18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A returning players view,
This review is from: Star Wars Galaxies: The Complete Online Adventures (PC CD) (Video Game)
This review is based purely on the current state of SWG, not what has happened in the past. The game, whilst still run by SOE, has new developers and to be honest deserves to be reviewed as a new piece of work. I returned to the game recently on a 10 day free trial (having played for two years upto the NGE affair) and now regularly subscribe. I have also played EQ2, DAOC, WoW, EVE and Vanguard, as well as trialling several others (and dont even mention Dark and Light..) so I have at least some points of reference.
Uniquely in the MMORPG environment, the game employs a FPS style interface for combat whereby players need to aim with the onscreen crosshairs to hit their target (alhtough oddly you dont miss, if you arent on target you cant attack). It seems to be a love it or hate it issue (personally its growing on me and it certainly makes the game feel different to the other offerings out there). It fits with the predominantly ranged professions well, less so with the melee (Jedi mostly) professions. As a sop to those that dont like it, there is the option to return to a 'target locking' approach whereby once you have chosen your target, the game aims for you in the conventional turn based style of other MMORPGs like WoW and Everquest.
In the interests of simplicity, I will just lay out the good, the so so and the bad points of the game:
Its not a time sink. Unlike many current games of the genre, you dont need to play for several hours a day, seven days a week to get the best gear. XP comes quickly and due to the ease and speed of travelling it doesnt take a long time to get anywhere. In short, casual gamers needent be put off.
Player Housing. No game does the aspect of owning, decorating, locating and moving property as well as this one. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of different items with which to work, dozens of different building styles to work with and they arent expensive to maintain. There is a player driven purge of existing player housing that is abandoned (i.e belongs to dormant accounts) planned for early June this year that will free up a lot of new buliding space.
Diversity. There are so many different aspects to the game, combat, crafting, space flight, entertaining, house decorating, city building and so on that there genuninely arent many moments where you feel you have nothing to do.
Crafting. Crafted items have different stats, depending on the quality of the resources used. Given the amount of different resources available, and that they have a random spawn location (lasting over a period of several days) with random qualities over several different resource attributes, striving to be the best crafter can be a game in itself.
The licence. Its Star Wars, if youre a fan not much more needs to be said, and even if your not at least you have a story line of a sort for the game.
The space bits. They just suit the licence, but to those of us that grew up with the movies the game wouldnt be complete without the chance to fly about and shoot things. Its done well in this game, albeit getting increasingly difficult as you progress through your piloting career.
The So So
Graphics and sound. The original game was released 4 years ago (ish), and hasnt seen any major graphical or sound work since. Whilst this means that you certainly dont need a powerful system to play it, and it is largely bug free, it doesnt compare well in this regard to newer releases. This part of the game now needs attention to continue to attract new players.
There are only 9 professions to choose from, with a experise system that lets you specialise your character to a degree. Its essentially the same as WoW, although the differentiation between classes doesnt seem so noticeable. At least if you choose one you dont like you get to respec to a different one (for an in game fee) without losing level (unless going into or from a non combat profession)
The user interface. Mixing turn based specials and hotbars with a FPS interface was never gonna be a great combination. Setting the game up to move with the mouse occasionally results in shooting things when you dont mean to, which can be problematic to say the least, but the alternative of using keys to move, the mouse to aim and more keys to select specials requires more hands than most of us have. It works, but only just.
Future content and updates. Who knows if there will ever be a future expansion (it really will depend on the success of the current game), but future plans bring back creature handling, kind of, and a story telling utility which allows players to create their own in game events, which sounds interesting. It actually feels like the developers now realise the mistakes of the past and are looking to reintroduce elements that were previously lost.
Player base. The game needs more people, as currently there are too many servers with not enough people on each. Logic would suggest that halving the number of servers through merger would bring more people together, which would add more fun into the gameplay, especially in the PvP aspect.
Combat is just odd. If you are the type of player that only looks for the combat aspect then you will feel let down. It works well enough, it just doesnt have a lot of depth to it due to the fact that there just arent many specials available relative to other games. SImilarly, using a FPS style would suggest that FPS conventions would apply also (i.e you can miss if you dont aim well, that ammo is limited or that headshots do more damage etc) but they dont.
Jedi's. There, I said it. Not as a bitter ex pre-CU jedi, but as someone looking to get immersed in the game scenario. Theres just too damn many of them. Its available as a starting profession, and unsurprisingly many people choose to go that route. Its not an unbalanced class like it used to be, but it just doesnt fit with the movies. A necessary concession to the marketing department I suppose.
Overall then, the game is actually pretty good fun. It doesnt require the investment in time of games such as WoW to acheive the best equipment, and it is still the best when it comes to housing and crafting. The combat system is functional for most, and certainly different, but to be honest if thats all you want to do then there are better options out there. The game could use a make over graphically though, and certainly needs a new injection of players, or at least a server merger or 3. Purely on the back of the weird combat system I would say get the 10 day free trial first, just be aware that activating your free trial account, rather than making a new one after purchase of this pack, may cost you the free month worth of play that comes with this pack.