Star Wars: The Old Republic, Multi Monitor Review [~4K]

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Well this is my first attempt at a review of any sort, as well as voicing a video and creating a video review, so please go easy on me, that said all feed back is welcome, just please try to keep it constructive.

Written Version:

Star Wars The Old Republic is an mass multiplayer online roll playing game, set in George Lucas's Star Wars universe, the release of which was nicely time with the closer of the last Star Wars MMO.

But anyway lets start with the most important bit, how the game handles and supports widescreen and multi-monitor resolutions. The Old Republic handles widescreen and multi monitor aspect resolutions fairly well, although its support isn't without flaws. Pre rendered cutscreens render themselves to their correct aspect ratio, 16 by 9, while ingame cutscreens render horizontal plus across all 3 monitors. Likewise, ingame everything renders correctly on a multi-monitor system, rendering horizontal plus as well. The game does calculate its field of view from your desktop resolution, so bare that in mind when setting it up.

Now for the flaws, as of writing, even though the user interface and heads up display elements are correctly scaled they are fixed to the edge of the screen. The only element of the UI that you can actually resized and moved is the chat window, but since every other element has a fixed location there is a limit to where you can put it without other windows appearing over the top.

Given that most other major MMOs allowed you to at least move interface elements, Bioware and EA really have no excuse for not allowing the player to at least do that much. Now dopefish and helifax from the widescreen gaming forum have developed a fix that will force the interface onto the centre monitor, but since I prefer to keep my windows on the side monitor in an MMO, I'm not using it in this video.

Despite this since the widescreen gaming forum only requires that the user interface be scaled correctly and fully usable, Star Wars The Old Republic receives an A grade for widescreen and multi-monitor compliance.

While the graphics might not look as pretty as some other MMOs, the stylised aesthetics work well in the universe Bioware has created. Frame rates don't suffer too much ether under most conditions, even on multi-monitor systems. And once AMD get a crossfire profile ready for this game I should get a smooth 60 FPS most of the time.

The audio is also well done, with the familiar beeps and squeaks coming from the droids, and the occasional incomprehensible babel coming from aliens talking in there native tongue. Sound effects and music are also pretty much as you would expect from a game set in the Star Wars universe.

The game has 4 basic classes on each side, each class has two subclasses, and each of those has 3 specialization skill trees. The Sith Empire has the Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter, while the Republic have the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Trooper and Smuggler. The 4 base classes largely mirror each other between the sides, however the subclasses do separate them out a bit. All the subclasses have the ability to fill two roles in a party, although the player can specialize in one role by pulling points in that skill tree.

The character creation system in the Old Republic is fairly basic for an MMO, you can choose between a number of races based upon your chosen class, then you have a limited number of options to be able to tweak that characters appearance. The game also has the annoying limitation of not allowing a single space in your characters name, and also forcing the case so that the first letter is a capital and the rest are lower case. This wouldn't be to bad if the game warned you it was going to do it, but its perfectly happy accepting a mixed case name.

Now that that's out the way, time to talk about the gameplay itself, firstly I'll brush over the space combat part of the game, because that's apparently what Bioware did. The space combat sections play and feel like they were just added in to tick a box, and while they are not that bad to play, you can clearly tell very little effort went into them. To describe the gameplay in a nutshell, its Panzer Dragoon in a space ship.

The main part of the game fairs much better, the game and levelling is very much driven by the games story, each class has its own story and extends over the whole of the games levelling experience. This'll help the keep players more engaged throughout the grind of getting to level 50, which is the current cap. What's more, all NPC interactions are voiced, which is unheard of in an MMO, these interactions includes Biowares dialogue wheel and bookend the start and end of almost every quest in the game. For the most part the voice acting is done well enough, although as always with voice acting in games, there are some less then perfect delivery.

Quests objectives vary a little, but for the most part they consists of variations on, go there, interactive with that or find this, return to me. There are very few quests with kill x number of y objectives, however a number of quests do have that as bonus objective. All story quests and a handful of normal quests also create special player only instances, to allow you to complete your quest without interference from other players, these areas are normally bookmarked with a green force field. There are also heroic quests which are the same thing except they are scaled to be completed with a party.

As well as these there are Flashpoint missions, which are The Old Republics take on dungeons, and operations, which are their take on raids.

Gameplay itself is what you would expect from an MMO, you select a target, push a few buttons and try to make the other persons numbers reach 0 before your own. That's over simplifying it a bit, but it is still it is still the core of how most MMOs play, and the same holds true here. The game tends to group mobs together, so its rarely a one on one fight, this can make crowd control more important.

The Old Republic mixes things up slightly with your companion characters, which gives you and NPC controlled character to help you with your quests . The companions do tie in more with other game elements as well, for example they are responsible for crafting, gathering, they also take part in NPC interactions and respond to your actions. They work allot like they would in games like Mass Effect, which isn't all that surprising considering that it's made by Bioware as well.

Anyway that about covers it, whether or not the game is worth its large entry price tag I'll leave up to you, failing that you can wait to see if EA drop the price or introduce a trial scheme. Also I'll be uploading a section of raw gameplay footage at some point later, so keep an eye out on my channel for that if your looking for a more accurate video of the games flow.