Reviews// Star Wars: The Old Republic

Posted 11 Jan 2012 15:49 by
Some say it’s good to be bad. To be mean to the point of becoming a pantomime villain within a gripping story that can last for over 50 hours is certainly appealing to many. Take for example, those who play on the side of the Empire in Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR); they certainly hold that view.

So much so, that SWTOR has taken a firm hold on a large chunk of the videogame playing masses; with a launch that has seen many succumb to both dark and light sides of the force to the exclusion of everything else. I too joined the hive of scum and villainy that is SWTOR and thus found myself transported far back to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

SWTOR takes place 3,500 years prior to the events that unfolded in the Star Wars films, and 300 years after the end of Knights of the Old Republic 2.

A peace exists between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic following the ‘Great Galactic War’ that occurred over 10 years prior to the period that players of SWTOR find themselves in. The world of SWTOR is in the midst of a cold war, which is about to become much hotter thanks to the conflicts that are starting to build, as the peace between the Empire and the Republic begins to fall apart.

Good Gear
Normally storyline and setting are of little consequence to massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Players dive into the game with the aim of having the best gear and to see as much content as possible. The story within the game is pushed into the background in favour of the desire to acquire better stuff.

SWTOR attempts to break this mould by placing the player in the centre of their own personal story, which has been carefully prepared for their chosen class. It is this reliance on story integration at such an ingrained level that sets SWTOR so far apart from all other MMOs. It is also the main reason why it has drawn so much attention and affection.

It must be understood, however, that SWTOR is an MMO and so has all the trappings that burden the genre. Those hoping to find themselves playing a version of Knights of the Old Republic will therefore be in for a bit of a shock, as they see other people running around doing the exact same quests. It also has the ‘grind’ when levelling up, quests that require the player to kill ‘x’ amount of things in exchange for a boost in experience points and perhaps some in-game money.

In addition to these traits, SWTOR was designed to be played with other people from the get go, with developer BioWare’s thinking that if the game is a massively multiplayer experience, it should exploit that fact.

When first fired up, SWTOR starts with a character creation session that requires the player to choose the faction they wish to be affiliated with and to then build the avatar that they will be controlling in the game. There are nine races to choose from; Human, Chiss, Cyborg, Miraluka, Mirialan, Sith Pureblood, Zabrak, Twi’lek and Rattataki.

Some of these races are restricted to one faction and some can only be certain classes. Four classes are initially offered with each class splitting into two specialties once the player reaches level 10, making the total number of classes on offer sixteen. These range from Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior and Imperial Agent through to Smuggler, Jedi Knight and Consular.

There is a significant amount of customisation available in both character body shape and facial features. While it's a feature that's nice to have for most MMOs, it has little impact on the player as few people will ever get to see their character’s face close up. This is not the case with SWTOR, however, as when a player collects a quest, nine times out of ten they will open a dialogue between the quest-giver and them.

At this point the camera view switches to a close up of the character’s face. Those familiar with BioWare’s other games will have encountered this before, so its presence in SWTOR shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

This leads on to the abundance of voice acting in the game. Every non-player character (NPC) the player interacts with has a voice over. This is quite an achievement considering the fact that every class has their own branching storyline that is quest driven. Not to mention all of the side quests that can be completed along the way. This certainly adds much to the sense of immersion to the game and engages the player in their own personal adventure.
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Dawn 11 Jan 2012 17:24
thanks for the review. I had one question though. I have heard that swtor is HUGE, and demands you to put in a lot of time. That's something I can't afford, I plan on playing 15-20 hours a week or more if time allows (which I don't think so). is this much time good enough?
Fla 11 Jan 2012 18:34
@Dawn I also play casually, doing warzone when workday (3 hours at most) and questing in the weekend. doing warzone gives xp, and while staying in the capital ship during workday also giving me bonus experience that i can spend during questing in the weekend. -sorry for bad english
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Dawn 12 Jan 2012 03:51
@Fla your english is fine, and thanks for the reply. I will probably go and buy it then :)
xiaopig 14 Jan 2012 06:45
Seems weird to me that the Sentinel class dosent get any of these abilitiesreally good news at [removed] 100k swtor credits=$5.99 and the discount coupon" sw5 " can enjoy 5% discount.Sentinels back in the KOTR games were a balance of meele and force users. Seems to me that one of these spells would help the Sentinel in closing the gap after being knocked back stunned, [removed] swtor credits broken stun and re snared stunned again.

[16 Jan 2012, 17:33: Message edited by 'config' - spam link removed]
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