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Game Preview: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC

So, this past weekend, I was granted weekend access to test Star Wars: the Old Republic.  This is LucasArts’ newest MMORPG (Some would call it the first because SW: Galaxies was a complete nightmare and many of us don’t recognize its existence).  I have to admit I am a bit biased because of my affiliation with and love of Star Wars.  I am a Star Wars costumer and in many cases will choose Star Wars over other titles.  But I’m going to try to make this as unbiased as possible.  I hope this isn’t too one sided for you.

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I was going to set up this review with a kind of pros versus cons type format, but to be honest, there aren’t many bad things that I’ve discovered in this game so far.  The graphics are quite lovely, styled basically the same as the KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic) graphics, with higher quality textures and light effects.  The voice acting is phenomenal, as usual, with such actors as Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Tom Kane, Simon Templeman, and Catherine Taber.  And of course, the quests and story lines suck you in entirely.

The author as cosplayer

I decided for my first character to try out the Bounty Hunter class (since Mandalorians are my favorite thing in Star Wars).  I ended up playing her the entire weekend because I was so caught up in the story.  There are eight starting classes in the game and each class has a three tier sub-class tree (similar to Borderlands) to which you can commit experience points and get upgrades and higher stats.  You also get to choose the Republic or Empire before selecting your character.

The Empire classes are Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith Warrior (specializing in sabers), and Sith Inquisitor (specializing in Force powers).  The Republic equivalents are Smuggler, Trooper, Jedi Knight, and Jedi Consular.  Unlike Galaxies, where it was luck of the draw if you got Jedi, and it never lasted long before a bounty hunter came to get you; in this game, you select at the beginning what you are.

What is very cool is that, similar to the Fable games, you can sculpt your character with in-game choices and speech options that give you light side or dark side points.  This effects your companions (you can have a person/droid and a pet) your reputation, and those who interact with you.  I’m interested in seeing where they take this.  Will it be possible to become a Dark Jedi, or a Rogue Sith?

Something that I found very interesting is that each class has its own main story line, composed of many quests, in addition to group quests, heroics, and each planet’s quests that are available to any player.  The Bounty Hunter’s main story line, for instance; is to get into, participate in, and win the Great Hunt.

I didn’t get to experience a lot of the PVP in this game but from what I did experience, it is similar to WoW.  If you are on a PVE server, anyone can invite you to a duel, or you can enter an arena area.  On a PVP server, it is free-for-all.  Grouping and team play was very simple and pretty standard.

Overall, I’d put this MMORPG up there with WoW, Guild Wars, and Everquest.  I’d give it a 9.5 out of 10, based on what I’ve seen so far, and would recommend it to anyone.  If you liked KOTOR at all, you will love this game.  If you like WoW and you like Star Wars, you will really enjoy this game (I hesitate to say love because I know there are many WoW players out there that want every other game to play just like WoW, and this one does have its differences).  So I hope this helps so of you out there that are hesitant to play and makes those of you who are, like me anticipatory to play it, even more excited for the release on December 20th.  May the Force be with you!

[Official Game Site]   [photo of the author by Chris McCauley]

3 thoughts on “Game Preview: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC

  • Great to hear your thoughts – totally psyched about this game now, MMO + Bioware + Star Wars = Win, as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply
  • I got into this past weekend too and I would love to be able to update your post on some cons of the game but honestly i was so hooked on the game I couldn’t find anything wrong. It’s an amazing game that blows away every other game in its category, including WOW!

    Reply

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