With the release of the penultimate chapter of Knights of the Fallen Empire, new questions have cropped up about the KotFE Storyline. Building to the season finale of The Battle of Odessan, KotFE Chapter 15 – The GEMINI Deception is an intense, long and tricky chapter to navigate!
I will also update this post as I do more runs. On the whole I really enjoyed this chapter due to its balance of video, action and problem-solving, but it wasn’t without its difficulties. Feel free to add your own observations in the comments!
GEMINI Deception: The Positives
From the off-set Chapter 15 is beautifully designed. For the first time you get to see the inside of one of the Eternal Fleet ships and design-wise the team at SWTOR have done an amazing job.
Positive 2: Solid Storytelling
As ‘story’ has always been the focus of KotFE, this chapter does not fail to deliver on that score. In echoes of the Megasecurity Ward scene on Belsavis, you are being watched and communicated with by the GEMINI Captain throughout the chapter. You have an unseen enemy until you are forced to fight her. Add to that the ease of landing your shuttle in the ship and the unease of your team when they board with how quiet their reception was and there is some solid interaction and tension-building.
Positive 3: Team Assault
I have always liked missions with multiple companions. There’s a similar set-up with one of the Republic Trooper missions. And the much-smaller combination of you, Gault and Vette in Profit and Plunder. Getting companions to interact in the stressful position of an active mission rather than sitting in the Alliance War Room is really great to see.
Positive 4: Plot Twist (SPOILER)
As much as SCORPIO has been designed to be hated by all playable characters (even Agents) and distrusted by other Alliance members, it was a genuine shock to believe she had been beaten by the GEMINI Commander. Your only hope of disrupting Zakuulan technology is suddenly destroyed, leaving you alone in an enemy ship, with a GEMINI Captain with the upper hand. Or so it seems. On my first run I was genuinely shocked, not because I want to keep SCORPIO (I don’t) but because your technological advantage has been removed.
With the end-game plot twist of her being reassembled on the Eternal Throne, the story seems to throw a curveball, leaving me with more questions!
Positive 5: Puzzles to Solve
Some chapters of Knights of the Fallen Empire just seem to be wave after wave of either droids or Knights. While there are plenty of droids in The GEMINI Deception, there are various puzzles and traps to navigate. The ones that come to mind right now are:
- Finding tools to use: such as commanding your very own Skytrooper. I haven’t managed to pass the Bonus Mission yet so I know there are more, but I couldn’t find them. I will, just not yet!
- Gas Traps: there are at least two gas chambers that quickly eat up your hit points. For goodness sake, keep your companion in Heal mode and ensure that you have good influence with Theron, Lana, SCORPIO and Senya for this chapter! Spoiler: SCORPIO is removed as a companion at the end of this chapter, but having a good influence level before it should help. Note: as gas is not ‘normal damage’ shield/absorption rating seems to play no role in protecting you from this. Slow-release medpacks or Endurance Stims may also give you an advantage.
TIP: you have to destroy all sources of the gas, but part way through the repair droids arrive, so kill those off and then continue to destroy the gas source. I’ve nearly died twice failing to remember this!
- Lava Flow Trap: as pictured above. These replenish really quickly, so start running as soon as it begins receding, else you get ‘bounced back’. If you have Force Speed, or a Class Trait that speeds up running (Sharpshooters have that option in their class tree when exiting cover for example), use those. Otherwise it’s down to your reflexes!
- Circles of Death: a few rooms have moving ‘circles of doom’ that you need to navigate around. As they move your route through them changes.
Positive 6: Arcann is not Infallible
You’ve already beaten Arcann once in battle. At the end of Chapter 9, Lana reminds you that “The Battle of Asylum has shown Zakuul isn’t invincible”. Despite his alleged balance in the Force (though his attitudes and actions are more Darkside than balanced in my humble opinion). The same applies here. Once alerted to an Assault on one of his ships, both he an Vaylin set off to intercept believing they will finally capture the Outlander. And he fails on this score at least as the ship is destroyed and you escape.
Positive 7: Real Decisions
During this chapter you encounter some prisoners – some from the Republic, some from the Empire and some from Zakuul. In a bid to save their lives they make their way to the escape pods. However Theron Shan only has enough time to jettison two of the three pods. Whichever does not eject gets destroyed and the people inside die. The decision you make is a life and death one. There are no easy answers: I will always eject Zakuul on this chapter because you need to emerge as a better leader than Arcann and Vaylin who kill their own people for kicks. As to whether to save Republic or Imperial lives, I will have to decide on a per-character basis.
I took a snap Twitter poll asking people which escape pod didn’t escape:
— Fibro Jedi (@FibroJedi) July 21, 2016
GEMINI Deception: The Negatives
There aren’t many negatives really. The issue, as per my Open Letter to Bioware, is the effect on my health. Playing SWTOR under Fallen Empire is getting harder. “Intense”, “Difficult” and “Challenging” are things that sell games to gamers. People won’t buy into an easy game. This chapter actually made my Fibromyalgia pain levels worse – and for once it wasn’t the bosses that did it. Although I like puzzles, the trap rooms are genuinely stressful. You have little time to find the solutions before you die. I managed not to die on my first run, but I got really close as my healer only just kept up.
The problem for me with intense gaming is that it puts me off doing the run on my next character, so most of my alts have still not run The GEMINI Deception, because of this. I would still take an ‘easy mode’ with fewer (or lower-quality) rewards so that gamers of different ability and limits can enjoy playing without muscle tension and headaches!
GEMINI Deception: The Intriguing
As usual Chapter 15 left me with more questions than answers, so here’s what I have thought of so far:
- How Powerful is Arcann without his Fleet?
During Visions in the Dark, Satele Shan tells you that “the Eternal Fleet is the greatest threat this galaxy has ever faced”. It is the fleet that keeps the conquered worlds in check. It’s the fleet that people fear. It’s the fleet that truly defends Zakuul and the Throne from its enemies. With SCORPIO (at least temporarily) in control of it, will Arcann appear weaker and what might the repercussions be?
- Can the Force Outmatch SCORPIO’s technological superiority?
In the closing scene of The GEMINI Deception, Zakuul’s droids, commanded by SCORPIO easily gun down the Honour Guard of Knighs leading to the Throne. With much of Fallen Empire revolving around the Force, can we for once see a victory of technology over the Force and see a powerful non-Force character playing a key role in future storylines?
- Will SCORPIO Finally Betray You?
With the final chapter of this season announced as The Battle of Odessan, your secret base will clearly no longer be secret. Is it SCORPIO who tells Arcann where you are? After all, you know more about her than anyone else and that could hinder her self-improvement reason for existence.
GEMINI Decption Teaser Trailer
TL;DR Chapter 15 Review
This chapter is unique – life/death decisions, unique traps and puzzles and plot twists. It sets the stage nicely for the final chapter of Season 1 – The Battle of Odessan. I am struggling now with some chapters of KotFE due to their effect on my health. I play SWTOR to relax and this chapter is not relaxing. But I also acknowledge that this varies person-to-person and my point of view on this is not the majority view! On the whole this is an awesome chapter, which takes time to play so I have to give a hat tip to the devs on this one!
GEMINI Deception Screenshots
Here are some other shots I have not yet put into this post (if I duplicate one or two, forgive me!):