Star Wars: The Old Republic Reviews

There are several more Star Wars: The Old Republic reviews inhabiting my browser this evening, so I figured it was as good of a time as any to kick off another round-up.

1UP gives it a "B":
More than bugs, the game's biggest issues arise from the poor instruction and the opacity of the game's systems and mechanics. A tooltip introduces each new gameplay concept, but these come so fast and frequently early in the game that I found myself forgetting important information and needed to dig through the list of tool tips every time I wanted to refresh my memory. TOR also offers very little help in understanding the stats of your character. Each piece of equipment can affect what seems like dozens of different stats -- from Endurance to Willpower. I can use previous experience with other games to infer what each number controls (Willpower probably affects the strength of Force powers, and Aim controls, well, your aim), but it would be nice to see these things spelled out explicitly.

With so many interlinking systems, TOR can offer something for everyone regardless of play style. Early numbers suggest that fans are gravitating towards the game's PVP mechanics, but fans of co-op missions can get their fix through Flashpoints and Operations, while loners are capable of soloing their way to the level cap without the need for social interaction. The Old Republic is far from perfect, but no game since World of Warcraft has offered a similar experience with such a wide appeal.

Kotaku takes the scoreless route:
I do worry how BioWare can possibly put out new content at a pace that will satisfy the players voraciously devouring it. Within a week of the game's release there were already entire guilds of players that had reached the level 50 cap, and with each new mission requiring hours of voice acting (both sexes of each character class, companion characters, and non-player characters) it's hard to imagine we'll be seeing a great deal of free content coming down the pipe.

As it stands, however, Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most unique, highly-polished products I've come across in my long and storied career as a massively multiplayer gamer. Now we have a way to share the experience of playing through a quality BioWare role-playing game with a few thousand of our closest friends.

The Escapist gives it a 4.5/5:
While the space battles are the only serious shortcoming for The Old Republic, the game does have a number of other faults that are likely to frustrate gamers from time to time. For the most part, these are consequences of the game's intense focus on telling a compelling story for each of the eight classes. First, a player's allegiance to the Light or Dark Side of the Force has no bearing on their factional affiliation, which seems out of character for the franchise. Whenever a character in Star Wars turns toward the Light or Dark side, it usually follows that they have to shift political sides as well. Also out of character for the franchise is the tremendous restriction on the types of races players can be. If your Star Wars fantasy isn't to be a human, or a human with funny makeup or a head tentacle, you're pretty much out of luck here. The progress through the game is also much more linear than you're likely to find in other MMOs. Where you go next in The Old Republic is almost always decided for you.

But like I said, all of these problems are relatively unavoidable given what BioWare hoped to achieve with the story. You can't have real choice without letting the bad guys opt to be good every once in a while, and you can't have Wookiees and Ithorians messing up the fully-voiced cutscenes. You also can't give players a focused story without taking some of the larger choices away. If you're willing to accept the costs of BioWare's innovations, the game delivers one of the most refreshing and attractive advancements the MMO genre has seen in years.
SPOnG gives it a 9/10:
SWTOR is an excellent addition to the vast pantheon of MMOs that currently grace many a computer screen. It oozes quality and does much to keep the player engaged by entertaining them and not becoming a chore, as many other MMOs tend to devolve into. They do this by forcing the player to grind away at killing the same creatures over and over again or doing repetitive tasks to gain a small percentage of progression, all to keep the player trapped in playing their game and paying the subscription.

SWTOR players are spared such monotony, all thanks to BioWare and its insistence on putting the fun into RPGs. It is clear that the developer stuck to that remit throughout the creation of SWTOR and it has paid off. It is for this the team should be congratulated and well and truly deserve the mark below.

DualShockers gives it a 9.5/10:
Ultimately Star Wars: The Old Republic is not perfect, as it has its fair share of launch bugs and glitches, but it's an extremely solid entry in the MMORPG market. Not only BioWare managed to pull the most polished, smoothest and content-rich launch of the history of the genre, but the game has atmosphere and story value in spades, doing justice not only to the prestigious and beloved Knights of the Old Republic series, but also to the Star Wars brand as a whole. Whether you love MMORPGs, or single player RPGs sporting great stories and characters, you simply can't go wrong with SWTOR.

The stagnating MMORPG genre needed a shake-up and it needed it badly. Star Wars: The Old Republic has the full potential to be that earthquake that will shake the foundations of the industry. It's not only a great game, but also an awesome Star Wars experience.

Edge Online gives it an 8/10:
And playing as a group is the best way to see the game, enabling you to dip in and out of the bespoke cutscenes your class choice wouldn't otherwise get to watch. Conversely, hit the grind treadmill too hard you're looking at upwards of five solid days of playtime to hit the level cap of 50 and The Old Republic's charm is lost, the stories spun out by voiceovers dissipating against the orders to kill another 25 somethings.

BioWare hasn't cast itself as a guerrilla movement trying to subvert the MMOG with The Old Republic. Instead it's been the Empire, working to produce a slick, gigantic experience that, in the time of free-to-play, feels polished enough to demand monthly fees. How long this empire vast and imposing, but archaic in structure will last in the face of newer MMOGs and their rebellious payment models isn't easy to discern. This isn't the first of a new order of MMORPG, but it may well be the last of the old.

Guardian doesn't score it:
Combat may take a little time to grasp although the self-resurrection process is pleasingly simple, and the fact that it takes a while to hone your skills means that there is an advantage in teaming up with other players when it comes to dispatching some of the tougher enemies.

One month in, TOR is allying quality with quantity in a vast expanse of content backed up by immersive and enjoyable gameplay and might even tempt staunch WoW devotees to the Dark Side.

And ActionTrip gives it an 8.7/10:
One final issue that might be a sticking point for veteran players is group size. Non-Raid groups are limited to 4 players. BioWare said this is the perfect number for heroics and flash points, but it does make it difficult when you have more than three friends that you want to play the game with. I have had to juggle play sessions a bit in order to spend time with friends and guild mates from past games - not as irritating as one might think and certainly not a deal breaker. Still, I just thought I'd mention it so new players know what to expect as they start to play.

So yes, I am quite happy with my experience with Star Wars: The Old Republic. In fact, I was more than a little irritated that I had to take time away from playing the game in order to write about the game. However, if my recommendation helps convince some fence sitters to purchase the game and experience it for themselves it is more than worth it. The heavy emphasis on story-telling, coupled with the great voice acting, solid gameplay (outside of the space-based ship missions), good graphics and stellar sound track makes for an experience you have to try for yourself. If you are a Star Wars fan, an MMOG fan or a fan of past BioWare single-player RPGs, then you need to give this game a try. You'll be surprised at how much fun a story-based MMOG can be.