Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Switch Review — One With the Force
I remember when Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic first came out in 2003. It was summertime, and I had some lawn mowing side hustle money just burning a hole in my pocket. That first night playing was exciting: picking a class, agonizing over how I was going to build my character, and getting lost in the immersive story.
Since then, KOTOR has been seared in my mind as one of the best RPGs of all time. So, I just couldn’t turn down the chance to review one of my favorite games, and one of the best Star Wars games ever developed, on Nintendo Switch.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Switch Review — One with the Force
In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the protagonist suffers from amnesia and can take the mantle of three character classes: Scoundrel, Scout, or Soldier. As the story progresses, you unlock the ability to wield The Force and ultimately have the choice of becoming a heroic Jedi, an evil Sith, or the now-Legends bound gray variant.
You, and to a degree your companions, change in alignment based on the choices you make as you interact with the world and NPCs through many dialogue checks. Most interactions work on the good/neutral/bad dialogue system, making it pretty easy to choose a specific side of The Force.
In typical RPG fashion, there are an immense amount of choices to make when creating your character, from stat points, feats, class-specific abilities, and more, allowing you to branch out into any path you'd like — and even mix and match. For example, I chose to play as a scoundrel as my starting class. It gives me additional luck stats and a sneak attack on top, helping me deal considerable damage to unsuspecting foes.
Then, when I awakened my Force powers, I chose Jedi Consular to bolster my Force powers and weaken my opponent's resolve against Force abilities. And I still get that stealth check.
In short, there's a lot of replayability in KOTOR even all these years later, especially given the three base classes and three Jedi classes available in each playthrough.
To be clear, this version of KOTOR on Switch is a port, not a remake or remaster. The visuals can feel a bit dated considering it's more than 18 years old now. With that said, the cinematics hold up surprisingly well here, receiving a slight boost in resolution on the newer hardware.
KOTOR looks great while playing in mobile mode, too. It's worth mentioning that I'm playing on a first-gen Switch for this review, but the colors are vibrant and the user interface is easy to navigate, with the menus fitting well to the size of the screen. Nothing's too small or hard to read.
That said, the UI does look a bit inflated when you play docked. I played this version on a 52" 4K television and didn't notice any screen tearing or heavy pixelation, but there were a few times between cinematic transitions that things get a bit fuzzy.
I did notice a bit of a dip in frame rate during the opening tutorial section in both the docked and portable mode, as well as during a bigger fighting section on Taris, the first planet you explore. Though, it was nothing more than a bit of a stutter for 1 to 2 seconds before evening out. It’s one of those things you end up looking past as you play.
In terms of sound, everything is as good as it is in the original. The sound effects and the score are still awesome and really drive home that you're playing a Star Wars game. Between the exhilarating combat music, the lightsaber and blaster SFX, and the background music and noise, the audio for KOTOR has stood the test of time.
There are few moments where audio bugs spoil things, such as on Dantooine while fighting enemies and exploring some other locales, but, like the frame rate issue, it was very short-lived.
The controls handle well on the Switch and the pausable, active combat system works pretty seamlessly on the Nintendo's hardware. Having played the game years ago on the original Xbox, as well as on PC, the controls feel natural and intuitive for those who are seasoned RPG players. I find myself more often than not playing it docked and using a pro controller, but that's more out of personal preference being a guy with large hands.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Switch Review — The Bottom Line
- Well-written and engaging story
- A likable cast of supporting NPCs
- High replayability based on the path you take
- Controls translate well to Switch
- Graphics are a tad stale
- The occasional rare audio/visual bug
Overall, KOTOR on Nintendo Switch is well worth picking up. Not only is it relatively cheap at $15, it's still one of the very best RPGs you can play. And it's high on the list of the best Star Wars games available. There's a reason people want more KOTOR.
[Note: Aspyr provided the copy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic used for this review.]