Star Wars Galaxies Review

Many of you may be aware that this game went on sale in North America in June, but has yet to be sold in any other part of our particular galaxy. That hasn’t stop some people who are already playing it, even though Sony and LucasArts don’t think they should be.

The canny local gamers are buying copies on the internet or through US-based friends. They are then simply getting the registration code emailed through to them and they take it from there (it helps if you know someone with the disks for installation, it’s well over a gigabyte to download). This saves hassle and expense with shipping, because you just don’t need anything else (the manual is about 200 pages but you can get by without it: the online help is pretty good).

Interestingly, there is an auction (at time of writing) on Trademe.co.nz for a copy, but the auction doesn’t sound very legitimate.

The cost of being online is US$14.99 per month (slightly less if paid in bulk, in advance) – which is a sizable commitment for people in New Zealand, but is probably worthwhile if you are planning on investing a lot of time in the game.

Players in Australia and New Zealand are using the ‘Valcyn’ server, which means there is more activity when people in our timezone are likely to be awake. The servers are being taken down every night at about 11pm New Zealand time for patching which can disrupt the night owl players (it is more of an irritation for the Australian players).

Check out www.SogaMijizi.com for one Australasian player association (PA). These ‘clans’ cooperate and the Soga Mijizi are quite a powerful group there are 150 members currently in the group and membership is closed but should expand over time.

The game itself is very resource hungry. I saw it running on an AMD XP1700+ processor with a GeForce 4 Ti4200 card with 128Mb of memory and 768Mb of Ram. It can be tweaked with a number of display settings (resolution, shadows, colours, etc) to get performance to an acceptable level, but 512Mb of memory is a minimum. I played it on minimum graphical settings and it was fine, I would probably keep it like that for combat and maybe increase the detail when wandering around town.

Like other massively multiplayer online games such as Everquest, Shadowbane, and Asheron’s Call, you start life as a certain basic character and they evolve as you work your way around the galaxy. Many features are planned for SWG, and these will be added over time (such as adding the ability to ride on beasts and vehicles, and space travel). Catching shuttles to other planets is instant travel at the moment, and you have no risk of flying too close to a supernova.

There are about ten species including Human, Twi’lek, Mon Calamari, Trandoshan, and Wookiee. You can customise the features of the character, height, weight, build, colouring, facial features, it’s kind of cool. There is minimal chance of seeing two people that look exactly the same – especially once they get different equipment.

This is really as close as it gets to being in the Star Wars universe. You can wander into a Cantina, check your moisture vaporators, milk your bantha, and repair your droids. The basic character takes a while to evolve, and you have to work hard to become a bounty hunter or imperial stormtrooper. Rumour has it that nobody knows how to become a jedi, but it is theoretically possible (help old droids cross the road and who knows what might happen). The level of detail in every respect of SWG is vast, with much taken from the books and other Expanded Universe elements, as well as the movies.

I am not sure whether this is a game for Star Wars people or one for people who like MMOG. Not everyone on there is a Star Wars person, but I suspect a lot are. Funny thing is, I don’t think you can buy collectible figures at the market just yet.

Contributed by Robbie the Robot.