Quick draws, blasters, rockets, double crosses, and of course jet packs. That is the life of a Bounty Hunter in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Forget the Force, forget mysticism and mind powers: who needs those when you have some serious firepower! The Bounty Hunter class surprised me with how quick the gameplay is and how many options you have in a fight. Basically the Imperial version of the Trooper, the Bounty Hunter relies on tech, weapons, and some bravado to take down Jedi.
Let’s start with is my quick Ode to Boba Fett. First of all, Boba Fett in Empire Strikes Back only... please. He never did much, he never said much, but what he said was important. Bounty Hunters were introduced into Star Wars with Greedo, but Boba Fett was the man. Why? One line and I am paraphrasing here for coolness, “Hey Vader, Solo is no good to me dead, did I mention I killed countless Jedi for your cause and oh yea, I also remember you as a whiny kid with some teen crush that led to your downfall…wuss.” Boba Fett basically told off Darth Vader who in 1981 was the most powerful thing in anyone’s mind in Star Wars. Every fan was asking, who is this guy? Well guess what, you now get to be this guy as the Bounty Hunter. Let’s forget every single thing about Boba Fett after Empire Strikes Back and take that single moment in all of its glory. That is what the Bioware team has done with the Bounty Hunter, you are a badass - be happy.
Before we get to weapons and skills lets talk about how the class plays within the story. You do get to make Light Side and Dark Side decisions for your character but here is the best part. As a Bounty Hunter you can do either. Good day? I guess I’ll spare your life, take your credits instead and let you go free. Bad day? Sorry you’re dead, nothing personal I just need the credits. That is the best part of the character: there is nothing to influence your choice except money.
I found myself making choices on the whim just to see how it turns out. The dialogue is great with plenty of “What’s in it for me?” choices. In the story you begin by working on Hutta, the Hutts planet, this is no secret by now but I still won’t give any story spoilers. The Bounty Hunter definitely sees the shady side of Star Wars. No glorious rebellion, no galatic empire, this part of the galaxy is all about crime, spice addiction, slavery, and junk. Double-crosses galore and you are in the thick of it, with nothing but some serious armor, an awesome gun, and some crazy wrist rockets to take down foes.
While the Jedi rely on the Force and their all mighty Lightsabers the Bounty Hunter is much more practical. Ranged weapons are your best friends along with some heavy armor to stop blaster and lightsabers alike. By the time you finish up the starting area you will be well equipped with gear to enter into the open world. Upgrades are key though and you should always be looking for the bigger and better. The one thing the Bounty Hunter does well is knock foes off their feet. Wrist rockets are very important and you some great options with darts as well. The rocket was important in combat as it stops opponents from charging you. The full jet pack capabilities come later on as you level, but the Rocket Punch is a great melee attack to stop Jedi in their tracks. Still, you want to blast them apart so firepower wins the day.
In terms of skills a lot of the Bounty Hunter is about blasting power and keeping your Heat signature in check. Some skills raise heat, others lower heat but overall your skills are based on heat. Blasting and moving is important but what I found to be critical is when to time your powerful blasts in a fight. If you have your opponents on the ropes, then finish them quick with a powerful shot. Or wait for the critical moment in a fight when you need the advantage and spend your bigger shots to take the fight over in your favor. Overall the Bounty Hunter is about manuvering and taking down foes with a multiple of styles.
If there is any criticism on the Bounty Hunter it is the constant standing there with the pistol to shoot at foes. I had more fun running around and trying to pick targets etc. Your companion, Mako, is cool and helps with heals and some extra firepower. I would say the highlight of the class is definitely the tone and how it plays. You can do anything as a Bounty Hunter and the story line is just great to follow. I liked not being a Force character and relying more on my wits than on my faith. If I chose to play the class at launch I would definietly have a theme in mind for my character.
I do think there will be great joy in playing a Bounty Hunter and taking down Jedi in PvP. In many ways you have this self reliant feeling when playing your character. The story adds to it, you are alone, with no help, and no one to rely on but yourself. Everyone is trying to double cross you and you survive because you are quick, smart and deadly with a blaster. It lends itself to a much more personal approach than relying on an ancient religion. The Bounty Hunter is pure fun, keep to your skills and blast your way into a fortune and you won’t be disappointed.