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 the opening segment on Peragus.
To start, D.M. and T.J., who have both played the game before and have a long history with the series, had a dialogue about what was notable about this section. Following that, Chloe, a first-timer, offers her thoughts. We encourage you to include your own in the comments. And if you’re following along, play up through the end of Telos (you’ll know you’re done when you get back to the Ebon Hawk) by next Monday, August 24.
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.
It begins in silence.
I suppose that’s the first thing I noticed about Knights of the Old Republic II when I first played it, and it’s still stark today. We’re just not used to that from the Star Wars universe. The movies, and most all the games, begin in chases, firefights, epic battles. Explosions abound, and in the prequels, lightsabers are flashing every which way. The Bioware masterpiece Knights of the Old Republic begins its tale with a desperate battle aboard a doomed star ship.
So, color me jarred when the tutorial of The Sith Lords begins aboard the beloved Ebon Hawk, ship from the first game, barely holding together, and everything is silent. No battle, just the blatantly obvious aftermath of a terrible one.
The opening sequence of The Sith Lords is as I remember it, the one and only time I played it—11 freaking years ago! You mentioned how quiet everything is. What has stuck with me all these years is that the Peragus facility is legitimately scary—especially for a Star Wars game. And I felt reverberations of that replaying the area, even having a fairly accurate recollection of what was going on in the shadows. I’m not saying it’s Amnesia: The Dark Descent terrifying, forcing me to actually get up and take stress breaks throughout. But the lack of living humans, the mysterious circumstances surrounding… just about everything, and the climactic introduction of Darth Sion on a ship full of invisible assassins is probably as close to a horror movie as the expanded universe has ever strayed.
The music and the atmosphere are so immediately sinister that it gives one goosebumps. What did you think of the use of video logs in this opening area? I loved that. They were informative and painted a picture, but they never actually gave me enough to feel like I knew what went on.
It’s funny, because I was going to say the video logs are overplayed, but they really weren’t when this game came out. BioShock kind of started the trend of them being a staple in any creepy game, and this was years before that. The other thing I noticed is that Peragus is possibly one of the best, self-contained “episodes” in an RPG of this type, having its own progression and act structure while also setting up many, many plot threads that will run throughout the rest of the game. It’s also really long, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You don’t get meaty prologues like that in many modern RPGs.
Absolutely. It’s a textbook example of providing two questions each time you serve up an answer. It becomes fairly clear, halfway through Peragus, what is going on. Then, a Republic cruiser docks with the mining station and the sinister is turned up to 11. One of the things I liked about the story of this game is that it doesn’t give you a clear villain, at least not this early. The immediate goals are much starker than stopping some terrible foe: You need to survive, find a way out of a hostile, abandoned space station, and figure out what’s up with the only other two people on it with you. One of whom is an old lady who can play dead, read minds, and all kinds of stuff. It was a different kind of high stakes episode, one that I’m not used to from Star Wars tales.
Ahhh yes, Kreia…
You and I have had long discussions her, KotOR II’s anti-Obi-Wan. The enigmatic mentor who doesn’t want you to be too nice, nor too evil. The bitchy, cryptic, judgmental grandma who invades your mind telepathically to hassle you about every damn decision even when you VERY deliberately leave her on the ship. While I think she’s a great character in a narrative sense, I despise her as a person, and found her more annoying than anything else the first time I played through. I actually once ranked her on a list of my Top 5 Least Favorite RPG Companions of All Time for her unique ability to get on my nerves. I haven’t felt quite such a resurgence of those feelings yet. It might have something to do with the fact that I now know and understand her ultimate motives—which I won’t spoil for everyone coming in for the first time.