Doc: Uh… It looks like you got something in your eye.
Doc: I’m going to take that as “No, I don’t need help Doc. Go wait on the ship.”
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the second chapter of the Jedi Knight storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
Alright, welcome back to the epic quest of the Jedi Knight to stop the forces of evil. Only we already did that at the end of Chapter One. As I said, just like the Trooper and Bounty Hunter, the Prologue and First Chapter of the Jedi Knight’s story is a complete narrative and wraps everything up nicely at the end. It could have easily been the end if not for that pesky “We’re only level 30” thing. So we have two more chapters. But UNLIKE the Bounty Hunter and Trooper stories, the Jedi Knight knows exactly what story to tell with the remaining chapters: We’re going after the Sith Emperor. Oh joy! Could the stakes be any higher? I think not. Yes, this is probably one of the most defining plot developments in the game, since the result of Chapters 2 and mostly 3 of the Jedi Knight will set the stage for what we would later see in the Shadow of Revan and the happenings on Ziost.
The story begins with you returning from R & R on your ship only to be contacting by the spectral image of Master Orgus Din. He’s a ghost! Which I suppose means we need to watch out for the Sith Inquisitor. Orgus reveals that there is a trapped and dying Jedi on the planet Tatooine that needs your help, and carries information that will be vital to fulfilling your destiny. So you travel to the middle of fricking nowhere in Jundland to find a crashed starship and a bunch of Sith gold mobs. The Jedi is chilling out and meditating in the ship. So… he is saved? I think? Was I necessary?
Apparently, he couldn’t send a distress signal because techno babble and the plot demands we save him but he is carrying news that he must deliver to the Jedi Council on Tython and urges you to deliver it while the medical crews arrive for him. So you go to Tython – a statement for the record you will be hearing A LOT in these next two chapters. You waste a ton of time going back to Tython for one cutscene again and again. The Jedi Council reveals there master plan that the info was for: Their going after the Sith Emperor. But first, they will need some things. You are tasked with helping other Jedi Masters on planets to help gather the necessary resources to have everything you’ll need for a successful assault on the Secret Invisible Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor (Ask them about their Seafood Combo Platter) and capture him. Yes, capture. Apparently they don’t want to kill him because it would create a power vacuum. Boo.
This planet is where the Secret Invisibile Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor’s (Try the Veal) cloaking shield was developed. The hope is to find the original prototype of it so the Jedi can jury-rig a device to cancel out the cloak. Of course, since Balmorra is heavily entrenched in a battle to oust the Sith Empire who have a hold on everything here, that means teaming up with the Resistance. Who don’t like the Republic. This will be fun. You also get to meet your liaison with the Resistance – a man named Doc.
Doc is one part humanitarian and one part sleazy skinamax star, right down to the mustache. When he’s not trying to save lives or protect the innocent and making sure everyone gets a chance to live, he’s flirting with anything that remotely resembles a female. If you bring Kira with you, he flirts with her endlessly. If you are a female, he will flirt with you endlessly. And I mean ENDLESSLY. It accounts for nearly 80% of his dialogue on Balmorra. If you ever want to feel some empathy for women who have to deal with men hitting on them and swinging widely with pick up lines like they were a scythe – play a female Jedi Knight and meet Doc. Dear god, I wanted to punch him. He’s also the female love interest, which is all sorts of weird to me. But hey, it takes all kinds right? Someone has to enjoy that kind of person.
The next couple of missions are basically just grunt work soldier-ing for the Resistance. Collect med packs for the wounded, take out guards and sensors so the Resistance can break into the computers to grab intel, and ultimately saving one of their spies that was trying to secure the prototype from an Imperial jail. This spy however is ultimately revealed to be in great health for being imprisoned by the enemy for two weeks. Like suspiciously good health. It seems she cut a deal with the Empire to spill intel on the Resistance in exchange for safety. The Resistance wants her dead on the spot, but it ultimately comes down to you – the Jedi – to decide. It’s also during these missions you meet up with the Jedi Master you’re helping: Warren Sedoru. He’s an old grizzled scar-covered Jedi who has a natural talent for reading people and tactical thinking. He also happily admits to letting you do all the work since you’re youthful and far more skilled with a saber. I like his honesty. He’s a keeper. Can I have him on the ship instead of Doc?
You finally grab the prototype by breaking into the Balmorran Arms Factory, a task that’s honestly way easier than it sounds. You kill your way through some nameless Sith guarding the thing, likely tipped off from our spy friend that people were interested in the prototype and then go in to grab it to find that the Resistance is already there and ready to cart off with it. Okay. First. What? Second. That’s mine. Third. What? How did they get in here? How did the Sith not notice them? Were they crawling around the vents or something? If that’s the case why didn’t I get to climb the vents? Bah. The Resistance says that since the prototype was made on Balmorra it belongs to them and no one else, screw you and screw the Republic. You can either negotiate with them or just threaten them for it, you don’t have to fight either way I don’t think. You get the prototype and get the heck off the planet.
Time for a small side track from the mission. It appears that Master Tol Braga (the Jedi who came up with this Kidnap the Sith Emperor plan) has a padawan that was a former Sith stationed on the planet of Quesh that he hasn’t heard from in a while. Braga is worried about him since the tensions are rising between the Republic and Empire on Quesh, and he wants you to go make sure everything is alright. Which, of course, isn’t the case.
Apparently, the former Sith is having a bit of a hard time getting over some his old bad habits. Namely slaughtering a bunch of unarmed Imperial prisoners when they mentioned he was a traitor and that the Emperor’s Wrath was coming for him. Now you can honestly help this Sith-Turned-Jedi overcome his temptation to the Dark Side, or you can convince him to embrace it fully because ‘Hey, it’s a war. Go kill people.’
The really interesting bit comes when the Empire breaks into the base and you have to repel them. When you finally wipe them out, all of them, you bring up the force field for the door only to be greeted by a massive hulking Sith Pureblood named Lord Scourge. Scourge is the Emperor’s Wrath. The very hatred of Emperor embodied in a living person. This is important because this is first time on the Republic side we are introduced to the concepts of the ‘Aspects’ of the Emperor. Be it his Voice, Wrath, Hands, etc the Emperor has many servants who act as vessels of his will. They literally become a part of the Emperor. There’s a lot more of this to be found in the Sith Warrior storyline where they go into it with greater detail, but this is an important thing to remember for what comes at the end of the Jedi Knight story as well.
Scourge’s appearance here however is little more than a glorified tease and cameo. He talks to you, says some cryptic things, and then buggers off. Okay? Thanks for the visit, Scourge. Quesh then ends with the padawan deciding to either return to Tython to cleanse himself of his Dark Side emotions, or to meditate on the concept of embracing them as a weapon for justice in what is a clearly soon to erupt war.
The second piece of the Secret Invisibile Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor (Every Thursday is Sith Ladies’ Night) caper is to get the schematics and floorplans to the Stronghold. Impossible, you say? Well not to Jedi Master Leeha Narezz. She’s discovered that the only non-Sith to see the interior of the space station – the architect (because there are no Sith architects, silly. They don’t build up, only tear down!) – and apparently that individual crashed on Hoth with the schematics on board. So we’re off on a scavenger hunt to find it. Which seems to be just what you do on Hoth. Go looking for things that crashed here. This is what? The fourth time we’ve done this?
However, we do make a new friend in the process. The Republic Military is lending a hand with this ‘save the galaxy’ mission and giving you full authority over the 301st. Or what’s left of them as when you find them there are two remaining and one of them is dying. Our last good soldier standing is Sergeant Rusk, who is brutally efficient at his job. He lists off success and failure in terms of percentages, he doesn’t care if you are wounded or dying you will finish the mission, and he’s not actually that much of a jerk for it. Just a guy who wants to be the best damn soldier out there and expects anyone who signed up for the Military to be willing to die for the cause. It’s an extreme viewpoint, sure. But he never comes off as mean. Just a bit odd. His men however don’t feel that way. Even after replenishing the 301st’s numbers, everybody else views Rusk as a hard ass trying to make them do things like eliminate threats proactively and other things that equate to ‘work’. I dunno. I dig Rusk. I would like to trade Tanno Vik on my Trooper for Rusk. Please?
The rest of Hoth plays out pretty simply with only the occasional diversion where the military calls you up wanting things in exchange for borrowing the 301st. The first one of these is to take out Imperial turrets and its mandatory. The second is to destroy ammo dumps set up by the pirates and you can talk Rusk out of doing it or just doing it himself without you. The whole mission ends with you getting to choose whether you want to square off with pirates or Sith (There’s a meme waiting to happen) and breaking into a massive dreadnought ship to grab the schematics. Narezz happily heads back to Tython to await you there.
I didn’t talk much about Narezz because she doesn’t seem to have much in the way of personality. She instead has robots. Two droids – the Meedees – that she claims will one day have the power to wield the Force like any living thing. There. That’s her whole schtick in just about every conversation. “We need to get X oh bee tee dubs my robots are awesome.”
You want a big flashy finale to a middle chapter? Here it is. This thing is huge, so pardon me if I may miss a beat here or there. You return to Tython to get ready for the big assault on the Emperor when it’s revealed by Master Tol Braga that the endgame of this whole plan is not just to capture the Sith Emperor but to bring him back to Tython and convince him – through what I can only imagine is a well thought out and reasoned debate – to TURN TO THE LIGHT SIDE. Oh geeze. I am so suddenly having doubts about this plan. Not just me either, as the rest of the Jedi Council shows up to talk about their own trepidation with this plan. Namely that the Jedi I saved way back on Tatooine at the beginning of Chapter Two who was told he couldn’t go on the big important save the universe mission and you are going in his stead JUST had a vision! That you would turn EVIL if you went, so he should go in your place and save the day. I clearly sense absolutely zero ulterior motive here.
You do convince the council the let you go and you begin the assault on the Secret Invisibile Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor (Now serving breakfast) where you infiltrate and work your way through the base. For those who have already completed the story on Ilum at some point, you might recognize the layout of this place. I don’t know if it’s intentional but the Secret Invisible Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor ( Original Fortress. DO NOT STEAL. ) has a very similar construction, layout, and design as the Not Secret But Totally Invisible Space Stronghold of Darth Malgus ( My OF is better than Your OF ) and I want to say that considering they are both cloaked, they are either the same fortress or Malgus totally intentionally stole the Emperor’s idea. Anyway, you finally breach the Emperor’s sanctum and face off in combat with his Wrath, Lord Scourge.
Once you defeat Scourge, the other Jedi show up (Thanks for the help, guys), the attack on the Emperor begins proper and then promptly ends as the Emperor kicks everyone’s butt almost instantly. You are the last one standing and even then you still go down to the POWAH! of his Sith lightning. Once you wipe, the Emperor talks about how you all shall become his new weapons and his dark work begins. Yes, indeed. You become Evil. In a cutscene at least. You train to become a powerful Sith, you kill innocents – or at least it’s implied. I get kind of this weird disconnect at this point, because they say you have been under the emporer’s control for a long time. Long enough that the other Jedi you were with become fully fledged generals of the Sith, but you never leave the Stronghold. You are always shown fighting droids, and even at the end are “just” being given the privilege and training to interrogate prisoners. So did you wage war in the name of the Sith? I think you do, but it’s never explicitly shown. It sure as hell makes less of an impact to reveal that while you under Sith control you spent months killing Imperial droids over and over.
After an unknown period of time, you are finally freed of the Emperor’s control thanks to a handy visit from Master Orgus’ ghost. Who apparently took his sweet time getting in touch. I guess Jedi force ghosts are less reliable in manifesting than Sith ones, because those jerks are always around. You jail break your companion from the Emperor fight and then book it to the hangar to get out. It’s useful that you’ve been helping the bad guys for X amount of time, because now no one fights you on the way out. However, when you get to the hangar, you find someone has already sprung all of your friends and unlocked your ship: Lord Scourge. Yes, the big raspberry has decided to join forces with you to help stop the Emperor. He has foreseen it. No, seriously. That’s not a clever Star Wars joke. He really did. He forsesaw you fighting the Emperor. He wants to help because it turns out that the Sith Emperor isn’t out to win this war. No… He wants to devour and absorb all life in the Galaxy to become a super-god. And since Scourge lives in the galaxy, he kinda has a vested interest in seeing it not die. You all hop on board the ship and… /sigh. You head back to Tython. Once there, you relay all this info to the Jedi Council and you begin your new mission: Stop the Emperor from killing everything. Good plan. I like it. I’m happy to be apart of it.
Can someone else do it?
The second chapter of the Jedi Knight storyline is essentially the set up for the big climax. The equivalent to the Prologue to Chapter One. However instead of being a step back, it does very much feel like a step up in terms of scale. You are preparing for what is probably the biggest mission any class in the game gets to experience. On top of that, it gives you short but solid characterization for all of the Jedi Masters you are fighting with so that their defeat and ultimate fate in Chapter 3 actually carries some impact.
This chapter and the one that follows actually has some of the most crossover potential in terms of information given next to the revelation of what exactly happened to the Supreme Chancellor to cause the switch to Saresh from the Bounty Hunter story. Here we find out what happened to the Emperor’s Wrath, which not only gives us a sense of how the third chapter of the Sith Warrior starts, but when since we also find out that Scourge doesn’t defect until after your “long time” in service to the Emperor. Apparently the break between Chapter 2 and 3 of the Sith Warrior was quite a break.
The companions in this chapter are actually solid and interesting characters. They have well defined personalities that don’t require to unlock half of their ‘on the ship’ conversations to get to know them. You know that Doc is a flirt that cares about the well being of everyone, and that Rusk views the world in terms of calculated risk and victory. Rusk is honestly one of the better ‘soldier to a fault’ characters I’ve seen done in the game. Even Elara Dorne cracks that ‘by the books’ exterior here and there, but Rusk? You either do the mission or die trying. There is no quitting, no hesitance, no questioning a superior. If you die, you will die in the service to the Republic and protecting the freedoms and people of it. Doc on the other hand is the opposite and they contrast each other well. Doc believes everyone deserves a chance to be healthy and safe. He believes in prisoners over killing and that no one is above getting a fair shake. He also constantly flirts with anything resembling a female to the point where I think Scorpio in the Imperial Agent storyline would be in trouble (until she fried him to a crisp.) It’s interesting because it’s creepy, annoying, and ever present but at the same time – and I fully admit that as a man I might be completely misreading this and be so completely off base, so if any woman would like to weigh in on the comments by all means I welcome your experiences with Doc – but it never felt as… insulting as Corso’s hypocritical attempts at chivalry. It felt more like Ron Stoppable from ‘Kim Possible’ trying to get a date for the dance, keeps getting shot down but also keeps trying. Then again, Ron Stoppable didn’t continuously try with the same girl that rejected him over and over and over. So yea, back to creepy in a way.
Scourge spends all his characterization going, “Hmm. I see. Unexpected. Interesting.” over and over and then he joins your crew at the literal last minute of the Chapter. I will say that I did LOVE that his justification when challenged that Sith only act for selfish reasons is that wanting to save the Galaxy from the Emperor is horribly selfish as he does not want to die. That right there made him my favorite companion for Chapter Three. Sorry Kira, gotta bench ya.
The ending of the chapter is probably one of those things that really could go either way depending on how you interpreted the events. You’re told you are the Emperor’s tool, that you have been for a long time, and yet it never explicitly shows you doing anything outside of killing droids for training under a Sith overlord. If you honestly believe that you have been attacking the Republic under mind control, that is a big impact that not only confirms the visions about you, but would make the final chapter one of atonement as well as saving the galaxy and gives the eventual battle with the Emperor that personal edge of revenge that would tempt you to the dark side in a classic Star Wars fashion. But how that actually plays out is to be seen next time. Till Chapter Three, folks.
Doc: Uh… It looks like you got something in your eye.
Doc: I’m going to take that as “No, I don’t need help Doc. Go wait on the ship.”