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Full disclosure, I've had the game for 2 weeks now, and am mid-level. (mid 20's) It isn't an exhaustive review, but have done a lot of talking with those who are 50. Take that part with a grain of salt, but it does count for something.
What they do right:
1.) The story based quest. Yes indeed, it is as good as advertised. While it is a lot of the standard questfare, they do a great job of masking it with a storyline and voice acting. If one good thing comes from this, big companies will start uilizing a lot more voice acting. (Maybe not 100% voice acted, but should do more.) A lot more interactive that way, and adds a bit of depth.
2.) The companions are a nice idea. Makes leveling a bit easier, and some good storylines with them.
3.) The group quests, when they are available, are indeed fun. Ran 3 flashpoints so far, and have enjoyed each one. Ran the heroics on the first 3 planets, and again, once you get to them, they are fun.
4.) Solo friendly. that counts for something.
What they did wrong:
1.) Far too linear. There is really only one path to level throughout the game. For 200 million and that vaunted "AAA" title (I personally find the term a bunch of garbage), that's bad.
2.) Almost no ability to customize the UI. This isn't 2002 anymore.
3.) No social aspect of the game. You get social points for...... what exactly? There's really no reason to hang out in this or that area. It's running you from one area to the next. Overemphasis on instancing really isolates players from the world. 75 people could be on the world, yet outside of the main city people standing AFK, there's an above 50% chance you won't run into anyone.
4.) Econ: Way too dumbed down, and very little player interaction. now I like complex econs, and many don't, so this carries less weight than....
5.) Having an intuitive LFG system. Once again, this isn't 2002. At least for the heroics, you should have a system that helps link you up with players looking to do them. Spamming zone chat is not the answer. If anything, it makes me turn zone chat off, which could lead to missed group oppotunities.... so to avoid this, they need to implement a better grouping system.
6.) Give me more grouping options. Right now, 10% or less of the content on a planet is group-friendly. For those who say you have "tons of grouping options", you really haven't played MMO's that much, have you? Grouping on the normal quests with one person becomes beyond easy.
7.) Storyline continuity constantly breaks. You are given a quest to wipe out a secret cult. This cult is so secret...... they have public transport. For a game that emphasizes the story, that's pretty flippin bad.
Things they did so wrong someone should be fired/drawn and quartered/outright castrated
1.) Space combat. Yup, it's an insult. if there's one thing the Star Wars Franchise has done well, it is space combat. You had TIE Fighter (greatest combat sim ever.) You had Jump to LIghtspeed in SWG. Everyone lambasted the ground part of SWG, but the critics of JTL were few and far between. Instead, almost everyone was wowed by it.
The fact that its a rail system isn't neccessarily the problem. Some things are done right on rails. This one isn't. Throwing a thousand enemies who die with one fire of the cannons (and a few tougher ones) while putting it on rails does not make your guy feel like a badass. Him taunting the opposition through coms does not make him feel like a badass. Oh yeah, you can kinda move around the screen and do a, wait for it, barrel roll. Now does it actually make a difference? Not really. It's mostly cosmetic.
Want to make your ship feel unique? Sorry, this game isn't for you. Want to run a group mission? Nope. Certain missions have allied NPC's on the same rail. Why not allow grouping? Companion missions in space? You could make a better space part using Flash.
2.) PvP. Yup, it stinks. On a pvp server, there really is absolutely no incentive to pvp on enemy worlds. You go into a warzone, and you need to pray you get some good teammates. And then, you really only get a few choices. Head to Illum? The agreement is almost universal it is boring. There is way too much emphasis on crowd control. Oh, but you can grind to battlemaster, provided you didn't exploit, and you bragged about it to a GM, then passed water on his shoes, and all he did was frown. Oh wait, you could do that to, and nothing would happen to you!
And honestly, there shouldn't be a stat that all things being equal, using the same gear, someone is able to do better because of a stat based advantage. But I realize I'm in the minority there.
3.) The difficulty level is terribad. The only person who thinks this game is hard, is the FPS player or the person who uses trainers in single player games, and gets mad that they can't Leeroy Jenkins everything. For those of us who have played MMO's at least 5 years (to say nothing of those 10 year MMO vets!), yawn. If a heroic/fp says 4 people, bring 3 to make it a challenge. 4 is a snooze. The general consensus amongst level 50's is that the "hard mode" heroics ain't so hard mode. All scripted pvp has a tell and a trick, and you can figure it out. It shouldn't be that easy to figure out, but the consensus here is that it is. Now making it so that you have to grind them over and over and over isn't adding to the experience. Give us more difficulty options running quests. Let those who want to take it easy take it easy. Let those of us who want a real challenge have a real challenge. Most of these are nothing upping the difficulty level won't fix. Provide us more instanced content where you can scale the difficulty if you have to.
End Grade: C-. Yes, I am grading on a curve. Some of these things would be forgiveable from a company with a smaller budget. Yet this is Bioware/EA, the gaming colossus. They spent at least 200 mill in this game to develop it. They surprassed even WoW's original marketing campaign. (Though Blizzard's campaign was far more intelligent, leveraging battle.net.) The things this game does, it does them, and does them well. Yet outside of those things, there are a lot of petty annoyances, followed by a few horrible ideas.
Will I keep playing? Yes. I'm enjoying those certain things I do with friends, and I'll play until I at least hit level 50. (playing without powerleveling, about 2 1/2-3 hours a night, 4 nights a week.) The game has given me enough promise to play for at least another month or two. after that, I really don't know. They really need to up their freakin game.