Star Wars KOTOR 2 Deserves Better Than A Dodgy Switch Port

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords is one of the best games we never got. And hell, the version we did get is pretty damn good too. Tragically, a ridiculously short development cycle imposed by LucasArts (who insisted it had to be out just over a year after the first KOTOR) held back its potential, leaving much of the game unfinished.

There was enough left behind for fans to work with, however. And now, as any KOTOR 2 fan will tell you, you must play it with The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod (TSLRCM). The 2009 overhaul restores quests, conversations, entire locations, and even the actual intended ending. Without it, whole character arcs are lost, and there’s no satisfactory conclusion. TSLRCM is one of the best games of all time, and it’s not even a game. It’s a reminder of what should have been back in 2004.

Fast forward to 2022, and developer Aspyr just ported the vanilla game to Switch as is. Just like its previous mobile port, KOTOR 2 has been re-released as it was in 2004: unfinished. Sure, TSLRCM is being added as DLC later down the line, but it will require you to start a fresh save. And the new fans who should have seen how great KOTOR 2 can be right out the gate will likely have finished the game by then – if they didn’t leave it behind after that soft locking glitch took weeks to fix.

This isn’t to rag on the devs, who have frankly done well to keep both KOTOR games alive for the past decade. It’s about the bizarre decision-making going on here. For some reason, the powers that be have decided that the first KOTOR gets a glossy remake, and its sequel, that is in much more dire need of a fresh coat of paint, gets to live in its shadow once again. When it’s at its best, KOTOR 2 can run circles around its predecessor, and it deserves much more respect than it’s getting.

Everyone knows who Revan is by now. Even Star Wars fans who have just dipped into the films likely know who this cool, masked, redeemed Sith Lord is, especially after Kylo Ren’s design was clearly inspired by him. But no one ever talks about KOTOR 2’s protag, the Exile. And it’s easy to see why, given the unfair treatment her game has gotten since day one. First, there was the shorter development cycle. She’s made very few appearances in other media since her debut, and now she's relegated to a Switch port that’s doing very little to bring in new players.

But even with these setbacks, the Exile is among the most interesting characters in Star Wars lore. Back in the Mandalorian Wars, she was one of the Jedi to defect from the Order and serve Revan. However, out of the thousands of Jedi who served this new master, she was the only one to go back to the Order after the war was over, before they all fell to the Dark Side. Rather than let her atone for her actions, they cast her out, left to wander the galaxy and come to terms with her new identity without the Force and the capacity to comprehend all the destruction she caused during the war.

Then, at the start of KOTOR 2, the Force begins to return to her. Like Revan in the last game, she’s being given the chance to be redeemed. At least she thinks so. After saving the Jedi council that once banished her, they reveal that they don’t actually want her to save the day – they want her dead. Even if she’s walked the path of good throughout the whole game, they just think she’s too dangerous to be kept alive. Oh, and to add insult to injury, this is while Revan – who slaughtered innocents long after the Exile left his army – is lauded as a hero, and the Republic tries and tracks him down to defeat the Sith instead.

That sounds like the coolest goddamn Star Wars series ever. It still dips into the franchise’s motif of redemption, but finally pushes the conversation forward after 40 years. What if the person who needs redeeming has to actually live with their actions? What if they don’t need to sacrifice their life to be a better person? The Jedi wiped Revan’s memory, he got the easy way out. In the movies, both Vader and Kylo Ren die the second they reject the Dark Side. Anakin never has to live with his children which he abandoned and almost killed. Kylo doesn’t have to face the Resistance after killing his dad. Meanwhile, the Exile – and most of her companions – have to keep living with what they’ve done.

Unfortunately, that phenomenal piece of storytelling remains banished to a simple Steam, mobile, and Switch port. No changes are made, so you get the version of the story we should never have had in the first place.

Bringing KOTOR 2 to Switch should have been an opportunity to right the wrongs that LucasArts inflicted on Obsidian. Instead, it was just another example of the story of the Exile being undermined and overshadowed once again. I’m sure the KOTOR remake will be great, whenever we get it. But the same love needs to be shown to its sequel, instead of leaving it in the dark once again.

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