Top critical review
It would be fine if it wasn't bested by the first
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2005
First, the good news: this game is generally a good RPG. If I hadn't played KOTOR(1), I might even say that this was a great game. Take notice that I am going to be referring to the fully-patched PC version, since I was unable to play the game out-of-the box (without the newest patches). Even with the patches, there are problems, mostly having to do with triggering. Quests, conversations, and battles sometimes don't start or end correctly. The camera angles are sometimes off. But with all the patches, it's perfectly playable. Additionally, the developers took many things from KOTORI to good effect in this game, which plays more like an expansion (no complaints about that). They even try and improve some of them, to varying degrees of success. But the game simply pales in comparison to its predecessor.
The characters in this game have none of the depth of those in KOTOR. Where in that game we saw conflicts and history among the core characters (Bastila, Carth), there was little of this in The Sith Lords. There is hardly any interaction like we saw in KOTOR between characters in the party (that occasionally were hilarious), and not even any real way to interact with the characters via the protagonist. Sure, there's a new 'influence' setting, but what's the point if the characters aren't going to be developed any more even at a high influence level? I felt like the light-side interaction with Bastila in the first game was particularly well-done (and open-ended), but there was nothing remotely like that in The Sith Lords. Then there is the plot. It may be touted as 'deeper and darker' but in reality, it's just confusing. I think this is because the game was rushed out (hence the bugs, as well) of development. For example, there are hints of a romance with the opposite-sex characters, but only hints. Major parts of the plot are alluded to, but then the climax of each comes and goes quickly and too easily. The plot-twists in KOTOR were dramatic, but then everything prior clicked and made satisfying sense. Here we have none of that. Finally, the ending: nothing. Nothing is explained. I could give the benefit of the doubt and say this is to set up the sequel, but I think it was just a deploring rush to send out the game. I finally figured out what the word was I was searching for to describe it- the same feeling that happened at the end of KOTORI, when all the characters' diologues had been exhausted and there was nothing left to do except finish: most of KOTOR-TSL felt empty.
Basically, if you haven't played the first game... find it. Play it two or four times. If you have it and want more, well, go ahead and buy this game at a lower price and prepare to be somewhat disappointed.