Video Game reviews and articles for console, PC games, and MMO's

Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far away...

 

  SWTOR (Star Wars: The Old Republic or also written as TOR) is set within the Star Wars universe several thousand years before the events that took place in the Star Wars movies.

 

  It is a dark time for the galaxy, the Galactic War between the Sith Empire and Galactic Republic has ended with the signing of the Treaty of Coruscant; however the war ended in the Sith Empire's favor. Now both powers are embroiled in a cold war conflict which threatens to reignite into another Galactic War at any moment.

 

  As in most MMO games the sides are divided into two nearly equal in power factions (Will anyone ever make another three faction game like Dark Age of Camelot again?). Will you fight for the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire?

 

Starter World

 

  Bioware the developers behind SWTOR, have created an alignment system based around both the Light and Dark sides of the Force. Just because you choose to fight for one faction versus the other does not mean that you are type cast as good or evil.

 

  Think of the alignment system as a scale, it is your actions and decisions in the game that sway the scale in one direction or another. Want to play a Bounty Hunter for the Sith Empire with a heart of gold? Well go for it!

 

Mercenary with a heart of gold

 

  The interesting thing about the alignment system is that it changes not only the equipment that you use in the game (Hey why does that Jedi other there have a red light saber?), but it also has an effect on the flash points (SWTOR version of dungeons/instances) that you run in the game.

 

  Each faction has four base classes available to it, I know this seems very limited at first, but at level 10 you get to select one of two advanced classes to upgrade to. Each of these advanced classes has its own set of skill trees letting you further customize your character and the role that it will play in the game.

 

Klerik on speeder

 

  Here is a breakdown of each of the classes for both factions.

 

Galactic Republic

 

Class                         Races Available

Jedi Knight                 Human, Miraluka, Twi'lek, Zabrak, and Mirialan.                

  Advanced Class     Role                    Weapons and Armor

    Jedi Guardian:        Tank, Damage      Light Saber, Heavy Armor.

    Jedi Sentinel:          Damage                Dual Wielded Light Sabers, and Medium Armor.

 

Class                         Races Available

Jedi Consular             Human, Mirialan, Twi'lek, Zabrak, and Mirialan.

  Advanced Class     Role                     Weapons and Armor

    Jedi Sage:               Heal, Damage       Light Saber, Light Armor.

    Jedi Shadow:          Tank, Damage      Double ended Light Saber, and Light Armor.   

 

Class                         Races Available

Smuggler                    Human, Twi'lek, Cyborg, Zabrak, and Mirialan.

  Advanced Class     Role                      Weapons and Armor

    Gunslinger:             Damage                  Dual wielding Blaster Pistols, and Medium Armor.

    Scoundrel:             Heal, Damage         Blaster Pistol, Scattergun, and Medium Armor.

 

Class                        Races Available

Trooper                      Human, Zabrak, Cyborg, and Mirialan. 

  Advanced Class     Role                      Weapons and Armor

    Commando:           Heal, Damage         Assault Cannon, and Heavy Armor.

    Vanguard:               Tank, Damage        Blaster Rifle, and Heavy Armor.

 

Sith Empire

 

Class                        Races Available

Sith Warrior               Human, Sith, Cyborg, and Zabrak.

  Advanced Class     Role                    Weapons and Armor

    Sith Marauder:       Damage                Dual wielded Light Sabers, and Medium Armor.

    Sith Juggernaut:      Tank, Damage      Light Saber, Heavy Armor.

 

Class                        Races Available

Sith Inquisitor            Human, Twi'lek, Rattataki, Zabrak, and Sith.

  Advanced Class     Role                   Weapons and Armor

    Sith Sorcerer:          Heal, Damage      Light Saber, Light Armor.

    Sith Assassin:          Tank, Damage     Double ended Light Saber, and Light Armor.

 

Class                        Races Available

Bounty Hunter           Human, Cyborg, Zabrak, Rattataki, and Chiss.

  Advanced Class     Role                   Weapons and Armor

    Powertech:             Tank, Damage     Blaster Pistol, Heavy Armor.

    Mercenary:             Heal, Damage     Dual wielded Blaster Pistols, and Heavy Armor.

 

Class                         Races Available

Imperial Agent            Human, Chiss, Cyborg, Zabrak, and Rattataki. 

  Advanced Class     Role                   Weapons and Armor

    Operative:              Heal, Damage      Blaster Rifle, Vibroknife, and Medium Armor.

    Sniper:                   Damage               Sniper Rifle, Vibroknife, and Medium Armor  

 

  As you can see there is a lot of variety to choose from once you reach level 10. The reasoning for this system is so that you can learn the basics of the game before delving into a specific role.

 

  Surprisingly there are a few races that you cannot play, which was a real disappointment. I would have loved to play as a Droid or a Wookie.

 

Wookie playing star wars chess

No Wookies as a playable race! But how am I going to rip people's arms off if I lose at Chess?

 

  All is not lost because there are Droids and Wookies in the game, just not as playable races. This brings us to the companion system.

 

  Each class has its own set of companions that join you over time. You can have five companions join your crew plus one non combat ship Droid companion.

 

  Each companion has its own personality with likes and dislikes along with their own story line and quests depending on their level of affection for you. The greatest thing of all is that the A.I. for companions seems on average to be very good, unlike pets in most games that make you want to rip your hair out.

 

A boy and his Droid

A boy and his Droid.

 

  When you first receive each companion you are stuck with how they look, however you can find rewards and vendor options later on to change their appearance to something more appealing to your tastes.

 

  The downside to companions is that when you are traveling solo you can only have one companion out with you at a time. The rest of them stay back at your ship. You can switch out companions on the fly as long as you are not in combat which is a nice feature.

 

  The use of a companion may also be limited due to party size. The average non raid party is four characters including companions. So if you are traveling with two other players' only one of you can have a companion out as an example, but if you are traveling with three other players then none of you can have a companion out.

 

  Inventory bags getting full? Just have your companion pop back to town on their own to sell the vendor trash. Anyone who has played the game Torchlight will be familiar with this system. The companion will come back in a few minutes with credits in hand.

 

Everything is better with companions

 

  Need a little romance in your life? Yes you can even have a romantic relationship with some of your companions. This is a system that will be familiar to those who have played any of the Dragon Age games. Each class has at least one option for romance with their companions based on the sex that you chose at the beginning of the game. Unlike the Dragon Age games there is no option to have a Gay or Lesbian relationship. Bioware may change this in a future update.

 

Jedi d12 sider

Jedi take their polyhedral dice very seriously.

 

  So what are all those companions back on the ship doing other then eating you out of house and home? Well that is where the crafting system comes into play.

 

 Crafting is broken down into three categories: Crafting, Gathering, and Missions.

 

Crafting

  Armormech: Non force user armor (good old fashion armor making).

  Armstech: Blasters, Blaster Modifications, and Melee Weapons (most like weapon smithing).

  Artifice: Light Saber Modifications, Enhancement Modifications, Generators, and Foci (weapons and off hands for the Light Saber Crowd).

  Biochem: Implants, Adrenals, Medpacks, and Stims (potions).

  Cybertech: Droid Armor, Ear Pieces, Grenades, Armoring Modifications, Bind on acquire mounts, and Ship Upgrades (most like a jeweler/ accessory crafter).

  Synthweaving: Force user armor (armor for the Light Saber crowd).

 

Gathering    

  Archeology: Resources for Artifice and Synthweaving.

  Bioanalysis: Resources for Biochem.

  Scavenging: Resources for Cybertech.

  Slicing: The non crafters gathering skill send your crew out on Slicing (Hacking) missions and they can come back with augments, suitcases full of money, schematics and missions for other crafters that you can sell on the auction house. This is a huge way to earn money in the game but leaves you reliant on other crafters for all of your needs as you will be missing at least one complimentary skill needed to craft some items.

 

Missions

  Diplomacy: Resources for Biochem and the ability to farm for Light or Dark side points.

  Investigation: Resources for Armstech.

  Treasure Hunting: Resources for Artifice.

  Underworld Trading: Resources for Cybertech and Synthweaving.

 

  Crafting is performed by your companions and is listed as Crew Skills. You can have any combination of Crafting, Gathering, and Missions that you want but you are limited to only three skills total. So be careful to choose crew skills that complement each other or you will be spending a lot of time at the auction house seeking the resources that you need to craft.

 

  The way that this system works is that you send up to three companions out at a time to do crafting, gathering, or missions. The higher the affection that the companion has for you, the faster and more successful they will be on their tasks.

 

  You can even send your non combat ships Droid out to perform these actions. Beware as the non combat ships Droid never changes in affection (Don't waste gifts on them), so the ships Droid will be on a mission for a long time and will not have the level of success of your other companions.

 

  Along with sending your crew out to perform these tasks, you can have the companion that is with you harvest crafting nodes that you come across in your journeys.

 

  You will notice that we kept using the word ship in the review, well that is because player housing in SWTOR is your ship. You will receive your ship fairly early on in the game but as far as player housing goes it is very bare bones and acts more as a storage vault for your character.

 

Ship interior SWTOR

Home sweet home.

 

 A vast majority of the quest and interactions in SWTOR are fully voice acted, including what your character says to NPC's (non player characters). No longer are you the mute stone statue that shows up in town looking for adventure.

 

  You are typically given 3 options for dialogue choices when interacting with NPC's, these choices can have far ranging consequences from raising or lowering the affection of your companions, altering the paths available to you in a flash point or story, or lead you down the path of the Light or Dark side of the Force.

 

  When grouping with other players the game will have a social roll off, to see which player's choice is selected for the current dialogue choice. The winner will be the one shown talking and their choice will advance the story without causing you bad side effects if you wanted to go with a different option.

 

  The class quests are engaging and well written, you want to do the quests. You want to find out what happens next. This is a game that will reward people who like to make up alts (more than one character) as each classes story is different.

 

  This is only the second MMO that I have played were the NPC's are generally polite to you, think about that for a moment. Even the evil Sith Empire NPC's are appreciative and truly thankful for what you did for them!

 

  You are not limited to gaining experience to level from quests alone. You can earn experience points in PVP (play versus player) matches, or in the games space combat missions.

 

  Space combat in SWTOR is an either love it or hate it deal. The combat is an on rails affair that gives you limited mobility on the screen. If you have ever played the game Star Fox, you will know what you are in for. Fortunately for me Star Fox is one of my favorite games of all time, so I love the space combat in SWTOR.

 

Do a barrel roll

Do a barrel roll!

 

  The auction house in SWTOR is called the Galactic Trade Network, what is interesting about it is that auction house is neutral in the conflict so you can find items crafted by either side on it.

  The search options on the Galactic Trade Network really a little more polish, it can be hard to look for certain items on it. It becomes even harder when you want to compare items that your companion is wearing versus what is available on the auction house.

 

  Unfortunately not everything in the game is sunshine, puppy dogs and double rainbows.

 

  First let me check my calendar for a moment hmm yep it is 2012, so why does this game not have voice chat? Not having the option for voice chat really makes the fluid combat of the game difficult to control in groups. You do not have the time to type out what needs to be done in many situations. Thankfully the chat system is very user friendly unlike another non voice chat MMO that was released not too long ago (I am looking at you DC Universe Online).

 

  The graphics are good but not great. I think this was a design choice by Bioware to ensure that the game would work on a wider range of systems. It would have been fairly easy to add a higher graphics option for those who have the systems that can handle it.

 

  The look of your avatar suffers from Word of Warcraft clown syndrome. There is no option to dye the color of your gear or to hide certain parts of it with the exception of your helmet. This creates a mish mash of color and styles. All of this could easily be fixed with the implementation of a dye or wardrobe system to the game.

 

World of Warcraft Clown Syndrome

Friends don't let friends leave the house without looking in a mirror.

 

  Because of all the voice acting in the game you have no options when it comes to the voice of your character. Each class has its own voice for that particular class and sex. But that is the extent of your choice. You will also notice that a lot of the NPC's share the same voice actor but that is not as much of a concern to me as I like not having to face the great wall of text when questing every five minutes.

 

  Be prepared to get stuck, a lot. I found at least a dozen different areas that I was able to enter but not exit out of, the /stuck command will be your best friend if you like to explore.

 

  The user interface is a little bit lacking; most of the UI is locked in place. This can be a little frustrating when you are used to more customization with the UI from other games.

 

  This is yet another game that suffers from a billion different currencies to get rewards. I know that this system is in place to reduce the amount of gold farming in MMO's today but could we please come up with a new system?

 

  Overall I have not had this much fun playing a new MMO in a very long time. The launch was one of the smoothest I have ever seen in all the years I have been covering MMO games. Pick this one up and give it a try.

 

Final verdict 9.5/10 A great game well worth the money and subscription. The different story lines for both factions and each class add a lot of replay value to the game. The addition of voice chat, and higher resolution graphics would have earned this game an easy 10.

 

~Professor

 

 

Custom Search

 

Back To Home Page