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obsidian lost a customer

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I thought KotOR was one of the best games I'd ever played... I probably played every possible path through that game. The storyline and character development were almost cinematic... and the gameplay was totally immersive. Decisions mattered - honor and dishonor, truth and lie, loyalty and betrayal... each led to distinct changes in the NPCs, distinct advancements in the storyline, and all of it contributed to an overall sense of *purpose*.


KotORII is the 'Matrix Trilogy' of video games. It starts out strong, draws you in deeper for a while... and then suddenly wraps up everything with a non-contextual ending that leaves numerous major plotlines hanging and leaves you feeling like 'wha???'. As the game progressed I had hoped that the ambiguity was intentional, that the game designers were trying to show that everything isn't just black and white... the story lends itself well to this concept, and takes a few tentative steps in this direction, but then non sequiturs abound.


The character development was, for the most part, either linear and nonbinding (i.e. you could go back through the same dialog and make different choices without permanent repurcussions) or essentially non-existent (Visas, for instance.) Building a team, getting to know the characters (even if it meant killing them, like the Juhani choices in KotOR), the usually inevitable romantic interests, all of these were weak.


The vast evil hunger that threatens to destroy the universe? You find out 90% of what you need to know about him right before the 15-second fight that destroys him. All of that careful interrogation of HK-47 about the other HK droids? Part of a quest that was lopped off of the end of the game. 90% of the back-story you learn in this game has nothing to do with the way the story ends.


Even more disappointing than the actual gameplay was the discovery that a few of the unresolved plotlines were actually made - the files are on the CD, but the scripts that would tie them into the game have sections commented out. I suspect that time/money pressures led Obsidian to lop off 20% of the game, hoping we wouldn't notice the hastily-bandaged bloody stumps that remained. KotOR read like a novel. KotOR2 reads like Mad Magazine.


The only other reason I can think of for them to put out such an obviously hacked up game is that they intend to use the lack of plotline resolution as a hook into KotOR3. "Want to find out what really happened? Give us another $50." No thanks.


Anyway, I've spent my last dollar on Obsidian games. Gothic has numerous quirky bugs but at least they remained true to the storyline. Deus Ex is complex and engaging and it too doesn't try to pull a fast one on the players. Why bother with substandard games when there are other options out there from companies that respect their fanbase?

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