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Star Wars: The Old Republic GamesCom 2009 Preview

Earlier this year, GameOn were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Star Wars: The Old Republic while attending E3 back in June, whilst only being a viewing of the game, it still gave an insight on how the game was progressing. Fast forwarding to August at GamesCom, GameOn were even more privileged to obtain a hands-on demonstration of this highly anticipated MMO from the creative pockets of Bioware.


Walking into the Star Wars themed booth was very dangerous territory for me, not to mention dangerous for the Bioware team residing within. Having combined two of my passions, Star Wars and MMORPG's, it could have proven very difficult for me to leave the pc, not to mention difficult for the staff to tear me away from the seat.


With World of Warcraft reigning supreme at the crest of MMO gaming, it was interesting to see what Bioware had created in order to topple the King, or at the very least, punch a huge hole in Blizzard's armour and take a chunk of its user base away.
The section of gameplay on show to us was set on an Imperial Star Destroyer which became under attack by Republic troops and we were given control of an Imperial Sith Warrior. From the outset of this demonstration mission, it was clear that Bioware have big plans for this game.


The full voice narration for every character you come across is a huge part of the interaction and immersion of your character development, no more reading a little pop up box with your quest information, now you get a nice interactive cut scene with your mission details which also includes dialogue options which determine how your avatar's personality will be portrayed while communicating with other NPC's.


These moral choices you make also determine the path you walk down in the game world's persistent story line, so once that decision is made there is no turning back. Some opportunities may open up while others will become closed off for your character. This should provide a unique experience for each and every player who picks this title up.

The control system is very similar to World of Warcraft, utilising a modern FPS keyset (WASD) for movement and using either you clicking the icons on your action bar or pressing their pre-defined key binding to activate your skills, the positioning of your health bar, action bars and mini map are at the bottom of the screen, leaving the rest of your view port for all the action you'll be getting into. No doubt all of this will be customisable for those who seek the perfect UI though it is too early to indicate whether Bioware will support the creation of third party UI modifications akin to the myriad of addons available for World of Warcraft.


Visually, the game looks very authentic, the bridge of the Star Destroyer was laid out as expected even if the game is set 3000 years prior to the shenanigans of Anakin Skywalker and Co. The faction difference is easily identifiable, while we were dressed in dark apparel, the Republic troops which boarded our vessel were in bright uniforms so picking out adversaries in a fight should pose little problem.


Throughout our playtime with this game, our thoughts of "This is going to be something special" were growing stronger with every minute we spent with The Old Republic. Even in these early stages of playable code, the possibilities of the title are very exciting indeed, Bioware have an excellent reputation for producing quality RPG's, just take a look at Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect for example, the team here at GameOn really cannot wait to get our hands on the finished product.
Bioware were tight lipped on time scales for this potential WoW beater, nor did they let slip if they had any plans of closed or open beta's however, I'm sure you will agree this will be a game to wait patiently for.

Wedgeh | 24th September, 2009
Pegster's picture
Wow. I could be tempted to paly something again

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