UPDATE: This review is based on the beta test, to see the full review on the final game, check out the new Star Wars the Old Republic review post.
This is a Star Wars: The Old Republic Review based on the Beta I played over the weekend. I was never into MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and believe me, I’ve tried. I played games like World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and so on, but I always got bored after playing them for a few weeks. Lack of story, repetitive grinding quests (Kill X, Gather Z), and lack of interesting things to do (I’m not into crafting, mining, and all that).
So when I got invited to the upcoming Star Wars The Old Republic MMORPG from Bioware and Lucasarts, I wasn’t that excited. Last weekend, however, I had a blast and as a result, I’ve just pre-ordered myself a Star Wars The Old Republic game!
For a start, it has one of the best cut scenes ever produced for a Star Wars game. Have a look at these 2 intros (for playing as 2 different factions: the Republic and Imperial):
After you choose whether you’ll be playing as an Imperial or Republic, it’s time to pick a class, race, and custom-made your characters. There are a few that you can choose from such as the Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, etc and each class also has a branch (advanced class) when you’ve reached level 10-ish.
Customising the character is fun just like any Bioware RPG games (such as Mass Effect or The Dragon Age series) and there are quite plenty of customisations here.
I pick a female as I wouldn’t feel like looking at a male’s butt all throughout the game (and not to mention some sad dudes giving me free stuffs thinking I’m a female and trying to hit me):
After trying a few classes, I loved playing as the Sith Warrior the most. Like Bioware’s previous Knights of the Old Republic series, sometimes your decision can lead you to the Light side or the Dark side. Pick harsh evil answers and your character will look more evil as you can see here (notice the different look of the eyes – I assume it’ll get worse if you are bad enough):
I also tried to play a Smuggler a la Han Solo:
which plays totally different than a Jedi and even the dialogues are different. A smuggler sounds more playful, cunning, and annoying (like Han Solo in the movie).
Things that I like about Star Wars: The Old Republic is the graphics engine and how smooth everything is, compared to the MMORPGs I’ve played. It looks great: the animations, facial expressions, and little effects really set the mood right.
What I love the most is the story of the main and even the sub-quests. Voiced over dialogues help me to really want to know and hear every conversation in the game, which is very rare to happen in the past as I got bored of reading heaps of quests texts on traditional MMORPGs. Not just that, you can also pick an answer during the conversations and will lead to different outcomes (like all Bioware RPG games).
Playing as a bad evil Sith Warrior woman, conversations such as “You are wasting your time. Just die.” or “You are pathetic. Die!” were the ones I picked the most. You’ll notice a red glowing amber on your screen whenever you pick a conversation that gives you Dark Side points (and I think it was blue? for Light side answers). Later on, they say that some items in the game are restricted based on your Dark/Light points, though I haven’t played too long to stumble upon this.
There are also Flash Points missions, where you need to group up for specific instance missions (like Raid in World of Warcraft) but these have storylines and cut-scenes as well.
I love the “multi conversations” where your whole group can join in together in a conversation during these instance missions. Every time you have to make a decision, you pick one and the rest of the group will pick one too. Whoever wins the roll, his/her answer will be picked by the game. It’s fun when you want someone dead, the rest of the groups want him live, and somewhat you win the roll :)
I also tried the PvP (Player vs Player) for a few times though I couldn’t really enjoy it as I wasn’t sure which one is the tank or the healer. In the end, my team and I was being butchered because I’m still a Level 11 where as everyone there was like level 18 or 20.
I bought this game not because its PvP, but because of the story and effort being put into making this game different than the other MMORPGs (and a couple of friends kept on nagging me to play with them :D).
I barely even scratch the surface of this game as there are other things such as having your own starship, crafting, companions’ quests, Space Combat, and much more to come when your level is high enough and as you progress through the story.
If you have been playing Bioware’s epic RPG games, then this is a must buy for you, really. It feels like playing another epic Bioware’s RPG game in the Star Wars universe cooperatively online with a mix of MMORPG elements. Love this!
The sad news is, there is no news of Star Wars: The Old Republic being made available to Australians officially (as in pre-order through Origin and support). So for us Australians, we have to pre-order Star Wars: The Old Republic through Amazon and join the international servers (U.S servers mostly). Thankfully during the beta test, I didn’t get any lag at all even when the server was located in the U.S. OR if you prefer to just get a cd key, grab it from G2Play.net
If you want the game officially on your Origin, you can also buy it from Origin EA Store.
You’ll get the first month for free and also an early access to the game before everyone else if you pre-order (you’ll be sent a key so you can play a few days before it officially goes live). The game will cost $15 per month.
See you in the galaxy not so far far away?