Review by gman9889

"A Misadventure In A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided

With a slew of new MMORPGs coming out to challenge the long time champ, EverQuest. Each one is trying its best to set itself apart from the pack. What guns are SWG packin' you ask? Simple: A movie license.

The game starts off by letting you pick your character from one of eight races (Mon Calamari, Wookie, Rodian, Zabrak, Rodian, Human, Bothan, and Twi'lek). Probably the best feature of SWG is the character customization. Players can customize every last detail of their character, from their nose length to their jaw line.

SWG makes a marvelous first impression. The awesome shock of seeing a trio of dancing wookies and hearing a storm trooper to tell you to move a long will overload your brain cells. Unfortunately, after all this wears off, you'll be sucked down into the mundane system off leveling up.

The starting professions are scout (druid in EQ terms), marksman, brawler, artisan, medic, and entertainer. All jobs level up through a system of 16 boxes that teach you skills. If you’re a brawler or marksman, you'll have to kill stuff 24/7, just to gain one box. This is extremely hard as you'll need to gather huge hunting parties of people to be able to kill anything that gives good xp. Even worse, as you progress through the
game the xp requirements become more and more ludicrous.

The more peaceful professions of medic and entertainer are even worse. Entertainers have to sit in the same cantina all day long to heal other players' battle fatigue (a sickness that affects your stats after you've been fighting a lot.) That means just hitting the F1-F8 keys till your fingers go numb. And as for all you aspiring doctors, you have to do pretty much the same thing, except in the hospital.

Lastly, there are artisans (the crafters of the SWG world). They divide their time between gathering materials and actually crafting items. Neither one is too much fun.

The developers at Lucas Arts thought it would make for a healthy driven player driven economy if there were no NPC vendors. Yeah, that was smart. So now, only artisans who make popular items like buildings, weapons, and armor can make any money. The only way a fighter can make money is to do low paying (and when I say low, I mean really low paying) delivery or destroy missions. Medics and entertainers are completely at the mercy of other players in economic matters. They rely on players tipping them for their services, although most of the game's population is too unscrupulous to do so.

Probably one of the most annoying things about the game is that it was released way too early. The game had been in development for about 2 1/2 years and apparently Sony got tired of waiting to release and decided to cash in. Some of the coolest features, like player run cities and vehicles, haven't been added to the game yet. The game is also fraught with glitches. Although Sony adds patches almost every day to fix them, they still released the game way too early. I experienced this first hand when my 100K house full of about 50K worth of items went poof after a glitch with the housing terminal. So basically, everyone playing gets to pay $15 a month to be a beta tester.

Graphics-9 The game has beautiful, varied environments and incredibly detailed characters. Unfortunately, this causes incredible slowdowns. I played on a computer that is only about a year old and I can't tell you how many times I died because of freezes. Even new computers aren't completely free off slow frame rate.

Sound-6 SWG features the familiar Star Wars music from the movies, plus some brand new tunes created for the game. They're are only about 5 of them though and they only seem to kick in whenever they feel like it. For some odd reason there are no sound effects whatsoever, except for the transport shuttle (an odd little quirk).

Control 7- Controls consist of a complex system of shortcuts and hotkeys, which are somewhat of a pain to memorize. These hotkeys are sometimes slow to register in combat situations, which can mean the difference between life and death. Also, moving around in cities is frustrating because of slowdowns.

Gameplay 2- If your idea is fun is killing things all day and then spending hours sitting around in a hospital or crafting the same knife 5,000 times till you advance a level, then plan to spend the next five years of your life with this game. The only redeeming quality is the excellent player interaction, as people in this game are much nicer to each other than in other MMORPGS.

Overall 4- Should you not fulfill the afore mentioned requirements for this game, save your money for one of the other, better MMORPGs coming out this year.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 09/09/03

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