Star Wars: The Old Republic review

  • Voice acting and production value
  • Playing through the interesting stories
  • Load-free instanced areas are a game-changer
  • Glitches and missing features
  • End-game is lackluster
  • Lack of open-world content

Stay on target

Above: We got to check "walking away from an explosion" off on our bucket list for 2012

BioWare did a fantastic job of bringing the Star Wars universe to gaming in a bigger, better way than ever before. Many of the mechanics that are in place need work, but the emphasis on story is absolutely unparalleled in the genre, and the game is paced in such a way that it should be a treat for those new to MMOs. Where it falters is in properly combining the game’s innovations with the genre’s oftentimes archaic mechanics, and that’s something that will hopefully be phased out over time as BioWare enhances the end-game content and expands on the Legacy system to further incentivize players to come back for more.

Is it better than…

World of Warcraft? No. It couldn’t be. Not at launch. Right now there are too many problems, and World of Warcraft had a really, really, really long head start. It’s certainly better than WoW was within the first few years, and it definitely has the capability of being better in the long run, but at launch it’s just not there.

Knights of the Old Republic? Depends. If you’re looking for a single stand-alone Star Wars story, Knights does a better job. If you truly want to be immersed in the world of Star Wars, and you’re interested in not one, but eight different epic Knights of the Old Republic-style tales, than SWTOR is the one to go with.

Star Trek: Online? Yes. Star Trek: Online’s space combat was fun, but the ground game was a mess, and the updates never fully pulled together the elements of the game to make it feel like a cohesive experience. Even after a few years of patches, Star Trek: Online is a weaker game than The Old Republic, and that's something that likely won't be fixed with an update.

For those who skipped straight to the end

Massively-multiplayer online games are always a work-in-progress, so it’s not surprising that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s launch wasn’t flawless. What matters is that it’s an extremely satisfying experience that sets the stage for a bright future, so long as BioWare continues to support the game for the coming years with constant updates.

Note: This review is a living document. MMOs are constantly evolving, and if we see big changes we’ll update the text with links to articles detailing those updates.

More Info

Release date: Dec 20 2012 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: LucasArts and BioWare
Developed by: LucasArts and BioWare
Franchise: Star Wars
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Violence, Mild Language


  • tareq - January 9, 2012 5:21 p.m.

  • profile0000 - January 9, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    Four pages? Well done, Coop. You put a hell of a lot of effort into this review, and it really shows. Excellent read, I gotta say. I really want to play The Old Republic, as KOTOR is one of my favorite games of all time, but I can't justify paying for an MMO. Perhaps later in the year.
  • Rubberducky - January 9, 2012 5:53 p.m.

    An 8?? Thats like a turd in a box, why should I buy a turd in a box Coop?? Actually it sounds interesting, still waiting on the free trial though so maybe one day.
  • ItBurnsWhenIWii - January 9, 2012 6:13 p.m.

    Hey Cooper great review! I really want to play this but I was wondering how good should my PC be to run it? My computer is old as hell and ran the first Portal game chuggy as shit but it does run downloadable games fine. Is there a super low setting that I may be able to run this game in so that I can enjoy the story?
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - January 10, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    If your PC can barely run Portal then no, it probably can't handle TOR. Look for a free trial first so you can test it out.
  • Cyberninja - January 9, 2012 6:35 p.m.

    sounds fun maybe when i upgrade my computer
  • shawksta - January 9, 2012 6:41 p.m.

    Couldnt have a more trustworthy review,especially since you put ALLOT of time on the game. Awesome job cooper!
  • GR HollanderCooper - January 10, 2012 6:04 p.m.

    Thank you!
  • BladedFalcon - January 9, 2012 7:23 p.m.

    Despite having no plans whatsoever to play this game. I felt compelled to read the review, and it was a pretty good read. Sounds like you did a very great and thorough job cooper ^^ (And it shows, with all the other extra content he released.) Also, i gotta say... being so story focused, and obviously more polished in the less populated sections... This might have ended up being a better single player RPG than an MMO, just saying >>
  • xerroz - January 9, 2012 7:26 p.m.

    An 8? Gamesradar is trolling. This game is at least a 9.5.
  • ObliqueZombie - January 9, 2012 8:32 p.m.

    I guess you misunderstand that 8's are "better than average," and that it's really, really, good. And it's subject to change, if you'd read at least ONE word.
  • farsided - January 9, 2012 8:40 p.m.

    Might I refer you to this? Scroll down to the part about "fanboys totally losing it". And being someone who played it and stopped both due to the fact that the UI was migraine inducing, and that it felt like nothing more than a wow clone: as the biggest budget game of all time, it should have been a lot better.
  • minimaxi - January 9, 2012 9:13 p.m.

    again with the '8 is meh' conundrum.
  • playswithsquirrels - January 10, 2012 11:16 a.m.

    hmmm... with no avatar, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say you made this account just to complain about an 8. 8 is great. You're the troll, sir.
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - January 9, 2012 7:45 p.m.

    OMG it's a living thing!! kill it!!!!!
  • comaqi - January 9, 2012 8:09 p.m.

    Looks amazing Coop! I'm definitely going to read this!!!!!
  • Octaviux - January 9, 2012 8:24 p.m.

    "For those who skipped straight to the end" Caught Meh!!!
  • ObliqueZombie - January 9, 2012 8:40 p.m.

    Okay, first off: DIDN'T READ IT YET. Yet. I gotta get my ass to bed for classes tomorrow. Secondly, fantastic and well thought-out review, Cooper. I read all the review diaries you posted, and I could tell you loved it. It's sad to see that people STILL gripe over high score, and though personally I'd give SWTOR a higher initial score (though I'm a lower level, I've been playing inarguable one of the best games in existence: Arkham City), nothing was left out in this thorough four-page review. I can't wait to delve into every bit of input you had to say. Incredibly professional, Cooper, and I do hope the number gets bumped up when they polish a lot of things. Personally, I've never been in an MMO launch so smooth and relatively cue-less, before.
  • D0CCON - January 9, 2012 8:47 p.m.

    I normally dislike MMO's, but this game's emphasis on story intrigues me and the fact that you will be in solitude a lot helps too. I may have to look into this, but I still don't think I can get past subscription fees just to play 1 game.
  • minimaxi - January 9, 2012 9:21 p.m.

    on the fence but overall pretty interested. will wait for the technical aspects to mature, like long server queues, or, god forbid, glitchy billing (I'm being paranoid). but Diablo 3 would make me forget about all MMOs anyway, so if there is no trial in the future I think I'll never play it :P

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000