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December 22, 2011

My co-workers, for the most part, even though they’re big on all manner of fantasy universes, despise the more popular ones.  So I was one of the few excited that The Old Republic came out on Tuesday.

The game series drew stylistically from the Star Wars movies, there’s a lot of stuff that looks similar, a lot of the same species and locations and such, but all the characters and plot are completely different.  It’s set ~4000 years before the events of the movies.  They made a comic series and some books to flesh out the plot, but nothing has really captured that whimsy the way the first Knights of the Old Republic game did.  In that way it’s very similar to the original trilogy.  I always tell people that Knights of the Old Republic was the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back.  I mean you look at that game and you can say, this was literally only limited by technology.  How many games or movies can you really say that about?  They really took the whole universe and made it their own.

Even the sequel was great in its way.  It was flawed in a lot of ways, rushed, incomplete, whatever.  But there was really no flaw in the settings or the writing or the vision for the characters.  Whereas the first game was all about pushing you to experience the universe while you solve a mystery, the second game pretty much drops you in an eerie situation where you’re always looking over your shoulder, and throughout the game you never lose that feeling of darkness just outside of your vision, that sense of  being hunted and constantly in danger from a mysterious enemy.  The mood is perfect, I guess is what I’m saying.  The villain was one of the more interesting bad guys I can remember in a game.  She was such a mystery, her motivations were complicated and they were only revealed to you little by little.  And you couldn’t just say she was evil, nor was she good.  By the end you almost sort of believed she was right.  In this way it was very much unlike Star Wars, which has traditionally been very neatly divided.  And it is a credit to those that wrote the game that I really can’t explain her any better than that.  You’d just have to play the game.

So you can imagine how much I’m geeking out right now.  I’ve been a Bioware fan since Baldur’s Gate 1, and in those 13 or 14 years they’ve really only made one game that was truly disappointing.  So I’ve got high hopes, and based on what I’ve seen this will be exactly what I wanted.  Each character type gets its own single player experience spanning lots of locations, with lots of interesting choices, and what appear to be satisfying RPG elements.  A lot of my favorite characters are back, they continue a lot of the storylines I miss (especially ones from the second game that ended abruptly) and I think maybe for the next few weeks or months I can revert back to being a teenager with nothing better to do than get lost in a fantasy universe that’s, in some ways, more fun than my own.

I got on the IMDB page for The Old Republic and was dismayed that there was no listing for Kristoffer Tabori, the guy that voiced HK-47.  He better be in there is all I’m sayin.

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