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

Bioware's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic proved that making an amazing Star Wars experience could be accomplished by combining excellent storytelling and memorable characters with the franchise's fascinating alien worlds and lore. KotOR is a Star Wars nerd's dream game. You get to wield a lightsaber, play Pazaak cards, use Force powers, gather a group of unstoppable space heroes, and save the galaxy. What more could you really want? It's the ultimate Star Wars experience, and is deservedly on our 100 best games of all time.

KotOR takes place a long, long time ago (almost 4,000 years before the Galactic Empire), back when the Jedi Knight headcount was well into the thousands and Darth Bane’s “rule of two” chronologically did not apply to the Dark Lords of the Sith (meaning, there are a whole lot of bad guys running around brandishing red lightsabers). Bioware took this fresh setting, far away from the original trilogy, and created a new universe that longtime fans and newcomers alike won’t soon forget.

What makes KotOR earn its spot among the greatest games ever made is its engrossing, epic story. You start off the game as a nobody in search of a powerful Jedi Knight on the city-planet of Taris. After speed racing biker gangs, dodging Sith troops, and avoiding an underground Rakghoul plague, you narrowly escape the planet only to watch the surface get utterly vaporized by an orbiting Sith fleet. And all that action is just the beginning. The adventure and wonders of the Star Wars world constantly bombard your emotions with its vibrant bustling environments and gut-wrenching choices throughout the entire experience.

Eventually you’ll discover that you’re a Force-sensitive former Lord of the Sith (in one of the most unexpected plot twists in games), the new Sith Lord Darth Malek is hell-bent on taking control of the galaxy using the limitless power of something called the Starforge. Naturally, it’s up to you to stop him. Choices begin to present themselves, forcing you to align yourself with the Light or Dark Side as you and your ragtag crew encounter unfortunate characters to help (or blow off) in your hunt for the Starforge’s Star maps. Many of your decisions result in life or death situations for some of your crewmembers, affect your standing with individual companions, and alter parts of the storyline, making you want to pore over every dialogue option before deciding on a course of action. The element of choice completely absorbs you into the storytelling, and the more you dive into the lore and interact with the characters, the more you feel rewarded for it.

Lorenzo Veloria

Many years ago, Lorenzo Veloria was a Senior Editor here at GamesRadar+ helping to shape content strategy. Since then, Lorenzo has shifted his attention to Future Plc's broader video game portfolio, working as a Senior Brand Marketing Manager to oversee the development of advertising pitches and marketing strategies for the department. He might not have all that much time to write about games anymore, but he's still focused on making sure the latest and greatest end up in front of your eyes one way or another.