Friday, August 22, 2014

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Imperial Agent Storyline review

   I short of fell off of these and I'm sorry for that since I intended to review all of the main character quests but ended up only doing the Sith Inquisitor and Sith Warrior. I actually finished the Imperial Agent awhile back but didn't find time to review it until now.

   I need to get around to playing the Republic side sometime but I'm troubled by the fact I seem to be on the side of evil in this MMORPG.

    Which is weird because I play Light Side Sith.

    It's like I'm not satisfied being a rebel against tradition, I have to be a double-sized rebel  

    Anywho, is the Imperial Agent storyline worth completing?

    You betcha. 

    The Imperial Agent storyline is a strong contrast to the Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor's because you're not one of the Sith's ruling class but one of the Empire's citizens. Unlike the Bounty Hunter plotline, where you're wholly out of the power structure, this means you often have to deal with arrogant Dark Side wizards. Thankfully, you're allowed to behave more like Grand Moff Tarkin than Admiral Motti.

For those of you reading this who are not Star Wars trivia nerds, Admiral Motti is the guy Vader force choked in the first movie for disrespecting the Force.
    The premise of the Imperial Agent is you're James Bond (or Jane Bond if you prefer). The smooth-talking, elegant, and hyper-dangerous Cipher Nine is in the employ of one of the few civilian-controlled branches of the Empire's military left. 

   As expected of a group living in a police-state controlled by evil wizards, they're ridiculously paranoid and don't use their real names even when dealing with each other. Morale is low in Imperial Intelligence, as to be expected when you're under the command of people who can execute you at will. 

   Despite this, the agent of Imperial Intelligence believe the Empire is worth defending and even if most of them don't like the Sith (not that they'd ever admit to it in public). They carry on in hopes of protecting the Empire's citizenry. I appreciated this viewpoint because it's entirely rationale and reflects a lot of RL dictatorships. The folk at Imperial Intelligence aren't even villains per se but people determined to keep the casualties on their side at a minimum.

    Which is hard when so many Sith are so ****ing STUPID (a fact backed up by the Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor storylines--those two are, quite possibly, the only two capable Sith Lords in the entire Empire). The Imperial Inquisitor spends a great deal of time cleaning up after the Dark Lords, to the point it becomes an incredible relief when you're finally in a position to start showing the spoon-benders that Muggles can do it better.
The SNARK of the Imperial Inquisitor almost rivals the Sith Inquisitor.
    Interestingly, while the Imperial Agent is quite capable of killing lesser Sith and even Sith Masters, the game makes it clear this is a very rare skill. Likewise, the Sith Inquisitor is required to make use of puzzle elements in order to face against more powerful Dark Lords. I liked this as it helped demonstrate the most dangerous element of the Imperial Agent is their mind. By the end of the main quest, the Imperial Agent will have left a high enough body count that any Sith Lord who doesn't respect them as an equal is a fool

    The romance options for the Imperial Agent are some of the best in the entire game, at least the parts I've played, giving you numerous opportunities to seduce or befriend NPCs in the game. I actually liked my characters flirtatious romance with Watcher-2 (pretty Imperial professional) more than I did with my Companion romance options. Admittedly, one of them is a bit creepy as the "Voss" romance can end horrifically, but otherwise it's easy to say the Imperial Agent is the sexiest guy/girl in the galaxy.

I'm a sucker for a girl in uniform.
     I think the part I liked most about the Imperial Agent story was the Voss infiltration mission, where you are forced to impersonate a member of an alien species. The fact you have to get close to a family of reasonably nice sentients (who one of your colleagues murdered the father of in order to impersonate) gives a real sense of spy-work absent from most espionage media let alone video games.

    Villains for the Imperial agent include the delightfully hateable Darth Jadus, a figure you can choose to ally with if you're feeling particularly psychotic. Darth Jadus is a great little bit of War on Terror satire as he's a figure who thinks terrorism is a great way of galvanizing the populace for military action against the Republic. I'm also fond of his daughter who is a completely incompetent Sith Lord as well as utterly crazy. The conspiracy at the end is something I'm iffier about as they don't have nearly the same level of presence as Darth Jadus, but serve as decent-enough antagonists to oppose our anti-hero.

    In conclusion, I think the Imperial Agent is one of the more fun storylines I've played in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I think fans aching for something different will find there's a lot to enjoy about being the Sith Empire's clean-up crew. I didn't much care for a plotline involving brainwashing in middle but the ending more than makes up for it.


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