Strange Brouhaha

Friday, October 22, 2004

Star Wars Galaxies: Jump To Lightspeed

I finally did get into the beta program for JTL, and now that the NDA has been lifted, I thought I'd share my experiences and opinions.

I came in on the later stages of the beta, after a lot of bugs had been ironed out. They were still working on ship physics, which was tough to get used to at first: every day, the ships handled a little bit differently. The dialog was also still very rough around the edges. As the beta progressed, though, everything cleaned up.

First of all, let's get this out of the way: space is fun, but I think it's fun in a very limited way right now. Yes, you can fly all the classic ships (eventually), but after you master your piloting skills, there's kind of nothing to do if you don't want to fight other players. You can still use your ship for "free" interstellar travel, but it seems like the fighting just kind of stops.

But it's fun at the beginning. I played an Imperial pilot and a Rebel pilot, and I have to say that so far flying a TIE fighter was a lot better. On the Rebel side, I made myself a Y-Wing and it flew like a ton of bricks. The TIE was a lot more responsive--but it had no shields, which meant that I needed to repair it more often. So there's balance there, which is good. The game itself is a lot like Wing Commander or Descent: Freespace. You fly to waypoints and blow stuff up, or occasionally you need to protect a transport of some sort by blowing stuff up. There's a lot of blowing stuff up. BUT YOU'RE DOING IT IN A Y-WING!

The big question is: should you buy it? (Obviously, it's only a big question if you already play Star Wars Galaxies.) I'm waffling right now. I say yes, but I also say that the thirty bucks they want for it is kind of steep. Twenty would be better, and an unhesitating buy at that price point. At thirty, I'd want something that was a little more polished and had a little more depth to it.


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