Review by Diversion
"Stars Wars YOUR Style..."
Several years back, an announcement was made along the lines of a new Star Wars Game, MMORPG style. This alone makes many people jump for joy, but others are still in the dark. MMORPG is an abnormally long acronym for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Basically, some rules are set aside in the game, and players go ahead and LIVE the Star Wars Universe. The hype behind the game was massive...so massive that the developers had to put a ton of time into the game. Being that Star Wars has one of the largest fan bases behind it, the game needed content and lots of it, which explains why there were so many date changes. These were necessary, because no one wants a buggy game, right?
I was in beta, and I was one who believed that it should have been pushed back at least a couple more months, but being the Star Wars nerd I am, was at the store before it opened waiting to get my Collector's Edition. First of all, the difference between Collector's and Standard Editions: the CE has a very beautiful art book, a lapel pin, figurine, autographed manual by development team members, and the game itself. In the game, you also get 3 pairs of sunglasses that only you can have. The Standard has the game and the manual. The Collector's Edition would only be worth it for the true Star Wars fans, the value of $25 exceeds what you get by about $15, but, fans will still want this nice piece (hey, I got it).
The first day was sheer hell with everyone trying to log on at once and the subscription servers getting hammered (this isn't a problem anymore). A note to buyers: You need to put down at least an additional $14.99 to actually get into the game. For most it isn't a problem, but be aware. Now for the game. When we, the beta testers, said the game wasn't ready for release, we weren't kidding. For a game like this, I believe the game has to be polished, because you don't want to disappoint the fans. There were major bugs for release and still are (inventories disappearing?). I won't deny to you the fact that such things exist, because they ruin the experience. For an MMORPG, Galaxies scores well on the cards minus the bugs.
Sound and Graphics: SUPERB. The famous score written by John Williams 33 years ago (and some tracks from the two most recent movies) fits in greatly. I'm major with music; it runs my life. For the most part, they did a good job, except with the fading. When you go into battle, you will hear one of many tracks, including sections from Battle of Yavin, Battle of Endor, and Jango's Escape (there are more, but those are noteworthy). They do a great job with it, but if the battle is long, the looping is awful. The music literally fades a slight amount and then starts over. I'm nitpicky in this sense, so that bothered me. Everything else with the music is great. Atmosphere is awesome, never had problem with sound effects. When you approach major places, like the Emperor's Retreat, the music changes to the Emperor's Theme (male chorus going Ooo-ooo-ooo).
For Graphics, they did an excellent job. People say that they weren't done the best when they don't even realize what they did. Galaxies is prepared for a long time of playing, so they built these for systems we will see in a few years. No computer right now can max out the graphics. When we reach that point, then you will see the depth of detail put in, but the Force is strong and I believe in it. The game handles decently on most systems. You do need a modern computer to run it at its lowest setting, which is fine because the detail is needed to have that Star Wars feeling. There are effects that take a load of memory (on Naboo, when trees shed their leaves every half hour...damn near crashes me every time). Other than that, the environment for graphics is good.
Gameplay: Decent, but lacking. This is coming from a major fan's viewpoint, and I want the game to be immense. This takes place after the Battle of Yavin and before the Battle of Hoth (Between Episode IV & V). You are introduced to familiar planets and some new ones. The missions you come across in the game, which you get from mission terminals, are either Delivery or Destroy Missions. On the whole, it's a lot of walking, and the feeling you get from it is simply empty. I don't want to talk much on the missions, but with the glitches in it, sometimes your mission isn't even at the waypoint!
The first thing you do in the game is create your characters. This is simply the best character creation system ever made. Even people who hate the game agree that it's unbeatable. You can change so many details, from race (species), skin color, hair color, hair style, eye color, age, nose protrusion, nose length, mouth length, mouth size, eye size, eye shape, antennae size, etc. Serious, there are thousands of combinations. The system is fantastic. For new players, getting into the game can be frustrating since there is so much going on. If you're used to MMORPG, it isn't too hard to adjust. If you're new, learning curve can range from a few hours to a few days. There's so much to learn in the game.
For battles, the system is pretty good. Every attack you do has some attributes, such as damage, speed, etc. Every attack you select is put in the Combat Queue, and they are performed in that order. The battle system is a lot of fun with larger creatures. the AI on them isn't too bad, although no one's ever been perfect, so it isn't flawless. For most, the battles are where the fun's at, and it really is. For battles, you can go Brawler or Marksman for starting professions, and end up as a Teras Kasi Artist or a Rifleman to name a couple elite professions.
The other professions are Artisan, Medic, Entertainer, and Scout. The artisan is one of the largest professions out there. They basically build stuff, ranging from Droids to weapons, armor to food, tailor to architect. Every part plays a role in the universe, and you will eventually need something from all of them (in most cases). This is a tedious class, especially with recent changes in the game which require much more sampling. This class is for making money. Some find it fun, most will find it extremely boring. Artisans are the ones who use macros the most. A macro is a small line of commands to perform automated tasks. It's very useful when sampling (extracting) materials.
The medic heals people. This also isn't very exciting for most, but they are needed to keep people alive and healthy. Medics, predominantly, are in the hospital healing the injured. You can also become a combat medic, and go out on the field healing while people fight. Entertainers are also like medics in a sense. They play music or dance, and while doing so, heal any fatigue you may accumulate while fighting and treat your mind wounds. Your local cantina will have entertainers there, keeping a pleasant environment.
The other profession is scout. Scouts are so involved. They can harvest creatures for Bone, Hide, and Meat that can be used for building camps and other items. Camps are essential because it's a place to rest and heal up some wounds on the battlefield. Scouts can lead to strong and important hybrid and elite classes, such as Ranger, Creature Handler, and Squad Leader. Most people have basic scouting abilities so they can make camps on their own, and it's a good idea to have this.
The environment is one of the main things that's lacking. When most people think of Star Wars, they think of Jedi. Well, during this time period, Jedi are all but extinct, yet people still want to see them! In the Star Wars Universe, there are rogue Jedi who were not yet killed by Vader. In the game, you'll come across them (they are hard). When you think of Jedi, you think of Lightsabers. I'll tell you right now, first time I saw a Jedi during beta I was thrilled to see a lightsaber doing fantastic moves and such. What a letdown it was when all they did was swing it around like a stick and nothing fancy or extra added to it. Another way the game feels empty are the NPCs and their lack of individuality. Most stand there, completely stone. These NPCs are for people and their missions (talk to them on delivery missions). If you talk to them, they'll bark at you saying go away. There's about 3-4 lines they actually use to tell you off, too. The delivery missions you actually get are few also. I think I've gotten maybe 20 different missions, yet have had about 100 delivery missions total. Yea, there's a lot of repeats, too many. It couldn't have been that hard to add more content.
A game made for the fans. It's fun, but like many games, overhyped.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/11/03, Updated 07/11/03
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