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The new Star Wars: The Old Republic story expansion is betrayed by the MMO underneath

I'll get my KOTOR.

Do you remember the Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer where the mother rescues her tortured young child from a prison of evil? Good, wasn't it? Well the expansion it teased, Knights of the Eternal Throne, is here, and the events teased unfold within. What expansion Knights of the Fallen Throne began in 2015, Knights of the Eternal Throne ends now. Brave BioWare gets there, aiming high with ambition and scoring; producing a story and conclusion every bit as grand and spectacular as anything in revered old games Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. Powers rage like storms and destinies are satisfied. No cliffhangers or teasing a next expansion; an end. I admire that. A lot.

But what the story cannot do is hide the flabby beast underneath. Just as Knights of the Fallen Empire was held back by Star Wars: The Old Republic, so Knights of the Eternal Throne is too. The Knights expansions want to break free as single-player games but fundamentally cannot, chained as they are to a multiplayer world. Tricks and illusions are to employed instead. Companions are always at your side to heal you, or there are temporary buffs and abilities on hand to make your MMO character capable of facing a boss. They're good tricks and illusions, convincing at times, but you never feel as singularly powerful as the story tells you you are. SWTOR wasn't designed for it.

Instead you wade through endlessly repetitive encounters with samey enemies using an array of skills you could easily lose half of and still notice no difference. No amount of imagination on BioWare's part can hide it. What SWTOR needs is to go on a diet, shed all that blubber and return lean and mean. But it can't. It can't because all that flab represents years of acquired content as an active MMO. SWTOR is stuck with it, so BioWare pulls on the bodyshaping tights and hopes.

This is not Knights of the Old Republic 3, nor was Knights of the Fallen Empire KOTOR 3. Something built on SWTOR will never be. Nor does Knights of the Eternal Throne offer the thrilling Star Wars experience teased by that lavish cinematic trailer. Of course it doesn't. But that doesn't mean it is without merit, far from it. Knights of the Eternal Throne has some great characters and memorable moments. That BioWare has dared do it at all should be applauded. And for Ł9, a month's subscription that unlocks it all (not to mention the oceans of SWTOR MMO content I'm skimming over here)? You could do a lot worse.

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