Why Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is one of the greatest games ever made

It's not because there are a bunch of lightsabers in it

Every new world you explore delves deeper and deeper into the Star Wars lore. You'll get to traverse planets and locations that are only mentioned in the movies. You get to check out Dantooine’s grassy fields, Jedi enclave, and lightsaber crystal-filled caves, as well as Korriban's ancient Sith Lord tombs. There are tons of references to the greater Star Wars lore you’ll run into. From small details, like a bounty hunter named Starkiller (the original name for Luke Skywalker), to a full history of the planet Tatooine told by the Sand People. But as far as you can go into the details of the each world, every companion character has an expansive personal story of their own.

KotOR’s amazingly diverse cast of characters fills the journey with Star Wars personality staples: There's the suave scoundrel, the walking carpet (Wookie) with a heart of gold, and a spunky T3-M4 droid companion. But Bioware also dropped in a few others to stir up the pot. Among the new faces is Canderous Ordo, the tough-as-nails Mandalorian who disapproves of anything other than bloodshed, and the fan favorite HK-47, the meatbag-hating assassin droid that would blast you into space dust without a twitch. Fleshing out all of the crewmember’s stories added countless hours to the already epic story length, and the clever dialogue and story twists kept you sucked in the entire time.

Aside from the outstanding narrative and characters, KotOR is also a blast to play. Rather than go the typical action-adventure route in terms of gameplay, Bioware implemented a discrete turn-based combat system that focused on strategy and tactics. With more than a half-dozen character classes, multiple skills, and several weapon specializations, players were able to completely customize the combat style of every member in their party. Want to rock a group of completely badass, evil Jedi, or lead a group of nimble smugglers and armored mercenaries? All those options and everything in between are wide open to you.

Every encounter in KotOR is a thrill, whether it's a lengthy lightsaber duel between the Jedi and the Sith or a business negotiation with a slimy crime lord. The story and setting keep you immersed in every world you explore and every character you interact with. Bioware managed to completely capture the essence of the Star Wars movies and create a fantastic adventure in a galaxy far, far away.

"Why _____ is one of the greatest games ever made" is a weekly feature that goes through GamesRadar's list of the 100 best games of all time and highlights different titles, explaining why they're on the list, what makes them so amazing, and why we love them so much.

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