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.)

This Just In (Or not) – Dust 514 vehicles & customization, no license required.

 

Just fresh after the Beta Weekend from Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dust 514 (the best MMOFPS not out yet) just released more information on the game: this time about vehicles. These ain’t just stock tanks people, players can customize any vehicle with the use of modules. They can tool up weapons, abilities, overall performance to the players satisfaction and that’s just the beginning – read on.

 

 

This just in (Or not) – Star Wars: The Old Republic massive stress test available to all! *

*  = If you signed up for beta testing at their website before November 11th, but don’t worry there’s still hope.

 

This quote was provided by Polstar at the swtor.com forums, summing up the situation nicely.

 

 

Yes! As the swtor release date comes closers, the people at BioWare want to make sure that their little WoW killer (yes, I’m calling it) can handle anything (and when I mean anything I mean people) so to that effect they are allowing any and all players who signed up for beta testing (years ago I imagine) to participate in a massive stress test that will coming up soon. This news should make quite a few of you happy out there. However what about the people who never signed up (really?) or just joined the old republic band wagon between the 11th and now – are they out of luck? Nope. Those people can follow the game site links BioWare has provided, through their promotions more stress test access with be allowed. Finally we can all experience what we were awaiting for all this time; will it be a dream come true, or a nightmare – see you online.

 

 

This just in (or not) – Star Wars: The Old Republic release date (no seriously)

So I was about to drink my coffee, watch Cartoon Network (hey it is Saturday after all), and play Adventure Quest, you know, morning stuff. Then I said to myself:

 

“Hey, yesterday was fan Friday on swtor.com, so I better see what on this week. Maybe an Holonet Galactic Timeline entry – finally…”

 

However, this is what I saw:

An actual screenshot from my computer (duh).

 

So yeah, there is nothing more to say here, December 20 is ‘the’ day game for ‘the’ game. So as the great portal host Dave Meinstein once said: “Get your affairs in order, say goodbye to your families, because this one is going to be epic.

 

Watchout (and for)! – Deus Ex, BH Online, and Hutball

 

Ladies and gentlemen; the lil’ Jimmies are back in school, certain TV shows are getting new episodes, and the weather can’t seem to make up its mind so you know the ‘Fall of Games’ has arrive. Finally! Seriously Team Fortress 2 going free on the PC was the best thing to happen because without it I would have gone stir crazy this summer. The wait is over however and soon we’ll all have enough good titles to choke a pig – starting with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Despite this game being a prequel and my all communing hatred for thing prequel I’m willing to ignore that fact because a) Square Enix had a hand making this title and b) because it looks cool (hopefully it plays cool too).  Now the game comes out in the states tomorrow so if you like this series and also like pre orders rocket launchers and secret missions I suggest you get your affairs in order before zero hour.

 

 

Hey remember a week ago when Armada reported that MMO report reported about a European MMO called Bounty Hounds Online was currently in Beta but North American people can’t participate because of legal issues, but G4TV said they has some beta keys and will give them out in the near future. Well that’s today people, so if you want a chance to play an interesting (albeit incomplete) game check your G4TV Twitter and Facebook feeds every so often and cross your fingers.

 

 

Finally (and on the topic of MMOs) Star Wars: The Old Republic released an video on a new player v player mode in their upcoming, world ending, bring people to the point riot game. Pvp on MMOs really never interested me that much (I’m more of a twitch killer actually), but this takes me back to Blitzball and Smash TV so it’s worth a play through once – or twice.

 

 

 

 

This just in (or not) – ‘Jedi Wizard’ renamed for Star Wars: The Old Republic

Ok here’s a quick one:

In the upcoming Star Wars MMO, the Old Republic, when they named the advanced classes not everyone was happy with the ones assigned to their class. Namely the Jedi Consular.

So after a lot of this:

 

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BioWare in their infinite wisdom changed it to Jedi Sage:

 

Which goes to show if you don’t like something, whine about it on a message board til all your dreams come true… Seriously though, its not a bad name change and a lot of people are happy with it so mission complete. Now if they can get the Trooper class companions and ship info on their site, I’ll be a happy man.

This just in (or not) – World of WarCraft: Cataclysm update begins, Class talents overhaul also begins.

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Well, right now I should be playing WoW, hyping up my character as fast as possible for the upcoming Cataclysm launch on Dec 7. But I can’t because the people at Blizzard are enacting a massive patch/maintenance update for Cataclysm – so all I can do right now is read their upcoming changes. Well apparently they’re changing (and adding) quite a bit including the class talent trees. How so? Well, in order the stream line them (or maybe as a response to the ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ Advanced Classes System) they are getting rid of ‘lame’ talents by reducing the trees to 31 points only per tree. Players will only get 1 point per 2 levels gained, so they can alternate between new abilities brought from trainers and skill tree talents. What else? You can’t go between trees anymore – not until you fill up your ‘primary specialization’. Truthfully I don’t know what to think about this, but I can’t wait to try it out – couple more hours to go… Want to know more, click the banner up top.