Knights of the Old Republic arrives on Nintendo Switch this week and while it doesn’t bring any new bells or whistles, it’s still worth picking up for the platform.
I’m going to level with you. Pretty much since the announcement of the Nintendo Switch, I’ve continually thought about the ability to enjoy my favorite (retro) Star Wars games on the go. At the time, it seemed like a pipedream, but over the years those dreams have been coming true. Now, blessedly, one of my all time favorite games, Knights of the Old Republic, makes the jump to the system.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Switch Version)
Developed by: Aspyr, Bioware
Release Date: November 11, 2021 (Digital Download)
For the most part, the game is a pretty straightforward port of the classic game. There are some visual tweaks, allowing for proper/modern aspect ratio and giving the resolution a boost. So yeah, it still very much looks like a game from 2003, but honestly, it’s pretty impressive how crisp/sharp the image is. Honestly, it looks at least comparable in resolution to the PC version of the game you can download on Steam (without any mods and such of course). Seriously, it looks good.
Other than that, however, don’t expect any major updates. This is a port, so what you’re getting is the original experience. Sure, there are some minor tweaks I would have loved to see implemented. For one, some sort of auto-save feature would have been GREAT to see added in. Nothing more frustrating than getting hours deep into an RPG only to get whipped by a boss and realize your last save was a whole planet ago. But anyways…
Also, there’s a weird quirk with the game’s internal clock. For some reason the game doesn’t stop the clock when you put the console into suspended mode. It’s a minor thing and doesn’t seem to affect actual gameplay (I suspended during a battle and it didn’t keep the action going), but it’s strange to see 40-50 hours of game time listed when I’m only in the intro section.
Honestly though, it’s still just about all I ever actually wanted out of this: a way to replay this game on a modern console. A little over a year ago, I started a replay of the game (my first in several years) on my PC. I’m not much of a PC gamer, and with a youngling running around, I’m lucky to sit down at the computer long enough to get some writing work done, let alone any gaming. Even so, I was making my way through the story, only to be hit by a bug about 2/3rds of the way through where I simply can’t progress. I’ve tried a number of things, but I get to a certain point in the story and it just shuts down.
Consoles don’t do this to me (at least not normally). Honestly, I was shocked at how much playing this game with a controller back in hand. Again, consoles are my main form of gaming, so playing KOTOR with a keyboard was strange to me. I know I got used to it as I played, but playing it once again on the Switch felt immediately familiar.
The buttons are mapped in a logical way that feel intuitive even without needing the tutorial tips at the beginning. About the only problem I’ve been having is my Joy-con drifting and accidentally bumping me out of combat mode. Thankfully that’s not through any fault of the game or Aspyr’s job in porting it.
Knights of the Old Republic is certainly showing its age these days, but it’s amazing how well it manages to hold up. While the combat isn’t as thrilling as it once was, the strategic element still makes for fun encounters. Of course, the dialog options and being able to forge your own path makes for a unique story experience worth coming back to time and time again.
Even having recently started a replay of the game on PC, I was surprised at how quickly I became enthralled once again in the story. Filled with excellent characters and a story that manages to encapsulate everything “Star Wars” it’s hard not to fall head over heels into this tale.
Having it now on the Switch, makes that even easier. It’s a big game, by design, which makes it tough for me to revisit (once again…kids). On the Switch, however, the ability to play anywhere or in short bursts makes getting through the epic adventure much easier.
In the past week, I was stuck at home with my youngest who was sick. As the four year old snuggled with me on the chair, watching her favorite cartoons/movies on repeat throughout the day, I was able to still enjoy the KOTOR experience on the Switch. It seems like such a simple thing, but the convenience makes coming back to this game uncomplicated. I don’t have to carve out time to take over the main TV in the living room (oftentimes after everyone has gone to bed like I did with the Mass Effect remaster). Hell, I can still hang out with my girlfriend while she indulges in some Hallmark Christmas movies while I’m in a galaxy far, far away in the same bed.
While it’s a simple port that doesn’t change the experience, that’s exactly what I’ve been wanting. Aspyr did an excellent job here bringing the experience to the Switch in a way that feels like it was always made for the system. In my play through so far, I haven’t encountered any bugs or issues worth nothing. The game runs smoothly at a steady framerate and the image is remarkably sharp.
If you’ve been itching to replay the game (especially in light of the recently announced Remake), playing it on the Switch feels like you’re re-living it’s initial release. I was transported to 2003 and having an absolute blast. If you’ve never had the chance to play KOTOR, or are like me and struggle with PC gaming, then this is the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is about for only $15.
Even with the Remake being a known thing on the horizon, I would still encourage people to pick this up. The story still rules, the console controls feel more natural, and there’s plenty of fun to be had wherever you are.