Version Tested: PC
Available On: PC
Where To Buy: Free to download and play
Amongst the rush of Halo 5: Guardians and Assassin’s Creed being released, Bioware released an expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Titled Knights of the Fallen Empire, the expansion brings Bioware back to its storytelling roots. How does the expansion hold up? The answer to that is that it holds up very well.
The cinematics has to be the first thing to brag about when talking about Knights of the Fallen Empire. Bioware was really on top of their game when designing them. Within this Star Wars Universe has there ever been a fast-paced lightsaber fight as there is in KotFE. For my first run through of the expansion, I used my Sith Warrior. The classes that doesn’t use melee weapons are sure to have a pretty grand fight as well.
The gameplay is still the usual fair that’s in The Old Republic, but Bioware has made the game a little easier for those that don’t understand how MMOs work with Update 4.0. The companions that players receive with their class no longer rely on gear. Their stats are based on influence now. This system determines how efficient a companion is. Players also receive new companions with Knights of the Fallen Empire. Due to story reasons, players also have to do quests to get the starting companions back.
If you don’t feel like playing the base game, or origin stories, the option to create an instant level 60 is available. This will help new players who aren’t used to the grind of MMOs get settled right in and get working toward level 65 with Knights of the Fallen Empire. Older players can also use this in case there is a class that they wanted to play as but never got around to playing as them. Thanks to Update 4.0 however, leveling through the base game is even easier than before. Players can only do the class quests and planetary quests to level up. This makes several options available for both old and new players.
The story centers around the Outlander (your character) as they fight to bring down the Eternal Empire of Zakuul. Using the power of the Eternal Fleet, both the Empire and the Republic as we know it have fallen. The Outlander must make new alliances in their quest to bring down this threat. Using this story is what makes Knights of the Fallen Empire a true testament to what Bioware can do.
In typical Bioware fashion, decisions in the story can be hard to make. As a Sith, I found it hard to continue to be truly evil in Knights of the Fallen Empire. This is far from what my character was in the base game where I was able to become attuned to the dark side pretty quickly. The decisions that you make also seem to be leading to something in the future. It’s almost as if Bioware is allowing for a more personal story like what has been seen in their previous titles. From a storytelling standpoint, this isn’t a bad thing. Being able to see how past decisions affect the future of your character is what makes me enjoy all games put out by the company.
Knights of the Fallen Empire is expected to be released in phases. The first phase goes through Chapter 9. When that chapter ends, you form an alliance with many races of different alliances. Gathering materials for each group (smuggler, mystics, military, and science) in the different wings of your base will net you some moddable gear. When you receive this gear, there are no mods attached to it. This is where the MMO part can come into play. Players can either craft their own mods or buy some on the GTN. These mods are what allows players to make moddable gear good enough to hold up to the strongest of challenges in the game. Stick around after the initial conversations as well. Bioware has included an easter egg for longtime Knights of the Old Republic fans.
Overall, I walked away really impressed with Knights of the Fallen Empire. I did end up having more questions than answers about the story, but that’s what a good story makes you do. It makes you think. I put the time in with my Sith Warrior and am now working on a Jedi Guardian to see how the story changes based on my decisions. I also plan on taking my other characters through it as well to see how they handle the fight that I mentioned earlier. Bioware is on the right track and I can’t wait to see where we go from here. I believe that they gave a reason for players to return to the game. They also gave a reason for new players to jump in as well. If you are a fan of Star Wars, you don’t want to miss Knights of the Fallen Empire.