Who among us has not dreamed of wielding a lightsaber or flying the Millennium Falcon? Those of us who love Star Wars to our very core have no doubt at one time or another either purchased a plastic lightsaber (or blaster), picked up one of the many Star Wars novels or comics available, sampled the few console games put out there by EA and LucasArts, or viewed any or all six films countless times—anything to return to our beloved galaxy far, far away. I offer you the chance to do so—on a daily basis—on a unique, unrivalled scale in the free-to-play massively multiplayer online roleplaying game by BioWare, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
1. You can be whomever you want to be. The character customization—at least when it comes to Star Wars games—is unparalleled. There are four classes for both sides: Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler and Trooper for the Republic, and Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent for the Empire. And once you’ve made your decision, there are twelve Star Wars races to choose from. (Twi’lek or Zabrak, anyone?) You can be a rogue Smuggler in the grand, beloved tradition of Han Solo, or you can be a dread Sith Warrior following in the footsteps of Darth Vader. Come on…who hasn’t secretly wanted to walk on the wild side and see what it’s like to be Sith? Personally, I’m a terrible Sith. I make too many light-side choices…
2. The cast of supporting characters is as rich and diverse as any Star Wars cast that came before. In 2012, Star Wars: The Old Republic set the Guinness World Record for largest entertainment voice-over project, with over 200,000 lines of dialogue recorded by several hundred voice actors. Professional voice actors, I might add. Professional performances, one and all. Your character—no matter the class or species—comes with its own sidekicks and mentors, enemies and allies that you can either learn to love or love to hate. Two of the most iconic are Sith champion Darth Malgus (voiced by classically-trained actor Jamie Glover, the son of Julian Glover who played infamous Imperial walker commander General Veers in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) and Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan (voiced by Jennifer Hale, Commander Shepard of Mass Effect fame).
3. The gameplay is both immersive and player-friendly. The controls are very easy to learn, for both seasoned gamers and newbies trying out an MMORPG for the first time. I was a fledgling gamer when I first came to The Old Republic, my only major gaming experience being The Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG and a lot of frustrated hours trying (and failing) to beat my brother at Halo 4 multiplayer. The intro—for any class—successfully does its job of engaging the player in the world of The Old Republic and acclimating her/him to the control setup, and I picked it up in leaps and bounds. Those of you who’ve longed to visit Tatooine, Hoth, Coruscant, or even the ancient Sith homeworld of Korriban (Moraband), long no more. Your ticket has arrived. Even Alderaan awaits you—as this story takes place centuries before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.
4. The music continues the grand tradition begun by John Williams. I don’t know if you’re like me, but when the Star Wars fanfare started during The Force Awakens, I teared up a little bit. I grew up on John Williams’s Star Wars music because movie scores was all the music I and my siblings were allowed to listen to as children. I know all John’s themes like the sound of my own breath. Mark Griskey and his music team do an excellent job of expanding on the musical palette laid down by Williams—from proud and chaotic brass as you battle powerful foes, to softer melodies as you traverse the snowy forests of Alderaan. The score only serves to pull you deeper into the world of the game.
5. The story itself is worthy of its film predecessors. Stories, actually, but I won’t spoil too much for you here. Each one is vastly different, from the Jedi Knight to the Bounty Hunter. The Smuggler has her ship stolen first day touching down on a new planet, and is pulled into a whirlwind race for the fabled treasure trove of a legendary space pirate. The Sith Inquisitor begins as a recently freed slave on the Sith homeworld of Korriban, and after winning the post of apprentice to a powerful Sith Lord goes on to battle deadly intrigue and Sith schemes that go as deep and as high as the Empire’s Dark Council. Along the way, you gather a small army of companions (and a few love interests, *wink wink*) who follow you around on your quest and help you succeed in your missions, and each story path is fraught with thrilling dangers, formidable obstacles, and exhilarating victories. And the stories only continue with expansions like Rise of the Hutt Cartel, Shadow of Revan, and the most recent—Knights of the Fallen Empire. These new installments bring in more adventures and more new friends as Star Wars: The Old Republic shows no sign of slowing down, and in the newest expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, there is the new option to skip to level 60 and immediately experience the new story.
The possibilities are endless. The story is yours. Destiny is waiting. Join me and countless other Star Wars fans as we step into a new and wonderful chapter from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Have you played Star Wars: The Old Republic? Would you be interested? Let us know below!