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Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

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Posted: 10 months ago, last updated 12 days ago.

Author: @Ronald_Brady, @boersc, Jo Robertson, Ben Kendall and @GeekDadGamer.

OverviewOverview

Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is a role-playing game played with hundreds of other players online, as well as complete single-player narrative-based experiences. It's set in the Star Wars galaxy thousands of years before the films. The game is a unique blend of huge player-versus-player fights, collaborative missions and open-ended stories that adapt to your choices. Star Wars: The Old Republic surprisingly deep commentary on the ambiguity of "good" and "evil" and 10+ years of content make it a unique experience.

The game continues the story of the Knights of the Old Republic series. A strained peace between the opposing forces of the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic and Jedi Order leads the Order the relocate to their birthplace, the planet Tython. At the same time, the Sith regroup at Korriban, and soon launch a devastating attack on the Jedi temple on Coruscant, killing the grand Master. A tenuous treaty is signed, giving control of half the galaxy to the Sith and plunging the galaxy into a cold war.

Play takes place in the aftermath of these events, with 8 fully fleshed out 3-act stories where you can choose your side, moral compass and the part you'll play in the emerging new galactic order. The overall story itself is so vast enough to accommodate 4 novels, 2 comic series.

You choose whether you want to be a part of the Sith Empire or the Galactic Republic/Jedi Order and pick a class of character. Play involves talking to characters, choosing responses that shape the evolution of the story and entering battles. Regardless of which faction you align yourself with, you can be anywhere on the spectrum of the force, in an effort to emphasise that personal beliefs don't always align with larger-scale ideologies.

Each class favours a certain type of gameplay, such as ranged or close-combat fighting, and you progress by levelling up, completing quests and missions, exploring the various open-world planets you visit which are populated with all the other players, and defeating enemies. You can also learn various skills in a highly complex and engaging combat system where each weapon and ability has unique traits and specialities.

Choices that you make will permanently open and close storylines (within a given playthrough) and affect other characters and your companions. Throughout the game, you can fall in love, make enemies and even capture slaves. Each new free expansion adds new story and narrative. You can also fly your ship between planets, and engage in dogfights and space battles. Multiplayer gameplay is also an integral part of the game, and there are many different game modes and locations to play in, each requiring intricate tactics and communication.

The myriad things to do, both alone and with other players, combined with continued and large updates and development, as well as surprisingly deep thematic meaning, have kept SWTOR relevant throughout its many years of release, and make it worth a look for those wanting a fresh online experience and fans of Star Wars, sci-fi and fantasy.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/12/2011

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 33 features

Developer: @Bioware

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 50 hours and 150 hours to complete. With a wealth of content available and numerous expansions, which are still being released to this day, there are countless hours of play to be had, and a single play session can easily last over an hour.
 
Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 1000 players online. The most populated SWTOR servers have a population of about 1000. Within this, you can play with friends and other players in player-versus-player fights, and some missions also require more than one player.

Multiplayer Player-Versus-Player is varied, with 9 8v8 maps and 6 4v4 maps to choose from.
  • In the 8v8 game modes, your primary objective is either to capture and defend nodes (à la capture the flag), carry a ball to the opposing goal, or break-in and download a ship's data core.
  • 4v4 matches are deathmatches where the objective is to eliminate the other team.

There is significant strategy and planning in each game mode, and communication and collaboration is important within your team regardless of what mode you're playing or what your tactics are.

CostsCosts

Star Wars: The Old Republic

PC Free
 
This game is free to play. Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience. Some of these purchases (known as 'loot boxes') are for a chance of getting rare/higher-value items although common/lower-value items are more frequent. These in-game purchases also offer a regular subscription fee (known as a 'battle/season pass') to unlock access to reward items and other aspects of the game.  

You don’t need a paid subscription to play this game online. The game is free-to-play, meaning that you can download and play for free, but there are several features locked behind pay restrictions. This article contains a full list of what you can do with a free-to play account.

If you want a subscription, the full benefits of which are listed here, for the first 60 days it costs £18.99 (non-recurring), after which there are several recurring payment options:
  • £8.99 per 30 days ($14.99 USD)
  • £18.99 per 60 days ($29.98 USD)
  • £25.17 per 90 days ($41.97 USD)
  • £46.14 per 180 days ($77.94 USD)

In addition to this monthly payments, you can buy Cartel Coins, which you can trade in for cosmetics, items and gear, sometimes in a loot box-style system. The prices range from £1.79 to £62.66 ($2.99 to $86.69 USD). After buying any amount of cartel coins, you become a preferred player, which increases your benefits and abilities in the game close to the subscriber perks. The full list of perks can be found here.

There are also 3 cosmetic bundles you can buy:
  • Galactic Leisure Bundle £3.99
  • Sith Bundles £19.99
  • Jedi Bundles £19.99

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Rated PEGI 16 for violence.

ESRB TEEN for Blood and Gore, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Violence. Players use light sabers, laser blasters, and telekinetic powers to battle a variety of human-like enemies and fantastical creatures (e.g., aliens, cyborgs); battles frequently depict characters getting shot with lasers, slashed with light sabers, or shocked with lightning bolts. During the course of the game, players are presented with interactive cutscenes in which their choices play a vital role in the outcome of their story (e.g., using electrical attacks on restrained characters to collect information; killing someone instead of letting him go). Some sequences depict brief instances of blood and gore: to complete one quest, players must dip a skull in a pool of blood; in another mission, players deliver a severed head to a specific location and place it on a pike. Players can freely explore many areas in the game, including clubs that depict scantily clad female dancers with exposed cleavage; some sequences include dialogue with sexual innuendo (e.g., “An hour. I think I'm insulted. We'll need the whole night,” “I'll be sure to make conjugal visits,” and “Come, dear, let's forgo the nuptials and proceed to the honeymoon.”). The words “damn” and “hell” can be heard in dialogue throughout the game.


Skill Rating: This game is enjoyed by 12+ year-olds as it's a good match for their ability and maturity.
 
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

AccessibilityAccessibility

There are three levels of difficulty for the main levels: Story (normal), Veteran Mode (Hard), or Master Mode (Nightmare). As you increase the difficulty, enemies and bosses get stronger and have more abilities.

There is extensive customisation of every part of the gameplay experience, and this video goes over them all in detail.

There are several controls that can be simplified to reduce the number of button inputs or reduce the time to complete and action:
  • You can enable all loot to be collected from a body in one go, instead of manually collecting each item, by selecting Auto Loot on Right Click and Enable area loot.
  • You can deselect a target without targeting a new enemy when you click on the ground, and also auto-aim at the nearest target.
  • Make your companions gather loot for you instead of doing it yourself.
  • Change the camera movement speed and the maximum distance of your character from the camera.
  • Increase the amount of time you can prep a move to be used next before it is used (can help reduce need for quick reactions).
  • When playing in a group, you can select to follow another player which allows a period of respite from controls.

As all the speech has subtitles, there is no need to play with sound (there is even an option to disable all sound). However, some of the text is quite small by default (but can be adjusted) and not all of it is high contrast. You can adjust the opacity of the in-game chat background if you want to make the text more visible and you can also disable individual types of chat (PvP chat, Trade Chat, General Chat). when you are in a conversation, you can make it so that you can easily see whether a specific response is Light-side or Dark-side oriented.

Extensive adjustments to the in-game map are also available, including a red flash when under attack, opacity, co-ordinates and point-of-interest adjustments. You can also select to have extra information displayed about each item. There are some areas of the game where being able to discern between colours is important, which is important to note for colourblind players.
 
Our Star Wars: The Old Republic Accessibility Report details 33 accessibility features:


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