Star Wars: Galaxies – An Empire Divided
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Everyone who will now spontaneously rejoice (in whatever form), may call him/herself a Star Wars fan. Maybe you have once dreamt to fly together with Han Solo, to put prinses Leia on the chains, or kick Darth Vader in the butt. Stop dreaming: Here’s Star Wars Galaxies (start soundtrack…)
Indulge yourself in the very well-known Star Wars universe and create your own destiny ! This sentence could well be taken off the box as that is where this MMORPG is all about. Explore together with thousands others the vast corners of space and kick alien butt. If this doesn’t seem appealing to you, you probably won’t like this. Still here ?
Ok, then let’s check this game out up close and personal.
As with each good MMORPG you have to create your virtual equal . What immediately gets noticed is the huge choice of looks and I’m not only talking about the races (not less than 8!) but more specifically about the attributes like beards, mustaches, wigs, etc. You want to be a nicely built grey wookie or would you rather be a rather skinny Twi’lek with sexy colored headtail ? No problem at all. You can dress yourself as extravagant as you want and after this makeup happening you can give yourself a profession, again with plenty of choices. Next to standard jobs like scout and medic you can also choose to make a career as entertainer or artisan.
After this the game starts with a short tutorial. You ship gets taken down by “the empire” and you get taken prisoner on charges of smuggling. It appears to be a misunderstanding though and you are released. Taking care of a problem with a pirate and you’re free to go. In fact, you’ll even get rewarded and can go to a planet of your choice on the expense of the empire. Nice guys ! There you are, on a planet you don’t know shit about while the shuttle that dropped you is flying away.
What immediately striked me are the beautiful character models. As I said earlier on you can adjust your appearance in detail which creates a very big variety of creatures which are put on screen in full force. Also the enemies and animals that wander around outside the cities are of a same high level.
This line of detail unfortunately isn’t taken forward to the surroundings, probably due to being impossible as the game already hardly runs fluently in the big cities. Don’t get me wrong, everything looks very colorfull (except for desert planet Tatooine) and is very recognisable but all in all it looked very repetitive and I had the utmost trouble to orient myself in the big cities. Fortunately there are some known monuments which you can use for directions and which you can visit. There’s for instance the palace of the emperor where you can go in after having taken care of some business, to meet him.
So what type of business may this be ? There’s something for everyone and you don’t HAVE to kill anyone if you don’t want to. You can use a terminal and depending on your profession the different possible missions will be lined up. Also people can give you missions but unfortunately we come here to another downpoint in the game; the missions are – certainly in the beginning – extremely boring ! It comes down to going from point A tot point B.
All in all this isnt bad but if you know that as a starting player you can only use your feet while the planets are hardly small, you just know it will take you several minutes to get to point B.
At certain moments it was looking more like I was playing a jogging sim than a MMORPG (great idea for a new sim?). Later in the game you’ll luckily be able to buy some means of transport (which has only recently been implemented with a patch).
Another important aspect of the game is the economy. Star Wars Galaxies is completely a player based economy which you can compare with a futuristic eBay. Connect yourself to one of the many salesterminals and you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about. Hundreds of articles are being put up for sale by players while others can put a bid on these things which makes for a nice game experience. If you’ve found or created something completely new, you can make a fortune by selling it, there will always be someone who’s interested.
I don’t have to say much about the sound. The very well-known Star Wars themes are present in the game and haven’t lost anything of their charm and continue to contribute to the atmosphere, which is nice.
A minor downpoint which I do want to point at is the interface which in my opinion is a bit clumsy. Especially as starting player you’ll need to struggle a bit to find the right mouse-keyboard coördination, but even after that it will feel unnatural. The way overviews of for instance missions and waypoints are given could imho be a lot more clear (or it could be my IQ is too low to understand this streamlined interface ;p)
What can we conclude out of this ? Is Star Wars Galaxies a bad game ? Certainly not. Is it a top game ? Neither. The game is rather located in the middle class of MMORPG’s and is only noticeable due to its overly known universe which will also justify a purchase. When you’re fan of Star Wars this game will definitely be something for you, but you’ll need to put some serious time to get to know everything. If the small errors that are currently present will be fixed (which will hopefully happen) then this game will grow out to a beautiful whole (there are for instance plans for space combat) but the only negative thing that will remain is the way too high price tag. You have to cough up no less than €13 a month to be able to keep playing and I don’t find that price justified. Let’s hope LucasArts makes this game shine a little more and make the Star Wars world vivant