Review

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Galactic Starfighter Review

  • Game release: December 20, 2011
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Space jam.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been an ever-changing chameleon since its inception, continually trading off features and mechanics with its jump to free-to-play powerhouse and subsequent release of the feature-rich Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion. Even though the focus of each additional chunk of content has shifted, the sentiment remains the same: exploring the Star Wars universe in new and unique ways should make you feel like a badass. Galactic Starfighter endeavors to make you feel just that, strapping you into the cockpit of your very own strike fighter and thrusting you into battle. If running down Sith fighters while engaging your turbo engines in a hail of blaster fire sounds like your idea of a party, this meaty experience is tailor-made for you.

The second full expansion to The Old Republic delivers a flurry of customizable ships, free-flight player-versus-player space combat, and feature upgrades that do an admirable job of fleshing out what Star Wars: The Old Republic wanted to be at launch, but couldn't quite deliver on. Space combat is an important tenet of the Star Wars universe, and up until now, it has languished as a disappointing and bare-bones minigame that has acted as a plodding grind for experience rather than a fully realized exercise in white-knuckled, edge-of-your-seat dogfighting.

Space combat feels as good as it looks.

Perhaps the best way to appreciate Galactic Starfighter's scale is in its 12-versus-12 matches that pit you against other players in one of two different areas: the Kuat Mesas and the Lost Shipyards. The Kuat Mesas map is near the planet itself, with asteroid fields as well as other types of errant debris dotting the numerous canyons and other structures that serve as intriguing landmarks to watch out for. The Lost Shipyards lie out further in space, with enormous space stations that serve as capture points and the perfect bastions for a quick breather in the middle of an intense brawl. Once you enter the group finder and launch a PVP match to become acquainted with the maps, it quickly becomes apparent just how effectively this standalone experience revingorates The Old Republic, which after its only expansion was feeling as though it could be on its last leg.

The edge-of-your-seat doesn't let up from the moment you round up a group to the moment you (hopefully) emerge victorious. Unfortunately, there's a rather steep learning curve to what has essentially evolved into a larger-than-life version of what was previously relegated to a pithy minigame. As with any free-range space combat game, the controls can be difficult to nail down until you've completed a few different fights. Full 360-degree range of motion make it disorienting at times, especially when you've barrel rolled yourself out of the line of sight of an oncoming Sith Strike Fighter.

You can't own a ship in real life, but you can make this one yours.

When you've settled into navigation, mastering weaponry can be a challenge as well. Locking onto a target is a challenge, as it can be difficult to settle on a target that's zipping around you to and fro. With practice you can guide your fire the way you want, but the initial challenge is something to keep in mind: your first few bouts may be disappointing if you can't pour much time into easing into the controls. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there in space, and you'll crash and burn if you can't keep up.

Galactic Starfighter isn't such a rigid construct that there aren't different archetypes for players to mold into a ride that's perfect for them. The gunship, strike fighter, and scout are all formidable choices, and the bomber, a fourth choice, will be available mid-February. Players tend to flock to the strike fighter, which closely resembles the X-wing and Y-wing fighters even Star Wars casuals are likely familiar with. This model strikes a nice mixture of offense and defense, where the maneuverable scout is peppier and fantastic for those who just want to zip in guns blazing and get out of a tight situation fast. The indomitable gunship offers formidable cannons, but it's the slowest of the trio.

Each ship can be tailored to your play style by way of ship and fleet requisition. Ship requisition is currency earned through using specific ships that can then be converted into fleet requisition, which you can use to purchase new ships. You can spend time upgrading the way your ship looks, but it's more prudent to augment your passive and active abilities to wipe the floor with the competition. Upgradable components are bundled with talent trees that branch out just like your character's skills, but if you just want to make your ship look pretty, you can change its paint design, laser colors, and more.

Crew members are another way to keep things fresh, an interesting addition that makes space feel a bit less lonely, even when you're locked in combat. Companions unlocked in-game can be chosen to head up your very own crew. Additionally, copilots may be selected for special bonuses and abilities that could give you the upper hand when it comes to dealing with players who have invested a bit more time and currency into building the perfect ship. While some augments are available for purchase only through the Cartel Market, there are plenty available to unlock via normal play.

Your companions can always be counted on to keep you on track.

If you took issue previously with your companions spouting the same old lines over and over again after you ran through your class's storyline, you'll be delighted to know that new dialogue has been added for each possible character. They can be counted on for some friendly ribbing and lighthearted humor when you're cruising around, as well as for valuable information about your surroundings. While the new dialogue is hardly a game changer, it's a refreshing addition that helps tie your space conflicts to the planetside narratives, a helpful touch considering this expansion doesn't deal in story-based missions.

Space combat looks and feels excellent and never fails to attract competitors, though it's unfortunate that there is no absorbing story hook to draw you in. That disappointment is balanced by Galactic Starfighter's ease of access: all levels of players can engage in bouts without having ever completed the storyline or having had a previous character. As long as you've got an active account, you can get in on the fun without committing to a guild or even daily play. In essence, this is a standalone experience for Star Wars fans looking for a raucous thrill ride without all the massively multiplayer thrills. The Old Republic has needed this missing piece for some time now, and now that it has arrived, it's time to be the Jedi or Sith you've always wanted to be.

The Good
Wide range of customizable ship types for diversity
A whole new use for companion characters
Plentiful new lines of dialogue
Fluid and exciting space combat
The Bad
Only two maps available for PVP
No new story objectives
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Star Wars: The Old Republic

About the Author

Brittany Vincent is a Sith warrior who prefers to walk on the dark side of the Force. She loves dabbling in far-off alien worlds and finds your lack of faith in her disturbing. For the purposes of this review, she spent about 30 hours doing not-quite barrel rolls and cackling maniacally in the Galactic Starfighter expansion.

Discussion

52 comments
l8rry
l8rry

 Save your money. Go buy KOTOR, Jedi Knight 2 and Freelancer now. Then with the money saved go buy Star Citizen and a crap load of credits and enjoy a real space sim.

boomer0901
boomer0901

    If you want to play a semi-exciting game, with several OP pvp classes, cookie cutter builds, players standing around fleet all day spamming, use jawa in the name of any movie and spam general chat with it for 6 straight hours.  And generally people just worried about how their toon looks this game is for you.  The initial worlds with f2p are usually busy, and by busy I mean you might see anywhere from 10-40 people on, yeah that doesn't sound like a lot but you will be hitting other worlds with mostly just 2 people on less or hell just yourself on it.  If this game claims 2 million active subs, they sure as hell don't play on standard hours North American servers then. 


     Sure you can have some fun in this game, I've had some good times, but this game would have been better off as a single player game.  I have several lv 55's and let me tell ya, there is virtually no replay ability that they say there is, yes the class quests are different but the planets normal quests are not, after you've been through a planet more than once, you basically just want to get the hell off the rock and move to the next one, and if you are doing that then the game isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Overland PvP is basically a joke, with some planets not even having intersecting quest lines to generate any kind of PvP.  Sure someone posted below they made 130 million last year, have no idea if that is true, but I have no idea how they manage that feat. 


    I've finally given up on this game, I will never re-visit it, or re-sub again.  My recommendation is go through it once and enjoy it, then just toss it aside and find something else.  Long-term you will spend a majority of your time trying to find someone to help you with an Flash-point or raid than you will actually play the game.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I didn't know GS featured member reviews. Nicely done! And I am saying so as someone who doesn't even play.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"cackling maniacally in the Galactic Starfighter expansion" We need a video review of that happening :P.

Centurion95
Centurion95

Should have been in at launch but now that its in I can say its pure simple fun. Been in some pretty intense dogfights and shooting down the bastard that spaced a few of your friends is always a good feeling. Just needs a few more game modes (like capital ship attacks) and more maps to be truly standout.

wexorian
wexorian

good article and review, but sadly game is not worth any penny or time that i wasted for it :D :)

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

i'll stick to rogue squadron on my n64 XD

EcksTheory
EcksTheory

if no one else will say it, ill say it. obviously paid for review is obviously paid for.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

Using your own starfighter to travel between planets in Jump to Lightspeed was a blast.  Multiple player ships you could decorate and fight together in were a real highlight.  Building your own ship or finding someone to craft you your dream fighter was an accomplishment.  


This.. isn't quite it. 

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

2 years and 2 months too late. First round of space combat was an absolute joke and this stuff just isn't that great either. Also, nothing will ever change the fact that this is quite possibly the most heavily "pay gated" f2p MMO out there. If you enjoy it, you'd better pay monthly, because without it the game is absolutely miserable -- being reminded around every damn corner that you're not giving them enough money.



texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

There is a new starfighter map coming in a couple of months, so this will be updated ongoing.

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

Haven't tried the starfighting stuff yet, but it looks interesting.  

hadlee73
hadlee73

I don't know why but I've always loved those game/film covers/posters that try to cram an ensemble cast into it.

Tripwolf
Tripwolf

Solid review. Not my thing but it's a step-up from the pointless minigame that was in at launch. I remember during beta how the majority of posters wanted them to stop working on it and just put in pazzaak. Ah well.

jedinortd_basic
jedinortd_basic

I started playing this again whenever I need a final fantasy xiv break. Not to fond of the space combat yet though.

RobDev
RobDev

I would pay good money for a PS4 version of pretty much any star wars dog fighting game.

Fursnake
Fursnake

I dunno, i went back to SWTOR to try the beta of GSF and felt lackluster and boring. It struck me as just another gear grind PvP distraction that has no real impact on the gameworld or the story and lacks the thrill of space exploration and combat that Jump To Lightspeed brought to Star Wars Galaxies.

nicolasetespqr
nicolasetespqr

Nop. Not buying it.



Now that they are into the f2p thingie... I'd rather have them make more trailers than breathing further life into the huge failure this piece of crap was.


I bet they would get more income from youtube views and ads than from selling ingame items in a game nobody plays... for a reason.





TheTrueObelus
TheTrueObelus

I really wanted to like this starfighter expansion but I just couldn't get into it. It doesn't play anything like the space battles in the films.

girlshavefuntoo
girlshavefuntoo

This game still gets content? I thought nobody was playing it.

masih_ad_dajjal
masih_ad_dajjal

@boomer0901  @boomer0901

While I think your comments are in general not entirely incorrect, I think you took some liberties to make the game seem worse than it is (in relation to any other MMO).


-The only OP class in PVP I can think of is possibly Operative/Scoundrel (as heal)...  and some argue that the move "smash/force sweep" is OP but it is shared by 2 classes and it's the move they argue is OP not the class.  Also OP I think is too strong a definition because I would say top DPS is taken by a "smasher" maybe 30% of the time..  and while 30% out of 4 classes does make them the best it is hardly OP.  So there is 1 OP class, and only if it picks heal tree, that is all.


- genchat spam and trolling?...Have you even played another MMO?  The're all the same in that regard so not really a feature problem of SWTOR but MMO's in general.


- Initial worlds have 10-40 players?  Not sure what server you played on but on Shadowlands (not even in the top 3 servers for popularity) there are about 170 people on the first 2-3 planets and the fleet at all times from about 9am to 1am.  and each of those usually has 3 or more instances...  In other words that is ~250-500 players on the first 4 "planets" for 16 hours a day on just 1 server.


- after multiple 55's now you say there is no replay-ability?  How much did you expect?  Are other MMO's offering more?  Like changing quest lines for each play through so it never the same?  I don't think so.  Different class story all voice acted and an ability to lvl via a mix of Heroics, FP's, WZ's and Space Missions, as well as class story and the solo planet missions you mentioned were all the same, and you can level in Galactic Starfighter now.  You can even lvl to 55 via the old Dailies and Operations starting around lvl 50, so your not stuck doing just Illum or mekab.  This leads to a lot of options at least.


- If all you want to do is experience the story then yeah there are 8 different class stories,  all about 30-50 hours in length but the replay ability of solo lvling will diminish a little with each story, as you stated... But if you care about perfecting your game play in PvP (WZ, Arena or GS) or learning the best and quickest way to handle all the little things and bosses in FP’s and Operations then the game will have much more replay ability…  Each person will be a bit different.


- You spent the more of your time trying find a group for a FP than playing?  I rarely wait longer than 5 min at peak hours and now with the tactical (class independent) FP it is rarely more than 1 min in the auto group finder...  The longest I have ever waited was maybe 20 min and that was at 3am.  Did you join a guild? 


-Had you joined a guild with at least 20 active players that would've been rare to non-existent.   Leading me to believe that you seem to have Lone Wolfed the game many times to 55?


On our server some guilds organize base raids where on faction attacks a base or the other and word is put out through chat and official forums and anyone can join if they want in this way I have been involved in overland PvP battles with dozens of players all doing at it at the same time...Mind you the game doesn't handle it well but that is a different point.


All in all your post is not incorrect but just an opinionated and slightly dishonest rant.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@EcksTheory  Yeah and there's TOTALLY no way the reviewer actually enjoyed the game and is sharing her opinions........

snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

@TrueProphecy22  I remember my first trip into Deep Space aboard a POB ship manning a turret as we made a run on the Star Destroyer. 


I remember being familiar with my ship enough to know when an enemy had come into range of my weapons systems (about 700-800m out).....so as we were approaching the Star Destroyer and it filled my screen....it seemed like we were within range....only to find out after firing away fruitlessly that I was still 3000m away.


A few moments later my screen filled with a furious swarm of tie fighters (both CPU controlled and imperial players).....



For all the problems SWG had....the space combat was some of the most fun I have had playing an MMO.


...and you are correct...this isn't the same.


snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

@spikepigeo  I agree, the way they implemented F2P was terrible. 


It's my belief that when a game you have purchased, and then paid a sub for, goes free to play... that they shouldn't remove anything that these one time subs had access to in the switch over.


Take Rift for example. Rift wen't F2P and took nothing away from former subs. Everything you could do or had access to before the switch you still have access to without penalty and without the need to sub.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

@Tripwolf  Hey Trip, long time no see. I'd go as far to say that this should have been how it was originally. I have no idea at all why they decided a pointless minigame would make for a good addition to the game. I find it interesting that they didn't take this opportunity to add more story though, considering that was the best part of the game.

OmegaGear
OmegaGear

@Tripwolf  Pazzaak would probably go a long way in retaining players, which is sad.

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

@girlshavefuntoo  I still find the perception that this game was a failure very frustrating.Over a million players actively play this game. Going f2p means that it was a bit of a short term failure, but I don't think anyone at Bioware or EA are questioning their investment in it. It's making money, you can bet on that.


That being said, it has it's ups and downs. I personally don't like playing it anymore. But a failure? Nobody playing it? Hardly.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

@girlshavefuntoo


It has around 2 million players, so yes, people are playing it.


People who hate the game are too dumb to see this.

boomer0901
boomer0901

@masih_ad_dajjal I jumped on yesterday and to my surprise, the capital city had 99 people on it, so I inquired wtf was going in general chat and why so many people are playing, I had been off the game for about a 1 1/2 months, but apparently  with the release of starfighter they've had a resurgence of sort, which is fine I'll say I was wrong on that one, I wrote it with old info over a month old, before that unless is was a Double XP weekend you'd never find more than 10-15 toons on the capital cities.  No worries give it a few months when people get bored with it again and they'll be gone again of that I have no doubt, played the game enough over the last 2 years to know that much. 


But I'll stick with the rest, as far as OP classes go yes it's stealth and smash, and yes you have different varities to choose from, but coming from major pvp that I used to play, vs. what I came back too, out of the standard 16 man pvp match I average around 12 stealth or smash spec players per match, some match where all jugs or combo of all jugs and all stealth, in pve this matter not, but in pvp this is a huge turn off to any kind of decent pvp, which they still and in my opinion will never get right.


Yes I've played to many MMO to count and yes I played in large and small guilds on several different servers.  And even guild have a hard time lasting more than a few months, the ups and downs of the game are extremely painful, one day you in a 500 man 250 account guild, 2 weeks later it's virtually dead, gratned sometimes it takes a month or 2, but it happens so fast, found myself on the last stretch of 3 months, had to jump about 7 different guilds, that died. 


And maybe with the resurgence the group finder is popping faster, but on bastion, people where waiting up to 2 hours to get a group and I've had nights where it didn't pop at all.  So maybe you have the only busy server, but I constantly checked the other servers and most where also low or standard.  Again maybe the last month has changed and now they are high, but I'll guarantee you those number in 2 months or less will be back to the standard or low numbers again. 


I really wanted this game to work, but it's WoW with blaster and lightsabers, about the only real unique thing new to me was the crafting with companions, I really enjoyed that aspect, made crafting much easier.


As far as replayablity, sure you had a few different quests on each planet, voice acting, even if good, is still just voice acting, doesn't make the game good or bad, can make it painful to listen too though.  Other than a unique story line that follows most of the other story lines in the game on each planet, made for some poor replayability and most of the storylines I did not enjoy, I enjoyed the sith sides story lines much more than the pub side story lines, actually thought all the pub ones where pretty terrible, I had a hard time going to 55 on the smuggler with that horrible story that didn't even fit into the whole scheme of fighting the imps. 


But to each there own.

boomer0901
boomer0901

@spikepigeo @girlshavefuntoo where did you get your stats of 2 million active players, I just unsubbed because no one was every doing anything, very few actual subs, most of the players sit around fleet and spam general chat, sometimes you can't even find a group for hours in group finder and that is for all instances checked.  I would guess they have around 10-15k actual active players on the U.S. servers couldn't tell ya about the rest. 


I can break down SWTOR for ya, how does my gear look, I really need that speeder, how does my speeder look, I really need that black dye and lightsaber crystal so my character looks uber cool so I can stand around fleet and spam general chat and look cool.  I got tired of people worrying more about how their toon looked then actually playing the game.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@EcksTheory  Yes I can see that. :) But I believe e you will see the difference between those terms and make less ignorant comments in time

EcksTheory
EcksTheory

Yeah, I'm the stupid one that can't grasp the concept that when someone says something it's their opinion. Sounding more and more desperate to be right.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@EcksTheory  Seriously mate? Are you really that dumb or just pretending to be stupid just to hide your true level of stupidity? What I meant by that example is that if you believe accusing someone for bribery is just an "opinion", accusing someone for murder can be considered just an opinion as well. And here's a little hint: It's not.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@EcksTheory Yeah if you look it at that way, you could also say "The death of this man is caused by his wife.....in my opinion." See how opinions and accusations vastly differ from each other? Or should I give out more examples for that head of yours to understand? :p

I don't have to be "desperate" to be right. Because logic is always right. ;) 

EcksTheory
EcksTheory

It's my option that this review was paid for. That's pretty clear to anyone from waphat I said, unless said person is just looking to appear superior.

FYI, you're not having much luck at that, you sound kinda desperate to be right to be honest.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@EcksTheory  You didn't give out an opinion, it was an accusation of bribery without any evidence other the ones you created inside your head with the help of your narrow prespective. Know the difference ;)

EcksTheory
EcksTheory

Well, you really showed me. That was quite the cutting remark. I'm sure I'll cry all night now. It's interesting though that you have a go at me for taking issue with someone else's opinion, by attacking my own opinion. Hypocrisy at its finest! ;)

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@EcksTheory On the fact that you like to make immature and ignorant comments when others opinions does not align with your own? Great. :)

Star Wars: The Old Republic More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    Star Wars: The Old Republic is a massively multiplayer online game from BioWare set in the same universe as its award-winning Star Wars role-playing games.
    8.2
    Average User RatingOut of 3456 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    BioWare, LucasArts
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts, LucasArts
    Genres:
    Role-Playing, Free-to-Play, MMO
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
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    Blood and Gore, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Violence