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Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

Star Wars: The Old Republic is Bioware’s first leap into the MMO genre much like World of Warcraft was Blizzard’s first leap into MMOs. Will it be as successful as World of Warcraft or will the force falter?

It is the spiritual successor to the beloved Knights of the Old Republic series. Many people have a hard time swallowing the fact that they now have to pay monthly to continue the story from previous Knights of the Old Republic games. Although this is understandable, the gameplay and overall story feels different. Very little links the series together except for occasional cameos from characters seen in the previous games. I decided to hold off my review of this title until the recent Legacy 1.2 patch was released as I believed this would fix most issues I had with the game.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic as a game has some amazing features never seen before in an MMO and those features really remove many of the more annoying features most MMOs have. First - crew skills are basically crafting professions. These professions allow you to command your companions to craft or gather for you while you do the important things; like slaughter jawas, and collect epic loot from raids. Crew skills as a whole feel pretty refined and with a few exceptions are pretty balanced no matter what you think. You can almost think of crafting in this game as you are the boss of a company and you command your workers what to produce and gather and when to do it.

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Second - fully voiced everything. This is a big one because I never read quests during any other MMO I’ve played but the fully voiced quest story lines tend to pull me into the storyline and make me care about the characters. The major downside is a large percentage of quests are shared across all classes (roughly 80%). This means when you make a Alt and start leveling them you will run into repeat dialogue and end up skipping it anyways since you’ve heard it all before.

Third and finally - is reverse engineering. Found an item you love? Reverse engineer it and craft an even better version of it! This was sort of added in the 1.2 patch as before this patch only items you could personally craft could give you any notable patterns. Now items you find in the world can sometimes have patterns you can attempt to retrieve by reverse engineering. Of course, this destroys the item you are attempting to reverse engineer and there is a possibility you will not learn the pattern. So there is some risk to it, but the rewards can be great.

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The 1.2 update added another great feature, the legacy system. This allows you to gain abilities and passive buffs for all your characters on the server. One of the coolest features from this is when you finish a class story you unlock the buffs that class uses for all your other characters. For example, the Imperial Agent provides +5% crit chance buff. If I finished the imperial agent story, then made a Sith Inquisitor when I would cast the Sith inquisitor buff it would automatically give me the +5% crit buff as well. Once finishing all 4 class quests you then can get every buff in the game while playing solo.

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As for the gameplay, the combat is faster paced then most other MMOs and can feel quite hectic at times. There is no auto attack so you are constantly mashing the next button and it sometimes can feel unresponsive. The interface is now fully customizable which is another great addition from patch 1.2. The end game still feels pretty abysmal with a lack of challenging PVE and a PVP system was made frustrating in patch 1.2 as PVP gear is now absurdly difficult to obtain. In the case of Star Wars: The Old Republic the journey is the fun part, not the destination. Leveling is a great and rewarding experience with lots of great story elements and twists and turns. The end game seems to almost cut the story out in favor of straight PVE/PVP encounters. I really was hoping to do a raid and have in depth conversations with NPCs. I guess Bioware felt it would be too difficult with the increased number of players in raids compared to flashpoints. I believe this is a mistake, and hopefully down the line story is truly implemented back into raids.

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One of my biggest complaints with Star Wars: The Old Republic was how poor the character models looked while walking around and questing. This has been greatly improved in the latest patch and now there is a good amount of detail in the armor characters wear. I still feel it could be sharper and hopefully one day they will add an ultra graphics setting. Otherwise, the graphics are pretty sharp and detailed. This is particularly true when it comes to cutscenes and conversations as they use the highest resolution textures at that time. The music and sounds in the game are on par with Star Wars movies and add to the game feel and nostalgia.

Final Verdict

Overall, Star Wars: The Old Republic is a great leveling game and OK end game. If Bioware can continue making great updates for the game and maybe even a huge expansion in the future this may eventually become the best MMO to date. As it stands I feel Star Wars: The Old Republic is a good MMO that can stand toe to toe with World of Warcraft. But, even after the huge content update some features and aspects do fall a little flat. I have high hopes to see what is done with this title in the future.

Score

8.5 out of 10

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

Related Information

Posted by: Falcon
Date: May 23, 2012
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Bioware
Website: SWTOR.com
Release Date: 12/20/2011
Genre: MMORPG
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Teen
System Reviewed: PC

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Categories: PC Reviews, PC, Reviews

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