Friday, 30 December 2011

SWTOR: There's a lot to love

After being negative about SWTOR I thought it about time I concentrated on some of the positives in what is in many ways a beautifully made game

First of all I have to say I love the look. Many people don't so I've read, I do. Possibly it's because my first in-depth MMO was SWG and that's the standard by which I judge MMOs. And SWTOR does look very like SWG.

Star Wars is arguably the best game IP out there. It's immensely popular. It comprises both fantasy and sci fi so it covers all bases. If you want to be a sword-wielding Wizard you can, if you want to be a starfighter pilot you can. Droids and some of the animals and races are very charming. Or at least interesting even if technically I have to admit that Gungans aren't actually charming. It's more streetwise than Star Trek, more idealist than Battlestar Galactica.

Clothes and customisation are nicely done and I like the fact that your appearance gear isn't different from what you're actually wearing. It's a bit unimmersive if the plate-wearing tank is actually wearing 15 lbs of mithril-alloyed titanium on his head but appears to be wearing a top hat. So I'm glad they avoided going the route of appearance slots.

The music is very good. It's Star Wars style and occasionally directly from Star Wars as distinct from Galaxies which simply used film music for everything. I couldn't help but wonder about the economics. If you have access to the Star Wars IP why pay someone to compose new music? They're not going to do it better than John Williams. But if EA don't mind throwing some spare cash towards starving musicians who am I to quibble? And the new stuff is Star Wars style and nicely composed and played.

Combat is quite nicely done. On my Sniper I take cover, line up my shot and open up, with some snazzy area effect strafing, grenade tossing and pot shots to taste. My companion, when she can tear herself away from slicing missions, provides very decent support. She's Kaliyo, a somewhat paper tank of unpleasant temperament who, although she hits the deck a lot, tends to keep opponents busy long enough for me to win and then ress her. Plus she cheers enthusiastically when I do anything Evil.

The main storyline is excellent a twisty labyrinth of intrigue and double-dealing which I am scything through with the Direct Approach (tm). Conniving double agents seem to have issues when it comes to outwitting a bullet in the kneecap. The other stories are very nicely done too although sometimes when I'm tired it all gets a bit samey. Another long explanation of why I should Kill Ten Rebs? I think I'll spacebar through. I do feel that I should avoid doing too much of that though as I'm loathe to rush through too fast.

I love alting. The other classes feel very different and I enjoy picking a personality for a new alt. I have a Rude Sith Warrior who simply picks whatever conversation option seems rudest. He's very entertaining and it turns out you can be pretty cheeky to Sith Lords without getting your head stuck on a Force-pike. Who knew?

There's a space mission minigame which I really like. Now let me confess, I suck at space fighting games and flight sims. But this is really easy. Hold left mouse button down and try to keep the mouse pointer over the baddies. That's basically it. A space flight game that even I can play! (For reference SWG's Jump To Lightspeed was too hard for me).

Crafting is fun and I'm a big fan of time-based crafting. My main is primarily a Slicer, although I also have enough Armstech to load my Sniper Rifle with the latest Barrel. I have a Biochemist alt and I love that profession. I do suggest Slicing as first pick because even after they nerfed it it's still a constant stream of free money.

There's a nice account security feature. It collects data for 5 different security questions then sometimes asks you a random one when you log in. So even if you get key-logged the key-logger might well lack the answer needed to get into your account.

It's a good game and I'd thoroughly recommend it to any readers. I think sometimes there's a feeling that buying a MMO should be tantamount to getting married, that it should be an exclusive commitment involving dumping all previous games and avoiding at least 6 months worth of new releases. That's silly. It's worth a look and at £35 or so it's reasonably affordable. It's certainly a lot of content for your money even if one accepts Tobold's opinion that it's a game with lots of content but not much gameplay.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, detailed and honest review. I liked it. For the first time I thought about buying it. Too bad I changed my mind 1 minute later, I can't handle yet another MMO, sadly. But it was a good read!