KOTOR 2: Nar Shadda part 1

(This is part of my journey going playing through Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

First stop on our intergalactic Jedi roundup is Nar Shadda, the Hutta smuggling moon. From a SWTOR player’s perspective, it’s of particular interest because it’s one of the key locations in the MMO, and I have never progressed this far into KOTOR 2 to see what this early version looked like.

Meanwhile, a cutscene takes us away from the ship to a meeting of bounty hunters — including the HK-50s, some busty Twi’leks, and a very enraged Wookiee. The mob boss, a projected man named Goto, tells them that they’re to shadow me but not to apprehend me… because when there’s one Jedi, there’s often more, and he wants more.

Oh hey! It’s the spectre of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace! Thanks so much for making me think of that movie, devs.

First impressions of Nar Shadda? It’s pretty grungy and comes in all shades of grey and steel. This is a far cry from the neon landscape of the MMO, I’ll tell you that.

Pretty quickly, I’m introduced to one of the local situations, which is the oppression and abuse of refugees by the local crime boss.

I’m staring to wonder if the artists of this game were working strictly in greyscale. It’s like the third such sterile steel environment we’ve seen so far, and it does not endear me to this planet.

I quickly find out that bounty hunters are all over the place trying to bring me in, and my quest objective here is “engage them enough in the hopes that the people behind this make themselves known.” So I’m making myself bait. Great.

I do my usual routine of methodically exploring the map, talking to everyone, and hoovering up quests. I bump into this gentleman, who says that he used to own the Ebon Hawk. Well, finders keepers, buddy. Buzz off.

A random cutscene shows more of the Sith lords — hey, it’s in the title of the game! — making their way somewhere on a ramshackle star destroyer. In addition to Darth Craggy, who we met before, now we meet Darth Skullface and Darth Mask. They’re suitably evil and all of that, and I cannot deny that the look on Skullface is working for me.

It always struck me as a little weird how interspecies romance works in the Star Wars universe. I guess if the two look somewhat human, it’s OK, but when you get three eyed weirdo here coming on to a Twi’lek, can you really blame her for being repulsed? Why is he even interested to begin with, she’s only got two eyes!

A string of dialogue options ends up throwing me into a dancer’s outfit for a Hutt. Obvious shades of Return of the Jedi. I don’t even know why I’m doing this, although I assume that it’s for some sort of quest that I need, so I play along.

I do have to say that the character model of my hero is absolutely bizarre when she’s near-naked — her waist is way, way too small, especially when you look at her with clothes on. What happened here?

KOTOR 2: Telos Jedi Academy

(This is part of my journey going playing through Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

As we transition into a new area, what I assume must have been a gas leak into the devs’ office occurs. It’s the only explanation for all of the sheer stupidity that happens over the next few minutes.

OK, so my team grabs a shuttle and heads for Telos’ polar cap where, presumably the stolen Ebon Hawk was stashed. At this point, the following chain of events occurs:

  1. A team of HK-50s barges into the military base following our departure and lament just missing me… but they see where I am going.
  2. The same team, presumably, then BEATS ME to the polar cap so that it can fire on my approaching shuttle with a rocket launcher. Either they run really fast or there are a bajillion HK teams all over this planet.
  3. Both of those scenarios are ridiculous.
  4. For the SECOND TIME in this game — on this planet — my shuttle is shot down.
  5. All three of us are somehow thrown clear of the shuttle without breaking the glass and getting hurt.

What? Just… what? This isn’t just unfair, it’s not remotely feasible. I’ll tell you what it is: It’s lazy writing and plotting, and it deserves to get called out as such.

Another fun coincidence: We just so happened to land right on the roof of this top-secret Jedi academy that’s populated entirely by female albinos for some reason. And, naturally, the lead lady, Atris, knows me and is bearing a grudge because she used to look up to me, and I failed her somehow.

This is the kind of frustrating part of this game, that you have this unknown backstory that everyone is reacting to, yet you (the player) didn’t actually do nor deserve all of this response. Anyway, I am as diplomatic as possible.

OK, so I’m being a six-year-old and choosing every antagonistic option available. But really, I’m not taking any guff from these bleached Force-wimps. All I need is a pair of blasters and a starship to take me across the galaxy.

Meanwhile, Kreia and Atton have an interesting in the prison cells. Kreia, for lack of a better term, mind-rapes Atton and finds out his deep — and currently unknown — secret. Something about him being a murderer with ties to my character’s past or something. Kreia uses this information to blackmail Atton in to being her pawn. Nice lady.

There’s surprisingly not a lot to do here at the secret academy, other than gather up your crew and get back on the Ebon Hawk. About the only diversion, other than being rude to the handmaidens, is challenging one in unarmed combat. I tried this, but since I can’t use force powers and my character hasn’t exactly specialized in hand-to-hand fighting (who really would in this game?), I get bested.

It should be noted that as I descend down the path of the Dark Side, Atton starts showing some serious signs of Dark Side corruption as well. Dark Side by association? How does that work, exactly? He’s not making the bad choices, I am; he’s merely being an accomplice at worst.

Love this Jedi’s ‘stache.

So this whole section — the academy and a pow-wow on the Ebon Hawk right afterward — is a major exposition dump that sets up the real quest of the game and attempts to at least partially answer the big question: Why was I exiled?

T3 has a holorecording that he stole of my trial at the Jedi counsel, and it’s interesting if only partly revealing. As far as I can deduce, my character was one of the Jedi that followed Revan and participated in the huge battle against the Mandalorians at Malachor V. Something happened there, something horrible, and the counsel called all participating Jedi to answer for their crimes. I was the only one who came back to do so, and as a result, was stripped of my status and had to turn in my lightsaber.

What’s interesting here is that this move wasn’t merely a punishment. The counsel sensed something in me other than dark side corruption, some sort of emptiness, and decided that by exiling me, they’d set me loose to go on a journey to figure stuff out.

And they’re being withholding with the infos, because Jedi are sneaky, cowardly morons. I’m sorry, I love Star Wars, but the whole Jedi order thing drives me up a wall with their moral relativism and large-scale cowardice. So there’s some more stuff that I should know but they’re not telling me… but at least I know that much, thanks to the holorecording.

Due to the Jedi purges following the end of the first game, there isn’t a counsel in operation right now. There are, however, several members of this meeting still alive and scattered throughout the galaxy. The game then reveals itself to be a roundup of Jedi — get all of them together, force them to admit the truth.

Next stop, Nar Shadda!

KOTOR 2: Telos surface

(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

As my party leaves Telos Station to travel down to the surface of the planet in a quest to find the Ebon Hawk and finally get out of this system, several things occur. The first is that the Republic finally shows up, but in a broadcast to station security, makes it known that they’re not here to apprehend me and that I should just be left well enough alone. Fine with me.

The second is that our shuttle is shot down by unknown forces, sealing off our route back to the station. It’s Ebon Hawk or bust, now!

As an aside, the devs obviously got REAL lazy with the interior of this shuttle for the brief shots during the cutscene. It looks so spartan and unsafe, with only one chair (!), sparks, and a fire blazing out of control. Kreia, helpful as always, stands with a giant sword out pointed in my direction while we’re being jostled about.

The third is that literally the second we crash land, I bump into an old war buddy/associate who served under me. Bao-Dur is a Zabrak (the non-red variety) who has a weird electrical left arm. My only complaint is that his voice actor is absolutely terrible. The guy sounds like he’s operating under the influence of heavy sedation, or else is trying to hypnotize me with a low and unassuming voice. At least I can swap Kreia out and not have to listen to her grumping all of the time.

Plus, it also means that I now have a party of 100% ranged fighters. PEW PEW PEW. Forget lightsabers; this is how I want to experience Star Wars.

Now after a few hours of being in nothing but space station environments, I’m definitely relieved to get some planetary action. So what is Telos like? To best honest, it’s a blatant reuse — not even a reskin — of Dantooine from KOTOR 1. Grasslands bordered by inexplicably sheer (but not too, too high) cliff walls that keep you from roaming on anything but a preset path.

You got that right, Anton. Unlike Telos Station, Telos the planet is pretty much quest-free. It’s just a lot of fighting groups of mercs, some of which prove to be particularly troublesome thanks to Bao-Dur’s general uselessness and no dedicated healer in the party. I’m still working on developing my character, but I don’t yet have the best gear nor the two party members that I want to be in my group.

We discover that there’s a small area near the polar ice cap that’s being used as a secret landing zone, which is probably where little miss albino took the Ebon Hawk. To get there, we have to assault an old military installation and procure a drop shuttle that’s parked there. If it was only that easy. Lots of poison gas, droids, and turrets block our way, and it becomes a downright slog.

Finally, all that stands between me and the shuttle is a tank droid. Yippee. According to various forums, this fight is either a pushover or a brutal slugfest, depending on if you have ion grenades (I do not), ion weapons (nope), or take the time to place mines in front of this door before the droid’s cutscene happens (nuh-uh). Ranged weapons are totally useless against it, so I’m out of luck.

After some trial and error, I realize that there are two things I can do. Bao-Dur can use his special shield breaker ability to punch through the droid’s shields and do significant damage, and I can use my stun droid ability for a few points now and then. Between the two, we are triumphant at last.

KOTOR 2: Telos Station

(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

It’s weird when you come back to a game that you never beat but have played several times before. You know that there’s a lot of brand-new content coming once you hit a certain point, but up until then it’s well-trod territory. It’s like that for me and KOTOR 2. Everything through Telos is pretty familiar to me, and I know that I harbor a dislike for this bland station that followed another bland station from the beginning. Oh well, let’s get this worked out.

As we settle into an apartment — because KOTOR 2 does love shamelessly appropriating from KOTOR 1 — restlessness settles in and our attention is gripped, GRIPPED by the ringing of a phone.

I love how the game actually gets annoyed that I’m taking too long to answer it. You are not the boss of me, Atton. We’re going to watch Deal or No Deal and then play some Magic for a while.

As we twiddle our thumbs, we get two calls — one from the Ithorians and one from Czerka Corp, both asking me to take sides in a land contract dispute on the planet below. Also, station security frees me but says that I’m still impounded until the Republic arrives. That sounds ominous. Time to skedaddle!

We start doing the normal RPG routine when you arrive in a new area: methodically explore it, loot everything that’s not nailed down, interact with locals to see if there are any quests to be had, and get into trouble. In one of the apartments a man gets all riled up that I’m looting through his things (most CRPGs seem to include at least one such character to give you pause about doing this), and I flip out at him and initiate combat. One dead guy later, and I’ve started to walk down the Dark Side. Oh noes!

Oddly enough, Keira is more upset than Atton. She chastises me while Atton sputters about how he got caught up in the moment and it was over so fast. Strap yourselves in, kiddies, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I’m kind of super-cheesed that the game took away all of our weapons and other equipment except for the body armor we were wearing, so until I get replacements or get them back, we’re going to have to melee for now. I go ahead and beat up an Exchange thug in the hallway just because I can, and also for those sweet dark side points. By the time I leave Telos, I want to be a full Sith Lord. Or at least as un-Jedi as I can possibly be.

Even though the original KOTOR games are much more crude, graphically, than SWTOR, you can see the inspiration that the MMO devs took from this series. There’s a certain shuttle waiting area in KOTOR 2 here that was definitely replicated in some of the stations in SWTOR, and the cantina is a familiar sight indeed.

Telos Station is, essentially, a long twisty hallway. There’s the apartment area, the cantina/shop area, and the loading docks. It’s really a shame that this far into the game, I’m still stuck inside grey metal walls of a controlled environment; feels like the opening flow didn’t go quite right. I hoover all of the quests I can find and make sure to be as gruff as possible.

Good news: I got all of my gear back from the security center. Bad news: Mr. Droid here tells me that someone’s stolen my starship, so even if I could get clearance to leave, I don’t have the means. They parked it down on the planet, so I guess we’re going to get that road trip we wanted sooner or later.

I do start working aggressively for Czerka, even though the company is laughably evil. The KOTOR series has not always had the best record for presenting options that weren’t either lily white or black as sin, although arguably the games do have their moments of tough choices. The Ithorians who oversee the planet keep telling me how much pain I’m in and how if I help the planet, the planet will help me, but I’m not going for that Captain Planet Final Fantasy VII Gaia nonsense. I’ve got a doohickey on my head and I’m OK.

Let’s just say that over the course of an hour and a half, I become a rather despicable human being, murdering and thieving and enslaving my way across the station. For someone who most always plays a very goody-goody character, it’s really fascinating to see what’s programmed into the game for those who walk a much darker path.

Postcards from Syp’s vacation! I do raise an eyebrow at the fact that at one point, I slaughter an entire squad of TSF security agents… and there is no consequence for that. I even talk to the head security guy and he seems blissfully unaware of the whole exchange.

All paths lead to the Exchange — the criminal mobster empire that’s been trying to kidnap me from before the start of the game. It’s with deep satisfaction, then, that I march straight into their headquarters and blast the living crap out of everyone there. Teach them to mess with a grumpy ex-Jedi.

As an aside, how awesome do I look in this picture? That mask was worth every bit of the 6,000 credits I paid for it.

While the game does present you with options at the conclusion of the Exchange “dungeon,” it doesn’t really matter what you pick. You’re going to have to kill both bosses to proceed. And so I do, and Czerka is really quite pleased with my assistance. The company agrees to give me a shuttle ride down to the planet to help me find my ship.

THEN JUST LEAVE, KREIA. GAH!

KOTOR 2: Ebon Hawk

(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Now that we have a little breather after escaping Darth Craggy and his Sith Predators, I guess it’s time to chat up the crew. Hm… who to pick? The whiny pilot? The grumpy Jedi without a hand? Or the BLEEP BOOP droid?

Why not do all three?

Turns out that there’s actually a fourth passenger on board the Ebon Hawk, although he’s a little worse for wear. HK-47, fan-favorite from the first game, is sitting in a closet deactivated. He’s missing four key parts, of which I only have one. Hope to find the others and get my sarcastic pal back!

The repaired ship is a little sterile and has a few parts with scaffolding still around (for… some reason, I guess to show that this is Where Things Were Repaired). Sterile doesn’t feel like the right word… lifeless, I guess. A little empty. Needs more people. Coming back to a KOTOR game from SWTOR, the Ebon Hawk feels a lot bigger than our MMO ships, and right now there aren’t a lot of people to populate it with.

The talk with Kreia goes about as I expected, considering that I’m chatting up a grumpy one-handed Jedi (?) who keeps saying cryptic things and attempts to shoehorn herself into my life as a teacher. At least there are some delightfully mean things to say to her in response for the game devs trying to foist her upon me. You can see in my character’s eyes up there that she’s so done putting up with this bat.

Oh! And I find out two more pieces of info. The first is that as a Jedi Exile, apparently I was cut off from the Force by the (now dead) council. Which is something they can do, I guess. Still don’t know what I did to deserve it, and it doesn’t quite explain why I’m able to select all of these Force powers in leveling up. Kreia says that we’re connected to each other through the Force and I’m able to learn how to regain my skills through her, but again… I’ve already got the skills. Why do I need training?

The other thing I learned is that whatever happens to her happens to me (and vice-versa), especially in the wound department. I anticipate a long game of going about passive-aggressively pinching myself in tender places just to see Kreia jump.

The game is firmly on rails, as there is only one destination for the Hawk: Telos. It’s another station, this one hovering above a world bombed to death by Darth Malak. We land and are promptly arrested by a completely incompetent security chief, who has apparently heard that we blew up Peragus. Now, how news traveled to this station faster than a ship blasting through hyperspace I do not know, but I will go with it.

After being detained by security and led off to a nice comfy jail cell, an albino woman is seen lurking about the gangplank of the Ebon Hawk. She has not heard that you should avoid white after Labor Day. Or maybe she’s a refugee from The Matrix 2.

As we stew in jail cells, a bounty hunter shows up to sell me to the Exchange. I have to admit that whoever they got to do the voice of this guy did SUCH a good job. He’s got this oily, unnerving way of talking that lends some weight to his menace. Too bad that our group pummeled him to the ground — unarmed, to boot — within about three seconds of his opening up our cages.

The security chief shows up and has a moment of eating crow when he sees what’s happened, but he still keeps me under arrest. House arrest this time, setting us up in a nice apartment. Once again I’m in an apartment with a sarcastic scoundrel and a nervy Jedi, ready to explore the world. Just got to slip past my curfew…

KOTOR 2: The Harbinger

(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Believe it or not, even though we’ve left the station and are on board another ship, we haven’t actually left Peragus. No, the plan is to get the Harbinger’s asteroid drift charts and then use the ship to bypass the force field that’s keeping us from the Ebon Hawk. Why we can’t just steal the Harbinger, Sith lord or no, I have no idea.

“You two are the worst Jedi I’ve ever met!” Atton complains. Can’t fault you for that one, buddy.

One slightly new thing that KOTOR 2 does is put more emphasis on companion influence, something that made the transition to SWTOR. Now that I’m in a party, what I say can increase and decrease influence in my companions, opening or closing dialogue options and making them like/hate me more. I’m going to dedicate the rest of the game to being rude to Kreia, because I’ve already had it with her condescending lectures.

The Harbinger is, once again, strangely empty, save for all of the corpses. Turns out that it’s actually crawling with stealthed Sith assassins, which are about as threatening as silverfish (to people, not to books). Various crew logs fill in more of the backstory leading up to the start of the game, namely that I was an “important passenger” that the Harbinger had to deliver posthaste to Telos. Along the way, the ship picked up a distress call, went to investigate, pulled in an empty freighter that turned out not to be so empty after all and a dead Sith lord that turned out not to be so dead after all.

The Harbinger is an obvious reuse of the Endar Spire map from KOTOR 1, which I guess is economical but a little disappointing to bump into so early in the game. Makes you wonder how much else is going to be reused.

I had a hearty good laugh when I saw that Atton had the EXACT SAME “I’m clutching my right side because I’m wounded” pose that shows up all over Star Wars: The Old Republic. Guess it was a tradition by the time the MMO came along, I didn’t know that.

The Harbinger serves to fill in the last few tidbits of the game’s backstory, filling in the blanks about how HK-50 put events into motion to disable me, how the ship got a distress call from a Sith attack, and how Darth Craggy here (not his real name) and a platoon of invisible Sith assassins Trojan’d their way about the warship to take it from the inside. I love this Sith’s design and description, which mentions that his body has been broken and repaired so many times that he should be by all rights falling apart… but he isn’t.

There’s a remarkably effective moment when you face Darth Craggy for the first time in the lower deck corridor. You look back and see far off, amid blinking lights, this figure standing still, very small but very threatening. It’s kind of nightmare fuel, especially after being so on edge during this whole opening with the dead bodies and the dour soundtrack.

Kreia faces off against Darth Craggy by herself, earning a chopped-off hand for her efforts. My teacher, ladies and gentlemen. I guess it’s a grand Star Wars tradition, right up there with “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” (which Atton actually says two minutes earlier than this scene).

After going through the Harbinger (I got a new pistol that fires through shields, woo), we loop back on board Peragus through the fuel line and fight another few dozen droids for good measure. Can’t we just leave already?

And then, finally, there it is: The Ebon Hawk, repaired and awaiting our grand escape. But first, a somewhat pointless turret scene to kill a whole bunch of Sith troopers. I’m reminded of how we were all oohing and ahhing over their reflective armor back in 2004 when KOTOR 1 was on the scene and now it looks very dated. Anyway, any troopers you miss end up boarding the ship and require hand-to-hand fighting before leaving.

Our party of four (Kreia sans hand, Atton sans patience, T3, and myself) blast off from the facility and cover our tracks by blowing up an entire planet thanks to the gas leaks. What’s a few trillion lost credits and a crippling fuel shortage compared to a grand escape?

Sounds like we still need to get to Telos, my original destination, at some point, although I wonder about how wise that is considering that everyone knows I was going there to begin with. Also, Kreia tells me that after a civil war and the events of KOTOR 1, I’m the very very very last Jedi in the galaxy, and I’m an ex-Jedi at that. I don’t know what she’s advising me to do, exactly, but she gets cheesed when I state that I’m going to take a stand against the Sith instead of run away. You’re not my teacher, woman. Go teach yourself a new hand, why don’t you.

KOTOR 2: Peragus Station

(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

KOTOR 2 begins in a most mysterious and confusing fashion. Figuring out what’s going on and what led up to the events of the start of the game are the goals of this area.

So I awaken on Peragus, a mining asteroid station that’s silently — ominously — empty. I stumble out of a bacta tank and start investigating; the medical logs give me some clues, such as a series of mining explosions and malfunctioning droids. Clearly something went very wrong, since nobody’s around and the other people in the tanks were killed on purpose with sedatives.

Oddly enough, it’s in the morgue that I find another survivor of the Ebon Hawk: Kreia. She’s a blind seer-slash-pain in my tuckus, and she urges me to figure out how to repair the ship and leave quickly. To help, she’ll sit on a bed and clear her thoughts and occasionally throw me snarky telepathic comments. In other words, your typical NPC companion competence at work.

I’ve always felt that Peragus was a misstep as an opening level for KOTOR 2. It’s serviceable in helping you get to know the game and its systems, but in so many other ways it is a dull start. There are only two people to interact with, everyone else is dead, the environment is a boring metallic grey everywhere (except for the even more boring tunnels), you fight droids left and right, and just as you’re getting familiar with your character, the game makes you play as a droid for a while. It’s a level that I just can’t wait to be rid of, frankly.

Even worse is the fact that I have to jog around half of the level in nothing more than underwear. Seriously, it’s kind of a plot point.

If there is one thing it does well, it’s instilling dread in the player. It’s an unnerving, not a welcoming, start to a game. It’s like touring around a haunted house knowing that the monster is going to come back soon and you best be gone when it does.

Since there are so few people to talk to, most of the backstory is filled in via logs (which makes this oddly feel like System Shock 2). To summarize a lot of it, my character was somehow brought on board the Ebon Hawk after an ambush hit the Republic cruiser Harbinger. When Peragus took the Ebon Hawk in and realized they had a Jedi on their hand, the staff started to bicker over whether or not to turn me in to the “Exchange,” a mob-sounding organization that put a price on Jedi heads. To make matters worse, droids and tech started malfunctioning all over the place, hurting and killing the staff. One employee says it seems like someone is clearing a path to “get the Jedi out of here.” Hm.

Along the way, the droid I played eventually got killed by an off-screen character, so we’re probably being set up for some big reveal.

The role of “smarmy smuggler-type” in KOTOR 2 will be played by Atton, who seems like a slightly less self-pitying character than Carth. As a female character, I’m a little put out by how much he keeps hitting on me, but hey, I have force powers and can scramble his brains. I’m not worried about it.

Clothes! Blessed clothes! Peragus isn’t a treasure trove of gear — it’s specifically mentioned that only low-level blasters and grenades can be kept due to the explosive nature of the gas — but I’m able to cobble together a functional outfit. I even have my first blaster, a mining laser, which is a start in my goal to have a dual blaster-wielding Jedi fighter.

You like fighting droids? You better, because Peragus is wall-to-wall droid encounters, and each one is more dull than the last. A couple of them are surprisingly tough, so using energy shields and a Stun Droid force power is definitely recommended.

After battling through the mining tunnels, I arrive to find another survivor of the Harbinger/Ebon Hawk: HK-50. Kind of knew he was around, what with cutscenes and all, and it isn’t that joyous of an encounter. He’s barely hiding all sorts of condescension and malice toward me, and he refuses to help me gain access to the dormitory levels. I had to trick him into it, thanks to KOTOR’s equivalent of a tape recorder.

HK-50 somewhat fills in more of my backstory, saying that I passed out/was drugged on the Harbinger, stuffed into cargo, then transferred unconscious to the Ebon Hawk. He all but points his thumbs at his chest and says “I DID IT! ME! MUAHAHA!”

The dormitories are a tomb, full of gassed victims and left-behind recordings. I take an unscheduled spacewalk on the outside of the station, only to see the Harbinger come out of hyperspace and dock with the station. For the record, this WAS the ship I was originally on before getting carted off like a lump of expensive meat. So who is piloting this spacecraft right now?

It’s Darth McCraggy! I’ll give it to the game: He is a very disturbing figure, visually, and his reveal is nicely done. He’s doing that Jedi/Sith meditation pose on the bridge among all of those dead and decaying bodies. Couldn’t have jettisoned them?

As an aside, the Star Wars franchise doesn’t make a great case for becoming a Sith. It seems to be a motif that all Sith lords have to be messed-up physcially, missing body parts or turning yellow or, like this guy, looking like a parched desert floor. At least Jedi retain their good looks.

After a lengthy time running around the station solo, I’m finally able to form a full party — Kreia and Atton join up with me. Probably in the nick of time, since stealthed figures start trailing us from a distance, all Predator-style.

Surprise! HK-50 is a bad guy after all! Yeah, so he was under contract by a mysterious client to bring me in, which is why he’s been drugging me and sabotaging an entire station to facilitate my extraction.

KOTOR 2 seems to relish zigging where KOTOR 1 zagged. HK-47 was your friend and ally in KOTOR, but in KOTOR 2, the first HK you meet is your enemy. And it just keeps on going like that. It’s a nice change-up but it makes me wonder if Obsidian felt a little too pressured to be as different from KOTOR 1 as possible.