Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
Review by delateur
"Captivating to start, drudgery at the end..."
I don't review a game often. Most of the time I think that others do a pretty fine job of reviewing games, but I wanted to add one more to the mix for this particular game because it warrants it. You might think I'll have nothing good to say about this game, but give me a chance, people, I'll give you the WHOLE story, the good and the bad, and why this game is, and is not, worthy of your buying power as a consumer:
This is sort of a mixed bag. The controls are awkward at first, but nice once you get used to them. The camera is a bit difficult to get used to, but once you do, you'll appreciate how versatile it is. Getting from place to place is easy enough because of all the built in maps and waypoints used throughout. The effort to make pure classes rely upon each other is good, also, and forces people to interact with each other to realize any long term success, with perhaps the exception of entertainers, who tend to get ripped of by people who watch them, get healed, and run off without a word of thanks or a tip. Most people spend their early days doing the same thing they did on day one, for another branch of their skill tree that takes more and more experience to master. It's an incredibly boring ride, because instead of a level system that provides small, incremental rewards, you are progressing on branches that provide huge jumps in experience requirements, meaning you will see no improvement for a VERY long time.
What plot? You have what you know of Star Wars to keep your imagination going, but as far as actual guidance, or a feeling like you're doing anything to aid the rebels or the Empire? No, not really. There ARE noteworthy people, but where they are is up for you to figure out. It is this single element which drags all the rest down into a morass of constant experience grinding that may be suitable for the younger crowd who have much more simple expectations (can we kill stuff and lots of it? kewl), but will really be a disappointment for the more mature crowd who expects to be immersed in something grand and epic, of which they play some small part in the outcome.
I'm lumping these together because I think they fit into one overall category, which is simply sensory appeal. Does it look and sound good? Oh yeah... It's probably one of the prettiest games you'll ever play, and if your system is powerful enough to handle it, you'll truly enjoy the immersive feel from this category. I think, quite frankly, that all the other high (8+) ratings of this game are simply those in awe of how pretty the game is. Heck, I was impressed, before the truth rose to the surface like a turd in the swimming pool and I realized that I was doing the same things I had been doing from day one, and it was boring as hell!
Final Tilt: 4/10
To rate this game a 3, I have to add this final category, so I'll mention a few things that are extremely frustrating and don't really have to do with gameplay. To put it plainly, the game is incomplete. There's no story, the game is buggy as hell, with some being minor inconveniences (friends list and group chat not working) to things being extremely annoying (framerates dropping until the game freezes or crashes, daily patches, sometimes multiple patches or server restarts, and losing all of your items on your corpse when you go to where you died to retrieve your items). Bottom line, folks, the game just isn't that much fun long term. If you're combat oriented, you'll spend your days killing things over and over again, coming back to get healed up and then head right back out again for more. If you're non-combat, you'll be collecting resources and crafting things, over and over again, or dancing/playing nonstop, or healing people endlessly, only to reach new heights that make it even harder to reach the next tier. To be fair, all MMORPGs fail in this regard to some degree or another, but some do a much better job than others of disguising the essence of the level grind, which is either by rewarding you sufficiently often to see your progress, or by adding plot elements that allow you to feel like you're interacting with the world, and receiving rewards in line with your abilities. SWG does this worse than any game on the market to date, and that is why I encourage you not to support a title like this. It simply tells developers that they can throw better graphics/sound/interfaces at you, toss in a leveling element and thousands of other people onto the same server, and you'll hop on like docile hamsters on a treadmill. I'd like to think we deserve better.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/18/03, Updated 07/18/03
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