WARNING: There will be spoilers for Chapter X: Anarchy in Paradise ahead!
Star Wars: The Old Republic - Knights of the Fallen Empire debuted late October with nine chapters (of 16) for players to experience, and we were pretty impressed overall with the expansion’s initial offering. However, that’s not to say there weren’t some concerns.
One of my most concerning observations about KOTFE had to do with the length of each individual chapter. Sure, the nine initial chapters were enough content to justify subscribing for, but BioWare’s future plans were for a single chapter per month, and at roughly an hour each in length, would these chapters be worth subscribing to the game month to month? Or would it be better to just wait until they’ve all been released to get them all in one go?
Well, BioWare recently released the first new chapter for KOTFE, Chapter X: Anarchy in Paradise, and my conclusion is that your mileage may vary. For me, Chapter X was an enjoyable experience, marred by some of the issues we’d seen in earlier chapters, but mainly that the quality of gameplay doesn’t live up to the quality of the story being told. I have to admit that I am fully invested in the tale BioWare is spinning with KOTFE. It’s like following my favorite TV show or comic book; I want to find out what happens next. If you’re in the same boat as me, you’ll be able to appreciate the awesome story bits even if they are interspersed by boring slogs from corridor to corridor where you’ll plow through endless waves of Skytroopers. For everyone else, Chapter X will likely be a disappointment.
Aside from the gameplay, your ability to enjoy Chapter X will also depend highly on how you feel about Kaliyo Djannis, one of SWTOR’s most divisive companions. On the surface, it may seem like Chapter X is a sort of filler episode in our story. The story primarily concerns recruiting Kaliyo into your alliance, but it also serves as a crucial return from where things left off in Chapter IX. We spend most of the game’s early chapters lurching from crisis to crisis as we attempt to put together some semblance of a team to take on the Zakuul empire, and with things stabilized a bit at the end of Chapter IX, we formally begin to build our force in earnest. Chapter X offers us our first chance at striking back and more importantly, at least for my character, taking revenge against Arcann and his Empire. Who better to serve as a conduit for your rage than the always eager for destruction Kaliyo Djannis?
And therein lies the issue. If you’re not a fan of the way Kaliyo does things or even the character herself, there really isn’t a whole lot for you to enjoy in Chapter X. The majority of the content focuses on the returning companion, and only goes beyond Kaliyo at the very end where we learn that Arcann and his Eternal Empire have committed terrible atrocities against scores of innocents. Between Kaliyo’s antics and Arcann’s, both sides of the conflict have reached a flash point and we leave things off deciding on where we’ll be going from here.
One thing Chapter X does well is, at least in part, fulfill BioWare’s promise that choices matter in Knights of the Fallen Empire. I was fairly disappointed in the impact of my choices throughout the initial nine chapters, but we see some real consequences for our decisions in Chapter X. Kaliyo, as we noted earlier, doesn’t have a whole lot of limits when it comes to violence, and to that end, Chapter X deals with one’s willingness to employ terrorism in the pursuit of your goals in taking down the Eternal Empire. My character, being a Sith Lord and all, noted the importance of terror as a tool, so it clearly wasn’t an issue for her. However, for Koth Vortana, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. At the end of Chapter X, Koth has finally had enough, and decides to bail out of the alliance, escaping away in a shuttle and condemning you for your actions, assuming your character is as huge a jerk as mine is.
That gives us an immediate repercussion to consider, but given the gravity of what is done in Chapter X, it also makes me wonder how my actions here will reverberate throughout the rest of the story. BioWare’s writers would be remiss not to deal with players’ choices in Chapter X later down the line. Hopefully there’s more than simply losing Koth around the corner. Personally, I’m pretty glad to get rid of the guy. His constant whining was approaching levels not seen since Carth Onasi in Knights of the Old Republic or Kaiden Alenko in Mass Effect. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Virmire to leave Koth behind on. Oh well.
Ultimately, I’m beginning to view Knights of the Fallen Empire the same way I do my comic book subscriptions. I pay $3.99 a month to keep up with stories where each individual issue only takes me a couple of minutes to read. The smarter thing to do would be to wait for the run to end and then buy the collected volume at a significant discount. The problem is that I need to know what happens next, so I pay the premium to find out. That’s really how I would recommend viewing KOTFE going forward. The story is great, but the progression you’ll see month to month doesn’t really compare well to a TV show, where you’re getting about the same level of story progression every week. Unless you’re a die hard fan fully invested in this story, it would probably be best to wait.
What's your take on Chapter X: Anarchy in Paradise? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!