Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Bounty Hunter storyline review

    No disintegations.

    Okay, maybe some disintegrations.

    These guys are jerks, after all.

    Boba Fett remains one of the most popular characters in the history of cinema for his relatively tiny appearance in the Empire Strikes Back and later Return of the Jedi (where he was utterly humiliated). The idea of an independent mercenary Darth Vader respected enough to take seriously and capable enough to capture Han Solo captured the imagination of young boys (and some girls) everywhere. So, really, it's no surprise there's a campaign for them on the side of the Empire.

    So what is it like?

Mako is one of the best companions in the game.
    Quite good, actually! It manages to take a concept which I wasn't really all that interested in and play it to the hilt. A Bounty Hunter, by nature, is not going to be someone necessarily interested in the Republic vs. Sith Empire Cold War so it was good they chose to treat it as an independent storyline which occasionally ties into the larger conflict.

    The bounty hunter begins his journey as a gifted newcomer to the world of hunting who wants to win the Great Hunt. The Great Hunt is hosted by Mandalore every year to seek out the greatest bounty-hunters in the universe and offer them a place at the big boy's table, so to speak. Whoever wins it will receive everlasting fame and fortune.

    This is my favorite part of the Bounty Hunter's story as your rival in the Great Hunter, Tarro Blood, is a delightfully hateable scumbag. A cowardly Mandalorian with the right connections, pedigree, and an inexhaustible supply of credits--he is going to buy his way to victory in the Great Hunt. It may seem strange that your initial archenemy is basically Draco Malfoy but I had a great deal of fun fighting him.

Being a bounty hunter is, in a word, fun. That's all there is to it.
    The final mission of the Great Hunt results in a satisfying ending for Tarro Blood but also creates all the problems which will hound the Bounty Hunter for the rest of the series. You are given a mission to bring down a Jedi Master for the "crime" of killing dozens of Mandalorians during a battle.

    This event goes horribly wrong thanks to Tarro Blood with the Jedi Master killed and a Republic cruiser destroyed. If you had Sith sympathies before, this is the crowning moment of your early career, but if you had plans of staying off the Jedi and Republic's radar--well, that's out the window now. Subsequent missions follow your attempts to deal with the Republic's frame-up job, the resulting scrutiny, and how a Sith Lord has become "impressed" with their abilities. My favorite part of the game is the Alderaan mission where you have to deal with a noble family's spoiled heirs who all want to use you to become head of their house.

Tarro Blood is a deliciously hateable villain. The perfect foil for the Bounty Hunter.
    The Light and Dark choices of the Bounty Hunter are better than most as they seem to be coming from the same sort of person. A Dark Side Bounty Hunter is a hired killer, nothing more or less, and is only in it for the money. A Light Side Bounty Hunter has scruples and dislikes it when he's treated as a monster rather than a professional lawman with flexible ethics. The ending is one of the best choices in the game as you can choose to become a Sith Lord's personal hatchet-man or show why no one, not even a Darth, should mess with you.

    The Bounty Hunter's companions are some of my favorite in the group. Most of this is due to Mako, who is just plain awesome. She reminds me strongly of Tali from Mass Effect, basically being your plucky Girl Friday. Sadly, the Bounty Hunter is also stuck with the character of Skadge who is, hands-down, the WORST companion in the whole of The Old Republic. This is made up for, though, by the fact you have a Jawa with a flame-thrower.


Blizz is awesome. BOOM!
    *thumbs up*

    The storyline gives player characters the opportunity to become Mandalorians but I always choose to turn down the opportunity. I'm not a big fan of the Mandalorians and I felt the Bounty Hunter was a more interesting character when he chose to handle things his way rather than through the codex of an ancient warrior race. Plus, turning down Mandalore's offer to join their society to his face at your initiation banquet is HILARIOUS.

    In conclusion, I heartily recommend the Bounty Hunter storyline as it feels very much like Star Wars. Which is hard to get from the "bad guy." Whereas the Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, and Imperial Agents all gave you perspectives on being the villain (even when you're a Lightsider), the Bounty Hunter is a grayer character and I appreciated that. The fact you can choose to play a complete good guy at the end or a heinous villain also gives the storyline a satisfying emotional climax.


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