Top 5 New Features in Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II’s Surprise Update
Knights of the Old Republic II receives a revival after ten years!
Long hailed as one of the most influential RPG series of all time, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic changed the way writers approach games. The Light side and Dark side mechanic, as present in all Star Wars media, was revered for its grey areas – the tough moral choices players were forced to make that could oscillate their alignment with either side. To put it simply, KOTOR II just expanded onto the previous game by enhancing each of its core features.
The first Knights of the Old Republic won critics’ hearts at release and has been featured in multiple Best Games of All Time lists, such as the notable 100 Greatest Games list by Time and Game Informer’s Top 200 Games of All Time, ever since. Knights of the Old Republic II was faithful to its predecessor despite being developed at Obsidian Entertainment instead of by the original team from BioWare. In a sense, it keeps the series modern and relevant; its presence is still felt in the industry today.
So soon after an unexpected PC update for KOTOR II, that has never been truer than now. While the game was not entirely functional at release in 2004 and 2005, the developers have remained vigilant to solve any issues, and it seems that courtesy extends all the way into 2015!
This July, Knights of the Old Republic II received a meaty update on Steam. The update did not merely correct a bug, or improve lighting, or any number of other mundane fixes; it was not a patch. It actually was a substantial update that is introducing new features, as well as introducing new players to a game that was previously unavailable to them.
Here is how developers briefly described the update:
Welcome to the newly updated KOTOR II! Mac and Linux users can finally play one of their favorite games natively, and we've added a host of new features to this beloved classic!
Steam Workshop support! We've proudly teamed up with the Restored Content Mod team and TSLRCM will be available on day 1!
• Achievements can now be earned through gameplay
• Controller support
• Native widescreen resolution support
• Support for up to 5K monitors
• Steam Cloud saves
And here I will explain in colloquial terms what that means for the game’s community, which may have just gotten significantly larger.
1. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II is now available for Linux and Mac users!
A classic KOTOR II trailer
For the big update, Aspyr Media worked to bring the ten year old game back to life by supporting KOTOR II on two new platforms. It may be a bit curious that there are people who choose Linux or Mac over a PC, but even they deserve the chance to play this monumental game.
Of all the surprises the developers left gamers, this is probably the biggest. The Knights of the Old Republic series was never particularly devoted to the PC or Xbox, the only two platforms it initially supported, but expanding that range to include Linux and/or Mac after ten years is unheard of. However, there is definitely a market (and a growing one at that) for classic games in unlikely places.
2. The game is going to look better on your modern PC.
Early gameplay of KOTOR II
With the update, Knights of the Old Republic II will offer native widescreen resolution support. That sure beats having to get into complicated coding to force the game to conform to a contemporary widescreen computer. It also makes for a much more stable and enjoyable gaming experience!
Furthermore, the developers went out of their way to make sure resolutions up to 4K and 5K are also supported. They are ahead of the pack in adapting to cutting edge technology that, some day, every PC gamer will hopefully have access to.
Right now, adding 4K and 5K support may seem unnecessary or even frivolous to some. Those specialized monitors are a luxury, and they certainly are priced like one. However, I applaud the Knights of the Old Republic II developers for thinking ahead to a time when everyone will be able to experience their favorite games that way, to a time when 4K and 5K resolutions are standard.
3. Now you can use your controller to play KOTOR II!
KOTOR II will work great in Big Picture mode.
Just because you are playing on a PC does not mean that you have to be tied down to a computer desk, mouse, and keyboard. Recently, Steam has shown that it understands the necessity of using a controller for many PC games, and has even introduced a “Big Picture” interface so that users can navigate their software with a controller to more easily find what game they want to play.
As part of KOTOR II’s legendary update, controllers will be supported so that every type of player has the experience they want. Practically every controller will be supported, especially if you are using a more common one. That includes the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers, in addition to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 controllers.
4. There will be achievements!
There should definitely be an achievement for having the coolest weapon.
We gamers love our achievements. Each one is like a little award for all the time and effort we put into our hobby. Each one is also a token of bragging rights amongst your friends – particularly those you have added on Steam.
Developers of the new Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II update must have recognized the upsurge in popularity of achievements. Someone somewhere is talking about their collection of platinum trophies or how they finished every single Counter-Strike: Global Offensive quest towards achievements. Soon, they will have their KOTOR II skills to publically boast about!
37 achievements can be unlocked throughout gameplay.
This is one of the most obvious ways they are working to revolutionize a ten year old game. They are succeeding at creating appeal to a younger audience who has never played KOTOR II before and the older audience who passed up the game years ago, all while nurturing the bond they have with existing fans.
5. Saving the best for last…
The Steam Workshop, where dreams about your favorite games can become a reality.
Steam Workshop Support!
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II will live on for eternity thanks to the mod-making community on Steam. While mods are not exactly new to the game, the organized Steam Community system fosters an environment where everybody will either want to play KOTOR II mods or create KOTOR II mods themselves.
An audience for KOTOR II mods already exists, as demonstrated by the renowned TSLRCM, or The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod, which was made immediately available on Steam Workshop after the update was launched.
The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod does as its name suggests; pieces of dialogue and plot that were cut from the official KOTOR II release have been restored for the community in the form of this mod. Along with all that extra content, The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod solves more than 500 bugs that were present in the “finished” product of Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II.
Yes, that is a single mod. Now that the playing field is opened up for everybody, imagine what else can be done to transform KOTOR II into a definite masterpiece!
Another Steam update that is less sensational, but certainly more functional, is the inclusion of Steam Cloud saves. Nobody will have to lose their save progress ever again.
Currently, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II can be purchased for $9.99 on Steam, but who knows – maybe they will surprise us again and trim the cost!