So I finally got to test it out, beta weekend for nearly everyone that ever signed up for beta, 50 plus servers, all full, and during the weekend they even added MORE servers.
Graphics... very good, but then shouldn't they be? still it didn't even test my 3 year old computer (quad core 6600, 8800GT, 4gb ram, win7) 4/5
Sound... everything is voice acted, if you don't want to read anything you don't have to. still I couldnt' figure out how to select the voice of my characters, maybe i just missed the option, either way my sith inquistior sounded like a british guy. everything else is what you'd expect of a star wars experience from the opening title sequence down to the blaster bolts being deflected. 4/5
Character creation... going back to the sound issue, there is only 5 very human looking classes to choose from, the only difference being the lightside has a race the dark side doesn't and vice versa. many of the iconic character classes are missing, you can't choose wookies, mon cal, ithorians, rodians, etc. Character creation feels like one of the weakest portions of the game. 5 races, and 4 main classes (as you level up you can vary it up a bit as each class can specialize). 3/5.
Gameplay... all movement is mouse controlled, there is no autoattack, so you toolbar is all you need to rattle off attacks. fire off one, and its on cooldown, which means if all your attacks are on cooldown, your character is standing there like a tool. 2/5
Player interface... Ok I guess this is one of the areas i'm really picky on, and while star wars galaxies is dead as of dec 15th, it was widely known to have developed one of the best user interfaces from the chat to character options, to tells, to character animations etc, and while I shouldn't compare TOR to SWG, I can't help but do so, and when I do I really feel like the newer game is inferior to an 8 year old product. Now before you think to tell me... well its new they'll improve on it... the same thing was said about conan, and its still a brutal mess to attempt to communicate in. toolbars are locked into place, you can't move around the map, there is no overhead map rotation... etc. 2/5
Grouping with others... ok I only joined one group, and right off the bat it was a pita, apparently even though I was on the same planet as the group I joined, we were in different instances, which meant I had to join the other instance and a long load time ensued. when the load was over the quest I'd joined the group to complete was bugged and I was unable to progress further. So testing the group dynamic to see if one class benfited the other, at least in my limited testing i'd say I have incomplete data. -/-
Does it feel like a wow clone? yes, but then everything feels like a wow clone, the days of original MMO's may be over, and if its too orginal you know nobody will play it for long to keep it going. Just business, and the way KOTOR is attempting to set itself apart from wow is the fact that honestly its star wars, and everything is voice acted, something I don't believe any MMO has done before. AOC had the noob zone voice acting and IMO it was very well done, then when you hit the "real" world it felt like a letdown.
Its it fair to compare it to the other Star Wars MMO? No, because the game SWG was originally built to be was known as a sandbox game, a game where you could do a quest or you could be the guy who builds the stuff so the other guy could do a quest, or you could be the guy who stays in space the whole time and fights imperials in space (or rebels whatever suck it its my review and i'll have the bias I want.) and even when SWG was recreated into a wow clone itself, it kept a lot of the other things that no other mmo has, and if they have it, not to the extint of SWG. If you don't feel like questing you can go fishing, design a house, build a ship, fly a ship, put on a show, gamble, play an arcade game within the game, etc.... Anyway back to my point, this game at the momment is designed like every other retread MMO.... talk to guy a.) go here... kill this... return to guy a.) talk to guy b... level up ... attain max level... attain max gear... pvp.... created a new character and do it again. I don't see how this game will sustain itself after the initial excitement wears off. Is if fun? yes, but how many max level characters do you need to enjoy the end game content? Wow of course releases new expansions with new quests every other year, and if KOTOR hopes to keep anyone playing past six months they better be on the ball with expansions.
Thats the stuff thats off the top of my head, is it playable? yes, and if you love star wars, and you love WOW, then this might be the game for you. for those SWG fans (and at last count I guess there is less than 50,000 of us lol) it is a game that might take our mind off the game we're losing for a few months, but it'll remind us more of what we lost by the noticable absense of those features that made SWG unique.
KOTOR Online ... 3/5.