The Jedi Masters 2.0 (Beta) Review
For years, fans of the kotor series hungered for a Kotor 3 and Trex has tossed his hat into the arena to bring us his epic vision called Knight of the Old Republic: The Jedi Masters (Beta). This is a total conversion/story conversion which gives us a new story which took me about 16 hours to complete.
Trexís production was started before the release of the Revan Book, and the MMOís details so donít expect it to fit into the established Star Wars Kotor Canon but expect an entertaining story that fits nicely into the kotor1/2 universe. The TJM does use the Canon Male Revan Light side and Female Exile Light side for its foundation of the story.
This is TJM 2.0 and I have played 1.0 as well so this review will also touch on how the two versions are different to help show how Trex has polished and expanded the game.
The story opens up several years after the last game with the Republic broken up into five factions who are not the best of neighbors to each other. The gameís atmosphere is closer to kotor2 then kotor1, because of the way the Syyth (main antagonist) is portrayed. The opening intro helps you quickly know there is a threat, and they are on their way to the known space which helps give that feeling of urgency before the first scene with the PC.
The game has a dark tone with the Jedi being outlawed and the factions looking as if they are on the verge of war over one dispute or another, you will be surprised that there is a good deal of humor in the game. The humor can sometimes be a hit or miss at times due to its placement in the dark story.
You play as Doctor, who is interested in the missing Jedi Revan. During your adventure, you will need to obtain allies on your mission to seek out this former savior of the Republic. During your quest, you will meet engaging characters like Canderousís son Boran, a shape changing Jawa, and an assassin named Shadow. There are some nice twists and a delightful back story that can be discovered by talking to your companions.
While the story in 2.0ís version is longer and more fleshed out, it does lose its sense of urgency around the 2nd act of the story. Version 1.0 seem to have a more dire feel due to a planet annihilation scene. TJM 2.0's tension does pick up in the last few hours of the game as you get to make your way to the final battle.
Once you start playing TJM you will see that it keeps to the basic rules of the last two kotor games which should make players feel right at home. The game quickly introduces you to the main players of the story early on and puts you in a situation where you get the ability of the Force. However, even though itís creative in how it goes by giving the player the Force, it does seem to be a tad rushed, and I would have loved to see more of the Doctor (PC) using his research skills more actively in these scenes.
The game gives you plenty of locations to visit during the game, but at times you can get lost or confused on where to go next. Version 2.0 has Journal entries to help keep players informed on active quests, but you will find some areas seem to have a good deal of back traveling through multiple zones. This can slow up the pace of the game. It is especially present when you go to a returning planet where you completed all the side quests earlier, and you find yourself running through numerous modules just to talk to a Jedi Master and ask for him/her to join you.
TJM's quests in the game can range from engaging to simple NPC asking for you to give an item to one of three NPCs. The HK-47ís main planet quest, the droid romance quest as well as finding a way to acquire back the leadership of the Company on Etti were creative and enjoyable. I have stated in an earlier post about the confusion with the details on how to solve the spy droid quest, but I have been reassured that it will be tweaked for the final release.
Players will be happy to know that Pazaak returns to the TJM game which allows players to take a break from questing and see if they can beat the house.
During your 14 plus hours in TJM you will find yourself wishing there were more creatures to fight and a larger challenge. The creatures you encounter at times seem too weak where a player will find themselves killing them with one hit, which leads to a feeling that your choice in armor and leveling decisions donít really matter. You will find no shortage of loot in the game which is great since you can sell them to merchant and buy armor, grenades, weapons and other helpful items.
The game does a decent job in keeping the Playerís character from feeling like a second fiddle when Revan comes into the picture. This was an issue in 1.0, and it was nice to see it being resolved in version 2.0.
TJM has multiple endings, including the one where you can actually lose, which was refreshing. The endings come down to some key choices during a well done reveal that will make you question what action to do. Knowing there is a ďYou LoseĒ ending based on choice helps add to the tension in these moments during the final battle.
TJM does a good job in capturing the combat in kotor1/2 but with it being fairly easy to kill enemies you can feel like youíre just mashing the same button with little worry about using key Force powers. This is shame since the game does give Revan the wookiee rage ability, and I found myself picking force powers which I normally donít in kotor2 since the TJMís leveling is much slower. Hopefully, the enemyís numbers will be increased as well as the difficulty to allow more tactics to be used in combat and allow us to feel that we can lose a fight if you are not managing your resources.
You will find yourself making choices during quests, but I canít really remember any of my companions chiming in or disagreeing with me, which makes it hard to know am I gaining or losing influence with my companions.
TJM does break up the game play at key points to allow the player to take control of a certain party member as they are performing a separate task while your main character is doing something else. This method is done very well in the game.
TJM 2.0 has improved over 1.0 in the texture department, but you will still find some planets to have very distracting environment textures that can pull you out of the game at times. Hopefully, the textures which are transparent can become solid and some can be toned down a bit.
TJM brings in many new locations and situations to help keep the game fresh. Trex does a good job of balancing the number of modules to keep the game large but manageable, but you will find sections where it just seems vacant due to the number of interactive NPCs in the game.
Music in the game as well as the cut scene/bink movies have greatly improved from 1.0. Looking at the TJM 2.0 bink movie files in an outside viewer, you will see some good quality but when viewed in game, there is a loss in resolution. I know this is something that is being looked into so the quality might increase for the final release.
The Voice acting is a hit or miss; you have some great performances like Kannos and Kreia, but then you have robotic computer created VO for human characters. I know that getting VO can be hard, but the robotic ones can at times pull you out of the moment. Hopefully, between now and final release, maybe a few more human voice actors can come in and do some lines.
The overall arcing story is well done, but some might find issue with how some of the established kotor1/2 characters behave. One example that got me to wonder was Canderous's son who looked to be 17-20 years of age. This would make Canderous a father back around or before kotor1. This might have been explained, but I just didn't get enough conversations with Canderous or his son to learn the details.
TJM is an epic game that aims to do something that in many ways is just impossible to match the level of kotor1/2. The scope of the project is huge and Trex put a lot of work and love into the project over the past few years, and it shows. This game will not satisfy everyone, but if you give it a chance, you will find an enjoyable journey through Trexís vision of kotor3. Just make sure you have some different save files since itís still in Beta and currently has some bugs and glitches. If you look past the bugs and some of the flaws, you will find a great adventure that will give you a reason to visit some of your favorite kotor1/2 characters and meet a few new interesting ones. So grab your lightsaber and take on the Syyth in a major showdown to save the Republic from certain doom.
+ 14 plus Hours of game play
+ Choose your Apprentice
+ Multiple Endings
+ Party Splits up for Tasks- Player controls all Teams
+ New Modules
- Textures can be distracting and some are transparent
- Low Diversity of enemies
- Lots of back tracking
- / + Enemies are easy to kill and game is not very challenging
(- / +) = This means some players might find this a plus while others would see it as a minus