Review by aeoncaliber
"Entertaining at first, but lacking once your delve deeper"
It is a moment that any avid Star Wars fan dreams about when he/she first lays his/her hands on Star Wars: Galaxies; already, that Star Wars nostalgia begins to settle, and you get this giddy feeling about playing as a one-of-a-kind character in a MMORPG based on Star Wars.
So we make a character, and wow what a great array of options to customize your character! Excitement creeps, like savoring the fruits of opening that brand-new DVD movie and just waiting to pop that puppy into your DVD-player. Character made, and then....
Does this sound familiar already? Of course it does. You know what's coming when I start out a review like this. Yes, the foreshadowing I rendered in the last two paragraphs lead up to one final conclusion: This game does not live up to the hype. What new ''experiences'' this game tries to introduce us, such as the ''artisan'' and ''entertainer'' classes, achieve results on one spectrum and fail miserably in another. Let me further emphasize...
First of, I need not explain what the Marksman, Brawlers, or Scout professions are in this game. Just think of Archer, Fighter, and Druid respectively (sorta). These proffessions are modified Everquest proffessions... and while not a bad thing, it falters somewhat (IMO) because of the clumsy way of leveling up and what not.
Simply put, leveling up at first is normal and within acceptable bounds... gaining a new profficiency or 2 with each ''box'' out of a 4x4 Matrix advancement. But after around 2 boxes, leveling becomes a TIRESOME task that can result in the ''Level-Grinding'' tactic that can last what seems an Eternity only to unlock a pitiful new ''technique'' or so. Point is, it feels more like a -JOB- playing this game sometimes. My guess is that there might not be alot of content, so they seperate what meager content they have and make you suffer on long, boring strides to earn something that seems as though it wasn't all that worthwhile. The fun is essentially taken away. I don't know if the developers did this on purpose so as to encourage the ''Roleplay more, level-grind less'' and the like... but paying -15- bucks a month of this seems out of hand. I'm not here to mud-roleplay... I can go to a -free- chatroom online and do that if I need to. I'm here for a good balance of fun stuff, missions, good rp, and the like... and what I find instead is (mostly) people level-grinding and repeating their daily things for weeks on end trying to get to some goal that seems months and months and months away...
I got bored with being a Marksman and made myself an ''Entertainer/Artisan'' just to see the non-fighting classes. True enough, you can level up without having to fight even -once-, so this is an interesting plus. PROBLEM: Dancing -ALL- day in a cantina, hitting the F1-F8 keys to perform flourishes to get more xp, and doing -just- that... grow extremely tedious and boring. I found myself rather poor as an Entertainer, as many people forget the concept of ''tipping your Entertainer for helping you heal Battle Fatigue''. So, off I went to do Delivery missions... which pay miserably. As an Artisan, things didn't look too good either. Leveling up after the 2nd box required me to make 350-something things or more... couple that with the fact that you need to find resources to make one thing (some requiring almost a dozen or so), and that is also time consuming, and it all boils down to boredom again. Even maintaining Harvesters (things that dig up resources for you) is a hassle.
I have many qualms, but to be lighthearted and comical, I'll ask you this. How the HECK do NPC characters like Farmers or Miners get to wear such NICE clothing that seem so out of reach for the measly garbs you wear? Yes, the game is run under a player-economy... no NPC vendors. And since it will take 1,000,000 years (sarcasm) to master getting up to be even a -NOVICE- tailor, you have to wonder how many times you can hear ''BONE ARMOR FOR SELL!!'' in the streets when the stormtroopers can literally kick the crap out of a group of 3 or 4 average Marksman/fighters. There's a problem when frogs can kick your behind too... there's a problem when everyone in the world seems to be going through the ''Dark Ages'' and all the NPC's seem to be rich, famous, and powerful (some). There's a problem when I don't feel like some integral (even a very -small-) part of a grand story or anything. And that thing about being a Jedi? I'm not going to even get into that argument... let the message boards speak for themselves.
I played this game for almost a month now, and I won't be renewing my subscription. This is a flawed, buggy, simply not deep enough MMORPG to hold my appeal.
Graphics: 10 - Yes, pretty. Very pretty. But on my rig AMD 3000+, Raddy 9700 PRO, 1 gig of DDR 333 ram... it chopped up in the cities and made a slosh of my card in certain areas (and I'm on DSL!). Patches have aleviated some of these symptoms, but I find it hard to believe that anyone can run this game and not encounter some ''hiccups'' with all the detail sliders at full. I mean, there's no way and my friend's computer has a GF FX 5900 with a P4 3 Ghz 800mhz FSB with rd ram and he STILL gets hiccups....
Sound: 7 - Aunthentic, true sounding to the Star Wars sage... which we've heard in almost nearly every other game of Star Wars. No voices for NPC's, but sounds are authentic (like those of shuttles flying over the skies and such... that was niiice). Music is sometimes non-existant, but pops in every now and then. Sounds nice, but kinda re-hashed...
Gameplay: 3 - Hmm? You mean why the low score? I dunno. You like to kill things, collect stuff, repeat and do over for hours on end? Sure! You'll love this. Do you like dancing eternally in a Cantina, heal people forever in a Hospital, or make 4,000 apple pies before you can level up one box? Go right ahead. This, however, is -not- my cup of tea. Interface is shoddy at first, but luckily -very- customizable and saves this score from getting a flat 2.
Overall: 5 - This is the MMORPG that could have the the killer of all MMORPG's but just isn't. Where it could have left it's Everquest roots and became something so nice became another version of ''NeverQuest'' in a very wrong sort of dimension that simply isn't exciting, even with the Star Wars license. And granted, I LOVE STAR WARS.
Bottom Line: You like Star Wars too? Get yourself an X-box (or wait a while if you only have a PC) and get yourself Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Sure, it's not an MMORPG... it's not multiplayer... but golly, I've had it for only 2 days now, and I've -completely- forgotten about Galaxies. SW:KOTOR is simply the better of the two, but in no ways can they be directly compared. One is an MMORPG, the other an RPG. But when you put the two together, I think most will agree that KOTOR, even if it clocks in at almost 60 hours of main gameplay not counting some sidequests and playing alternatively in a Light-based/Dark-side way, is worth your 50 bucks more than Galaxies. If Galaxies ever has a patch or upgrade released that can address these issues, add a LOT more content, add vehicles, and finally adds more intricacy to it's gameplay, I'd definately go ahead and buy it. As of right now, best bet is to wait. I know I'll wait, because I want to give this MMORPG a chance...
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 07/23/03, Updated 07/23/03
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