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Platform

PC

 

Genre

MMORPG

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

Developer

Sony Online Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

June 2003

 

 

- Outstanding graphics for an MMORPG

- Expansive universe

- Star Wars authenticity

 

 

- Dull and Boring gameplay

- Missions require lots of running around

- Requires a lot of time

- Hefty monthly rate

 

 

Review: Eve Online (PC)

Review: Phantasy Star Online Episodes 1 & 2 (Xbox)

Review: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)

 

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Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided

Score: 6.5 / 10

There are two things that make me very upset. One is to have the doctor close the door and say to me: “Turn your head and cough.” The other is to have an overhyped game that has been delayed and delayed, to be released far worse than anyone would’ve thought, and still be sold more then any other MMORPG. It seems that Sony and LucasArts had the right idea for a game based around the Star Wars universe, but flushed away all hopes of a decent game with a lack of something that most games should include: fun.

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Star Wars: Galaxies (SWG) was released almost simultaneously with another LucasArts title plagued by delays, Knights of the Old republic. However both games may feature “Star Wars” branded onto its cover, only one game was enjoyable for more then a half hour. Unfortunately, that game was not Galaxies. SWG is set during the reign of Darth Vader, sometime after the Death Star had been destroyed. Before setting out, you must go through one of the most fascinating character creation systems ever created.

A complex and in-depth system, Galaxies character creation allows you to select from eight different species. The list includes your basic Human and Wookiee species, then some of the less known such as: Bothans and Trandoshans, which are likely to be recognized only if you’re a Star Wars fanatic. Once you’ve finished selecting a species, alterations can be made to almost every aspect of the body and face. The length of your nose and chin can be modified; even the positioning of your eyes can be modified to an unbelievable extent.

 

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After your character is finished, a starting profession must be chosen. You can choose from the following: Artisan (crafting), Brawler (combat), Entertainer (healer), Medic, Marksman (hunter), and Scout (explorer). Each of the classes has their own ups and downs, but there are only a couple that are fun. The Marksman and Brawler classes make it more likely for you to enjoy your online 

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experience, for the other classes are quite pointless. For example, the Entertainer can only heal people. That means that in order to gain experience, you must hang around cantinas all day waiting for fatigued Brawlers and Marksmen to come in, looking to be healed. Though through time classes can be upgraded through experience, the starting classes leave little room for fun classes.

After spending a good amount of time adjusting your characters attributes, you must select a starting planet. The planets range from Tatooine to Naboo, and feature loads of space for roaming around, which is something you will quickly get used to. Once arriving at a planet, the HUD appears with multiple shortcuts and one-touch buttons. Movement is accomplished in an awkward fashion because of the various shortcut keys. Holding down the right mouse button allows you to run forward. A simple but daunting task when having to run long distances. Communicating with other players and NPC units is done by holding down the left-mouse button. The conversation menu opens up in a form of branches, which contain the useable content. Speaking with other players and NPC’s is the common way of starting fights, making alliances, and finding missions to do. Missions vary depending on which character class you select, and range from numerous different tasks.

During a mission you might come in contact with a hostile creature that is bent on attacking you. When this happens, you are quickly submerged in a combat system. By simply clicking upon the enemy you will start firing upon them until told not to. As you’re firing, you also have the ability to run and shoot, or get in a different position for safer fighting. Many missions require you to run around through the Star Wars universe, and also cause you to stumble into many pointless fights with NPC units. Most of the time you'll be running around during missions, making the experience online quite dull.

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The graphics in SWG are very impressive when noticing the amount of detail and openness of the Star Wars universe. The details of the clothing and facial expressions are easily noticed, as well as the beautiful rendering of background objects. Being an MMORPG, the graphics may not be as impressive as KOTOR, but do make the experience detailed and lifelike.

A Star Wars game wouldn’t be complete without its orchestrated music, and Galaxies produces great sound. There is no dialogue in the entire game, but the background noises and music makes the bustling cities sound as if they are actually bustling. The music does feature official Star Wars music, as well as a few tunes officially created for the game.

Though Star Wars Galaxies does have the potential of becoming a better MMORPG, the current version of the game is dull and lacks in quality. Hopefully the team over at LucasArts will deliver useable vehicles, better upgradeable classes, and another thing that just slipped my mind…oh yeah, a fun gaming experience not filled with running around on pointless errands. SWG can be summed up as EverQuest with Star Wars characters, but that would be unfair to the amount of work taken to develop this sub-par game. If you are a fan of MMORPG’s and don’t mind the fifteen dollars a month to play the game, you should check out Star Wars Galaxies; but don’t expect the same amount of entertainment as other games such as EverQuest.

- Eric Lahiji

(August 6, 2003)

 

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