Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Sniper)
Genre: RPG
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: LucasArts

The pixel-shaded water is pixellized. There, that's the only negative to the fabulous engine that BioWare employs in this game. From the rolling sand dunes of Tatooine to the foreboding mountains of Korriban, KOTOR is one of the most impressive graphical showings I've seen yet. The framerate is a solid 25 fps or so, I imagine that this title is very close to pushing the limits of the X-box's many subsystems.

Making a Star Wars soundtrack is not difficult to do if you want to take the easy route of rehashing old melodies, add some clashing cymbols, etc. KOTOR's soundtrack certainly makes use of the old Star Wars themes, but also adds in some unique tunes to the mix in the most fantastic way. The sound effects, in full Dolby 5.1, are also exceptional, and the hours of great voice acting only sweeten the package.

KOTOR, when you get past the unorthodox battle engine, is simply a traditional RPG, albeit a very, very good one! The battle engine is quasi real-time, and, without going into its intracies, I will say that it's very deep. There are a couple of annoyances, such as how it's almost impossible to keep your members out of combat if you so choose. However, KOTOR is an innovative title that should have some impact, however large, on RPG land as a whole.

KOTOR is, hands down, the best traditional RPG I have ever played; better than Skies of Arcadia, better than even Xenogears, KOTOR has the best pacing, battle engine, story, and is an unforgettable experience. Aside from a few bugs and quirks in the battle engine, I cannot recommend KOTOR enough. I personally don't care for Star Wars at all, and yet this title gave me everything I would expect from a superlative game, and then some.

Sniper's verdict: