A review of KotFE

Today I finished the second-to-last SWTOR expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire (KotFE) for the second time. Sadly I didn’t write down when I finished it for the first time, but according to this post, it was probably the first week of January 2018. That said, while I liked it the first time, I have to say I’m not that impressed anymore. Spoilers ahead, but it’s been nearly 3 years.

  • Losing all your companions suck, plain and simple
  • I don’t like that you can’t meaningfully interrupt your play session during a chapter, but at least they’re reasonably short
  • It’s too much on rails. Do this, do that. Sure, the original planet quest lines are also mostly linear, but it’s an open world and I can choose to stop after every non-instanced step
  • Somehow I didn’t mind doing Makeb 5 times in a row, but repeating this after just 9 months was already a bit meh.

Also apparently I can’t screenshot during cutscenes anymore, missed ome of the more funny parts. But of course there’s YouTube.

So all in all, it’s not bad but I like it a lot less than the classic story line, or Makeb, or Yavin 4, or (of course, as it’s my favorite) Rishi. Except Chapter 13 (the heist) – this is hands down the best chapter of all, and one of my favorite moments in the whole game (story-wise, the gameplay isn’t too exciting).
Maybe I’m a bit unfair here though, I definitely had more problems on my first playthrough with a fresh 70 than now with a toon in 230 gear. So maybe it feels less “on rails” and is a bit more challenge than “oh, mob group, 2x force quake, done”. But I deliberately didn’t play on Veteran mode because I mostly wanted to get it done on a second char, and seeing if there are any differences between Empire and Republic (I didn’t see any).
I guess there are more things where I’m a little unfair in general:

  • The alliance base on Odessen is actually pretty cool
  • I like the “give 10 resources to some NPCs and get legacy-bound armor”
  • I like collecting companions

But I think it hasn’t aged well in regards to outleveling it. Sure, you could always just level to 70 and ignore everything after Corellia (assuming you want all of your default companions and do your class story, I surely do). But I think you can even better ignore everything after Ziost, that’s a really handy daily zone to unlock, but KotFE/KotET only bring you new companions, but in turn may take some away. That said, content in older expansions in games like WoW is also meaningless and you’d probably skip it if you hadn’t (until BfA) needed to kinda level there to get to max level anyway unless you only ran dungeons, which I think is more the exception than the norm. Anyway, I don’t hate it but I was a little let down.
But I’m also kind of a completionist (mostly for achievements), so there’s a few TODOs, just not sure if I will do the “refuse” ones now or on a less important toon.

  • Play 20 matches to recruit M1-4X
  • Complete the 2 Blizz achievements I missed on the first time
  • Reject Sgt. Rusk
  • Reject Broonmark
  • Reject Xalek
  • Reject Skadge
  • Reject Dr. Lokin

In other news, the current Conquest (Revenge of the Revanites) seems to be a really easy one, as I managed to complete it twice on the BH and once on the Sage. Too bad there’s actually 6 more characters, who all still have their “do a conquest” quest.

5 thoughts on “A review of KotFE”

  1. – In hindsight I think taking everybody’s companions away was a big mistake. I don’t think they foresaw how much people would complain about losing their old crew, and now they had to spend tons of time and resources on figuring out how to bring them all back. It’s nearly been 3 years since KotFE’s release and we’re still not there (though we’re slowly getting there). I’d hate to think of all the things they could’ve done instead of taking companions away just to bring them back later.
    – I actually kind of liked how the chapters just flowed into each other; it was very immersive the first time around, though also exhausting. I do think they managed to find a better balance in KotET, where it feels like you can at least easily take a break after each chapter.
    – I actually already had issues with repeating storylines from Makeb onwards, but I agree that the linearity of KotFE and KotET makes it worse because like you say, you can’t easily mix it up by taking breaks and doing something else. I still haven’t managed to take one of each base class through the full story.
    There are no differences in the story between Republic and Empire, though there are a couple of interesting variations between light and dark side. Did you go opposite alignment during your second playthrough? Plus there are a couple of class-specific morsels of dialogue here and there, which I completely live for but which don’t really make the overall repetition any easier.

    1. Oh, and I forgot to say: The “can’t screenshot during cut scenes” bug has been there since launch, I’m impressed that it didn’t affect you until now! It’s why I quickly started using external software to record things; I just had the worst luck with trying to capture anything with the in-game functionality.

    2. In this regard I’m kinda glad I didn’t play all those years. Mako was gone for very long (at least I got Torian back) and Nadia even longer. (Can’t wait for 5.10)
      Yeah, I kind of would like the seamlessness – if this wasn’t an actively played character that wants to visit a mailbox, do some dailies or warzones in between or something. It just makes it a solo game on rails where I cannot roam freely anymore. Also i I think I had some very bad experience the very first time I played one of the chapters and accidentally clicked “exit” or something and had to replay some annoying thing for an hour, that’ kinda still in the back of my head. My current MO is: just wait for the new chapter to start (with opening screen) and then I can happily port away.
      I know this sounds weird, but even the planet story lines I did more than 3 times felt a little fresh, because they were always mixed 50:50 with a new class story line for me. And yeah, my first time was mostly Dark Side (no killing companions) on the BH and now pure Light Side. But that’s why I didn’t feel it was immensely difficult. Maybe I was too nice on my BH and wasn’t as Dark as I usually play for fear of losing a companion. I really hate those “meaningful choices” in MMOs, where I have to live with potentially non-optimal choices for years to come, not like in single player games where I don’t care at all, unless I break the story to not be able to continue or something.
      And I did notice some small things, but I think I’m usually really, really bad at finding those small differences – so I might have even missed half of them, although I remembered the overall story arc and some details very clearly. Ah well, I guess this will not be my last one and my characters are pretty much 50/50 for Light/Dark, so there’s hope left I’ll find some differences 😉
      And for the screenshot thing – I don’t usually take many during cutscenes, and I have had external screenshot tools running sometimes, so sometimes it worked 😛

  2. I think the stories of both KotET and KotFE weren’t really planned out for Non Force users, BH don’t want to rule the galaxy, Agents same way, Smugglers just wanna get paid , and do things outside the laws of the Republic, and for Troopers, well they may fit in with wanting to lead, but not being a Commander for the galaxy. I think the story was best suited for the Jedi Knight who just wanted to finish killing off the Emperor, Inquistor, well they had a thing for collecting spirits, Warrior was all about breaking free from the dogma of being the Emperor’s Wrath, not sure where the Counslar fits in. The whole taking the companions away wasn’t really well thought out of. And forcing to take some like Kaliyo , and Aric.I enjoyed the stories in both, but still not enough to replay them a lot of the time too, and as for stopping between chapters, I always hit the ESC key and went back to the fleet, and did the next chapter at a later time. I didn’t like being forced to run through the story the way they had it set up. As for Screenshots, I used outside programs as well as the “Print screen” rarely ever works in the game. I did a lot for my SWTOR blog with screenshots, but mainly I just wanted HK’s “Humans cant fly,” , and “Demand: Are we there yet?”

    1. This whole “Do I want to rule the galaxy and/or stand at the top of an Empire?” thing is absolutely valid criticism, but I’m not too annoyed by it. And yeah, the whole Valkorion thing might fit better to a Force user, but “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.” so I can accept that my non-Force using character wouldn’t have survived and/or ended up in that position without the Force 😉

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