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Star Wars: The Old Republic: A Video Game Review

Star Wars TOR slideI should start by clearing up one thing. This will not be a review; the game is too big for a review this close to launch. I have spent close to twenty hours playing this game, and I have finished the prologue. I shall assume that you have at least a passing understanding of MMOs like SWTOR.  When I say that this isn’t Star Wars WoW, you should have an idea of what I mean. This is why I love the game. I played about an hour or two of WoW, after it went free to play, and I hated it. There were no hooks to pull me into the game. I felt no sense of ownership with my character. The story was the slimmest excuse for mechanics I have ever seen, and the world just felt silly. Back to Star Wars.

SWTOR is much more story driven than WoW, which makes sense given its provenance. SWTOR has the advantage of being set in the universe of Star Wars, but that alone isn’t enough to guarantee that the story is good. The other contributing factor is that Bioware developed the game, and they do great stories. Bioware brought us one of the best Star Wars stories since Return of the Jedi, with Knights of the Old Republic. They are also the developers of one of my favorite game series, Mass Effect. Like a good RPG, MMO, or otherwise, SWTOR has many quests and side quests to occupy you and convince you that the world is real and full of stuff to do. What is really compelling here is that every side quest has a story to justify your killing ten of these guys, or fighting your way to that area. Each quest also features voice acting, which does a lot to sell the little story. The main story you follow does even more.

In SWTOR, you create your character, picking your race, gender, allegiance to the Empire or Republic, and class. There are Jedis, with a focus on either the force or lightsabers, smugglers, like Han Solo, and Troopers, like the guys from The Clone Wars. On the Empire side, there are Sith, force or lightsabers, Bounty Hunters, yes, just like Boba Fett, and Imperial Agents, which are similar-ish to the troopers. Each of these classes has their own story that takes them across the galaxy and is pretty compelling from what I have seen. A player may experience the story of a different class, but only as an outside observer, and only if accompanied by a player of that class. This is one of the best reasons to play with others, as each of these stories is pretty cool.

So, how’s the gameplay? Well, I am only just getting used to the MMO controls, and I have absolutely no problem doing pretty well in combat. When I concentrate I can do some pretty awesome things, even at my current (rather low) level. If this is anything like most MMOs, the game should really come into its own in the later levels. My character has just hit level 18 out of 50, but don’t get confused; I am not close to halfway done. I am maybe a third or even a quarter of the way through the game. What has been great fun is playing with friends. I have gone through levels alone, and other times with friends, and the solo runs have eventually felt like work, but playing with friends makes the game significantly more fun. I suppose that some people might be able to make friends in the game, but I am a socially deficient nerd and had to bring my own.

My recommendation is pretty simple. If you have any experience with an MMO, and you like Star Wars, you should give this a try. If you, like me, have no experience with MMOs, then you should try to get some friends to play. Honestly, I really like this game. The setting is interesting, and the gameplay is relatively easy to get the hang of. The best thing: so far, no one has mentioned midi-chlorians.


Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor


Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python


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