OLD SITE

You're currently viewing the old version of the GameGrin site as this article hasn't yet been moved to our new site.

Visit the new site at www.gamegrin.com

Star Wars: The Old Republic E3 2009 Preview

Packed into a small room resembling a Jedi temple, GameOn is here to see a preview of BioWare's upcoming Star Wars massively multiplayer online role-playing game, The Old Republic. The tension in the room is palpable with a hush descending as the presentation begins. What follows is gameplay that goes beyond the expectations of any current MMORPG title. It is clear that BioWare are here to make their mark on the genre.

Star Wars The Old Republic Screen 1

A jaw-dropping cinematic trailer featuring an epic battle between Sith and Jedi sets the scene for the game. Events of the title take place 300 years after the Knights of the Old Republic series and over 3,000 years before the rise of Darth Vader. Choosing this setting is a great move as it taps into a largely unexplored area of the rich Star Wars fiction. This is a period when the galaxy is divided in two by the warring Sith Empire and the Old Republic and players will be able to choose their allegiances.

BioWare stressed that they were focusing hard on all the elements necessary to make a truly great MMORPG with particular emphasis on combat, exploration, progression and story. This last element is going to be as innovative as possible with huge amounts of time and effort going into crafting a meaningful and complex narrative for players. To help with this, every character in the game, including all non-playable characters has full voice acting on all dialogue, a first for any MMO.

Star Wars The Old Republic Screen 2

However dialogue means little without choice and BioWare are giving players the chance to make their own decisions in game. In order to develop their story players will be tasked with selecting the outcome of various events in missions and this won't be some arbitrary and meaningless action. A simple example of this system in action is the choice of different replies and topics in conversation, familiar from the developer's other games. In the gameplay we saw there was a pleasingly diverse selection from the sympathetic approach to the downright rude, which is encouraging to see.

As well as working on a deep and complex plot, BioWare are concentrating very hard on making the gameplay itself different from other MMORPG titles. In the demonstration two of the game's classes were shown, The Bounty Hunter and The Smuggler. The Bounty Hunter is designed to live up to everyone's morally ambiguous desire to enslave people and generally fly around with a jet pack and wrist-mounted flamethrower. In the section we saw, the player character was looking to take part in "The Great Hunt" an event across the galaxy to find the greatest hunter who must prove himself in a series of tests. Upon receiving his goals he arrived at the planet Hutta (home of the Hutts) and battled with some enemies. The combat was dynamic and involved much more than most MMORPG's and wasn't just stacking up attack commands.

Star Wars The Old Republic Screen 3

The Old Republic's visuals are impressive and BioWare used the term "stylised realism" which gives the game a distinctly Star Wars feel without resorting to overly cartoony graphics. The sound effects are also excellent with the classic Star Wars lasers feeling authentic and bringing back that sense of familiarity.

After the short Bounty Hunter preview draws to a close a brand new class is revealed. The Smuggler fulfils the role of everyone's favourite reckless reluctant hero, Han Solo. The class is more vulnerable and favours ranged weaponry which is demonstrated during a mission to Ord Mantell, a Separatist planet where smugglers provide guns for cash. Taking on a series of opponents the Smuggler takes cover behind objects before returning fire with a blaster. The cover system will be another first for an MMO and will be an important element in the game's combat.

Star Wars The Old Republic Screen 4

In the final gameplay demonstration, BioWare showed a level called "Flashpoint" in which the Bounty Hunter and Sith character are faced with a battle on board a space ship. At the beginning of the level both characters are faced with a decision, whether they execute or spare the ship's captain who has disobeyed a direct order. This is one of the examples of choice that will play a key part in the experience and your actions will greatly effect how other characters behave towards you. With different actions come alternate rewards as well as potentially changing your character towards the dark side or away from it.

After the decision is made there is a frantic battle as the both characters fight their way to the hold working together to make short work of the enemy. In a few memorable instances the Sith character used force choke to lift enemies off the ground whilst the Bounty Hunter peppered them with blaster fire making short work of several Jedi Padawans. As they neared the end of the mission a Jedi Knight appeared proving a challenge and forcing the two to work together using both their skills to take him down using both blaster fire and impressive looking lightsaber combat. At times the Jedi would deflect blaster fire back at both characters but ultimately was defeated. In true MMORPG style the fallen character drops loot and in a final closing shot, the Sith now wields two lightsabers.

Star Wars The Old Republic Screen 5

The Old Republic is being designed by a developer with an excellent track record and complete support from LucasArts. After seeing the gameplay and the enormous amount of effort being used to recreate the Star Wars universe this is a game with the potential to become one of the most successful MMORPG's of all time. If the story can deliver as much as it promises and the gameplay can be as enjoyable as it looks, this could well be the definitive Star Wars experience.

evilgiraffeman | 8th June, 2009
Vulpine's picture
Excellent, I can not wait for this to be released. It will take over my life. I am hoping with all the work that they are putting in, they have a decent name filter for player characters too as with games like EVE, people with bob27652 are possible and break the immersiveness of the game. The player role play base will be huge and very rewarding, I hope they include lots of rp tools for players (if anyone can do the genre justice, bioware can).
Maggy's picture
**throws a rotten bannana at vulpine**
Vulpine's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggy View Post
**throws a rotten bannana at vulpine**
Dark Lord Vulpine laughs madly as his force lightning fries Padawan Maggy's banana in mid air.....
MaddAussie's picture
Utinny! /Maddaussies jawa scramble for the delicious banana
Rasher's picture
I have to admit Vulpine, i am tempted with this
I have avoided MMOs since SWG

Maybe worth a group of us getting together before its out,
i may only play for the 1st month, if i don't limit my self, i know what will happen

Who else would be up for playing for a month?
Mags? come on, good old days coming back
you can lap dance me
Ning's picture
Yeah ill be giving this a go, played swg untill sony took over and made everyone a jedi... took me fookin ages to do that then anyone could...
Angelfromabove's picture
Id be interested in giving this a go.
Dead Alive's picture
I'll be in definately. I missed SWG when it was good and only played it after Jedi were available to everyone who played.
djdawsonuk's picture
I might have a bash if there's a free trial going.
Platinum's picture
This looks very likely to be my first real venture into mmo's, goodbye life
Vulpine's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Platinum View Post
This looks very likely to be my first real venture into mmo's, goodbye life
Yeh Rash, I'm in, randon SWG memory, remember player owned city again
I remember running around planets trying to place the bloody thing.

Oh God! Plats in? No names like Mr Hans Holus D'Anus please
Angelfromabove's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulpine View Post
Yeh Rash, I'm in, randon SWG memory, remember player owned city again
I remember running around planets trying to place the bloody thing.

Oh God! Plats in? No names like Mr Hans Holus D'Anus please
HEHEHEHE Somebody HAS to have that name or one very simeler!
djdawsonuk's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelfromabove View Post
HEHEHEHE Somebody HAS to have that name or one very simeler!
Princess Lay Her?
Hands Solo?
D'**** Invader?

Could go on for some time...
ExcessNeo's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by djdawsonuk View Post
Princess Lay Her?
Hands Solo?
D'**** Invader?

Could go on for some time...
I claim Hands Solo.
Rasher's picture
if you remember my original name in SWG
Gona Rear

cant believe they never took that off me, yet they took Raspys name off him... "big jugs"...
Angelfromabove's picture
gona rear... hahaha!!!!
Wedgeh's picture
do want
Platinum's picture
Dark Lord PBear
djdawsonuk's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Platinum View Post
Dark Lord PBear
this?
Maggy's picture
no
Rasher's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggy View Post
no
i will let you give me a lap dance if you join us for the 1st month
Wedgeh's picture
think i'll use yahtzee's name which he used reviewing richard garriots mmo. Gareth Gobulcocque

Other items from around the web