Review by Amer

"An entertaining game that rewards patience and player interaction"

I've always been a huge Star Wars fan, and a fan of RPG's, so picking up Star Wars Galaxies seemed like a no-brainer for me. This was my first Massively Multiplayer Online RPG experience, and it has been enjoyable to say the least.

Being a PC game, I thought I'd talk about the Installation and Setup. The game's system requirements are rather high, and you really need a newer machine to play this game enjoyably. The game requires 2 GB of your Hard Drive to install, and that's not including the almost daily updates the game gets. Once you install, you will have to register to play the game with Sony's Online game community, the Station. The process is simple enough, but I can see some having trouble with it when it comes to the billing information and payment options. Anyone who isn't familiar with using a credit/debit card should get help here. The cost is roughly 15 a month, with discounts for multi-month plans. The game has more than a few servers for players to choose from, and since the game is still new, most should be able to get a username they like on some server. Of course, some Star Wars names are so zany, the no one will have them anyway.

Character Creation
Creating your character is easy, and you can choose from many varying classes and races. All of the popular Star Wars races are there, from Humans to Twileks, to Zabraks (Darth Maul was a Zabrak). The classes provide a lot of choices and depth. You can gain your experience the old fashioned RPG way by going out and well..killing things, or you can become an artisan and make everything from armor and weapons to buildings and droids. Or, you can become an entertainer and dance or play music to earn your way. Your character's appearance is totally customizable, and the only thing I didn't like was the hair choices, as some seemed totally ridiculous. Also, if you find yourself not liking the way you look once you enter the game, the Image Designer class can come and change your appearance for you. I've already been made taller and fixed my face, thanks to the generosity of fellow players. The amount of different clothes that can be bought in this game makes sure that no one looks the same, unless they are wearing the same armor. Also, artisans are creating new types of clothes everyday the likes have never been seen.

The ''Community'' Factor
The people who play this game are wonderful. Those seeking to join a Player created Guild or Clan will be rewarded with a feeling of true belonging. I joined a guild with 16 members, and 4 or 5 of them are usually on at any given time. They helped me greatly, since it was my first MMORPG experience, and helped me learn the in's and out's of the game. One member even gave me an entire suit of armor, which was worth well over 10,000 credits. A huge amount compared to the 250 credits I started the game with. When I thanked him and asked him if there was anything I could do to repay him, he merely said ''Don't worry about it, that's how people are here.'' Another example of the great players in this game, I was caught unexpectedly by two enemies who greatly outmatched me. I was running away as hard as I could but to no avail. Some random player came out of nowhere and helped me, just before I would have been killed. He merely shrugged it off with a ''No problem'' then went on his way. The game also rewards those who help others. Once you gain enough experience to learn a skill, it must be taught to you by a trainer. Non player trainers charge at least 1000 credits to teach you a skill, but player characters will almost always teach you skills for free because the game rewards them with ''Apprentice XP'' which is needed to gain some higher level skills. At any given time you can enter a town and hear someone shouting ''Teaching FREE Marksman and Scout skills!'' Many of the skills can only be achieved by interacting with other players as well. Medics only gain XP when they heal other players, not themselves. The easiest way to gain this XP is by healing Dancers and Musicians in a Cantina. They use up Action points to perform special moves, and medics can heal these points with stimpacks. All of the dancers and musicians are very nice, since they want people to watch them so they can gain XP. Also, the game requires Players who take a fighting path to watch or listen to them, as it is the only way to heal Battle Fatigue. Fighting characters must also rely on Medics to heal any Wound Points they have. The ''Community'' Factor for me, is the best part of the game. But you can only get out of it what you put into it.

I've been told it plays like Everquest, but I've not played Everquest, so here's my take. The gameplay varies greatly depending on what you take as your class(es). I'm a marksman/scout/medic and I spend quite a bit of time doing missions, harvesting from animals I've killed, and sitting in cantinas healing dancers, musicians, and wounded players. The battle system is a mix of action and turn based, as you can move around as much as you want, but the actual swinging of your melee weapon or shooting of your blaster is taken in turns. The marksman class obviously focuses on ranged weapons, and other classes such as brawler, focus on melee swords, axes, and daggers. Many players are creature handlers, and have recognizable creatures from the Star Wars universe fight for them, such as Dewbacks. At the core of the gameplay are the missions, which are subdivided into Destroy and Deliver. Destroy missions are obviously when you go out and kill some creatures or human encampments (they are all ''evil'' humans such as cannibals, or smugglers, or spice pirates, if you have a problem with killing innocents). They have higher rewards than deliver missions, but are much more difficult The delivery missions require you to travel to one point to pick up some material, then to another to drop it off. The easiest types require you to pick up and drop off something in the same city, but pay barely anything, and those which pay good credits require you to travel very far distances. Also, there are Rebel and Imperial Missions you can do, which also increase the number of ''Faction Points'' you have in each group. You can join the Rebel Alliance once you have enough Rebel Points, and raise your rank. One of my guild members has gained enough Rebel Points to become a Lance Corporal, and is currently taking missions from Leia and Wedge on Corellia. There are several worlds to choose from, including Tatooine, Naboo, Corellia and later on, Endor and Yavin. New planets with harder enemies have also been included, such as Lok. Missions are only one aspect of gameplay, but right now they are the best way to get credits. Many player cities are now being created as well. The guild I am in put up a large, 3 story guild hall outside of Mos Eisley, and since, many players have put up large homes, resource harvesters, and stores around the hall. It's become its own small city, and in future updates, the option to create player cities has been promised. Also, space combat and player owned vehicles are on the way. The game is still in it's early stages, but it's getting better with each update. There are some buggy parts. Another downside is that while in high traffic areas of towns, you will experience lag. These places are banks and cantinas. Once you enter the buildings, you should be okay, but while entering you might experience great lag. I wouldn't recommend this game if you have a 56k modem or less.

The graphics are excellent, which is why it requires such a newer machine to play. I've currently got armor made from insect exoskeletons, and I can see things reflecting off of it. That's how good the graphics are. As for sound, most of the music and sound effects have been taken right from the movies. So in other words, it's excellent.

The ''Boring'' Factor
I've seen the other reviews that claim the game gets boring. It will only get boring if you let it get boring. There is so much depth here that you can just go through it all in a week or two. You get out of it what you put into it.

My overall rating: 9/10. Star Wars fan but not an RPG fan? You will like this game. RPG fan but not a Star Wars fan? You will like this game. Star Wars fan and RPG fan? You will love this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/12/03

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