Faith in BioWare products has been waning as of late, but Star Wars: The Old Republic seemed to always maintain a core fan base. I would consider myself one of its core fans, and even my faith was slipping because BioWare Austin‘s focus seemed to be pulled away from the game that made it a studio in the first place, but it’s possible the recently launched Update 5.10 “Jedi Under Siege” was the first step back to form for the studio.
Each faction’s story is split in two ways: Loyalist and Saboteur. At the end of the Nathema Conspiracy and again at the beginning of this storyline, you are given the opportunity to side your Eternal Alliance with the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire. Even if you were a former Sith Lord, you can side with the Republic. I happened to have a chance to do both because I’d finished the Nathema Conspiracy on an Imperial Agent and a Sith Warrior. My Imperial Agent sided with the Empire and my Sith Lord (for reasons I’ll tell you later) sided with the Republic.
The unfortunate part of that decision is that regardless of which faction you choose to side with, the story remains mostly the same. I only really noticed one big thing that changed between the two stories. For the overarching story, it’s relatively inconsequential, and I don’t mean the obvious personal contact difference. Of course, if you side with the Republic, you meet with SIS agent Jonas Balkar, and if you side with the Empire, you meet with NR-O2. That’s expected, but really these dialogue scenes don’t make a bit of a difference in the overall story.
Regardless of the faction you choose, you are sent to Moff Pyron. His favorite squad of troopers was sent on a secret mission to the supposedly abandoned planet of Ossus, which was laid to waste a few hundred years ago when Krath Witch Satal Keto caused multiple stars to go supernova. The Ossus mission is simple: Kill or capture the Jedi leadership and drive the rest from the planet.
The mission was being directly overseen by a newer member of the Dark Council Darth Malora. And if you know that name, it’s probably because she made an appearance on Korriban as an apprentice to a dark lord doing experiments on Tu’kata. You either helped her ruin her master or outed her. Moff Pyron believes that Darth Malora is wasting her time on Ossus and not pushing her mission forward fast enough. We find out from the Twi’lek Major Anri on Ossus that Malora has been spending more time experimenting on Geonosians than actually taking out the Republic. Pyron believes that the Alliance Commander (you) might be able to speed up the process.
The new characters
Your companion through most of the mission is Major Anri, who is actually one of the best characters in recent SWTOR history. She is voiced by the super talented Helen Sadler with a street-level British accent that fits the character perfectly. She’s respectful when she has to be but isn’t afraid to speak plainly when she’s with just you. My favorite line from the update is hers, and it’s all about her delivery. She was talking about a certain legend that was just revealed to be real. She said that the legend was used to encouraged Imperial youth to do what their parents said otherwise it would get you. Her line “brush your teeth and eat your vegetables” was just perfect and made me smile both times I heard it.
My Sith Warrior, who is a Light-Side warrior, usually ran around with Jaesa. In fact, she has the highest rank of any of my companions on that character. And her coming back was surprisingly well executed, although it confuses me why my Imperial Agent didn’t run into her, too. I believe it was smart how they kept her from my character for such a long time, and it made sense why she would rejoin him when he found her.
There were other intriguing bits from other characters, but I’m afraid that I would be traveling into spoiler territory if I dived too deep into them. But I want to make mention of one character that seemed to travel by stasis pod. And it’s not the character himself that I what to talk about; it’s his way of travel – because you end up finding him in a field. I find it hilarious to think that every time Acina wants to send him on a mission, she loads him up into some giant gun and shoots him into outer space toward the planetary destination. That’s not exactly how it happens, I’m sure, but it’s funny to think about.
I want to say that I liked the story overall. There were a few bits that threw me off and a few wasted characters, but the little character moments pushed me past the inconsistencies — especially Major Anri’s character moments. There is also a team-up at the end of the story that I really liked.
The story was short, and I wish it were paced to be a bit longer, but I also feel that it’s just a setup for a larger story coming in the expansion next year. Given that all it takes to play through this story is a $15 resub, I would say do it. About half of you will probably be disappointed in one thing or another, but the barrier to entry is so low that it shouldn’t matter much. It doesn’t take too long to complete, so it doesn’t cost a lot of time either.
I do want your thoughts as usual, but please, keep the comments spoiler free for those who want to see this through fresh eyes. You can save those comments for my spoiler article about the update coming soon.