4000 years before the actual Star Wars films, a great Sith Lord attacked the Republic. This is the setting a player finds themselves when they start playing Star Wars The Old Republic, a 2003 MMORPG that, while not bringing anything new to the table, was certainly a great addition to the genre and a major title for the fans of the movies and the franchise. This game is quite interesting in a few points, but has a few problems too, all of which you’ll find out below.
Light or Dark, but Never Neutral
Like we said, The Old Republic is an MMO that doesn’t add anything new, but it does leave quite an impression on the players. And not just because you’re playing as a Jedi for the Dark or Light side of the Force. The game features full voice acting, even in the case of player characters, and an action-consequence quest progression, something almost unheard of at that time in the MMO genre. However, it’s no wonder when you see that the game was developed by BioWare, people responsible for developing such amazing games as Mass Effect and Dragon Age, with both games being famous for their narratives and excellent character depiction.
In The Old Republic, you will set on a course to stop or aid the Sith Lord, with your character, chosen from one of eight classes, making choices that will grant them Light or Dark points and influence their Force alignment. This, however, has more significance than you playing a role – depending on your alignment, you’ll be given access to different kinds of equipment. However, choose to be neutral, and you’ll have access to much less equipment, and it will be underpowered.
When we look at the gameplay, it’s a standard MMORPG formula. There is a bar with skills and hotkeys to press, and that’s it. However, the visuals are flashy and the animations look cool when you’re firing your blaster or brandishing your light sabre, making the combat, at least, interesting to look at. The game also introduces companions. While this is not a new concept, and may MMORPGs allow you to have pets, in The Old Republic, you can have them fight for you, sell your stuff and craft equipment, but, most of all, they really feel like persons you fight side by side. You can talk to your companions outside battle, and get to know them, giving you an impression that they’re really alive, and making you care for them more, instead of feeling like they’re just some random henchmen you can easily get rid of.
Naturally, you’ll be able to enjoy this game with other people as well. You can raid dungeons, some of which have excellent bosses that require team coordination, and some very big ones, like Operations. You can play PvP, but there is no matchmaking, and the game kind of falls flat in this aspect. There are only three maps, and there is no way to choose your map preference.
In all, this is a great game very much worth playing. The Old Republic did not introduce voice acting in MMO games, but it sure took it to the next level. The game may be old now, but it’s value hasn’t diminished, because of its great portrayal of characters, diversity in gameplay and, well, because it’s Star Wars after all.