When BioWare and LucasArt’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic came out early in the last decade, critics sang its praises, some extolling it to be better than the prequel films of the franchise (and in this reviewer’s opinion, the originals as well). Given the first game’s success, it was only natural for a sequel to see development, which shifted to Obsidian Entertainment. Although the sequel received ovation similar to its predecessor, its release was somewhat rushed, leading to dummied-out content that fans sought to restore for around a decade, culminating in the official Steam release of Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Restored Content Modification, which proves the game’s definitive version.
The battle system is almost exactly the same as in the first KotOR entry, where the player queues commands for one character and they and the enemy exchange blows, the A.I. controlling up to two allies, except in the sequel, the male or female protagonist is a Jedi from the get-go, several characters able to become Jedi as well from their initial classes, with this reviewer definitely recommending getting good influence with the Exile’s confederates so they can go on the path to Jedihood, which helps in some of the tough battles towards the end when the player only controls one of the hero or heroine’s friends. Enemies level with the player’s characters, and there are some taxing battles that can be somewhat difficult towards the end even on the lowest difficulty setting, but the gameplay still serves the sequel well.
The interface is easy to get a handle of, with mostly-clear objectives accessible in the primary game menus, and only one mandatory minigame where, if the player doesn’t do well, they’ll just have to fight more enemies aboard their ship, and the restored content modification is largely devoid of bugs. Keeping multiple save files, however, is a definite necessity since the sequel, somewhat like the first game, relishes points of no return where players can’t revisit previous locations to complete sidequests. Even so, interaction very much helps the title more than hurts.
Like its predecessor, The Sith Lords weaves an engaging narrative focused on the supposed last Jedi in the Galaxy that survived the Jedi Civil War occurring between the RPG franchise’s first and second titles, an Exile from the Order that must redeem himself or herself, with the protagonist hardly being blank-slate, given backstory revealed throughout the game, alongside that for his or her allies. The story, being the case with the first KotOR, is definitely better than those in the movies, riddled with plot holes and falling asunder when exposed to outside logic, though after Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, all media outside the films except for The Clone Wars and Rebels, including this game and its predecessor, are no longer part of the series canon. There are also occasional grammatical errors in the text, but even so, the plot is a decent driving factor.
As in the first game, the composer does a decent job filling in for John Williams, with plentiful sweeping epic tracks that occur especially during combat, even if some of the music isn’t native to the sequel, and superb voicework, to boot.
Although the Steam release of The Sith Lords has a new widescreen option, and the core visuals look nice aside from some bland textures at points, with different equipment, for instance, affecting character appearances, it would have definitely benefitted from a higher framerate, with this reviewer’s experience with the graphics being mostly choppy
Finally, the core of the first KotOR sequel is somewhat longer than its predecessor, with this reviewer completing a straightforward playthrough in around thirty hours, although there exist plentiful sidequests, more in the restored content mod, to boost playing time further, alongside achievements very much enhancing lasting appeal.
Overall, The Sith Lords Restored proves to be a good expanded edition of the original version, closer to developer Obsidian’s initial intention, with plenty going for it such as its strategic battle system, great control, engaging narrative, solid music and voicework, pretty graphics, and enough content to keep players coming back for more. The sequel does, however, have its flaws, such as the occasional difficulty spike, choppiness of the graphics, and the fact that the game, along with its predecessor, is no longer part of the official Star Wars canon, but the title proves to be a good piece of franchise history, with this reviewer very much believing that Star Wars is definitely better as an RPG series than a movie pantheon.
+Good battle system.
+Superb music and voicework.
+Achievements add lasting appeal.
-Enemies level up with player.
-No longer part of series canon.
The Bottom Line:
A great sequel made better by the content mod.
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable, slightly hard on easiest setting.
Playing Time: 25-40 Hours