Star Wars: The Old Republic Brings the Force at E3

Posted Wed, Jun 16, 2010 by Sardu

As we march ever closer to the spring 2011 launch window for Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare has continued to reveal plenty of interesting gameplay details, and their showing at E3 2010 was certainly no exception. During their presentation, we were given a look at not only the first details on the PvP Warzones, but also learned about player ships and got a chance to see how combat plays as a group.

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All the lightsaber action you can handle!
For my hands-on time with the game, I opted to check out the Smuggler class. While I didn’t get to spend quite as much time with it as I may have liked, I did get the chance to experience a number of different gameplay elements such as the dialog system, combat and questing.

The combat and controls felt pretty fluid, though I have to admit that the smuggler seemed as though you had little choice but to constantly make use of its unique class mechanic of finding and firing from cover. Mind you, since games such as Gears of War popularized the cover mechanic for firing ranged weapons from a position of relative safety, I’ve found the same to hold true of many other titles that do something similar.

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Yes, you are cooler just by looking at this ship.
In the case of The Old Republic, this boiled down to being able to easily pick off single enemies when I could locate and fire from proper cover, whereas attempting to run-and-gun it through the area resulted in some incredibly quick deaths. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you consider that most MMOGs, regardless of genre, tend to have those archetypical “glass cannons” as ranged characters to help account for their higher DPS output.

For example, during the group gameplay portion of the demo we were shown, the smuggler seemed to shine far brighter than when solo simply because with proper group support they could more effectively assume their own support role and fire from cover while the trooper took the bulk of the incoming damage. Considering the ‘massively’ portion of MMOG, I certainly don’t expect that every single class should be able to solo all combat situations. So at least based on my hands-on time with the smuggler, I definitely got the impression that The Old Republic will shine brightest when played socially.

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Who's got the high ground now, Jedi scum!
The other thing I would say about my hands-on with the game is that it felt like a very genuine translation of the poplar KotOR titles when it comes to questing. While I only experienced a handful of quests, those I accepted and completed were strung together much like quests tend to be in a single player RPG, with plenty of branching dialog options thrown into the mix as well. The net result was that while The Old Republic will indeed be a massive MMOG experience, there’s still plenty of elements that help retain the essence of what has helped BioWare gain such a positive reputation to begin with. It remains to be seen just how extensively these elements permeate the overall gameplay experience, but I have a feeling that KotOR fans will feel right at home. Well, so long as they’re not put off by the graphical nuances that remind me more of the Clone Wars animated series more so than any of BioWare’s more recent titles like Dragon Age or Mass Effect.


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