Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic

The opening cinematic, where the Sith come into view out of nowhere and get back Korriban, introduces you to the conflict between the Empire and the Republic. Then you decide which faction you're going to play for, and another cinematic sets the tone of your alignment. For Empire players, the focus is on power, control, and anger. The Republic cinematic portrays a need to take back what's lost through planning and tenacity. The cinematics are spectacularly compelling and make me wish Blur, the creators, were contracted to do a feature-length film.

Old Republic
Then you're kicked back to a menu screen to create your character. The creator is quite flexible, with a wide range of customization options unique to each race, but you're limited only to strictly humanoid races and a few rather similar body sizes (males at least get a "fat" option – female characters don't even get that). For a universe with a vast number of established intelligent races of all shapes and sizes, this feels limited. You can't, for example, play as a Jawa or a droid. In the grand scheme of things, it's a minor annoyance though.

The classic scrolling yellow text of the films begins immediately after you've created your character, accompanied by the Star Wars theme. There is, in my mind, no better way BioWare could have kicked off your adventure. The text briefly explains who you are and in what context you're entering the galaxy. It's unique to each class and, along with the cinematic that follows, sets you on your way to making a name for yourself. This is where inexperienced players will hit a figurative force-field.

The Old Republic has no structured tutorial. Rather, there's a tip system that offers help about an aspect of gameplay whenever the context calls for it. In any other MMO, that would probably suffice, but the moment you set foot in The Old Republic you are faced with quest-givers, future quest-givers with grey quest icons, class-specific story areas that you can't enter, vendors, dialogue trees, half a dozen abilities and hostile NPCs who will attack on sight. That's a whole lot to take in within the span of about five minutes, and while many of the systems that The Old Republic uses are familiar to MMO players, I can't help but think how overwhelmed I was by my first MMO, and just how much more The Old Republic throws at the you from the get-go.

Thanks : http://pc.ign.com

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