If the thought of exploring the desert-like landscapes of Tatooine, the Vegas-in-outer-space trappings of Shadaa, the Sith’s ancient home planet of Korriban, or the frozen wastes of Hoth makes you want to swing around that light saber toy you still keep, then The Old Republic is for you. If you have little idea what those places are, then, congratulations! You're not much of a dork. That doesn’t mean however that you shouldn’t give The Old Republic a try, because it is still a very capable MMO that’s captivating at times.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is developed by Bioware, the same guys who brought us the excellent Knights of the Old Republic a little less than a decade ago. The similarities are evident, from the art direction to the pace of the combat, only this time, the action has been taken online, and in a massive way. Players can choose from a variety of species, from humanoids to cyborgs to totally outlandish creatures from the darkest corners of this galaxy far, far away.
There are perks for choosing a certain specie, and some will limit you to certain classes, but beyond that, the differences tend to be cosmetic. There are eight different classes available divided between two factions: the Republic (the Jedi do-gooders) and the Empire (the nasty Sith). In typical MMO fashion, the classes range from pure melee specialists to magic, or “force” users.
Once you’re done tinkering and creating your character, you’re jettisoned into the thick of things. You have a ship all your own, which you can fill with a crew, and companions who will be able to craft and gather items for you. The “companion” element is executed as smoothly as a light saber can cut through flesh, and lends the game a faster pace by giving you the option to automate tasks you would normally have to do yourself.
Thus, you have more time to focus on adventuring. As we’ve seen in Mass Effect, you can pursue romantic relationships with these companions. We’ll allow you to discover how that part unfolds, but just to warn you ahead, it’s nothing groundbreaking.
And those are words that are worth keeping in mind when playing the game. This is not a game that steps beyond what’s expected.