I had played SWG previously, in beta and for a couple months after release. I know there have been several changes made recently so I figured it would be nice to jump back into the SWG world and see what was going on these days. And while I was at it, why not type up a nice little review for the site? Naturally my first inclination was to load up my previous account, reactivate it and go from there. But no I decided, let's go in fresh; get the perspective of a new player coming in for the first time. So, sit back and enjoy the read, let's see what SWG has to offer.
Without a doubt the Graphics are the shining point of Star Wars Galaxies. The game looked nice back when I was originally playing it, and still looks nice today. I have to say I was expecting more changes in the graphics between now and then. Don't get me wrong, there were minor improvements here and there, but no real major changes. I guess the old saying "If it's not broken don't fix it" definitely holds true here.
A lot of the buildings have been flushed out with more furniture and decorations to give them a much more 'real' feeling. Initially I got the feeling that something was missing in almost every building I ever stepped foot in. They didn't feel like real buildings, instead they felt much more like stages or sets in a movie or something. Unfinished stages at that, like the stage had been set up but the stagehands were still in the process of furnishing it. While they are still do not completely have the true "real and lived in" feeling it is a definite improvement.
Character animations and character graphics are mostly unchanged from what I could tell. Not that that is a bad thing; don't get me wrong. The characters looked good before, and obviously still do. There is a decent amount of customization available to lessen the chances of you running into your twin while playing the game. And even if you do, no big deal, just track down an Image Designer and change up your look some. And from the sounds of the upcoming changes to the Image Designer class, this will be much better and easier to do in the near future.
The environment is very easy on the eyes. There are many different planets with as many different environments. A person could spend countless hours just running around exploring the various different worlds and seeing the sights. The only real downside here is that the areas are so large that a lot of times you're running through empty areas. And while the eye candy environment is nice in these areas, it still leaves you wanting. I mean really, once you've seen it once, what's the point in ever going back to enjoy it again if there is nothing to do there but stand around admiring the scenery.
Sound is by far my least favorite category when rating a MMORPG. This actually has next to nothing to do with the quality of music and sound in the majority of games I've played. It simply comes down to the fact that the average player in a MMORPG spends many more hours playing that one would spend in a single player game. And a lot of this time is spent in the same general areas, or at the very least, long stretches of time are spent in an area before moving on to another area, where you'll spend as long or longer than you spent in the previous area. And honestly, how long does it take in that area to hear everything there is to hear. How long before those ambient environmental sounds of the forest around you change from being creepy and cool to mildly annoying? Initially that background music is really cool and fits the area perfectly, but if you're anything like me, it's not too long before the sounds get disabled and Winamp is randomly playing songs from an extensive mp3 collection.
Now, all that aside lets talk a bit about the sound in SWG and hope those prejudices against sound in MMORPGs in general doesn't affect my feelings toward the sound in SWG. I have to say really that the sound in this game was well done. At least the second time playing it seemed better than the first time around. Really though this is due to the way I played this time as opposed to last time. The first time I played I was a pure crafter. My character was a triple master crafter: Master Tailor, Master Armorcrafter and Master Weaponsmith. This as anyone who has crafted in SWG knows means I spent a LOT of time sitting in one spot grinding out items. So I quickly got tired of it and turned it off the first time around. This time though I hardly even noticed. I played a combat class this time, having already fully experienced the crafting side of the house. This was a whole new ballgame for me, albeit played on the same field. The first time around my character had absolutely no combat abilities. I never even tried to fight anything, it was suicide. Therefore I spent a lot of time in the same city crafting. My guildies and other suppliers would bring me materials or I would get them through the bazaar as a last resort. As a combat class though I was all over the place, exploring and hunting all of the funky little bunny looking things I could find.
The biggest thing the Sound in SWG has going for it is its absolute unobtrusiveness. It's there, but not so much so that it bothers you too much. Too many games in the past have felt that they need to jam the sounds and music of the game down your throat; as if the louder and more noticeable it is, the more immersed into the game you'll be. That/s not the case here; though if you spend enough time playing then eventually there's still the chance you'll tire of it and switch to that mp3 collection, but overall, it is not bad at all.