Warning: This post contains spoilers for the second chapter of the Sith Inquisitor storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
Well, you have sort of outsmarted your former master and become a powerful figure within the Sith ranks. Let’s see how quick this goes downhill for you, shall we? Chapter Two kicks off with meeting Darth Thanaton who you might remember popping up in the Prologue and Chapter One at points. He is impressed with you – you’re NOTHING like Zash – and wants to test you to see if you are ready to enter his super special hidden circle. He just needs you to go into a super dark and spooky tomb, way off in some corner of Dromund Kaas where no one goes all alone to fetch a dead Sith’s notes on alchemical poisons for him. Do you see where this may be a bad idea? Good. Because you’re character doesn’t! You get ZERO agency in this. Your character will just stumble into this trap as blindly scripted. Yes, that’s how we’re starting out this Chapter, by walking head first into ANOTHER trap.
And just like before with Zash, it’s up to Ghost Grandpa to bail you out and save you from the insane Sith ghost that was trying to kill you. You know… Ghost Grandpa… who said at the end of Chapter One that his task was done and we wouldn’t be seeing him again. He’s here. To save us again. Somehow. But this time he REALLY is using the last of his strength to help us. For truth-sies. Anyway, Ghost Grandpa tells you to find a different Sith ghost who will teach you the art of Spirit-walking – the ability to bind the souls of the dead to yourself and absorb their power. Before you even ask, NO. There’s is NO Shang Tsung jokes anywhere in this storyline. I will probably be making a few to make up for it. Now you can go back, steal the Sith ghost’s soul (Flawless victory) and get his notes.
When you take the notes back to Thanaton he is less than pleased. He kinda wanted you to die in that tomb (Wha? Noooo. Say it ain’t so.) and he needs you dead because Zash’s entire power base must be destroyed (No one tell him about Khem!) So, he kills you. The end. OR IS IT? Well, we know it’s not. It seems you actually survived thanks to binding the dead souls to you. They actually seem to function as ‘Extra Lives’. Your barely alive body is dragged off to safety by your two apprentices whose names are not important enough to remember so I’ll just call them Jesse and James. Which… wait. Hold on a minute.
Remember in the Chapter One review, where I mentioned the ‘people saving you streak’? Yea. Assuming you didn’t break between Chapter One and Chapter Two, you have just walked into your doom THREE times only to have your butt pulled out by a third party each time in less than an HOUR. A. SINGLE. HOUR. Do you know how much of an idiot your character looks like at this point? You routinely walk into traps, sometimes after being TOLD it is a trap, with no plan prepared other than ‘wing it and hope we live’. Would it be so hard to have a moment where your character actually PREPARES for these things, or comes off as a slightly hesitant or cautious? Maybe show how they stand to gain from doing these dumb things? Like planning on surviving due to the Spirit-Walking so you can let Thanaton think you are dead so you can strike at him from behind. You know, SOMETHING?!
Anyway, you use this revelation of your survival to formulate a new plan: gather more souls to kill Thanaton. Well, at least we’re not a lackey anymore.
Our first destination is Taris, where there have been stories about a grumpy ghost hanging around. The thing is that there’s only one person who can actually get this ghost to show up is a Jedi padawan. So your first goal on Taris is to gather some intel on this padawan and as you soon find out – it’s Ahsoka Tano er… I mean Ashara Zavros! Who is kind of an Ahsoka Tano expy, I won’t lie. She’s disobedient, rude, and somewhat short tempered. Her emotions tend to get the better of her and that kind of has her on the outs with her Jedi Master and peers and thus provides an excellent opportunity to manipulate her into getting what you want.
The first task is to bribe another Sith Lord to use his assassins to stage a scene. You go and dig up some random thing of no significant importance (and no, that’s not setting up a dramatic reveal that it IS important. It’s not. It’s just a random errand.) Using the bartering power of the McGuffin, you convince the Sith to borrow the assassins. The fun part about the whole exchange is actually being able to decide how much information you let the Sith have about what you are doing. Do you let him in on the plot? Do you play coy? It is his man power at risk here, especially since the plan is to have them ambush Ashara and then you save her to gain her trust.
Honestly, the whole plan comes off as simultaneously dumb and yet it works brilliantly because Ashara is just that kind of dense. She gets jumped by a bunch of Sith Assassins and you just in and stop them (either by killing them or by less lethal means) and just like that she trusts you enough to let you help “cast out” the ghost. She actually sits there and dumb foundingly asks why a Sith would attack other Sith. Really? Do they teach you ANYTHING about the Sith work? Or just to kill them wholesale? And this is pretty much Ashara in a nutshell. She is not bright, she doesn’t think she’s through, she simply reacts to her emotions and follows her gut instinct. Sometimes this makes her a sweetheart, and other times you just wanna bop her with a rolled up magazine and say “NO! THINK!” Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like Ashara but DAMN is she a teenager in the worst sense.
SO you actually manage to convince the teen to let you into the Jedi Sanctuary to help purge the ghost, and you make sure to tell her not to tell anyone. So of course she tells two Jedi Masters. Fricking Narc. You fight them, you bind the ghost who appears to be a VERY ticked off ancestor of Ashara – who was also Sith? I think? It’s not exactly clear but he does wear Sith Inquisitor Columni armor. The choice is the usual: Fight the ghost and enslave it, or make a pact with it promising to free it once you’ve done what you need it for.
Then… then the plot gets stupid. Okay, so this entire time some no-name office clerk of a Sith has been helping you to put this whole thing together. Actually, it’s more like he gets you started. He shows up. Says Thanaton will make him a Lord if he delivers your head. So that whole element of surprise, Thanaton thinks you’re dead thing? Apparently not. Thanaton clearly knows you are alive, and is hiring goons to come and finish you off, despite you finishing off his goons before and forcing him to take you out himself. Do I even have to go into how completely counter to the established plot this reveal goes? And it doesn’t stop here. Oh no. You’ll see.
Because no sooner are you done with recruit Ashara and getting back on the ship, than your other two apprentices phone in. Ya know, the two that jumped the Zash ship at the end of Chapter One and dragged your charred unconscious body out of a ditch and right back into Thanaton’s office at the start of Chapter Two? Well apparently they decided to wander off and steal the key to Thanaton’s private meditation chamber. Now they’re being chased around the galaxy by another one of Thanaton’s flunkies. Now it’s never established, and certainly never explained or answered – but do we think that these two little morons are the reason Thanaton knows I’m still alive? Cause I’d venture a guess that yea, that’s the case. Thanaton, despite being a mustache twirling snively whiplash of a villain, is not stupid. These two however will believe whatever they are spoon fed. So they crash on Quesh and you have to go save them.
Or not… I guess? By the time you show, they’re dead. Lord Cineratus has killed them. Now he is on orders to kill you too. In a nice and brilliant tactical move, you can buy him off, not only skipping having to fight him but also gaining his loyalty, service and most importantly silence. Or you can just shut him up by killing him too. That works.
Now that you’ve lost two of your three apprentices (Aww… you almost collected the whole set), Zash Val recommends you head to Korriban to pick you out a fresh one from your old pal Harkun. This mission is short, sweet and only really serves to lord over your new position as an actual Sith Lord to Harkun while also setting up a later companion. I guess which of the random assortment of scum it will be? Maybe the one that killed two potential recruits already and the camera holds on for an uneasily long time? Hmmmm? (I warned you there’d be spoilers. It’s Xalek.)
And of course now we come to Hoth. Apparently we are here because Andronikos heard some stories about some weird stuff happening and a ship carrying Sith artifacts crashing a while back and they were all spoopy about it. Like the laaaaamp was tuuuuurning itseeeelf on! OooooOOoooOoo! Yea, anyway since Hoth is a giant ice ball where anything sitting outside for more than a few days is pretty much buried and frozen in a block, you’re going to need some help for this one. Enter Talos Drelik. Oh, so THIS is where the damn elves sent Talos after the White-Gold Accord. (Ha. Crossover humor.) He’s a wormy little archeologist that is a certified genius when it comes to figuring out where crap is. He’s also delightfully fun, warm, and intelligent. Thus making him the only one on the ship with a college education (No, Zash doesn’t count. Her brains didn’t exactly work out in her favor. Seriously, ‘Go ahead and bring the Dashade’ HA!)
Talos essentially helps lead you across a giant version of World of Warcraft’s archeology profession, only not as tedious. It does however lead you to the ghost p0ssessing an ortolon (those blue elephant looking things) who demands that you ran sack Naga Sadow’s ancient assassin training school because he reeeeeally didn’t like Assassin’s Creed Unity. Talos of course helps you break in to raid the tomb, because hey it turns out that is exactly what he was on Hoth looking for. It’s a giant hole in an ice wall. I am suddenly regretting complimenting Talos’ intelligence.
This leads to the hands down dumbest light/dark choice ever: Do you let Talos scan the relics before you bust them, or just say tough noogies and start smashing. Seriously. You don’t even have to do anything extra or get punished for choosing the Light Side option here other than watching a short cutscene of Talos scanning stuff. That was pointless. Really. Oh and a little tip for this mission: There will be a time when Talos leaves your party to open a door and you have to defend him from three waves of progressively harder droids. If you step back to where Talos is before the first wave spawns, you won’t immediately draw agro and can summon another companion to help you fight them off. Very useful for say… a healy sorcerer.
Finally, you get your last bit of direction to finding the ghost’s actual resting place: a crashed starship in the starship graveyard. Good thing we didn’t even think to look in the Starship Graveyard of crashed starships for our crashed starship, which we now find out didn’t actually crash but landed gently after being piloted to safety by the ghost after the crew died and/or bailed. Only downside is you have to fight through a ton of dudes who are mind controlled by the ghost because… the ghost is a jerk who likes making you jump through hoops. No really, that’s his reasoning. So you do the whole sacrifice/deal schpeal and then head off to space. But wait! Talos is there and he wants to come along. Resigned from the IRS (That’s Imperial Reclamation Service) and everything. Well, okay bookworm. Head on board. We gotta go kill us a Sith, and you’re a healing companion so you might be handy.
Back to Dromund Kaas to sneak into Thanaton’s secret meditation chamber with our secret key and oh bugger he’s waiting for us isn’t he? Yeeeeup. With a hench goon that we’ve never seen before to actually fight no less while Thanaton sits in a bubble. But not before he taunts us about how if we bribed Cinderblock on Quesh that he’s already wasted our money on women and drink on Nar Shadaa. So there’s another brilliant play that went down the toilet. Oh well, kill the bastard. Or the bastard’s assistant, I guess.
After which you face off with Thanaton proper in a cutscene! You channel all your ghostly powers and when their powers combine you are… apparently dead. Yea, it seems that the binding ritual was only meant to be done with ONE ghost at a time. Any more than that and you leave yourself vulnerable to the spirits taking control of your body and mind and doing who knows what. Of course, the ghost that taught you the ritual didn’t say that because he knew you were the schmuck that would dig up as many souls as possible and then he and the others could – as they literally put it – have some fun with you. I AM AWARE OF THE MANY WAYS TO INTERPRET THAT LINE. Also, Thanaton got thrown into a wall and ran away.
So Chapter Two ends with your companions showing up to help/save you from yourself YET AGAIN, and depending on your dialogue choices you can crack a joke and everyone has a hearty laugh. Freeze frame. Roll credits with sappy 80’s sax solo rendition of theme song! The end. Of chapter two at least.
While this isn’t as completely POINTLESS as the Chapter Two Trooper storyline, there is a LOT of wasted potential here. Every chance your character has to look intelligent or cunning is either pulled out from under them making them look like a complete idiot or is swiftly undone off camera somewhere. Enemy thinks your dead giving you the upper hand? NOPE. Get the secret key to the secret meditation chamber? He’s there and waiting for you. Bribe an enemy agent to work for you instead? Pisses it away on booze and lets your enemy know about it. The Inquisitor does not catch one break this entire chapter, and boy does it get frustrating to have your plans get foiled instantly over and over.
I mean, I kind of get it right? They want to show you that Thanaton is this super mastermind that can totally outplay you and write it off as child’s play. But you’re doing it at the expensive of making the protagonist – the PLAYER – feel like a complete moron. Even worse when OTHER NPCs are saving you from obvious traps and then explaining how it totally was an obvious trap. Why not have Thanaton think he has outplayed you, make him counter your every move but him thinking that your goal is different. Like you were looking for relics or some ancient weapon or something Zash would do to help defeat him. Then have it be established among you and your crew that – say around just after Quesh – that because of something Lord Cementtruck said you learn that Thanaton has it all wrong. WHAM. He seems to be winning and outplaying, you get to see what a master at playing the game Thanaton is, and then you have the ace up your sleeve of the ghosts to smack him, but then it goes all wrong.
And that ending I will say is done very right. The ghosts turning on you and the force walking being your undoing is not only a great twist, but is also not a knock against your character. There is no WAY the Inquisitor would have seen it coming because the Ghosts ALL LIED. Not one even tipped their hand or showed the slightest hint that this ritual had unintended side effects when used this way. But they knew. They knew and they waited to use it against you. That I did like. Downright LOVED.
So yea, that was the Inquisitor Chapter Two. A lot of potential, and a lot of screw ups. Not the worse, could have been one of the best, but no. It just falls in the middle somewhere. Pity.