Star Wars: The Old Republic PC Review

Editor’s Note: Please welcome darkzero’s new writer Nickolai Niver as he takes a few moments to share the ups and downs of the newly-released Star Wars: The Old Reuplic. Enjoy!

MMOs are a plague on the world of gaming. Because of this, I felt absolutely no joy as I went into Star Wars: The Old Republic (hereafter referred to as SW:TOR). Instead, I had a bottle of Advil sitting beside my laptop as I got ready for what I was sure was going to be a massive headache.

Thirty hours in, the bottle of Advil had not been touched (this remained true at the 50 hour point and so on).

SW:TOR is a surprisingly good MMO. It takes all the good parts of past massively multiplayer experiences and amplifies them while downplaying and/or negating what makes some current-day MMOs terrible. Because of that, it is one of the few MMOs I can say is worth playing (others being Tabula Rasa, Ragnarok, World of Warcraft, and DC Universe Online). However, The Old Republic does fall into some well known stereotypes that are common with many of its genre.

The biggest issue a lot of people have is that it looks like every other MMO. The first of which is the check-list of roles. ‘Tank’, ‘DPS’ (an area-of-effect damage dealer), and ‘Healer’ all exist, but in an odd way. A quick example of this is when I sat down and decided to play as a Bounty Hunter. It was all fun and DPS until I hit level 10 when I realized I COULD suddenly become a tank or a healer. The concept absolutely boggled me and at the same time made things pretty darn cool.

Another issue that has been resolved by this game is the well-known fetch quest system (this being my biggest head-ache when I play MMOs). Fortunately for tired gamers around the world, this usually-tedious staple has been redone  in an odd way. Yes the fetch quests still exist, but they’re made fun with interactive conversations that let you be the most arrogant douche-nugget in existence.

The conversation system cracks me up as regardless of which class you pick, all your options in every conversation generally revolve around:

– Being a nice but arrogant player.

– Being an intelligent (sometimes witty) but arrogant player.

– Punching your conversational recipient in the nuts.

I don’t much mind the conversation options as I’m sure I’m not the only gamer who wishes these conversation trees existed in real life, but they’re unrealistic. One example of this was when I was standing toe-to-toe against a Sith during a boss battle who was three levels higher than me and in the preliminary conversation the only words my character could find to speak were: “This should be fun. If I was in that situation in real life, my immediate response would be “Fling my freshly-made fecal matter at the Sith and run like a little girl.”

As for the actual gameplay, it’s what most people should expect from an MMO. The quests generally involve “Go here, and do this X amount of times,” or “Go here and kill my wife/husband/daughter/cousin” with the occasional raid thrown in. However, this game has a charm about it that makes all those fetch quests worth playing. Most notable however, is actually doing a raid with multiple players.

I’m sure it can be fun in World of Warcraft to assemble five friends so that you can sprint in and kill Illidan for the 20th time, but it doesn’t feel like you’re a part of what you’re doing . In SW:TOR the same general situation occurs, but you feel like you are part of the action. Not only do you work together to kill things (as is common with most MMOs), you also delegate on how the conversations go. All of you get to play a role in the conversations, and it becomes quite fun to actually watch the cut-scenes play out with four people all interacting in the conversation.

Another fun feature is the space battles. Sure, they play like an on-the-rail shooter, but they’re a nice diversion from fetch quests. They’re fun and offer players a quick break from the hours of random grinding they’ll constantly find themselves doing. While they seem like a small addition that was stapled in at the last moment, I enjoyed them enough to look past that.

A word of warning to most people who are debating switching from World of Warcraft to SW:TOR, the grinding is dreadful. I don’t mind grinding, as I grew up on x4 Ragnarok servers, but I know enough people who are spoiled by World of Warcraft‘s rapid level system that it would bother them. On the bright side, I didn’t feel rushed to get to level 50 so that I could have “fun”. Rather, I had fun the whole way, unlike some MMOs that I won’t mention.

The final point I’m going to mention is how beautiful the game looks. Whether it was the collision detection on my cape that kept it from randomly entering odd polygons, or the brilliantly rendered landscape, this game is gorgeous. Granted, it nearly blew up my Asus N53 when I set it to the highest graphics, but it was worth it. The game really is breathtaking, and it has graphics that I can see staying relevant for the next five years.

Ultimately, it’s an MMO worth playing. If you’re new to the MMO genre, a fan of Star Wars, or just someone who likes massively multiplayer madness, this one is for you. There are some nasty bugs that can sometimes pull away from gameplay, but nothing (these days) ever comes out without needing a few patches. I won’t say it’s better than World of Warcraft, as I don’t want to wake up with a dead Furblong head on my covers, but it’s definitely good competition.

Really though, go buy this game. It’s relatively cheaper than most drug addictions, and it will keep you out of jail.

9 out of 10