Star Wars stole the limelight at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. There, the creative forces of BioWare and LucasArts revealed some juicy new information about their upcoming sci-fi online role-playing game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. In addition to unveiling a mouthwatering cinematic trailer at the show, the developers gave us a taste of the smuggler and bounty hunter character classes behind closed doors. Since then, we've seen the Sith warrior, Jedi knight, and Imperial agent. At a recent EA showcase in London, BioWare revealed the remaining two classes: the Jedi consular and the Sith inquisitor. We got the chance to play through an inquisitor quest during the event and talked to the development team.
According to creative director James Ohlen, the inquisitor is inspired by Senator Palpatine and Darth Maul, and he claims the class is "lightly armoured, acrobatic, and uses lots of lightning abilities and telekinetics." While this combination of skills might sound strange, given that Palpatine and Maul are quite different in their fighting styles, each class has the ability to branch into two separate subclasses once you reach a certain level. In the inquisitor's case, you can focus on lightning-based abilities and become a support character, or, if you prefer melee combat, you can have a character who focuses on acrobatics, speed, and dual-wielding lightsabers. While our demo was limited to the Sith inquisitor class, Ohlen told us about the Jedi consular and how it differs from the previously announced Jedi knight. "The Jedi consular is more based in telekinetics," he said. "He stays a little bit back [in battle], although he can also engage with his lightsaber. He can use telekinetics to throw his enemies around, lift them up into the air, and slam them down to the ground."
Our hands-on with the game featured a combat-heavy side quest on the Sith homeworld of Korriban--which was also featured in Knights of the Old Republic II. The area that we saw was certainly a desolate place, featuring red dirt and rock formations and some dangerous alien life-forms. Our character, a level eight Sith inquisitor, had come to Korriban to study the lost laws of the Sith and to be trained in their ways. After talking to a shady quest giver called Ephram Zell, we needed to enter a Sith tomb and acquire an artefact known as the Red Engine. This mission also served as a test for would-be dark lords like us, as we needed to kill the monsters that lurked within the tomb before collecting the device and returning to Zell.
The Sith tomb featured caverns, tunnels, and a large outdoor area, and we encountered several different enemies, including K'lor'slugs, which are giant molluscs that attacked us in groups when we got too close. We're pleased to report that our long-range weapons were capable of dealing with these pests before they got too close, but we did need to cycle through our abilities so that we weren't overwhelmed by enemies. Inquisitors have some powerful attacks at their command, such as electrocute, which unleashes a devastating lightning storm. We also found the shock ability to be quite useful, as it froze an enemy for several seconds while we attacked others. The inquisitor is formidable in melee combat too, and this is when our lightsaber came in handy. The saber strike is deadly at close range with several slashes performed in quick succession, and another useful ability was the lightning drain, which transferred health from enemies to our character. With these abilities, we found the inquisitor to be formidable in long- and close-range combat; however, we generally found it easier to stand back and attack with electrocute and shock and then rush in for the kill with a saber strike or lightning drain.
In addition to fighting our way through K'lor'slugs, we encountered other human tomb raiders in the form of renegades and slaves. These weaker enemies attacked us using blasters and metal swords, but they were no match for the dark power surging through our veins. We were able to defeat them with ease, and we then decided to loot their bodies. Unfortunately, this didn't result in anything of interest, besides a few galactic credits and the occasional cheap sword. The inquisitor was a rewarding class to play, and we almost felt like an all-powerful puppet master when wielding our dark powers from afar.
What we've seen of Star Wars: The Old Republic has only scratched the surface of what's in store for massively multiplayer online fans, but it has also left us wanting more, which is certainly a good thing. We're looking forward to seeing the game again, and with a firm release date yet to be announced we should have plenty of chances before launch. In the meantime, be sure to take a look at all of our previous coverage, and stay tuned to GameSpot for more on this promising sci-fi MMO role-playing game.