading the posts here, as I said. I want to comment on some things said: About the game being patched, story-wise.. That is not gonna' happen, and I am willing to eat my Geforce gfxcard if it does (in small bits, over time, then..). The game has been released, it hauls in a lot of money (I guess?), there is an XBox version that cannot be changed in any case, and the developers have probably rushed onto another project, after taking their 3 days off to say hello to the family. It's already over, apart from the technical crew issuing patches to get the game bugfree. However, that the development team went back to the game, and spent another 6 months on actually finishing it according to their vision and the quality expected by the fans - that is NOT going to happen. Yes, I would really like it to happen though, but when has that ever happened? Ok, yes an example - a free expansion pack for IWD. That was impressive back then, really. This is something different though, and the big 'L' also has something to say about Obsidian doing something like that. They would be admitting that the game was not finished by such a move, and developers are generally not allowed to admit anything or talk honestly about their games (if honest=negative). It's not gonna' happen.. But maybe, what MIGHT happen, is some modding of the game by fans? I mean, if the voiceacting is there, the dialogues are there, maybe some really ambitious and talented individuals might do something with it, put it together? Maybe some people from Obsidian would even help with this in their free time, not as company people but as individuals? I don't know if this is even legal (probably not), and it is still far off, but it is still way more realistic than the other possibility (ok, I won't really eat my gfxcard if it happens, but..). Hrm, another possibility, as was mentioned, is a sort of 'expansion pack' for the game, something that aims to give more to the game, but which in actuality makes the game as it was intended to be. That might work out, also publishing wise, since it would bring in more money. It would be something of a rip-off to give gamers what they should have had in the first place, and let them pay extra for it, but thinking that, there would be no way I was not going to buy that expansion pack anyway, and I think most other people might feel the same. Hehe, we are really cashcows. It would be irritating playing through the game again, knowing the general outline of the game and what will happen though; the overall experience and wonder would be gone, since you had gone through it once already. And yet, I would love to see such an expansion pack. It's too late for me to get a clear, good experience out of KoTOR II, but I think the game deserves standing as it was intended nevertheless.. Here's hoping to an expansion then! (no matter that it is really cynical cash-cow milking to release one that is not free, making the game as it should have been in the first place. Still, the developers are not to blame if this happens. They are only to blame for allowing the game to be shipped in the first place - or placing themselves in a position where they had no control over when it would ship). As for the subplots/quests being cut out. I don't think there was anything to do with GoTo, i.e. no extra headquarters to visit (the droid might even have been GoTO, by the way, would have been a nice twist). In fact, all the dark side characters seem to have suffered the most, in regards to missing plot and development. The droid planet of the HK's were cut (I recall seeing one developer saying he regretted it had to go - but the decision made sense afterwards he said.. Or had to say, I really don't trust developers to be honest about such things. Mostly because they so painfully obviously have to maintain a cheery/everything's great and exciting facade when they get interviewed. Independent developers or developers with a great deal of leeway in regards to their publisher might have the luxury of being more honest, but still you will hardly hear them say that THIS thing about the game REALLY sucked. Would be great if they did though, would make things more balanced and.. human), Mandalore had Dxun, but Dxun was largely before he joined with the party, and afterwards he didn't say or do all that much (though Kreia hinted a lot at the things he was concerned about - it was just never played out through dialogue or events), and GoTo had nothing at all going for him, he was just a big, annoying floating ball largely useless at that point in the game. Besides, it irritated me that one HAD to accept him in the party, and hadn't the option to say that he was too dangerous/treacherous/useless at all. I noticed two possible subplots with him though. First, the scene where he talks about something with HK. I thought this boded well, that he would turn the dark side characters of the ship against me, doing intrigues of his own, etc. Well, nothing at all came from that. And then on Malachor, with Bao-Dur's droid, the fact that the developers had gutted the game is painfully apparent in the cutscene GoTo has there. Totally pointless, and I wonder why they didn't cut it out, to mask the missing plots better. That reminds me of that whole shadow mask generator thingie.. WHAT? But at the point where Bao-Dur referred to it, and tells the droid that the General had foreseen and planned this, I had given up on the game anyway, so I accepted that here was another thing not explained at all, coupled with me having done something I hadn't done as the player, had not even seen my PC doing/saying. Hrm.. Sad. Anyway, the Handmaiden, Atton, Kreia and Visas had more dialogue, and were obviously some of the first characters to be made I guess. The utility droid was good too, not too much, not too little. Bao-Dur was mostly silent for the whole game, with me greeting him and selecting: 'Never mind' or 'Can you make me some shields?' A shame, since he was interesting too. Well whatever, a shame with everything regarding that really. As you write Iroqu, the ending was very much a letdown, and I had hoped that there somehow was a well polished end part of the game after Kreia, since she also talks a bit about it, but at that point it would not have changed too much, and I both dreaded and expected the game to end after the Kreia scene. And so it did. I have been gaming since 1983, and have completed literally thousand(s..?) of games on C64, Amiga, PC, PSX and so on, and never have I encountered a game that has been so obviously and shamelessly gutted. I will admit, there are games out there where this is true, but not ones I have played, not RPG's. Usually, the developers have the decency to actually remove the plots/subplots/dialogue from the game, that points to something that was cut, but with this game, there didn't even seem to be time for doing that. I guess it would have been better for the overall-impression if these things were cut, but I am glad they weren't, it shows that the developers really wanted to make a great game - though it is at the same time also a sad reminder of what might have been. Ipom, it is true that the game had a lot to live up to, but I at least was ready to give it some leeway in that regard, and I did, until the Dantooine thing; although I felt halfway out of the game before that too, and had to struggle to immerse myself, there was no denying that it was infact a good game and an ok successor to KoTOR I. There were minor issues, minor hints of an unpolished game, but it was still great and enjoyable overall. However, the game didn't end at Dantooine.. Ok, it did end there, but it seemed not to realize this itself, hrmm I liked Nar Shadaa, because of the many quests and sense of purpose there. Sort of like Tarsis in KoTOR I, though not as well executed. I also liked Telos, Dantooine and Onderon.. In fact I did like the game and the events in it, up to a certain point. Ahhr.. Makes me sad. Aveeare, we agree perfectly on most things, though what you see as negative, mainly the switching to controlling NPC's now and then, I see as a very positive thing. I love it when a game switches to and forth amidst my party, and let different NPC's shine and come to the spotlight for a while. This has to be coupled with us learning more about them, and them learning something from the experience, giving out new dialogue options, etc., but this is one of the things I absolutely love. I mean, I want to like/grow attached to everyone in my party, and have meaningful interaction with them - playing as them, seeing them do things on seperate quests is great. KoTOR I did this, though not as much as I would have wished (I would wish a lot in that regard), and KoTOR II does it too, which is fine. I absolutely LOVED it in KoTOR I, onboard Saul's cruiser Leviathan, where you could select one partymember, who had to go solo and free the others. Very clever, great stuff, I want more of that This is by the way something that most console RPG's have down to an exact science. Check out Final Fantasy VIII on the PC if you wish to experience a RPG where such change is at the forefront of gameplay. Every NPC is taken and brought to the fore sooner or later in different main and subplots, and each learns something, grows and interacts differently with the PC after that. It makes for great storytelling. Ahh, I am sidetracked.. And I am writing a lot.. I also disagree with the Jedi mumbo-jumbo thing you write about Aveeare. KoTOR I showed me the potential in this, and I think it is great to get everyday moral dilemmas served in a bigger, more epic way, with a constructed philosophy on top. Only thing is, this has to be believable and we have to know what is going on. In KoTOR II I felt too much like an onlooker to my own PC, not quite knowing what he knew, what he had experienced, what the Jedi order was, etc. When the Jedi Masters acted like they did, I was even more confused, and lost even more touch with the Jedi mumbo-jumbo. Still, I like Jedi mumbo-jumbo.. a lot.. I like stuff where you have to play a role and get into some different perceptions and beliefs - only requirement is that these are fleshed out and consistent. Ok, another long-winded post.. But I think I am slowly coming to terms with this, so thanks for the therapeutic (and interesting) replies people, hehe
  13. Yes, I had the exact same problem on my laptop equipped with an ATI chipset. KoTOR II is quite buggy with ATI cards (I assume this is your problem, otherwise I don't know). What I did was to download the latest OMEGA drivers (www.omegadrivers.net), and then the game worked. However, it didn't work well.. Stutters, glitches, missing sound in movies, and then on Dantooine, an absolutely horrendous slowdown bug, that made ithe planet unplayable. Might be the bugs pop up a bit differently with you, it seems to be a bit random. Luckily for me, after I gave up trying to run the game on my powerful, fast laptop, and installed it on my stationary PC with a NVIDIA gfx card, the game ran almost perfectly (some minor quibbles and bugs, that did not hinder playing the game). If you have an ATI, and only an ATI card, and the problems persist, I guess you can either wait for a patch or buy another gfxcard. Anyway, hope this helps
  14. And I just have to get this off my chest too: There is no satisfying pingpong between the enemies and your PC, no on and off struggle, where you get more and more angry at your opponent(s). When Darth Nihilus finally appears, you waltz up to him, say hello and kill him, basically. The first and only time you see him.. A waste I think. And that reminds me.. Suddenly, after Dantooine and the dead Jedi's, you KNOW that the sith are going to attack Telos, and tell Atton so. How did you know? I certainly didn't, nobody mentioned it. But then again, you also suddenly know both the name of the adversary as well as the name of his ship, so maybe the force told you. Or maybe some cutscene/part was left out in the design. More likely the latter, and the game is full of these things, especially (to be fair, almost only), near the end. It's a shame, because it is clear that the designers have a story to tell, that they have interesting NPC's, people we can/could develop feelings for. The designers wanted to reach out and touch with their stories, but.. Well, as I have made abundantly clear, I am sorry they couldn't touch me, and I am sorry that they didn't have/take time enough to develop the inherent beauty in their stories. Sorry for being a pathetic, emotional git, by the way, it comes with an age approaching the thirties
  15. You should really, really only read this, if you have finished the game (and like reading real long posts, hrmm..). -- After finishing this game, I am feeling quite empty and sad. So much potential, and so much done right - yet the impression I am left with, is one of bugs (not just the technical ones, but storyline and dialogue bugs too), unfinished plots, left out twists and turns, and a general feeling of.. Well, emptiness.. I love games like KoTOR I and Planescape: Torment, that let me interact with NPC's, people you begin to care for. I love huge worlds full of moral dilemmas and several ways of solving things. And after KoTOR I, I really started loving Star Wars (KoTOR I was a perfect caption of epic and meaningful science-fiction, imo) What is really important for me, especially these days, is having a game I can immerse myself in, where my self disappears, where reality fades, leaving only the reality of the game. For 4 days, I have been playing KoTOR II, not seeing my girlfriend, not working, not doing anything but sleeping, eating and playing, in order to get that perfect immersion, which is only possible to get with the best of games. I had high hopes for KoTOR II, naturally, but.. When the Handmaiden suddenly and unbelievably decides to escort Kreia to Atris without checking on me, because she thinks Kreia killed me, and stops by the Ebon Hawk just for the sake of delivering a blow in the stomach to Atton , my immersion in the game suffers (i.e., what an incredibly weak and hackneyed plot device. The design intent was, I guess, to invent a reason why Atton knew what was going on, so that the party can go after them. Without the access codes the Handmaiden had, and which were so important in getting in at all, by the way). When, after having a deep conversation with the Handmaiden, where she tells me her true name, she seems to forget all about this, and revert to old dialogues, still referring to the newly defeated Atris as her master, my immersion suffers. (this is a common occurance in dialogues, that the NPC's do not remember what they have said, who they are, and what they should react on in the future. Another example of this follows) When, after having killed Darth Nihilus, Visas talks about Nihilus, telling me she fears for me if I confront him, and that she won't tell me where his ship is (we're standing in it, my dear) my feel for Visas as anything other than some binary digits in my PC suffers. When I talk to some NPC and I suddenly refer to the mysterious ship overhead as the 'Ravager', without having ever known that that was its name, my immersion suffers. When the loveable assasin droid does not have any chance of meeting HK clones after I activate him - because that entire plotline has apparently been left out due to time restraints - my immersion suffers. When I have to wonder what else has been left out, and whether I can have any meaningful dialogue with my party, without worrying about rough edges and seams due to poor design/lacking time, my immersion suffers. When I find myself alone on Malachor V, trying to figure out whether it was a bug or not, that I cannot find my party at all, and that I have to run around alone, mindlessly killing things for the rest of the game, my immersion suffers. When I spend 1 hour running around the Trayus academy alone, cutting down everything that moves, wondering about the emptiness/meaninglessness of the place, and desperately wanting to find my party again, my immersion suffers. And so it was with a great many things, I just mentioned some off the top of my head, that I remembered now. When Mira and Bao-Dur's droid showed up, I almost dared to hope there would be some depth and immersion again; then the game ends, suddenly and with a whimper, without me seeing them or the others again. Certainly no immensely satisfying Planescape: Torment endgame moment here. The whole game is riddled with moments of this kind, I think everybody who has finished the game knows what I am talking about and can give examples of their own. If you do not care too much for the immersion of a game, and have a more relaxed attitude to gaming and experiences with storytelling, I guess you can overlook these things. For me however, such things in a game I had such high expectations for (I hoped it was roughly as good as its predecessor) are absolutely devastating to the enjoyment of the game. I know I am being critical and can be construed as being overly so, but honestly, this is how I feel, and these are the things I focus on in games, because these are the most crucial things for me. Immersion and interaction. Also, I am left baffled and largely unfeeling by the main storyline. The 'twist' with Kreia was so obvious right from the start, that the only surprise I had in regards to that, was when I slowly realized that her actions should infact surprise the player. More disturbingly, I was in the midst of loosing my understanding of the whole echo-nothingness-wound twist constantly. I could not quite grasp its meaningfulness emotionally nor rationally, and was left wondering what the big deal was. I had served the light side all through the game, only killing in self-defense and never being cruel or evil, then the Jedi Masters (who had all been very friendly and or at least helpful to me) tell me that I am some sort of anti-jedi, a gaping wound in the force, and then they suddenly want to spiritually assault me, no time for dialogue nor mutual understanding. Afterwards, I am left with three suddenly dead Jedis, wondering why this happened, what the design idea behind this was, and why I could not get myself to feel that my PC was a hollow, empty and afraid shell (I think it was a mistake of the designers not to either have spelled out the background story of the PC in the manual/game, or letting him have total amnesia; obviously he knew a lot I needed to know in order to feel for him and understand the dialogue. Getting this out in bits and pieces, scrambled and gutted, was not intriguing at all; it was frustrating). The mainplot of the game lost me there, and instead left confusion and emptiness; a feeling as if the reality of the game had huge problems keeping itself together. Hard to explain, if you do not know what I talk about or feel the same. Overall, there is mostly a myriad of nagging problems I have with all of this, so many small things in the dialogue that points nowhere, so many small things in the design, the plot and the dialogues that should have been smoothed out or enlargened before the game shipped. Instead, I played through the entire game with a feeling of not really knowing whether it was my own fault that I could not immerse myself; that I could not fully enjoy KoTOR II. Was I really that old and unfeeling? After the scene confronting Atris and getting the name of the Handmaiden, the game inadvertedly and mercifully revealed that it was not my fault, that I had not become a cynic who was not able to enjoy a good game afterall, and it only made this revelation increasingly clear in the hours to come. I am frustrated, but mostly I am left filled with a sadness, that such a great game, such a wonderful premise, such powerful potentiality was gutted, so that it could be released quickly. One more year of development would not only have made the bugs go away and made the environments look less like tilesets (especially near the end of the game); more importantly, it would have left time for the designers to fill in the gaps, to complete the game, to leave behind a well-executed, seamless RPG experience. It would have been great, but it falls short - it is not a bad game as such, but perhaps because of this, it is even worse, hurts all the more, is all the more unforgivable, that this was allowed. Most of the game is very good, though there are small issues underlying it all, but around the Jedi Gathering on Dantooine, it goes downhill. The best games are pure art, and this could have been art like KoTOR I, given time. Time was not given obviously, and I guess all my rambling comes back to that one point: too bad the game was rushed out. If there will ever be a KoTOR III, I really, really wish, pray and mostly hope, that the developers will take the time needed, and then a little extra, because there is so much potential, so much force in what KoTOR I left behind, that it would be almost criminal to deliver something rugged and rushed (again). Oh, and of course, this was no huge flaming of the game per se. I hope you can all see that and don't feel the need to start telling me that I am spectacularely wrong/that you hate me. What I wrote is truth - for me that is, and yes, it has a lot to do with feelings - I love games where I can immerse myself, huge worlds with interesting NPC's. KoTOR I and Planescape: Torment (Fallout I+II too, but it lacked some in the great party interaction, imo. Oh, and not to forget BGII - minus expansion. I really felt for Imoen and others. Masterfully done) are my guides here, as I mentioned at the start, and when a game aims towards this formula, and seemingly has all the right things going for it, my feelings and myself are naturally left incredibly disappointed when it doesn't come true. I think it could have come true, or close - given time, and this makes it all the harder to bear. Ok, enough rambling, it is my nature and privilege as a philosopher to be needlessly longwinded and repetitive Besides, it is something I needed to get off my chest. Hope others tackled finishing the game better than I did, and I will now go back to having a normal, functioning life, eagerly awaiting.. Well, Final Fantasy 12 perhaps?
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