I know a lot of people have various opinions on kotor 2, and after my first time finishing the game i feel the need to share what i found, just to get it off my chest...
Overall, i got drawn in, just like the first kotor, and i fully expected a different experience to the first one, i wasn't looking for a clone. At first, i wasn't too interested in keira and i thought the initial mining level was too long, but after finding out she's was sith it quickly became interesting.
- influence system
- making team characters into jedi
- a more in depth look at the whole light side/dark side morale thing, some people like a more simple star wars experience, but i liked the fact that this time the question kept getting raised about the validity of the jedi council and light side teachings (stuff i thought about in kotor 1).
- creating/upgrading items - you can customize all your equipment like never before.
- personalised items - i really like the personal lightsaber crystal and other stuff you got in your own name.
- HK47 - need i say more, meatbag?! - Man i would love to set an army of HK-47's loose on the gungans in naboo, of whatever the hell they're called.
- i really loved the jungle moon level, the gameplay element of kotor series in general, of moving from place to place on missions then getting sidetracked on other stuff was well implemented here.
- the wrecked star destroyer level with darth nihlus got cool points too.
- the whole atris story was sufficiently dark, but i wish the handmaiden romance plot had been concluded in the ending.
- the new clothes/items etc.
- character interactions were as good as the first one, but i didnt like the repeated dialogue...it would have been better to just get rid of old dialogue threads. Also it would have been cool to have had interaction between team characters like kotor1 while running around.
- fighting inside the ship
- removal of constant fighter battles, but still had interesting turret opportunities
- the ending - the main issue i had, and this is made up of two parts. firstly there are no character conclusions, some final sendoffs would have been great, and i see from another post, it had been planned. And the other one is the way the final level played out, though overall i liked the design i assumed all the various characters were going to have all their own single adventures culminatining in a cool finale somehow helping each other out (after playing the little ball thing, and mira)
- being forced to take certain characters (i really hated mira, i was hoping the wookie would kill her before realising i had to grrr play her as the main)
- there were two real gameplay bugs i encoutered, one was on nar shaada after killing the exchange and the other refugee group in the refugee compound, i took a repaired hovercar to another section of the city but this meant i missed out on a key game trigger which was vital to the plot. Another bug was in onderron and going past the forcefields to the palace, there was one that would only open to bao-dur's fist and nothing else. These weren't technical issues, simply gameplay ones...one thing which i never encountered in the first kotor.
- I really liked playing kotor2. I wasnt expecting it to be as amazing as the first one since sequels tend to have a hard time living up to expections (especially since i consider kotor 1 to be the best game i have ever played)...but i still loved the whole star wars background, light/dark choices, combat (often i'd pause the game just to marvel at how good it looked), etc. I wish the ending had been a bit more fleshed out with regards to the various characters, and that you had more freedom selecting who went with you...at times the linearity took away the fun of the choices you made. From what i've read it seems there was pressure on them to finish the game early and that would explain it, but its a real shame cos right up until the end i considered this to be as good as the first one (sure it had its faults but the new stuff covered them up).
I hope the fans are able to make up some of the lost content that was supposed to be placed in, i've read one group is doing just that, and i hope if LucasArts they make a third one, they take the best elements of the first and second kotors and make the best game ever.
Anyway, thats what i thought...games like kotor really immerse you even more than a good book or movie, and just like the latter two, when you finish you want to tell someone what you thought, especially when you feel it could have been such a classic. On another note, i am amazed at how far games have come in the past fifteen years, they're gonna have to start banning this stuff soon cos its so addictive.