A number of reviewers heaped lavish praise upon the Nintendo Switch port of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II despite the game releasing with a major game-breaking bug.
Shortly after the port of the 2004 title released on June 8th, players discovered the game would crash during the “Basilisk Crash” cutscene. Even worse, as this cutscene was played as part of the main story, this bug left players unable to beat the game.
This failure was acknowledged by Aspyr, the studio who ported the game, after a user tweeted them about the issue.
“Are you guys aware there is no way to complete this game?” inquired @Moo_Resolutions. “I’ve been stuck on the onderon basilisk crash for a week now. Whats the eta on a patch?”
“Hi, this is a known issue that will be addressed in the next patch,” Aspyr explained. “While we cannot provide an ETA at this time, we will definitely let you know when the patch is live. You can click the ‘Follow’ button in this article to get the latest info in your inbox”.
“Yeah I was one of the users who reported it before it was a known issue,” @Moo_Resolutions claimed in reply. “Just to be clear you’re aware that there is no way to complete this game currently?”
In turn, Aspyr confessed, “Yes, we are aware and our dev team is working on delivering the patch as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience in the meantime!”
At the time, Aspyr recommend users cheat to get around the issue, explaining on the port’s official support page, “For now, our suggested workaround is to warp past the point where the game crashes using the cheats menu.”
“To do so, triple click the left thumbstick, open the cheats menu, and select warp,” they continued. “We recommend warping to a random location while on the party selection screen before the cutscene, otherwise you’ll be going solo after warping. Afterwards, follow the same steps above to warp to OND504. Make sure not to head to the merchant quarter, as your game will crash.”
While the fact that the Switch version of KOTOR II launched with such a devastating bug was surprising, what was even more so was the fact that gaming reviewers apparently failed to catch the issue.
Following the game’s review embargo being lifted, review aggregate website Metacritic reported that the port had received an early average review score of around 79%, with all but four of the fifteen reviews notching a score of 80 or higher.
Pocket Tactics‘ Kayleigh Partleton gave KOTOR II a 9 out of 10, highlighting how “Aspyr has done a phenomenal job in bringing it to a Switch audience.”
“As a result, I’ve nothing to say about performance, other than that the game runs well, and I experienced minimal issues during my time with it,” wrote Partleton. “The only hiccup that comes to mind, is that during the iconic opening credits, the words stretched a bit, but beyond this moment, everything runs swimmingly.”
God is a Geek‘s Lyle Carr also scored it a 9 out of 10, praising, “If you’ve played Knights of the Old Republic II before, chances are that you just want to know if the game runs well on Switch. Well I can happily confirm that once again Aspyr have knocked it out of the park.”
“Loading times are low, the framerate is steady and the game even looks a little nicer than it did on the poor old Xbox,” delighted Carr. “Getting to play a full sprawling Bioware game on a handheld still fills me with glee, and I absolutely wouldn’t want to play it anywhere else.”
On YouTube, SwitchUp’s Mark was one of the few critics who attempted attempt to update their review after discovering the bug, albeit within the limitations of the uploaded video format.
Initially, they criticized KOTOR II’s performance for failing to reach 60 FPS at times (dropping to around 30FPS in the same places it did when running on PC), textures turning black when playing for too long, and stated they had experienced crashes, and recommended frequent manual saves.
“It wasn’t a deal breaker, and in 20 hours three crashes might not sound like the worst thing ever, but it probably amounts to around about three or four hours of lost progress,” Mark cautioned.
The video’s title was later updated to add “SEE TOP COMMENT!”, which was made by SwitchUp themselves and was updated to inform viewers, “A couple of things have come to light, firstly it seems a bug on the last island is literally STOPPING completion.”
“Secondly, when the DLC comes out it will kill your current saves,” SwitchUp explained. “You’ll literally have to start again…ughhhh. Not great.”
Only the lowest rated review on Metacritic for KOTOR II, Joshua Duckworth’s as written for Game Rant, seemed to mention bugs, though they somewhat bury the lede, beginning by noting how the game featured “a host of smaller bugs players can no doubt wave off,” such as audio dipping out, intrusive invisible walls, AI failing to act or causing allies and foes to leap around.
“It’s par for the course in most games,” stated Duckworth, before asserting, “However, during our time with the game, it crashed constantly—at least once every hour.
“The game seems cognizant of this even, as its seemingly most common loading screen tip is ‘save often and in more than one slot,'” he said. “A game has to work, and functionally, this is asking a lot of players.”
Alongside mention of the Basilisk Crash bug, Duckworth detailed a similar one which could present itself when players boarded the Ebon Hawk.
Despite his admittance that he could not finish the game, the reviewer game KOTOR II received 2.5 out of 5, concluding that it was “great when it works, but the frustrating problem is getting it to work.”
Kira C made no mention of game-breaking bugs in their review for Pure Nintendo, but did highlight how, “there are bugs that, from what I looked into, weren’t in the original game or other ports.”
These included graphics becoming “muddier” as time went on, only resetting itself upon a player’s reloading of their save, poor cinematic audio quality, and a crash before a cutscene loaded.
Cautioning that it was “not the best port on the Nintendo Switch,” Kira admitted that they “can’t recommend it as much as its predecessor unless you want a portable copy of KOTOR II.”
“Of course, updates might be made to patch the various bugs,” they concluded, ultimately giving the game a 6.5 out of 10, “but if you want to try out this version, be aware of the glitches and frequently save so you don’t lose anything if it crashes!”
Conversely, a number of YouTube outlets made mention of the game-breaking bugs in their respective reviews.
One such channel was GameXplain, who in their June 8th review of the game recalled that “the game did crash on me quite a few times. Fourteen times to be exact.”
“And that’s not including the game-breaking bug which crashed my game easily ten more times when I tried to navigate around it- which I wasn’t able to,” they said. “I can deal with random crashes, but a game-breaking bug is unacceptable. You might not experience it yourself, but I can’t recommend the game right now, on the chance that you might encounter it yourself.”
Eventually, on June 30th, Asyper released a hotfix for these issues.
As noted in its patch notes, this fix addresses “a crash that would occur after certain cutscenes (i.e. Basilisk scene on Onderon)”, “an issue where the game would crash on certain mid/late game saves. (Dantooine, Korriban)”, “Addressed an issue where players could become stuck in a loading screen loop when Sith Troopers board the Ebon Hawk on Peragus”.
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