It’s been a month now since the release of the long anticipated Star Wars the old republic (SWTOR) and I am happy to announce that this game met and exceeded all of my expectations. I had been waiting for this game back in 2009 ever since the epic release of this trailer (link video). The Jedi/Sith action and the epic storyline of star wars make this mmo possibly, maybe, perhaps finally the true WoW killer.
I don’t even know where to begin to start talking about the pros of this mmorpg as compared to all the others. For starters the most noticeable change is in the conversations with great voice acting for every quest you receive. There is literally a cut scene for every quest that you encounter in this game which makes you feel like you’re the star of your own star wars series. Not only do the encounters with the NPC’s have voice acting but so does your character, and every response has a reaction. For instance, if you are a sith and someone goes and tells you to interrogate a republic officer you have the option to ask nicely or just plain “shock” them until they spill out the answers. Based on the amount of responses you do whether it be good or evil increases your alignment with the dark or light side of the force. The more evil you become the more veins and darker colored eyes your character gets.
This topic brings me to another great feature of SWTOR which is the companions. Your companions each have their own personality will either grow to love or hate you depending on how you respond during your quests. Some companions like the Dashade enjoy hurting jedi’s and making fools out of weaklings so the more evil your responses are the more affection you gain with him.
Affection is needed to increase the efficiency of your companions crew skills and don’t quote me on this but I heard battle skills as well. Crew skills (and thank god Bioware came up with a new way to do this) are your professions. All you do is pick 3 crew skills 1 crafting 2 mission skills and send your companions to go out and complete the missions or crafting themselves. The higher the level the longer it takes and more credits it costs to compelete a mission. I for one, love this new way to level up professions because it eliminates the painful grinding experience you get in other mmo’s that just make you feel like you’re wasting your life away.
The SWTOR combat is just as good as any quality mmorpg except for one thing, you get a lightsaber! (that is if you’re a jedi/sith class). The combat in SWTOR is fluid and works well with the action bar and abilities Bioware gives you. For melee classes you have a bar of force power that depletes everytime you use an ability that isn’t your normal attack, similar to a rogue in WoW. For the ranged classes such as Bounty Hunters and Commando’s you shoot until your gun overheats, similar to a plasma pistol in Halo. If your computer can handle the engine Bioware used to run Star Wars the old Republic then the combat will be smooth and detailed close to that of Star Wars the force Unleashed for Xbox. I enjoy the SWTOR combat sequences especially when you are questing with a couple of friends or in a raid party. It reminds me of the battle on Geonosis with all the Jedi’s, clone troopers, and Droids battling except throw in Sith, Bounty Hunters, and Smugglers into the mix. The SWTOR combat will definitely keep you satisfied for a long time while playing this game.
The graphics in SWTOR are quality for an mmo and even some parts of planets are visually stunning. For an mmo Bioware did a great job of recreating the look and feel of the Star Wars universe while making it playable on most computers. The SWTOR graphics resemble a cel-shaded type feel and is similar to WoW which allow for the game to run smoothly and look aesthitically pleasing. The graphics are very similar to DC Universe and World of Warcraft which are my personal favorite ways to stare at an mmo for hours straight. The cartoonish looking style seems to be pyschologically less straining on the eyes when you play other more visually stunning games like Aion or Crysis. The level of details in the evironment will defintely give you the feeling that you’re immersed in the different worlds.
The planets in Star Wars the Old Republic are quite diverse from the famous desert planet of Tatooine to the Imperial city of Dromund Kaas each planet brings something new to the table. One of my favorite parts of an mmo are exploring and viewing the graphics of each various environment. Bioware did another fantastic job of developing the planets and making you feel like each planet has its’ own story to be told. Another great feature of Star Wars the Old Republic is that fact that you receive your own spaceship to travel across the galaxy! Forget your speeder mount or the ability to fly, you might as well just thrown in a Starship and yes you can fly out in open space and have space battles as well. The freedom that you have when you are able to fly in your own ship adds a lot to this game and lets you choose what to explore next and how quickly. Some planets I really enjoyed like Tatooine and Nar Shadda so I completed every quest I could find on those planets but other planets like Bal’Morra weren’t for me and I peaced out of there very quickly. Needless to say SWTOR doesn’t dissappoint on the planatery experience.
Star Wars the Old Republic Rates:
Graphics 8/10 The graphics for an MMORPG never quite cut the top of the line but the SWTOR graphics are amazing for its genre. Just look at the photo above of the planet Nar Shaddaa.
Gameplay 9/10 Jedi’s, Sith lords, Bounty Hunters, need I say more? The SWTOR combat is smooth and works well with the mechanics of an mmo, I am very impressed how well Bioware lived up to my expectations on this game.
Audio 9/10 The audio and background music is what you would expect from a Star Wars game but what propels it to the next level is the voice acting.
Replay Value 10/10 If this game and other MMO’s realize that charging $15 a month to play a game that you already paid for is a horrible idea then I believe that this game will be played religiously throughout the decade.