LSO Plays Knights of the Old Republic II: Telos Discussion - The Loresworn Order

Aug
24

LSO Plays Knights of the Old Republic II: Telos Discussion

We’re playing through a whole bunch of awesome games with stories that were memorable and inspiring to us, starting with Knights of the Old Republic II. We’ll discuss it section by section as we go, and we’d love to have you guys play along and add your thoughts. This week, we played through the corporate intrigue-laden section on Telos.

We encourage you to leave your own thoughts in the comments. If you’re following along, play up through the end of Nar Shaddaa (you’ll know you’re done when you’re back on the Ebon Hawk after visiting G0-T0’s yacht) by next Monday, August 31.

SPOILER WARNING: These discussions will contain spoilers, but only for the section we played this week. So if you’re following along, you don’t have to worry.

T.J.
And so we jump from Peragus, one of my favorite sections of KotOR II, to Telos, which might be my least favorite. It’s about 75% wandering around a boring space station that lacks the grandeur and environmental texture of Taris, the equivalent “Early Game City Planet” in the original Knights. There isn’t a lot of combat, the locations (both on Citadel Station and the surface) aren’t that interesting, and it all culminates in a brightly-lit dungeon full of identical droids and turrets wherein it’s hard to tell one hallway from another.

D.M.
I agree, and I feel I detect some meandering writing at play here. Spoiler alert for the non-writers reading us right now: crafting the middle part of a story is hard. The action on Peragus was a brilliant opener in terms of starting a dark mystery and delivering the tension, but then, we have to make the jump to the standard, “Find these 3 or 4 things”, a plot formula that was a staple of this breed of RPG until Dragon Age: Inquisition. Telos exists to introduce the PC to Atris and kick off the overarching plot. I feel like getting to Atris bogged down the writers somewhat. It became a long and winding train of events. Frankly, I feel most of TSF Station was unnecessary to the narrative, and it made the Telos surface, and its featured dungeon (can you say poorly designed?) feel looooong.

T.J.
The surface of Telos and the Underground Bunker dungeon seem very rushed and linear, as does the transition to the Polar Academy and your initial meeting with Atris. As important a character as she is, her introduction always felt underwhelming (and confusing the first time—but the Restored Content seems to have fixed a lot of that). The sad part is that the Polar Academy is the coolest-looking and most interesting part of Telos… and the one you spend the least amount of time at.

D.M.
All told, TRC mod and all, I thought that the Polar Academy was a powerful end to what is probably the weakest segment of the game. Getting there felt like a slog, truly. TSF Station was too long and almost entirely superfluous to the main story, and the Underground Bunker was just one-note and blah, but I wasn’t disappointed by Atris and her lair. I played my character as having quite a bit of history with her, so there was a very, very charged tone to our talk. Her lines were well written, and well acted. And, of course, we get to see, with a touch of dramatic irony, the machinations of Kreia beginning.

T.J.
Just to play Sith’s advocate, I don’t think it was entirely uninteresting. “Slog” is probably too strong a word. It kept me invested, though not riveted. I was having fun. There is a fairly interesting kernel of political intrigue hiding behind the bland polygons in the form of the Exchange-Czerka-Ithorian political web and the schisms possible within each faction. But my role in unwinding it felt mostly like a lot of running back and forth between uninteresting space apartments and space office buildings. The main story definitely felt like it was put on hold, and the new party member introduced—Bao Dur—is among the least engaging in the KotOR series.

D.M.
Bao-Dur’s lines, I think, feel the rushed nature of Sith Lords the most. His story is intriguing, as is his character but it all just feels incomplete. And, he sort of comes out of nowhere, dragging you from the wreckage of that shuttle and is like, “Hey, I know you!” Pretty weird, honestly. Threw me a bit. What jarred me most about the whole running around and unraveling thing is I basically left a trail of bodies across this space station to make the big corporation and the space mob leave the hippy aliens alone. It was sort of funny, but I don’t think terribly sophisticated from a narrative standpoint.

T.J.
Telos isn’t terrible, but it is probably the least exciting and memorable stretch of any Knights of the Old Republic game. That’s double-edged: it’s not great enough that you remember the impactful moments, but it’s also not broken and weird enough that you remember how broken and weird it was… which I can’t really say about the next planet on our list. By the time I’d wrapped up the last of my business on Telos, I was definitely happy to get my ship back and have a wider galaxy to explore.

D.M
I don’t think Obsidian has ever made anything terrible, but this is an example of something they struggle with somewhat: the middle act. That said, when it ended, I was extremely happy. I felt like a Jedi, and I felt significant again, like a had a long, important journey ahead of me, and was actually pleased to finally know what was. Also, to get proof positive that Kreia is up to some shit, and to want to explore that further. I still maintain that she was brilliantly written: never playing her hand, but always maneuvering, spinning, moving. I knew from the start she was scheming up some grand machination, but I was a step behind her until the bigger reveals later in the game, and I enjoyed that.

T.J.
That’s something that’s really interesting about that game, now that you mention feeling like a Jedi. KotOR 2 doesn’t assume you are a Jedi, or even see yourself as a Jedi. Dialogue options exist throughout that allow you to distance yourself from the Order and the Code. My Exile wasn’t ready to call herself a Jedi by the end of Telos… yet. It will be interesting to see if she ever does, and what might lead her to feel comfortable with that label. Or not.

D.M.
Lack of black and white, a blurry distinction between hero and villain, is part of what makes the Exile’s story, if less epic and momentous than the original KoTOR’s PC, more complicated and interesting.

And thus we move on from Telos on a hunt for some wayward Jedi masters. Remember, if you’re following along, play up through the end of Nar Shaddaa (you’ll know you’re done when you’re back on the Ebon Hawk after visiting G0-T0’s yacht) by next Monday, August 31. Send us your comments for Nar Shaddaa on the Contact page (not in the comments, to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t gotten that far yet), and we might include them in next week’s discussion!

About The Loresworn Order

This post was written in collaboration between multiple staff members of the site.

Leave a comment