Random Thoughts: KoTOR and Game Design

I’m replaying Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and marveling at how great the game design is. For example, when you get to the Lower City on Taris, there are a few directions you can go. Some of those directions have hostile characters and will get you engaged in combat, and the other directions will require you to have skill in persuasion to get anything done, and failing that, at least give you more objectives to let you stall while you gain more experience.

My character is not specced for combat, but persuasion, so direct combat with multiple enemies is just going to get me killed. But going the other ways allows me to talk my way through things, and I think that’s really cool you have clear control over how you progress through the game. Not a lot of games do that, especially today. Take Fallout 4, for example. If you don’t have at least some skill in combat, you’ll die pretty quick in the wastes. That’s not a game you can just dump points into charisma and win by charming everyone, though admittedly it’s a harsher world.

Any game with combat mechanics kind of requires you to have some skill in defending yourself if you want to survive, but KoTOR often gives the player choices in how they want to progress, whether they want to take the talking route or the killing route. Notice I didn’t say “tackle a given situation”, but make progress in the game. Like real life, there are some situations you just don’t get the option to talk things out: the other person/ party just wants you dead. So, here you get a choice of specific paths that have different journeys, but the same outcome: you make progress towards the ending of the game.

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~ by The Retro Gamer on March 22, 2017.

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