Here is my review of Chapter 12 of Knights of the Fallen Empire, Visions in the Dark. I finished this just in time for Chapter 13 to come out, so this should serve as a good refresher for the chapter. For reference, I have completed the chapter on both my Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight as well as my Trooper and Bounty Hunter.
This chapter offers some incredibly fascinating insight into the force and the lore surrounding it. Familiar key characters from past stories make an appearance and offer guidance, we learn new things about Valkorion and the Alliance is gearing up to take down a key bit of Zakuul’s infrastructure. So there’s a fair bit that happens in this chapter; even though a couple of sections of it can get just a tiny bit tedious (but no where near as bad as some of the previous chapters).
This chapter is my favourite so far purely from a lore perspective. For force users it offers you the chance to further your training and learn more about elements of the force you may or may not have been accustomed to and new ways of thinking. But it is also disappointing to see the story continuing to go away from the classic Star Wars light side verses dark side conflict.
I found the chapter to be overall quite strange for a non force user. I’ve felt that way from the beginning about the KOTFE story. I’ve always felt the story is suited to force users only. I mean, why would Darth Marr summon a non force user in Chapter 1 when a force user (regardless of faction) would be far more worthy of his attention. Why would Valkorion give a damn about some non force user who will never have the potential to even come close to being his equal. This chapter just adds more salt to the wound. There should never have been one story for every class. Too much just doesn’t make sense or fit in with previous vanilla SWTOR class stories.
It took me a long time to bring myself to do the KOTFE story on non force using characters. It was only the promise of getting companions back and seeing their stories continued that motivated me to finally to do the grind.
But in any case, let’s review Chapter 12.
Full Review and Summary
**SPOILERS BELOW IMAGE**
The chapter starts off on Odessen where you’re brought in straight for a briefing with key players in the Alliance. The Alliance has found where and how Arcann communicates with the Eternal Fleet and have come up with a basic plan of attack. You get to choose whether Aric or Kaliyo will clear a path in the Spire for you.
This chapter does start quite abruptly in my view. There is no flow or smooth transition between Chapter 11 and Chapter 12. You’re just abruptly plopped into the next part of the story. Instead, it would’ve been nice to see more interaction with the Alliance and see more of the mundane day to day activities of the Alliance Base. It would especially have been nice if we got the chance to interact more with our romantic interest if it is Theron or Lana.
Lana suggests that you consult with Valkorion before making your way to Zakuul. Why, is beyond me considering her mistrust of him and her misgivings about him being inside your head. But alas, you find a secluded location away from the Base and then things go pear shaped. It would seem that Valkorion woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He’s not impressed that you, for the first time ever, have asked him for help. He’s usually the one offering to help you. He blabs on about how you’re not fulfilling your destiny and his sick of waiting for you to do something. So he decides to teach you a lesson.
I found the premise of Valkorion’s anger with you to be quite strange, it’s honestly never been made clear until this chapter what exactly he wants you to do beyond disposing of Arcann and Vaylin. The only interaction we get from him after Chapter 2 is his random comments on whatever is happening or the chance to use his power that he offers you in certain situations. He hints at it, but it doesn’t come together until this chapter.
While traversing the wilds of Odessen trying to find a way back to the Alliance Base, Valkorion says some interesting things which I’ve screen-capped below.
(Click on images to enlarge them, opens image gallery on page).
At the end of another confrontation with you, Valkorion informs you that he is now leaving and has matters to attend to. This confirms that Valkorion doesn’t need your physical body to be able to keep existing. Which I suppose makes sense considering in Chapter 2 he says he has learnt to exist beyond the physical realm after his ritual on Ziost.
But why does he leave? What matters does he need to attend to? I am really anxious to find out what his endgame is. All he will tell us is that we will know/understand when the time comes. It sounds like it will be a fun time for us when the time comes I’m sure.
He gives you ‘a token of his favor’ which is likely a small amount of his power to keep you alive (despite being mad at you) which causes you to pass out.
We than get to see another bonding session with Arcann and Vaylin. Arcann is all sad he hasn’t found the Outlander or his father. Vaylin doesn’t do much to comfort him.. It’s basically a repeat of the same old stuff from the last few Arcann and Vaylin’s bonding sessions.
This encounter does raise an interesting question though: Why is Vaylin helping Arcann? She is angry at her father for hiding her power from her. But still, she’s more powerful then Arcann she could easily take over the Eternal Throne for herself.
You awaken in a decrepit looking ship and proceed to explore a camp that has clearly been there for quite sometime. You then come across Satele Shan, the now former Grand Master of the Jedi Order. She tells you about how she failed to stop the legions of Zakuul and how she left the Jedi Order to follow the will of the force and seek answers. She says that our old force training (if you’re a force user) will not be enough to defeat Arcann. She then proceeds to give you your first lesson.
During your next conversation with Satele, where she talks as about the nature of the force on Odessen and Zakuul, Darth Marr reveals himself. Satele and Marr, you quickly gather, have been working together to better understand the force and to try make things right again. They offer to pass on what they have discovered so you can learn from their mistakes and better understand the enemy so you can defeat them.
It’s quite fascinating that the former leaders of such polar opposite force philosophies were able to reconcile their differences and find common ground. It is quite contradictory to the classic Star Wars mantra of light verses dark. SWTOR seems to be blurring the lines between the light side verse dark side and melding them together even more with the KOTFE story. Arcann and Vaylin are clearly the villains, but apart from them, it’s not always clear who’s good and who’s evil especially when it comes to Valkorion. The Alliance is just a confusing mix of good and evil trying to do some good. It feels really strange.
In order to better equip you for your next encounter with the enemy, Darth Marr indicates that as part of your next trial, you will make a new weapon. You wonder through the Odessen wilds finding the parts you need to build the new weapon while Marr and Satele offer more insight about the force and the enemy. You then go into a cave where you confront Vaylin. You defeat her but it turns out she is just an apparition which serves as a vision of the future, a warning of what’s to come. You then proceed to create your new weapon, a pure extension of the force.
I did appreciate that when you’re a non force user you at least construct your weapon without using the force and that it is suitable to your class.
Satele and Marr then reminisce over their mistakes and offer some advice on leadership qualities you will need to lead the Alliance. You then proceed to your final trial. On the way there, Darth Marr further discusses the nature of the force:
For the final trial, you kill some young Jurgoran’s then face their mother a being of pure fury. You get to choose whether to attack the monster or not. Afterwards, Satele and Marr offer you some final words of advice and caution before being called on by the force to go elsewhere. You then proceed back to the Alliance Base.
The Satele/Marr part of this chapter mimics the Luke and Yoda scenes in Empire Strikes Back, to some extent, where the old master, Yoda (but in our case old masters), pass on their knowledge to a younger, yet powerful individual. It’s nice to see them adding nods to the original Star Wars story mimicking scenes from the movies so we get to relieve them with our own ‘Star Wars’ characters.
When you finally make it back to the base, you find that the attack on the Spire is well underway. The Alliance leaders are completely oblivious of your return until you say something. Naturally they are concerned about where you’ve been. You can choose to explain what happened or to get them to focus on the mission at hand.
Shortly after you arrive, either Aric or Kaliyo (depending on who you chose to be your back up) will run into trouble and you lose contact with them. Whoever you chose to be the distraction will then pipe in and say they will go in and sort it out. You tell them whether you approve or disprove of their action. With or without your approval they go in anyway.
This concludes the chapter on a cliff hangar, with the key alliance members not being able to do anything but watch the holo-projection of the Spire flash as it flashes red.
We should find out the fate of Aric and Kaliyo in Chapter 13.
Up until this point in the story, your goal has been to get rid of Arcann and Vaylin and restore order to the galaxy (more or less). Now, you’re being told not only by Valkorion but also by Darth Marr and Satele Shan that in order to do this, you must take the Throne for yourself and rule the galaxy. To me this just doesn’t quite feel right. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this pans out in the story.
It would be great to see, in future chapters not just scenes of Arcann and Vaylin but also scenes of what’s happening in the Republic and Empire. Considering Arcann’s broadcasts are likely galaxy wide, they would have to be aware of the Alliances’ existence by now. Surely by now whispers must have reached the ears of the leaders of both factions who could be involved or who is conspiring with or against the Alliance. It would add some faction flavor to the KOTFE story and give us a visual indicator of the state of the greater galaxy. Something we have not really seen in KOTFE.
Either way Chapter 12 was a nice diversion from the mundane recruitment missions we went on at the behest of Theron. While being a great chapter for force users, it further showed just how poorly the KOTFE story suits non force user characters. I’m looking forward to seeing what SWTOR deliver for us in Chapter 13.
What did you think of Chapter 12? Did you like it better as a force or non force user? Are you looking forward to Chapter 13?
Also, one thing that has occurred to me recently is, where is the Medical Bay in the Alliance Base? That’s kind of an important part of any base right?