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SW:TOR Combat a Little Meh?

These guys remind me of Stabs from Futurama

I sat down with the new Star Wars: The Old Republic vid-doc today, after reading on Massively that Game Trailers had it up on exclusive. Now, I was pretty hyped up going on. What, with a couple of my blogger buddies being excited over it.  I believe the expression “Awesome Sauce” was used.

So, I went in expecting something magically delicious. Now, I’m feeling a little let down.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice and all. But has anyone else noticed just how choppy all of that gameplay footage is? I know it’s alpha but let’s not ignore the fact that the thing looks like it’s running at about 15 frames a second. I would be much more impressed if the combat, which is intended to look fluid, actually was.

And then, there’s the unavoidable fact that it’s exactly more of the same: hot bar driven, cooldown managed, hit 3 to snare, PvE.  Well, with a sparkly Star Wars veneer. They hide the UI in the video but, if it was there, you’d see skills being being mashed and little glitters when their timers were up.

That being said, the animations are pretty flashy. I especially like the Sith “lightning in your FACE” move. And, choppy or not, I’m pretty sure I saw a Jedi hit a laser beam from behind his back. That’s some Jackie Chan style crap, there.

Now, the choppiness thing will probably be brushed up by launch. So, it’s not the biggest of deals. The fact that it will be “more of the same” really isn’t either. MMOs are MMOs, and this has truly been the Era of the Action Bar. But, apart from looking spiffy, I don’t see them pushing any boundaries here.

Luke... I am your half-biological third cousin...

One of the developers actually said something that concerned me a little bit. To him, several players working to take down a single bad guy isn’t very heroic. And, really, I suppose it’s not. Then again, what’s the alternative, really weak NPCs? Finely crafted set pieces in a “cutscene driven MMO?” I’m not sure. Probably the latter, but it’s a fine line to walk when forging new ground in the MMO-sphere.

Taken for what it is, combat in TOR could still turn out to be hellaciously fun. I’m fully expecting it to get a great game and I’ll have it in my hands on release day. I’m just a little concerned that we’re entering into Warhammer Online type hype here, and we all know how that turned out. Star Wars will not be the next great hope for MMORPGs. It’ll be an alternative, and probably a good one.

But, let’s not kill this thing with our own expectations. Right now, the biggest threat to SW:TOR’s long term success is this marketing campaign. And us.

2 comments

1 ping

  1. Blue Kae

    There’s a lot of truth in your last paragraph. I mentioned in my 2009 wrap-up posts in January that a lot of the “disappointing” games were due more to player expectations being too high than anything else. The only term that is more overused than WoW-clone, is WoW-killer.

    Personally, I felt like the combat was pretty static the first half of the video, but in the second half there seemed to be a lot more movement, which I liked. Still, I with no UI shown and lot’s of camera movement being done it was hard to get a good impression of what was going on. The only thing it did was revive my excitement in the game, but that only lasted until the video was done and I remembered it’s not getting released until next year.

    I’m happy to wait and all, but until it’s out I have plenty of other games to spend my time and attention on.

  2. Yogi

    I was just talking to Blue and Tipa about this on twitter earlier. I agree it was a bit anti-climactic for me. I think the drawn out hype to this game has jaded me a little bit. Ive turned off my excitement switch for SWTOR. When it comes to the point where we will be within a month or two of release, Ill switch it back on.

    Funny that you mentioned it running at 15fps. I said that exact same thing to tipa.

    Yogi

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