‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ Challenges ‘World of Warcraft’ for its Throne
‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ is just about everything we could want in a video game.
It allows us to live out our fantasies of becoming a Sith Inquisitor with dreams of punishing Ewoks and Wookies with Force lightning blasts from our fingertips.
It lets us dip our pen in Starfleet ink, so to speak, defining our characters in conversation choices that allow us to antagonize, befriend or seduce other characters.
It lets us design our own Jedi, take our 2-year-old’s advice and name him “Badguy” and make him an intergalactic class clown, letting us form devious plans to gain guildmates’ trust only to mess up missions and raids at our whims.
The only major drawbacks with the game are that it’s only available on PC — gamedom’s dead zone — and like your mother, asks us to pay for it every month. Prepaid 60-day time cards cost $30, and that kind of scratch will build up quickly. Even massively multiplayer online kingpin ‘World of Warcraft,’ which ‘The Old Republic’ seems to want to blow out of the sky like a rogue TIE Fighter, has now gone free-to-play, so the subscription model is jarring.
At least what we’ve seen of the game insures that it will be worth the extra payment. From the get-go, you’re smothered with ‘Star Wars’ bliss, writing your own story as you make moral choices, select upgrades and classes and interact with all of George Lucas’s imaginary friends.
Developer BioWare, which you may know better from the ‘Mass Effect’ series, proves to be the collective geek gods of dialogue and story in role-playing games. The writing here is so exquisite that we demand this team immediately starts work on episodes VII through IX. MMOs are known for being grinds, but everything we’ve seen in ‘The Old Republic’ feels fresh and fascinating.
Only time will tell whether the game continues to demand your monthly dollar.
Rating: 9/10 (Bear in mind that we’re aware that it’s foolish to rate an MMO we’ve played less than a week. But we’re shameless fools, so it’s OK with us. Take this as our initial impression.)
Star Wars: The Old Republic ($60), was developed by BioWare, published by EA and is available on PC. Rated T. The publisher provided a copy of the game for review.