Star Wars The Old Republic

Well, the NDA got lifted in time for this weekend’s big stress test inviting on pretty much anyone who was interested in getting a beta code, so I can finally talk about how much I’ve been loving Star Wars The Old Republic.

Being a huge fan of the previous Knights of the Old Republic games, I’ll be honest,the news that Knights of the Old Republic 3 had been canned in favour of a new MMO that wouldn’t be continuing that story was a bit disappointing.  Set 300 years later though, there’s still nods to the previous games (specifically the leader of the Jedi Council Satele Shan being a direct descendant of Bastilla, and rumours that Revan’s eventual fate will be revealed by the game), and it retains the same kind of strong story telling that you’d expect from a Bioware RPG.   Truthfully, I think they’ve done a great job of taking the gameplay of the first two games, and turning it into an MMO.

Its reported that the game may be the most expensive ever made, and to be honest it shows.  The environments are rich, with my character recently arriving on Coruscant to some brilliant visuals of its impressive skyline, filled with traffic, and the appearance of the familiar Senate Hall imposing.

Of course, a lot has been said about the fact that all dialogue has been recorded as voice over, and again its brilliantly done.  The voice acting is top notch, and it really helps to immerse you in the world.  The cutscenes whenever you pick up or hand in a mission serve to move the story along and involve you more fully in events than the usual basic text would’ve done.   By the end of it, you really start investing in the characters and it breathes life into the world.  Again providing a great balance between a single player RPG and an MMO.

I’ve also been incredibly impressed with the amount of content on offer.  In the game there are the two factions (Republic and Sith Empire) as you’d expect, and 4 classes within each of these, including all those you’d expect with Jedi, Bounty Hunters, Smugglers and Sith.  However each of these 8 classes has its own unique storyline, just begging you to roll alts in order to get the full story of what’s going on.  For example, one thing I loved is that something you stumble across in the opening mission as a Jedi Knight actually forms the main story if you’re playing a Jedi Consular.  And likewise a throwaway detour to a Twi’lek village as a Consular forms a big part of the Knight’s storyline.  And each of the areas is filled with side quests, so you’re never short of something to do, and that’s before you get into group events like Flashpoints, or PvP.  Neither of which I’ve actually tried yet, as I’ve been so engrossed in the main stories and trying out different classes.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been playing for a few weeks now, and I’m totally hooked.   I’ve been at a point  where my game time in Star Trek Online has been decreasing due to the lack of updates over this last year.  and there just seems to be so much more to do in Old Republic.  I can see me being hooked in a big way once it properly goes live.

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