Star Wars The Old Republic Review
Star Wars the Old Republic Online
The Star Wars franchise took a little beating from fans of the sci-fi classic as it made the decision to close down the Sony Online’s Star Wars Galaxies and go with a new title along with BioWare’s first real leap into the MMO based game market.
Originally the game launched on December 20, 2011 to much fanfare and acclaim. I will not lie, I pre-ordered the game and couldn’t wait to play it at launch. I will be honest I liked the game very much at launch, but I stopped playing after only a few months. I lost all interest in the game, thanks to a lot of personal issues and working crazy hours.
About a year later the development team announced that it would soon go free to play and that happened on November 15, 2012. The fan boys and the haters were each other throats again! Well I can’t really pick sides on this one. As the game released I liked it but not without questions some of the mechanics of the game. I’ll get into that later on, sorry for getting ahead on myself.
Well its 2013 and the time has come for a review after waiting for the whole free to play debacle to cool off. There was too much bitching for me to get into fray before the dust had settled.
As you enter the game you’re asked to pick your side either Imperial or the Rebel side. Once you make a choice you can create a character with 4 choices on both sides for a class to play (Republic side: Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, and Trooper. Imperial Side: Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Imperial Agent, and Bounty Hunter.) Also each class also has two sub classes that can be unlocked later as you progress up the leveling ladder.
The servers are setup in the usual selection with the choice of PVP, PVE, RP-PVP, and RP-PVE. After picking a server you have to create a character blah, blah.
As with most games you a pushed out into the world with a little background story to let you know why you have been dropped there to fend for yourself. Well this is where SWTOR excels in storytelling having 8 different but complete stories with all voiced over dialog cut scenes, so for the people that hate to read your dream has come true, but on a second thought if you are like that why are you reading this game review?
The stories are amazing from a new Jedi in training and moving your way up the rank to master, to a trooper that moving down the path to become an elite commando, to the Imperial spy that is out sabotaging Rebel outposts, the Sith apprentice to the next Darth, and becoming to greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy.
Each side has to two planets designated for the purpose of getting used to the game and leveling up to about level ten. This where you will learn all the gameplay mechanics and get used to the controls in game.
Now this is where someone would compare the gameplay to WOW and in some aspect you would be correct with that analogy. The gameplay is similar to just about every MMO on the market today, where as you select a skill to use and there is a cool down timer for that skill until it can be used again. This is stuff that would only not be known unless you lived under a rock for the last ten years.
The game has auto targeting enabled, so by default you only need to hit tab to target the next closest target and then start whaling away at you enemy. This mechanic is another love it or hate it option. Some people just hate auto targeting. To me it fits into some games and other not so much. I believe it works in the SWTOR environment.
The combat and fighting mechanics are fun to play through a complete level 50 character, but the animations go from flawless and perfect to clunky and jerky all in the same fight. It looks as though the animations department had work stoppages during the animation process and some got missed altogether.
Another thing that doesn’t work so well is the mob AI. At times it can be downright horrible. The AI cannot react to a lot of attacks or doesn’t know what or who to attack. Being shot through a wall is quite common in most of the dungeons. Are these game beakers not really, but can be rather annoying at times.
One feature of SWTOR that is somewhat unique is the companion system. BioWare brought this feature that is similar to the Dragon Age series of games. Your character will gain companions, they will progress and fight alongside your character. To be honest the whole system is an extension of your skills, just more customizable to your liking.
You will be able to have many companions later on in game. This is where you would be able to send the inactive companions out to find harvesting items along with crafting new components and items.
One problem with having companions is you need to outfit them with weapons and armor this can be a task when you have 4 companions. So if you want to have a few companions that have equal gear to what you have you will have to do a lot of standing at the trade terminals.
The problem with most of crafting is the lack of depth, you can make items, but they are no better that what you can find in game already. So what is the point of crafting other than a giant time sink your guess is good as mine. This is something that should be completely reworked on.
The end game is nothing more that grinding group missions called “Flash Points” at varying level of difficulty and or doing PVP mission for better gear. There is a complete lack of end game things to do unless you like doing the same missions over and over.
Another item to look at is the character legacy system, which allows your characters to share skills from other characters in the same family tree. So you could have a commando that has some of the Sith skills to use such as lightning bolts throwing. This cool but rarely gets used much.
The graphics in SWTOR are very cool to say the least with a kind of comic to graphic novel style of art feel to them. There is a lot of debate of game sites about the graphics being good or bad the truth of matter comes right down to processing power and graphics card, so you either have or you don’t. The graphics are clean or and crisp on a good a good system, while on a lower end system they are blocking and lack any decent shading of colors.
So what do I think of the graphics, well I have to say they are gorgeous on my high end machine. If I didn’t have that machine I probably wouldn’t like them as much. The graphics are clean with vivid detail but are stylized just enough to give you a little taste of the art style they were going for.
The sounds can be weird depending on what you have for speakers and can be a little different to get used to. The sounds are much like they are in real life if you are facing away from a sound you might not be able to hear it so well. I have heard and seen so many complaints on this aspect of the game.
Is this a good system for the in game sounds? The short answer is if your sounds card can handle it is great. Now if it can’t I have heard that it really make playing very hard, because you miss some of sounds and dialog at times. I have yet to experience that myself, but I can imagine that it’s a real pain in the butt to play like that.
So what does this say about the game, well if you like a good story then this is probably one of the best games as far as the story goes. I will even so far as saying nothing even comes close to the great story lines in SWTOR.
Ah, yeah I know a story doesn’t make a game, but it does make you want to play more and more often. I would never argue that with true gamer geek.
This game is a magnet for a fan boys and hater battle and I don’t even want to mention WOW and SWTOR in the same sentence. Opps sorry about that!
The bottom line is for a Star Wars fan this a great game that lacks a lot of end game stuff and is not without other faults but is still very fun to play. The stories cut scenes can become repetitive if you play multiple characters. If you enjoy the story lines you probably won’t care much and will have multiple characters to see them through.
The game could use some help in finding the true ways of the force but its worth a try.
Verdict is 4 of 6
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