I know nobody will ever read this, but I'm writing it anyway because it's COVID time and I'm goddamn bored.
As an up-front: The year is 2021. We didn't know it back in the day, but with current standards, a few bugs, cut content and ultimately not that important unfinished side-storylines do absolutely not disqualify a game to be considered one of the best, and what this game offers is not only unique and excellently written but nigh perfectly executed.
To offer a brief version if someone should actually happen upon this: Kreia is the only Nietzschean character I've ever seen in a videogame and defies the near chronic doubling-up of the villain and antagonist character type in one character.
People seem to generally shy away from including Nietzschean characters in their stories because they're neither to be loved nor hated with a passion. The fact they not only included a Nietzschean in a universe that so often descends into painting everything in black and white, but even made her the teacher of the player character, which already has a complicated history (which in the best case includes torture and mass murder and in the worst includes proper genocide), is brilliant. The Jedi are precisely what Nietzsche would consider the embodiment of slave mentality - the ultimate idea of no self-worth, reliance on others, suppression of emotion. The Sith are of course not much better - Nietzsche highly disliked giving in to your every desire, placing it only slightly above self-suppression. Kreia, truly, is neither. She represents the Nietzschean idea - devoting herself to personal strength and using her emotions in a transformative way, exercising self-control. Naturally, Kreia despises the Force: It is not only a tool, but actively directs people and history. To Kreia's eye, all the universe is enslaved by it because as long as it exists, the people of the universe cannot truly make free decisions.
This is also reflected in a moment many probably remember from the game because there are only two choices to make and both are considered false by Kreia: A beggar approaches the player character on Nar Shaddaa and asks for money. Giving him some makes him a victim for others to rob, while denying him money and acting disgusted by him makes him inflict hurt on others. The former obviously enforces what Nietzsche called his "slave mentality" - the reliance on others to take care of him. The latter is unnecessarily cruel and only reinforces his anger over his personal position. Neither choice aids him in becoming a better and more developed person, which should be the desire of a Nietzschean.
As for the character roles: Very often, modern stories do not distinguish between protagonist, main character, hero and focaliser (put very shortly: the character driving the personal development storyline, the character on which the focus of the plot lies, a character with attributes considered admirable and the character upon which the narrative is focused; main character and focaliser are hard to separate, but a good example are the Sherlock Holmes stories - Watson is the focaliser and at the same time the narrator, while Holmes is generally the main character). Similarly, these stories also do not distinguish between antagonist and villain.
While Kreia is, in the end, certainly the villain of the story, she absolutely is not the antagonist - on the contrary, she is a protagonist besides the player character. Nihilus and Sion could both be described as antagonists, although their role is not that prominent. Especially Nihilus had a lot of his relevance removed when they cut most of his storyline, which is unfortunate. Kreia, however, is set on driving the personal development of the Exile. She supports the Exile basically until the end, even though she has to fight her / him when her / his own goals come into conflict with Kreia's. This is another reason it's so saddening there was never a KotOR 3: Without really explaining what happened after Kreia's death and offering more options than simply "light and dark", there really is no telling of whether Kreia's training worked in transforming the Exile into a Nietzschean. And no, TOR is not a true successor because it threw most of the ideas especially from KotOR 2 out the window to return to the cookie-cutter Star Wars formula.
I may re-use this at some point for something, so don't just go thievin' it, random Googler who landed on this by accident. If you find spelling mistakes, you can keep 'em.
I never played SW KOTOR2 but this definitely peaked my interest.
Mikey - GameFront.com - Lead Developer
Preferred it to KOTOR 1. Although I haven't played it in many many years, it was was one of the last lengthy RPGs I could binge.
Mister Angry Rules Guy
31st January 2010
Honestly, I have THOUSANDS of hours in BOTH. Literally, THOUSANDS.
Anyway, as for which is the better game, to me, it all comes down to which story you prefer. Otherwise, I cannot remember any discernable difference at all. Well, I actually CAN remember much from those years in the first place. (Dementia tends to delete everything.)
Of course, that is WITH taking mods in consideration, because half (literally HALF) of KOTOR2 got cut prior to launch, and the half we did get was not even finished. But that can be fixed with the restoration project mods.
If you don't want to take mods into consideration, just considering what we got out of the box, KOTOR1 was actually launched as a finished game, which made it vastly superior.