In 2003 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic made waves with its open-ended narrative, turn-based lightsaber combat, and deep morality system. Aspyr Media’s iPad port of the BioWare RPG is nothing short of a modern classic – check out these tips and tricks before you start your own Jedi quest.
Start as a Padawan, End as a Master
Pay attention to the stats you choose when building your character. Dumping all your points into strength or charisma may seem like a good idea, but balance is better. Try to keep in line with the class you chose, too: If you want to play a stealthy character, in other words, choose a scoundrel instead of a warrior.
Don’t be afraid to experiment in the early goings. You aren’t going to have a lightsaber for quite a while; in the interim, see whether you like ranged or melee combat better by playing around with the swords and blasters you pick up. Getting a good understanding of the weaponry is key to efficiently using the squad mates you meet later.
Watch what you say! Even in the early goings dialogue can have a huge effect on how the story plays out for your soldier-turned-Jedi. You don’t have to know whether you want to go light or dark side from the onset – it’s more of a sliding scale anyway – but pay attention to how you talk to people and try to keep consistent.
Save frequently, and don’t be afraid to reload if something doesn’t go your way. KOTOR is a bit different from modern games in how it handles your decisions; it’s totally possible to kill someone and find out a little later they would have joined your party if you hadn’t.
If things get too hairy for you, lowering the difficulty the options menu might make the experience a little more enjoyable. Don’t let a hard fight or tough puzzle ruin your time with such an awesome game.
Jedi Battle Basics
Learn your way around the turn-based combat system early. Things look like they unfold in real-time, but in reality you and your adversaries take turns hitting each other. This can play to your advantage (or get you killed) if you need to heal mid-fight, for instance.
Take advantage of your companions and all their abilities. Some (like Zalbaar) are geared to take more damage while others (like Carth) are best served standing away from the action and unloading their blaster. Don’t be afraid to switch characters by pressing the portraits in the bottom left corner of the screen if you need to use one of their special skills.
Make sure to always have medpacks on hand until you (or a squadmate) get the Force healing power. If not, prepare to die a whole bunch – it’s an unforgiving game, especially early on.
Loot everything! You never know if that inconspicuous metal crate holds a boatload of credits or a legendary weapon. Check the corpses of everyone you kill, too. If they’re lootable, an on-screen indicator will alert you when you get close enough to the body.
In general, you want to attack the weakest enemy on the screen, kill him, move onto the next weakest, etc. This ensures you and your party take the least amount of damage and clear threats the fastest way possible.
If you’re having trouble beating a boss or particularly difficult set of baddies, stand back, chuck grenades by pressing the appropriate icon, and watch your enemies fall.
Ion weaponry works best against droids and other robotic baddies. Swords and standard blasters do wonders when you’re up against humanoids. If someone in your party isn’t pulling their weight on damage, make sure you’ve equipped the appropriate arms.
Advanced Old Republic Tactics
Once you’ve acquired enough of a crew, use the scripting option in the party select to tell your cronies what they need to do when it comes time to battle. You can, for instance, tell your Jedi associates to use their powers before attacking with a lightsaber or make your ranged attackers lob grenades before they start shooting.
The people you talk to have their own personalities – some like flattery, while others respond best to respect or even being threatened.
Explore every dialogue option possible to make sure you haven’t missed something. You never know if that option you skip could result in some credits, gear, or even a new quest.
Once you become a Jedi, your actions influence your dark or light side rankings, which in turn affects the abilities you can choose (and how many Force points they cost). If you want to do evil stuff like shooting lightning from your hands or Force choking people, be a jerk! If you want to be able to heal your party and stun droids, etc., be nice.
If you go dark side, mind who you murder. The eviler you become, the more chances you get to kill people for minor (or nonexistent) indiscretions, but a true Sith knows some people have more value alive than dead.
Final Bits of Jedi Wisdom
Like the NPCs you encounter, your party members have their own set of motivations, attitudes, and opinions towards your actions. Bastilla, for instance, really hates it when you start doing dark side stuff around her because she’s a Jedi. If opening the most dialogue options possible is important to you, pay attention to who’s in your crew before you act.
Don’t automatically assume a dual-lightsaber setup is the best. Holding a weapon in your offhand can have a huge (and negative) impact on your accuracy without applying points to the dual-wielding skill. Until then, try single weapons like standard sabers or dual-bladed contraptions.
Putting points in your Force Persuade skill can make talking others into doing your bidding a whole lot easier… but it can also send you down the path of the dark side. Be warned.

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