Top quality voice acting and a great MMO experience for people of all ages. The companions let you play solo through much of the game if you'd rather take that route. The Collector's Edition has some very cool and unique in-game items as well as physical items.Cons
It's very much a basic MMO game. If you don't like the way games like World of Warcraft play, you may not like SW:TOR.Verdict
Great game, great bonuses in the Collectors Edition, if you like MMO's, you'll like SW:TOR.
Star Wars: The Old Republic - Collector's Edition. Is it worth it?
I'm 35 years old as of 2012 so I was too young for the first movie but I've seen all the other Star Wars movies at the theater and I keep my sacred VHS edition of the original trilogy up high. Don't get me started on the prequels, we'll just pretend they don't exist. My first Star Wars game was that giant clunky machine at a local gas station where you flew a ship made out of lines down a rudimentary Death Star trench. I graduated up to the Atari 2600 Empire Strikes Back game (hey it was cool back then) then as tech progressed, I was lucky enough to have probably 90% of every Star Wars games ever made for every system up until present day.
There are some stand out games like Jedi Academy, Rogue Squadron and of course, the best, Knight of the Old Republic but there is also some garbage (Shadows of the Empire 64 I'm looking at you). Out of all these games, the one I liked the best was Star Wars Galaxies which was the first Star Wars MMO. It was great. I can't compare it to any other game I've ever played. This was from 2003 to 2006 however. After that, it was destroyed by "upgrades" and as of 2012 simply doesn't exist.
Now why am I talking about SWG in this Star Wars: The Old Republic Collector's Edition review? Well, they share some similarities (not in gameplay) in regards to giving fans that "Star Wars" experience that can only happen within a persistent game world. You can visit most of the planets you're familiar with from the movies and books, interact with various characters you might find familiar and simply explore the creatures and lore that are all over the galaxy.
I pre-ordered Star Wars: The Old Republic long before it was released and even got to participate in the beta testing phase even though I knew it wouldn't recreate that SWG experience I missed. Let's take a look at what Star Wars: The Old Republic: Collector's Edition offers.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is set 1000 years before Darth Vader and the events we're familiar with from the first Star Wars movie. There's an epic war raging between the Old Republic and the Sith Empire and your role is the hero for whatever side you prefer. You will choose between tons of actions that influence how your character adapts, how they are viewed by others and how this war progresses. You're not limited to light or dark side only and you can play many different roles in this conflict.
Star Wars: The Old Republic plays pretty much like any other MMO such as Rift or World of Warcraft. If you've played a MMO before, you know what to expect. You'll level up as you complete missions on various planets, assign new skills to make yourself stronger and you can choose some crafting professions as well. There's a lot of opportunity for player vs player combat (pvp) in arenas or on some contested worlds.
The missions are all fully voiced by various voice actors and that keeps things interesting. You can almost feel empathetic to their plight or just revel in backstabbing them.
Like Rift and WoW, this game has dungeons called "Flashpoints" that require a large group and often have great rewards. These are also fully voiced and tell a neat story at least the first time you do them.
This is a fairly pretty game on my desktop and on my laptop it's more like WoW quality. It will depend greatly on your hardware. On maximum settings, the environments look spectacular but the character models leave something to be desired. The cutscenes are top notch and it feels like you're watching The Clone Wars animated series in some aspects.
This game controls exactly like every other MMO out there. It's a familiar style that's very easy to pick up and play. My 8 yr old gave the game a whirl and didn't have any problems at all. It's purely a WASD and mouse setup but you may be able to change things around to suit your style.
During cutscenes and various missions, the sounds are great. During side missions, you'll hear a lot of footsteps as you run to and fro. Lightsaber wielding characters are great for sound but you may tire of hearing "pew pew" if you choose a pistol or rifle using character. The voice acting is top notch and I can't compare it to anything else. It's AAA quality and almost shocking when you realize it's throughout the entire game.
Reviewer First-Hand Impressions
In the beta, I played as a Sith Inquisitor so wanting a change of play style I started the real game as an Imperial Agent. Right from the start this game gave me 0 problems and I had it installed on a desktop and a laptop. The laptop didn't like to have shadows on so I shut them off for better framerates. Everything ran smoothly, other players didn't seem to lag or wink in and out and I was able to run around without any problems at all.
I got through the first planet around level 10 and was able to go into space then pretty soon after that I got my own ship. Along the way I picked up a companion (a criminal woman who acted as a tank). Before the companion, the game was pretty tough in some areas and I seemed to be lucky to do things by myself. It might just be the Agent class who plays like a Rogue from WOW. Stealth and sneak attacks are the key here.
Overall, the game was incredibly fun for me until I hit around level 35. For me, that's when I had to make a choice which was either keep playing this game or spend that time with my family. I sadly unsubscribed and handed the game over to my friend who's still playing now.
The Collector's Edition was a good choice because I didn't have to save up for the expensive first speeder and I had some neat little toys to mess around with like the Holo Dancer. The Star Wars: The Old Republic Collector's Edition lets you visit a unique in-game area that has special vendors as well. The items sold aren't game changing but they definitely let you show off a bit.
Here are some pros and cons from my experience with the game:
Environments - This game is pretty. Each world is pretty unique and full of interesting things. There is an exception to this however and that is Nar Shadaa. Nar Shadaa is a pure city and the NPC's don't seem to do anything. It's just corridor after corridor of similar stuff over and over. That level stinks. Tatooine and all the rest of the levels give you exactly what you'd expect.
Story - You can choose from 8 characters when you start the game and each one has two distinct story paths you can follow. The Agent could become a stealthy Operative or a Sniper for example. This adds a ton of replay value to the game as you can basically play it 16 times to "end game" status. They were going to implement a Legacy system but I'm not 100% sure that's implemented yet. This would allow you to start a new character after you got tired of the end game with special perks.
Voice Acting - I have to give this a Pro status because it's pretty engaging to hear the stories of the people you're doing the missions for. It makes you feel like part of it instead of just doing busy work. It's still busy work however most of the time.
Gear - This is definitely a gear based game but one thing that sets it apart is you can choose what type of gear you're upgrading at all times. If you want a goofy hat the whole game, you can put new enhancements in it keeping it a viable option for combat. There's tons of outfits available for you and your companion. I made mine look as ridiculous as possible at all times.
Space Combat - Many people hate this because it's just an "on-rails shooter" type of mini-game. I think it's a lot of fun. If you've ever played Kingdom Hearts games, it's basically the Gummi Ship levels. You get titles, perks and special gear if you do these optional missions repeatedly.
Companions - If you like to play alone or can't find a group for something, your companions are there to help you out. You can even romance them if you want. They each have a special role and change depending on who you play as. I got a tank and damage dealer by level 35 and that helped take a lot of heat off my rather weak character. I often left them to distract the enemy as I took off to recuperate. They say some neat things throughout the games and even offer missions.
Groups - Most of the people I met in the game were nice and seemed to be enjoying themselves just as much as I was. It was very easy to find people of similar levels doing similar things. Even for someone like me who wanders around more than I should, there were always willing group members because SW:TOR has hidden stuff. Flashpoints are easy to get into and fun.
PVP - The Huttball arena and other PVP areas are a lot of fun. You can really show off your skills in these areas and they let you earn special combatant weapons and armor as well.
Population - If you're in an unpopular server or planet, you might find yourself playing for hours and only seeing a handful of people. This doesn't mean they aren't there as a lot of missions are instanced but you can find yourself feeling lonely. Play with friends or join a guild to get rid of this.
Voice Acting - Yeah I know this is in the Pro section too but if you've played through it on one character, you probably won't want to hear all that over again. Choose a different character to help eliminate this, at least through the first acts. Some of your sidekicks will spout the same phrases a bit too much and that can get annoying. A robot kept telling me he painted my ship's cabin ever time I walked aboard.
Star Wars: The Old Republic - Collector's Edition Special Bonuses
Darth Malgus Statue
Metal Case for the Game Disks
Old Republic Galaxy Map
Old Republic Soundtrack CD
Collector's Edition Box
Journal of Master Gnost-Dural Audio
Exclusive In-Game Items - Collector's Only Vendor, Training Droid, Holo Dancer, Unique Vehicle, Mouse Droid Pet, Flare Gun and HoloCam (in-game recorder).
The Bottom Line
If you're a fan of Star Wars and MMO's this is probably a no-brainer. If you have the collector's edition DVDs or Blu-Rays, you NEED to get this unique addition to your collection. It won't be around forever. This edition can be used to upgrade your normal Star Wars: The Old Republic so you have the cooler in-game items as well. I'm quite happy with all the extras and the map is hanging up next to all my other video game world maps near my desk, much to the dismay of my wife.
There are rumors as of summer 2012 that this game may adopt a free-to-play subscription option or even be ported to consoles like the Xbox 360. We will have to wait and see.
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