Now back from a nice, long break over the CNY period. Apart from visitations to kin (though I must admit, not as many as I might have made), I've also been revisiting the worlds of KOTOR2 in a determined effort to make it as a Dark Side Force user for once. The story plays out differently depending on your avatar's alignment and I want to see the Dark Side version now.
Playing Dark is tough, well, for me, anyway. It's not that the game gets any harder -- in fact, some Dark powers are incredibly effective and spectacular to use -- but the choices one has to make in order to be Dark so rubs me the wrong way. For the moment I'm sort of playing mildly Dim (alignment, not IQ) because I can't stand to see people suffer without wanting to help them somehow, given the powers at my disposal. To be properly Dark though, you've got to abuse your powers as you take advantage of the situation, and if the suffering increases or you end up directly or indirectly causing the sufferer's death, well, them's the breaks, honey.
I'm such a lousy Dark Sider that I've been barred from a major plot juncture in the Shyrack Cave on Korriban. Apparently, only those strongly aligned either way can enter and experience further plot development; whereas those less committed to either cause might have to bypass this rewarding side quest and continue with the main story. I also lose out on character bonuses (special powers or attributes) simply because I'm so half-past-Sith. Where I am now in the plot, there doesn't seem to be any more opportunities to push my alignment any further as it seems to be almost an all-out straight fight to the finish from this point -- no need to make psychotic decisions anymore because "psychotic" will now be the automatic decision, regardless.
I like KOTOR because it allows me to explore my personal values. Yes, it's just a game, but precisely because it is a game that's why whatever decisions I make shouldn't matter, but they do. Even though my limited, virtual decisions affect only virtual puppets that follow a set of scripted responses, I still feel terrible when I steal from them, or cheat them, or hack them into little bits with my supercharged lightsabre just for some paltry personal gain -- some credits here, a useable item there, or some small increase in experience and/or Dark alignment points. If you had the power of the Force, what would YOU do with it?
And on a side note: after many, many attempts, I finally hunted down and captured Latios this evening. 'nuff said.