During the last two weeks BioWare invited the press (including us) to take part in The Old Republic Beta experience. Today an embargo was lifted allowing us to preview our experiences with the Republic faction throughout the origin worlds and capital city, Coruscant.
Over the next week we will be posting previews of Republic Classes, Storylines (no spoilers), Companions, Crafting, Planets, PVP and more.
But first let’s start it off with a preview of everyone’s favorite the Jedi Knight!
The Jedi temple on Coruscant has been totaled and the order has gone back to their roots on the planet Tython. This is where you start your journey on the road to Jedi Master. But all is not well in the new digs, a dark presence persists on the planet and the Jedi find themselves unwelcome on their ancient home world. It’s up to you, the newest recruit, to get to the bottom of it, pass the Jedi trials, and become a Jedi Knight.
The Jedi Knight is a melee specialist, whether wielding one lightsabre as a guardian, or two as the sentinel. These advanced classes are unlocked upon reaching level ten and visiting your local Jedi Master. While both are primarily melee combatants there are a few defining characteristics.
Jedi Guardian Defining Points:
Jedi Sentinel Defining Points:
No matter the choice of advanced class the Jedi Knight’s primary resource is Focus. This Focus is built up by using certain attacks/abilities and is used to power other more powerful attacks.
A sample of focus building abilities include:
Strike: Your basic lightsabre attack. Strikes with both lightsabres if dual wielding.
Force Leap: Jump to the target inflicting mainhand weapon damage. Also interrupts and immobilizes the target.
Zealous Strike (Sentinel): An advanced strike that hits the target multiple times with both sabres.
Sundering Strike (Guardian): Inflicts minor damage and reduces enemy armor. Can be stacked.
After you’ve built up enough focus more advanced and powerful attacks become available.
Slash: A powerful strike with either a single sabre or two.
Riposte: Upon a successful deflection or parry you strike the target back. The attack cannot be parried or dodged.
Force Sweep: Strikes up to five nearby enemies with the force. Stuns weak or standard enemies.
Blade Storm: Blasts enemies with a Force wave. Stuns weaker enemies.
Some of the focus-free abilities and buffs at the Jedi Knight’s disposal include:
Master Strike: A channeled lightsabre attack. Stuns weaker enemies.
Resolve: Breaks free from any movement impairing effects.
Sabre Ward: Blocks attacks with the lightsabre, increasing defense and reducing damage taken.
Introspection: An out of combat self heal.
Force Might: Increases damage and healing for the Jedi and party.
As the abilities show, the Jedi Knight is an in your face fighter. Both as an armor clad Guardian and damage dealing Sentinel.
Even a force wielding Jedi needs a little help, and these companions are no joke. Each of them is fully capable of dishing out a surprisingly large amount of damage and come standard with a grab bag of useful abilities. The first two companions to team up with the Jedi Knight are T7-01 and the padawan Kira Carsen.
Sentry Process: Increases armor, shields and threat generation.
Stimulus Applicator: Forces target to attack the companion.
Frag Grenade: Throws a frag grenade that damages up to 3 targets.
Two Cable: Pulls target to companion and generates a high amount of threat.
Targeting Process: Increases damage dealt and lowers threat.
Kira Carsen Abilities:
Charge: Leaps to target causing weapon damage.
Power Slash: Deals a powerful lightsaber attack.
Perforation: Increases armor penetration.
Whirling Force: Aoe attack that damage nearby enemies.
Right from the get-go the game makes it clear that you are the next big thing since sliced space bread. From the opening crawler and all through the class story, the line “strong in the force” will be used to describe you constantly. It’s a wonder how I managed to stick to the lightside with everyone telling my how great and powerful I was (repeating “Don’t get cocky kid.” in your head helps.). If that doesn’t check your ego, the sight of your first weapon will, the all powerful training sabre or in my opinion wiffle bat.
I mean come on, I know we’re just starting out but why not give me a vibroblade like the guy I’m fighting has. It’s not a huge deal but clonking bad guys on the head with a novelty sized pencil kind of pokes a hole in my earlier description as “the next big thing”. That being said, if there’s one thing the training sabre is good for, it’s making you want your lightsabre even more.
Crafting your own lightsabre is a Jedi tradition as any Star Wars fan will tell you and this time is no exception. The big day comes around the end of your stint on Tython and feels every bit like the important moment it should due to some great cutscenes, location, and events that quickly put your new weapon to work.
The Jedi knight is a brawler; most of your combat will involve leaping into the fray and performing a deadly array of very pretty lightsabre attacks whether as the Guardian or Sentinel. Even though you will have a full action bar of sabre twirling abilities early on in the game I would have liked to have see some more force attacks to break up the swordplay if just for a second. I understand that this is a melee class but “force push” seems like it was a fairly standard part of any Jedi’s repertoire in either the movies or previous games.
Companions have been a much hyped aspect of the game and they definitely deliver in many ways. First of all, I was extremely surprised by the amount of damage my little T7-01 unit was able to dish out. The first time I had him out in the field our body count was about equal, a hit to my self-esteem to say the least. He has many useful abilities that complement the Jedi Knights play style very well. The one I had a problem with, and ended up turning off a lot, was the grappling hook ability which pulls the enemy to T7-01. The problem I had was that every time I would force leap onto a bad guy my trusty companion would immediately pull that enemy away, forcing me to target the next guy who hasn’t been knocked senseless from my force leap. Kira Carsen I felt had the better skill set for my style of play. Namely; quickly leaping from group to group, stunning enemies and mowing them down with sabres. In the short time I spent with my companions I didn’t really find myself feeling the sense of attachment that I had in Dragon Age or Mass Effect. This may be due to the fact that this was all pre-ship material and I can see things getting cozier once everyone’s together aboard the Defender Class Corvette.
Through the engaging class story, fluid and exciting lightsabre battles (not the training sabre), and the start of a diverse selection of companions the Jedi Knight provides a rewarding and entertaining experience. Anyone looking to roll a tank or melee damage dealer and play as one of the most iconic “good guys” of all time need look no further than the Jedi Knight.