Gamer's manifesto Video game news and reviews

'Star Wars: The Old Republic' is one of the best games in its universe

Special to the ManifestoFebruary 16, 2012 

  • Video game review

    'Star Wars: The Old Republic'

    About: A massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Star Wars universe at a time when thousands of Jedi Knights and Sith warriors battled across the galaxy.

    Players: Multiplayer

    Pros: The game features impressive storytelling and voice acting that really makes you feel as if you're in the Star Wars universe.

    Cons: Variable frame rates slow the action at times, and it costs $15 a month to play on top of the initial cost.

    Availability and price: $59.99 on PC with a $15 monthly charge.

    ESRB rating: T

    Manifesto's rating: 9/10

    Metacritic rating: 8.5/10

Developer Bioware took Yoda's teachings to heart — particularly "Do, or do not; there is no try" — when crafting Star Wars: The Old Republic.

There's no evidence of a mere "try" here. The company made a game worthy of the sprawling and beloved Star Wars universe. And perhaps there's no universe better suited for a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

Set close to 3,000 years before Yoda began training Jedi Knights in that galaxy far, far away, Star Wars: The Old Republic has all the main staples of MMORPGs. But it also weaves in excellent voice acting and high-quality storytelling, two traits not always seen in its competitors.

Players may choose to align themselves with the Sith Empire or the Old Republic, with each side having four closely mirrored professions. There are nine playable species, but only certain races are available for each profession.

Choosing the profession of a Jedi or Sith is like asking yourself how cool you look with a lightsaber or choking someone with the Force.

Being a smuggler, though, is the epitome of Han Solo and is probably the most fun of all the professions.

Imperial spies are also adult and intriguing with a basis in politics. It's kind of like being James Bond with a starship.

Any character may be light or dark, regardless of affiliation, so it really is your story to create.

Individual story lines have fully voiced conversations with multiple narrative choices. All that gives you the ability to create your character's back story and offers a goal other than just seeing your experience points rise.

As you play more, you'll eventually, about level 20, gain access to your own starship. And that really opens up the massive part of the MMORPG, because you can travel to any of 19 planets.

The space missions are only short rail-type shooters, but the graphics really shine. Most missions take only a few minutes to complete but take place in a variety of settings. You have your large space battles and your attacks on huge space stations, and more mundane travel days, such as piloting through debris or asteroid fields.

The plethora of options is just another way Bioware makes you feel as if you are in the Star Wars universe.

Be sure to choose your online friends wisely when grouping up because everyone has an equal chance to contribute to conversations. And unlike many other games, you can't reset and try again. Selecting poorly could result in unwanted outcomes for your character, but I'm sure we all hang out with the wrong crowds from time to time.

During the course of your adventures, you'll acquire a few non-playable characters who might or might not stick around, depending on how well they like you. You may give your companions assignments, and they'll complete them or fail.

My only real complaint with the game so far is the variable frame rates. Movement gets extremely slow and frustrating in certain parts of various worlds, and this becomes increasingly annoying after a player has migrated from an area where he or she could move lightning-fast just moments earlier.

The problem compounds itself if it happens when the player is attempting to kill something for a quest. The slightest error can cause defeat, and the player has to repeat the process.

But that's a small complaint. Perhaps Darth Vader best sums up the effort here — "Impressive. Most impressive."

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service