Game Review: Star Wars: The Old Republic – Endgame

 

It’s finally here ladies and gentlemen; after two and a half years of planning, prepping, dreaming, trailers, fan-fridays, forum flame wars, alphas, betas & early launches – Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally a reality. Now people I’ll own up to my mistakes, when I heard they were going to take the Old Republic series of Star Wars to the MMO field I was both worried and disappointed. In MMOs it’s easy to get lost in the ‘Massive’ part of the games; a player is reduced to a number on a server tally. Don’t get wrong I love MMORPGs but turning a series that prior focused on how the player’s actions could very well change the  universe into a game that is static and constant for the sake of multiple players was disheartening. Until I saw the first trailer – at that moment all my worries melted away. So were my worries unfounded, were they able to do the impossible and make an MMO like a single player game and make the player feel like they actually doing something other than grinding 10 rats for a leather shield?  Read on my friends, read on.

 

 

Game Info

 

 

The setting of this game is a long time ago (ether 200, 2000 or 4000 years before the Star Wars films – I’m not sure) in a galaxy far far away. Before there was an evil empire and the renegade rebellion; there was a separate, but still very evil, empire and the old republic. From here players will have to decide what side to stand on, what race to represent and of course which class to choose from. Once you tool up your avatar and start your game, that’s when the fun really begins. First you get treated to your own Star Wars narration crawl (the words at the beginning of every Star Wars anything), then a cutscene with your character in it interacting with the environment and people – fully voiced – in a MMO! Which until now, was unheard of for this type of game genre. But wait, there’s more! Players aren’t confined to being silent gofers for various quest givers out there, oh no, if you want to tell that little old lady off for losing her various dangerous items to the planet’s biggest mob, you go right ahead. Then ‘if’ you choose to help her, you can force her to give you more money otherwise you’ll use the various dangerous items on her, and it will work (mileage may vary)! Choosing how you’ll interact with these people will determine your character overall and their story, and yes I said ‘their’ story. Each of the eight classes has their own unique storyline to which players have an almost infinite way of affecting it. Oh sure it starts pretty standard: kill this, get that, you know the MMO drill. But then around level 8 something wonderful happens, they make your character part of something bigger. I can’t give you all any details, but sufficed to say with the name BioWare, not only will it will take you there, but it will make you want to see it through til the end.

 

Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Which means this is a game that still keeps going even after a player logs off for the evening. It also means that this is a very large game, so large in fact you would have to combine four single player RPGs to equal the content in a MMO. Players start (as they always do) humbly but must fight and complete ‘quests’ to become a force to be reconed with. Quests in Swtor are ones following your storyline or quests given by random people at different locations. Most can be completed by yourself but ‘heroic’ quests are tougher nuts to crack and require help from other players. Finally there are ‘Flashpoints’ which are special quests that requires four players to complete; they’re tough and tricky but I swear you’ll always feel epic completing one – plus the rewards are pretty B.A. too. Of course if crushing the heads of computerized enemies does nothing for you then go PvP and finally answer the age old question: are hooky religions and ancient weapons a match for a good blaster by your side?

 

 

The Goods:


 

 

Character class stories: By far the best thing about the game. Again I can’t reveal much about this fact here, but BioWare has an excellent track record for storytelling with their games and continue that proud tradition in Swtor. There are eight character classes in the game; each and every one of their stories are different from each other but they are all good. Ok, I’ll say this; I thought the imperial agent was going to be a lame duck class with nothing to bring to the table. During the beta I played him just to sate my morbid curiosity: I’ve couldn’t been more wrong. The character was fun to play and the story was downright intriguing, I seriously wanted to know more, but the beta ended. Now that the game’s out I can continue the Agent’s story as well as many others. Trust me, my words can’t property describe how awesome these stories are or how much I’m enjoying every one of them.

 

Improve combat: Tank, DPS (damage per second – damage dealer), and Healer. The holy trinity, as they call it, of all MMOs. In order to be truly successful in any MMO group you need at least one of each; otherwise the group will be decimated. Swtor makes being one of these roles a much easier thing to do thanks to ‘advance classes’; they add a little flexibility for players not be confined to a ‘role’. For example, my advance classes is DPS but also has healing skill, so I can field both spots well. Even if I further specialize in DPS or heal, the other skills won’t suffer. Though I won’t be as good as a healer if I choose to focus on damage dealing compared to someone who focused on healing. Also in general fighting enemies can range from fun times to a challenging test to skill without seeming redundant or mocking players intelligences. Finally no matter if you like lightsabers, blaster pistols, autocannons, or sniper rifles, every form of combat is respected here and no one weapon of war has an advantage. Well played again BioWare.

 

Spaceship combat: Forget all those nay sayers whose said rail flight combat was lame – it’s not. It’s simple to learn, tough to master ride through space and time where it takes razor sharp skills to survive. Like on planet side you’ll be given missions to accomplish; whether that protecting a transport ship of valuable goodies, or destroying a space station (stay on target), they’ll keep you busy all over the galaxy. Prove your flying prowess and get special rewards, heck you might even get a crack at the Kessel Run – the current record is 12 parsecs.

 

Companions: Another thing I was bummed about when they decided to make Kotor an MMO and that’s no more sidekicks. Delving into my allies psyche and finding out what makes them tick was a great amount of enjoyment to me; while others were less complex (Ah, HK-47, I could watch you kill meatbags all day). My point is, there was no way we could get that same ‘mechanic’ in a MMO – wrong again. BioWare has expertly crafted five different companions for each of the eight character classes in the game. Each companion is their own person, with their reason for fighting for you, and their opinions on the situations you’ll throw them in. By your actions they can either become your best friends or see you as a monster – whatever route you choose to take remember there is ‘no’ going back in a MMO so be careful.

 

 

The Bad:

 


Misc: I could not find one thing genuinely wrong with this game in a single area, but rather in spots like animation hiccups, quest bugs, and the like. But most MMOs have this problem in the beginning, give it a couple of months to update and patch out and game will be flawless.

 

 

Ranking

 

What can I say that I haven’t said already? Star Wars: The Old Republic is everything I hoped it could be and more. It is a MMORPG that will now set the standard in the realm of storytelling, design, characters, music, combat and anything else you can think of. Each world future players will visit holds more secrets than I’ve had time to experience in this short time – and just when you think you’re out they pull you back in. The Old Republic will not disappoint any fans of sci-fi, MMOs or a combination of the two. It will make you believe dreams can come true, it will make you see endless gaming potential, and most of all, it will show you that the one, true, WoW killer has finally come…

(So what’s a gamer obsessive going to do now that the game of his dreams came out? Find the next big time, groundbreaking, MMO to latch on to. Guild Wars 2 people, it’s going to be big.)

4 Comments

  1. Nice to hear that this is a “dream come true” to you guys. I’m not a fan of MMO so I guess this I’ll be missing out this one. Good looking game though. Thanks for the post.

    • I would say give it a try anyway, but because you technically can’t rent a MMO, one would have to wait for ‘free trials’ to try the game. If you like BioWare games in any way, shape, or form; swtor would be right up your alley.

  2. […] the pipe, today (or rather on 6/28) it’s Guild Wars 2. Now hardcore Armada fans will remember at the end of my swtor review I joked that Guild Wars 2 will be the next big MMO. Don’t get me wrong, I still love swtor (even […]

  3. […] talked about this game more than once, but you know what people, I just can’t help it. Star Wars: The Old Republic is now, what I said then,  everything I hoped it could be and more. Over the years (years… I can’t believe it) the game has gotten better with the […]


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