Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first chapter of the Bounty Hunter storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
There’s nothing like the thrill of the hunt, the rush of competition and utter carnage that awaits a competitor in the Great Hunt. A handful of bounty hunters after the biggest prize in their profession, and not only do you have to take out your appointed bounty but also take out the other bounty hunter you’re competing with? This is going to be fun. Luckily, I got my best gal Mako working the intel angle, my freak called Treek packing a double barreled blaster, and a ship droid that… apparently likes repainting my ship over and over. Sigh… Well, Miss Crysta Marko the Space Texan, where am I going first?
So our first target is some big wig admiral working on the seige of Balmorra. Which right from the get go just goes to show you how different this is from any of the other Imperial class stories: Your first target in the Great Hunt is an Imperial Admiral. Wow. If that doesn’t tell you that the Bounty Hunter is on the outside of the Imperial power structure, I don’t know what will. Unfortunately, said Admiral is a bit of a recluse. He stays on his ship above Balmorra and never leaves the damn thing, and there is no chance of sneaking aboard something like that and not turning it into a suicide mission. The next best thing is to lure him out. Mako has a lead on an officer on the ground that works intelligence for another officer that works under the admiral and is looking to take over his superiors position by impressing the admiral. Sort of. See this is the Empire, where impress means “remove the competition” and thus is hiring for someone to discreetly sabotage his boss’ work on Balmorra and to make him look better by comparison. I can’t POSSIBLY see how this could backfire, but what the hell it’s the best shot at dragging the admiral out of hiding.
The “accidents” you have to pull off are all pretty simple. Help a slicer install a virus into the droid factory and then eliminate her as a loose end. Stir the colocoids out of their subjugated state and into a full blown frenzy by killing their queen. Finally, you steal a tracking device from a Republic ship being used to ambush and prove the link that the Republic is involved on Balmorra and stick on a garbage ship. Each time reporting back to a gleefully scheming officer who stands in delight with his “pet” Cathar who I will refer to as Murglegurgle because honestly that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I see her jumble puzzle of a name.
After handling the accidents, the superior officer is so totally canned and you talk to the officer and convince him that the best way to show off to the admiral is to meet him in person so the duped officer calls the admiral to arrange for a meeting. Naturally, you and for some reason Murglegurgle are invited as well. When you show up for the meet – and here’s a shocker – the Admiral is MAD at the officer because these flubs should have never happened if he was doing his job as intelligence. Ha! Don’t care. Time to take out an admiral. But wait! There’s a surprise twist: Murglegurgle is your rival bounty hunter for the hunt! I am so shocked! Only not! Because she clearly had alternative intent all through the planet chain. She was always listening in. The camera always included her in the background watching the conversations. Still it was a pretty good build up for the twist and other than the camera angles hinting something was up, she never came close to tipping her hand in the whole thing. Which was impressively done. So with Murglegurgle dead, and the Admiral bagged it’s off to the next hunt. Oh I suppose you can kill the wormy officer if you want. Don’t know why you would. His dumb ass just helped you move on in the Hunt.
The next target is a former assassin turned security expert calling himself the Eidolon. Crysta is kind enough to point you to a contact named Gele’ren, a twilek who wants the Eidolon gone on behalf of the Hutt Cartels and who happens to work with Anuli, an old friend of Mako’s (Boooyfriend? COMMENCE TEASING!) and would like to see the Eidolon taken down to improve his stature with the Cartel and maybe become a boss himself. I’m not entirely sure how the Cartel hierarchy works here. Sometimes they work like a gang, sometimes they’re more of a company, and sometimes it’s just “We all work for hutts.” I have no clue. The plan however is to once again force the ever elusive target to come to you instead of finding them. What better way to accomplish this than by completely ruining the Eidolon’s business ventures.
The first job is to blow up an entire warehouse of weapons for the Republic worth billions of credits. Really, that’s it. We’re just gonna blow up a warehouse. You have to admit there’s a sort of dangeresque mentality to this whole thing that makes me laugh. No, we don’t sneak around. No, we don’t blackmail. We blow things up. It’s brilliantly simplistic methodology and I would expect nothing else from the Bounty Hunter.
The next bit is some non-hutt concerning business with a certain rival in a certain Great Hunt. Anuli actually helps pin down some strange order going towards one off beat warehouse here on Nar Shadaa. Mako thinks this is probably where you’ll find your rival for this planet. It turns out your rival is a team of ugnaughts who pilot a droid together. Kind of like a weird Power Rangers set up only the robot doesn’t break apart into seperate smaller robots…. I think. Apparently, they made it into the Great Hunt by having their droid malfunction and blow up killing everyone else in the melee. This tells us two things: 1) These are some very lucky pigmen and 2) there was more than one melee, cause that sure as heck did not happen at the end of the prologue. I would remember that. So is the melee a standard part of the Hunt? Because they made it sound like it was a necessity due to the number of entrants from the Hutts or other crime lords. So where there other melees on other planets to help trim things down? No clue. This is probably the only time we ever hear about another melee beside the one you participate in.
From here on out, it’s back to business nabbing the Eidolon. In classic fashion, this quickly becomes an eye for an eye beat down. You post all his secret dealings across the holo for all to see thanks to a security expert named Zee, and the Eidolon smacks back with going after Gele’ren and Anuli. This actually seems to hit little Mako way more than any of the possible reactions your bounty hunter has. She has a moment of utter hopelessness in the face of the fact that yes, even bounty hunters must face the repercussion of their choices and actions. This is actually where we get introduced to a reoccurring question that gets posed in the bounty hunter storyline: are you responsible? You were hired to take down the Eidolon. Without your pursuit Gele’ren and Anuli wouldn’t be involved. So is it your fault they died? Are you responsible for those who get harmed or are you simple a tool of your employer and they should be blamed? This question is actually central to the entire bounty hunter storyline as you’ll see in Chapters 2 and 3.
Finally, you’ll have a chance to take in the Eidolon. Just before you get to your showdown you’ll be contacting by a representative from the Hutt Cartel who notifies you that they will give an extra reward for delivering an alive and detained Eidolon to them. It won’t interfere with the hunt and you’ll still get credit for the bounty. It’s just an extra bonus because oh do they want to make this scumbag suffer and hey, so might you. So there’s your chance. The option comes full circle when you finally do take down the Eidolon and facing the possible result of endless sufferring at the hands of the Hutts, he begs you from one warrior to another to give him an honorable death. While not as prominent or frequent as the idea of responsibility, is the choice between profit and honor. This becomes a bigger deal when the Mandolorians get more involved in the story later on and you will often get the choice to fulfill a bounty or give them an honorable death by combat or some such. This is actually a weird inversion of the ‘take them alive’ light side or ‘kill them’ dark side choices in the game. Killing them honorably usually results in light side points with the bounty hunter, where as straight up murder will result in ‘dark side’. It’s a weird moral gray area to dance in, but that seems somewhat fitting for the hunter.
Your hunt gets interrupted by the Huntmaster’s assisstant – Lek – who calls you back to Dromund Kaas. Instantly this puts Mako on edge as the Huntmaster and his team are not supposed to contact anyone directly while the hunt is on. However, it turns out that they have a rather unique situation on their hands and that the entire target list for the Great Hunt has been stolen and is set to be auctioned off on Hutta. This is naturally bad because of its effects on the Great Hunt. Finding out you’re on the target list is pretty much a big “go underground. Leave galaxy now.” flag and it will screw up everything. You are being tasked by the Huntmaster himself to go and retrieve it and “take care of” any potential threat to the hunt: the slicer who stole it, anyone who might try to buy it or is aware of it, or just anyone who showed up to the auction really. Most importantly is to try to find out who leaked this intel.
The mission itself is just a short hop back to Hutta to kill a ton of people. But it has some nice moments like seeing Nem’ro’s secretary who handled your payments in the prologue again. The real point of this whole thing is revealed in the big twist of who leaked the list to the sliver: a mandolorian. The Mando did manage to hide his identity through voice filters and hiding his face, but there was one big clue. The mando wanted to make sure that Tarro Blood’s targets were left off the list. Well, that’s an interesting turn. Who could benefit from that? While your gut says Tarro himself and yes, that is true, the gambling scene surrounding the Hunt has put just enough incentive in exterior hands to move the indicator into ‘reasonable doubt’ in the eyes of Lek and the Huntmaster. Bah!
Your next target is on Tatooine and no sooner than you arrive than you get a ring from Crysta the Space Texan letting you know her pre-recorded briefing for this target is null and void. Looks like the target caught wind of being a target and decided to high tail it but was shot down by your opponent in the hunt for this world sending the target – a Devoronian named Tyresius Lokai – plummeting into the desert. The good news is because of that, he’s probably still on the planet and is probably looking for a new way off. So your first visit is to the spaceport traffic droid who tells you that no “Tyresius Lokai” exists in the records, but another Deveronian is about to depart. Deveronians are apparently quite uncommon according to my MakoWiki, so the chance of there being two both trying to get off the planet at the same time is a bit fishy. Treek! Fetch my investigation hat!
Of course the guy who claims not to be and to never have heard of Tyresius Lokai is in fact Tyresius Lokai. He runs off leaving you to deal with his goons who happily divulge after being smacked around that your opponent in the Great Hunt – a Rodian named Veeboo – is in a cantina and may have info on where the ship crashed and where Lokai might head. Veeboo is a fricking worm who took a huge pay out from Lokai to let him go. After prying out that Lokai was going to see the “Lady of Pain” about a new ship (this is a really weird place for a Planescape reference honestly.) After the tip, I just blasted Veeboo. Seriously, what is with all these wimpy rivals?
You find the Lady of Pain in the middle of talks with Lokai. You offer her anything for Lokai instead and she asks for entertainment. Apparently she needs a champion for her gladiatorial blood sport match this afternoon and you volunteer. Lokai gets hauled off in chains and all you have to do is take care of one lousy gold mob and everything is in the bag. Sort of. Seems like Tyresius slipped away using a grenade in a false horn and took off into the Dune Sea with a speeder and a ship part. So now you have to chase him again! GAH! This guy is SO dead when I find him.
So into the desert you go, and actually not that far really. The ship apparently crashed a hop, skip and jump north of an Imperial Outpost and right behind a sand people camp. Tyresius on the other hand is one not to give up without some resistance (considering that’s all he’s done this entire time, this should not come as a shock) and he’ll send a couple of waves of disposable droids at you. When you finally catch up with him, he has one final offer: Kill him. Well, not HIM him, but a genetically identical duplicate of him that he just keeps around for uh… “emergencies.” This is yet another one of those completely railroad-y decisions in the game that gives you no choice but to agree with the deal. I do suspect that probably at some point in development you could refuse and just kill Lokai, but hey dems de breaks and here’s a new companion. Deal with it. Of course, our new friend can’t go around calling himself “Tyresius Lokai, man who died in the great hunt” so he takes a brand new name: Gault Rennow. He’s our DPS long range sniper companion. I want to throw him out the air lock but can’t.
It’s not like Gault is a bad character at all. He’s a snarky, selfish, con artist and self-titled businessman that is always looking for the quick and easy credit. His conversations are usually pretty funny. Funnier than most of our companions at least. No, really what has always irked me about Gault has been two-fold: first is the completely forced way he joins your crew. The game just ignores the myriad of reasons this is a BAD IDEA and just shoves him into your hands and walks off like giving a love note to s-sempai. Second is the fact that the guy is just a complete weasel. His introduction is all about paying off people, getting others to do his dirty work, and squirming out of every situation. He just comes off as slimy as a overly greased comb-over on a used car dealer. It just always put me off. No matter how snarky or sassy his commentary gets, I just feel dirty when I work with Gault.
Alderaan, also known as dead planet walking, is either the most frustrating or most enjoyable RP experience in the entire first chapter of the Bounty Hunter storyline. Namely because you spend the entire planet trying to hobnob with noble elites who think your petty blue collar work beneath them. At the center of this whole thing is House Girard who has the intel you need to locate your bounty of the day: The Durasteel Duke. Named such because he is supposedly nigh unkillable with nerves of… well… durasteel I would assume. So to get the intel you need, you get to play errand monkey for a bunch of stuck ups in fancy duds that seem to enjoy bickering with each other. Lots of in-fighting in this House it seems.
Most of the jobs you have to do can either go down in one of two fashions: You behave, or you don’t. You can either put up with the self righteous jerk or you can break his nose and force him to take the package even though your employer was supposed to deliver it in person. You can help the old curator of the museum find the fake relic that has the clue while covering him from oncoming fire or you can just smash all the priceless ancient jugs until you find the right one and get the heck out of Alde (You know, instead of Dodge. Cause it’s House Alde. Oh whatever.)
Things get interesting once you try to hunt down the duke at House Rist. There’s a bunch of awesome booby traps to dodge and avoid. The whole thing kind of turns into Indiana Jones for one area. This is the kind of thing I wish they did more of in this game instead of just combat, combat, more combat. Have puzzles! Put a maze in there! I mean, they eventually added some more of this with Rise of the Hutt Cartel bu seriously, it works really well and I find it to be such an enjoyable break. However, all is for not because you apparently JUST missed the Duke and found out that Rist already killed your rival for the planet for you. Yay? That’s not all though. Impressed with your skill, the assassins of House Rist make you an offer: Kill House Girard. All of them. They promise you a fat paycheck to finishing their contract for them. My first playthough I didn’t take the money because I wanted to stay loyal to my employer. On a second time, I realized that these were professional hitmen and women with a contract to kill them anyway. They were gonna die no matter what. Might as well get paid. Plus you get a title for doing the deed! You get to be “Homewrecker”.
So you finally get to the Duke at House Organa’s pad only to find out that the Duke has actually been dead for like weeks. Natural causes, or some accident, or some other way that did not involve my blaster. Apparently the Duke’s sister has been running around as him in a holodisguise to ensure that his diplomatic work finishes before they announce the death. But hell, she doesn’t wanna deal with the likes of a bounty hunter that chased her across 3 noble houses and half the planet. She just gives you the duke’s body to turn in and begs you to just leave her alone. Which I always do. Hey, why waste ammo?
The planet wraps up with a return to House Girard where the patriarch of the house that was signing your check has died to natural causes (Lots of that going around). You still get paid, but you were also made his legal representative way back at the beginning to deliver that first package to Count Butthead. So it falls to you to decide who is the successor to be the head of the house. There’s actually three ways this can go: 1) Side with the son. You’ll get the Knight of Alderaan title if you are male and the Baroness title if you are female. 2) Side with the daughter. No titles but you get light side points. 3) If you agreed to take on Rist’s contract, kill them all and get the Homewrecker title. The Homewrecker option ONLY appears if you agreed to Rist’s offer earlier though. Now with that settled, it’s time to go toe to toe to the finals of the Great Hunt.
The finale for chapter one is actually told in two parts. The first of which has you travel back to Nar Shadaa to meet with a former champion of the Great Hunt – a mandolorian who just happens to be the teacher of Tarro Blood and his lackies. It turns out that Tarro has one last sneaky little trick up his sleeve and the former champion wants to warn you about it to help preserve the honor and integrity of the Great Hunt. Naturally, as is almost always the case with these things he can only tell you about it in person. No unsecured communications. Even though you have an expert hacker with a computer in her brain that should be able to get us a clean line. Whatever.
When you show up to the meet you find that Tarro’s lackies did follow you there. Shock! If only we could have avoided this by not meeting in person at one place where our enemies could get us both. You get the option of either slaughtering all of Tarro’s goons or having an honorable duel to the death. Either way though and the former champ still takes a shot and dies. But if you chose the honorable duel, you did get some kind final words about you are the true ideal of what the Great Hunt and Mandolorians should inspire to be. Not so kind words if you just blow them all to hell. But you do get revenge. Sweet vengeance on rye toast. With a side of OJ. AND PAIN! *cough* Moving on.
The actual conclusion comes in the form of one last bounty, and boy is it a doozy: Get on board a Republic military dreadnaught, disable its hyperspace stabilizers so it gets shredded in the jump, kill a Jedi master, and then set a timer to throw the whole ship into hyperspace to destroy it. Oh, and also get off the bloody thing before it goes and defeat your rival. Very important. Naturally, nothing is simple. Your attempt to ‘sneak’ on board is immediately met with a troop of soldiers who already caught your rival – one Tarro Blood – who happily informed them that you would also be arriving soon in hopes to save his own skin. He’s locked in the brig now. You on the other hand get to fight your way through a now completely on alert ship. By the Force, Tarro Blood is so slimy that I’m shocked all the fangirls who squee over $%#*stains like Draco Malfoy aren’t created fan shrine websites to his Bieber looking ass. Those are still a thing right? Fan shrine sites? Or did they just all die when Geocities went offline? God I’m old.
While rigging the ship to blow, you do stumble upon the brig and Mr. Blood sitting in a cell. To twist a quote a certain moment in a certain game – This is the part where you kill him. (This is that part.) And joy of joys, you actually get a choice in your method of dealing with this anthropomorphized mosquito. You can either leave him in the ship to be ripped apart when the hyperspace jump goes off, or you can be the honorable man and let him out to have a proper duel to the death or you can be just as much of a prick by agreeing to the duel, letting him out and then shoot him dead before he has a chance to grab his gear. Surprisingly, Mako is very much on board with the leaving him here to be shredded idea. I on the other hand went with the duel on my Powertech and the shooting him before grabbed his gear bit. If this toad was gonna die, I wanted to be the one to pull the trigger.
Now that Blood has been dealt with – and OH! WAS IT SATISFYING – we can finally go after the actual target. The Jedi is hanging out on the bridge with his padawan when you arrive. He tries to force you to surrender, leading to probably one of the most screencapped moments of the game:
JEDI: *waves hand for Jedi Mind Trick* You will lower your weapon and surrender.
BOUNTY HUNTER: *mock waving hand* You will realize what a complete idiot you are.
The master realizes he doesn’t have much alternative to fight and then realizes he doesn’t have much choice to lose. Badly. It’s important to note that this is the first Jedi Master you have to take on for the Great Hunt, and possibly your first Jedi opponent ever (Suppose it depends on what you do on the planetary storylines). So a victory is impressive. You of course are also free to either let his apprentice go or to kill her as well. But between you and me – let her go. Trust me. It’ll make sense in Chapter Two. Makes for a MUCH better story in my opinion. Anyway, with the bounty dead and handled, it’s time to set the ship to blow and get the heck out.
The whole thing ends back on Dromund Kaas where you are given a triumphant award ceremony proclaiming you to be the grand champion of the Great Hunt! Wealth, fame, and employment await! (So like the opposite of college nowadays.) The ceremony ends with a notification that you have been called to meet with Mandalore. THE Mandalore. Like the big head honcho of the entire Mandalorian people. He’s got a special task for you it seems. But that can wait, for now its time to celebrate!
Originally, I had long held that the Bounty Hunter storyline starts strong and then dwindles toward chapter three but after replaying the storyline I may have been somewhat blinded by it being the first storyline I played. It’s still great. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of fun, and has a solid tale of personal glory mixed with revenge. Tarro Blood is a scum bag villain that revels whose presence is felt almost constantly as he continuously attempts to sabotage your chance at victory. The final showdown with Blood, no matter which way you choose to end it, feels so satisfying and enjoyable. More than just about any other ‘rival’ you have in other storylines. The Great Hunt is a wonderful framing device for the story that always ensures you have something to work towards on each planet.
I was however slightly disappointed that each planet only had one bounty. I was hoping that each world would be like Hutta where you are constantly chasing different people. However, that was my first time playing the story. After chapter two it sank in exactly what the hunt was about. It’s about HUNTING. Setting traps, luring out the prey, and tracking across every environment possible. Going back and looking at the Great Hunt that way was a much more rewarding experience… sometimes. Other times, like on Tatooine, you just want it to be over and it starts to really drag chasing Tyresius only to have him slip away every single time. Especially since after all that, you are forced to bring him along.
The storyline wasn’t flawless by any means either. The weakest bit by far was the idea of the rival bounty hunter that you were supposed to square off against. Let’s count how that goes down: One playing in the shadows till the very end (Good!), one trying to rebuild their winning megazord and die unprepared (Meh.), one got paid off and dropped out (Wha?), and one is dead by the time you get to the planet (You’ve gotta be kidding me…). So after the first planet, the rival aspect is pretty much pointless until the showdown with Tarro. This could have been something that really elevated the whole experience. Not only having to hunt down a bounty but also have to stay a step ahead of the competition. Maybe Tatooine would be a little less tedious had it been a three way race between you, Tyresius trying to escape, and your rival trying to catch Tyresius. Maybe the arena battle for the Lady of Pain would be against your rival who has been working his own connections to get Lokai. It just seems like wasted potential.
Same thing with the leaked list in the interlude. All it ultimately ends up doing is adding another thing on the list of Tarro Blood’s offenses. Like was it supposed to be some shock that Blood was cheating? The whole story started with him cheating! It doesn’t even get him a single demerit with the Huntmaster or his crew. So what was the point? I mean, it could have been a big turn for the character. He gets kicked out of the Hunt, and then goes on a mission of revenge and starts killing your rivals and even the Durasteel Duke in an attempt to sabotage you since you were directly responsible for his expulsion and ruining his shot. That would have been something!
For all its missed opportunities, the bounty hunter storyline is still one of my favorite first chapters. It establishes you as someone who is only on the Imperial side by contract and have very little interest in the power plays of the Sith or the clandestine cloak and dagger plays of Imperial Intelligence. In fact, you actually go directly against them at times. Much like the smuggler, the hunter doesn’t feel like he’s part of his faction but simply works within it. So why the Empire and not the Republic for the Hunter? Well, we’ll get into that when Chapter Two rolls around.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Star Wars: The Old Republic class storyline for the Jedi Consular. If you would like a spoiler-free summary of the third chapter, please look here. You have been warned.
(Sorry, no new photos this time. I did Chapter Three on vacation so I didn’t remember to screen cap any on the laptop.)
So a little bit of a recap, the consular has just spent 10 whole levels sucking up to the Rift Alliance, a group of whiny planets that want stuff. At the end of the whole thing, you find out that one of the representatives is not only a traitor but an imperial sleeper agent known as a Child of the Emperor. There’s apparently lots of these people out there. Who knows how many! But I’ve got a hunch that we’ll meet probably about oh… one per planet? Just a hunch. But to fight this mysterious new menace, we need a mysterious new army. So for that, it’s up to Jedi Consular and the Rift Alliance (Worst band name ever.) to gather strange and powerful new allies to help fight the Empire.
To do that, we need to figure out a heading. The first clue is actually back on Hoth. Funny, I thought we just left Hoth. I was pretty sure I mentioned something about never wanting to go to Hoth ever again. I distinctly remember Kill-It Felix agreeing with me. Yet, here we are. Blowing up a small ice cavern to unearth an ancient Rakata roadmap. Okay, it’s like one of those mind trapped sentience thingies, but come on, all it’s there for is to give directions. And to lie to. I lied to it A LOT. Which points us to…
Oh. Shocker. The next planet on the narrow linear leveling path of planets. Honestly, would it have been that much effort to mix things up a little bit? Like do Belsavis or Voss in whatever order you choose, and then follow it with Corellia? Honestly. Darn leveling system. Anyway, yea. There’s a great and powerful army you are seeking to recruit on Belsavis. They are called the Esh-Kaaaa WAIT A MINUTE. NO! I know the Esh-Ka. I’ve had them shoot at me constantly, and try to kill me, and break out of their prisons and try to conquer the galaxy. In fact, about half of what the Republic does on this planet is try to seal that can of evil back up. Including in the bonus series! And we want to recruit them? Oh but wait a minute. These are different Esh-Ka. Nice ones, that totally didn’t deserve to be locked away for millennia. Well… that changes things. I’m still suspicious.
So you’re first task is to find this military dude who knows more about the deep vaults than anyone, but when you go to find him every member of his squad is dead. In fact, everyone but him is present and dead. Apparently this was triggered by his assistant back at base camp telling him that a Jedi was coming to find him. Hmm. An evil Esh-Ka defector? Brainwashed by Esh-ka?! WHAT ELSE COULD IT- Oh, he’s a Child of the Emperor. That didn’t stay a mystery for long. Now begins a long cat and mouse game across the planet, where the Child of the Emperor has control of all the security systems, cameras, and can send waves of droids after you (if people had this level of control over Belsavis, why is there a prison riot again?) Luckily you get aid from some unknown voice that instructs you in ways to bypass the security and to lock out the Emperor’s Kidz so that you can find the “good” Esh-ka.
Now, I say ‘unknown voice’ but if you’ve been playing this far you should have bumped into the Imprisoned One on Tatooine, and if you put two and two together you will quickly realized from the sound of the voice and the alien dialect that you’re talking to a Rakata the entire time. Apparently, this Rakata regrets imprisoning the ‘Good’ Esh-ka, and wants to help you free them while helping you kill the bad Esh-ka. Not that I honestly think the Rakata are deserving of a ton of trust, every one thus far has been a psycho trying to resurrect the Infinite Empire a few thousand years too late. But I don’t really have a choice here.
The story ends with you freeing the good Esh-ka who then immediately ditch you so you have to fight a Child of the Emperor aall by yourself. Well, not just the Child of the Emperor, the gold level Child and two silver level mobs backing him up. Unfair! Really, your only hope is to CC the Child and kill the two silvers, try to heal up and then finish off the Child. This of course leads to freeing the leader of the Good Esh-Ka who has some weird name like “Deep Throat” or something. I’m just gonna call him that. And he actually wants to help you out. Well that’s nice. My eyes are on you buddy.
A brief interlude comes when you discovered upon leaving Belsavis that Senator Grell… HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED! Now you and Nadia (She demands to come, not shocked, it’s her dad.) must board the kidnappers vessel – tracked down by Theran and Holiday because they are insanely awesome like that – and save her dad! The kidnapper it turns out is NOT a Child of the Emperor. No, it’s some creepy former Sith who did or said something and got his brain wiped. No name, no memories, no emotion. (My guess is that he was a mage. That’s a Dragon Age joke, folks.) He hopes by screwing with you he can earn his memories back. He is wrong, as I just kill him. Sadly, you aren’t ever fast enough to stop the death of Senator Grell, who apparently spilled the beans on everything you were doing.
The interlude ends with the Jedi Council reading the senator’s will. For some reason. I honestly haven’t a clue why the Jedi had his will. Are Jedi also notaries? Anyway, apparently the will was made fairly recently as it asks that Nadia be made a padawan and you be her master. Well, it only took an extra 28 levels, but hey sweet fetish fuel has arrived for the Consular too! Also, again, we have someone being made a padawan of yours solely by virtue of “Oh, okay, sure. Whatever.” Nadia doesn’t even have to train on Tython, or do her Youngling warm up excercises, or anything. She’s a Jedi now. You’re in charge. Bye. Screw you, Master Syo Bakarn. I hope you die.
The next crazy ally you get is the Voss. Yes, you heard me. You are going to recruit the Voss. I won’t go nearly in depth on this one because honestly, this is the most chores you’ve ever done since the Great McGuffin Hunt of the Prologue. You essentially are tasked with making sure a potential Voss mystic goes through his trials correctly and safely, and then you can recruit him and his entire entourage into your galactic war. Wait. Why does this not sound like it’s going to work?
You do everything from run around and gather stones, perform dangerous healing rituals to keep your lemming of a Voss alive, and kill any and every little thing in his way to have a vision. Which time and time again he fails to have. He just fails, then asks to be taken someplace else where he might have one. While it’s not the most annoying mission you have to do as a Consular, it really feels like babysitting a complete n00b.
Really, the payoff comes at the very end. Because while you have had run ins with Imperials and Sith here and there, you never bump into a Child of the Emperor. Not once. Until the end, when it is revealed that the diplomat that sent you to find the Voss wannabe is the Child of the Emperor. She sent you to essentially prep the Vossling and then when he was ready, she’d swoop in, kill you and take the freshly awakened mystic for the Sith. That. is. BRILLIANT. No, seriously. This is probably the smartest villain in the entirety of the Consular storyline. She actually uses you to get what she wants, and you never suspect her for a moment. Honestly, a lot of these ‘hiding’ in plain sight villains are pretty easy to spot early (Bounty Hunter Chapter One, we will be getting to you soon.) But I was floored by this one. I didn’t even appreciate it until way after and was looking back at everything that happened. I WISH the Inquisitor story was more like this. Sadly, her plan fails. She didn’t account for one thing: Me killing her. Twice the pride, eh?
So you get the Voss mystic, his team of Voss healers, and a squad of elite Voss commandos (I assume they’re like Asari commandos) and they’re all on your ship and joining you on your mission to defeat the Sith and protect the Republic. Hooray! Wait. Aren’t the Voss neutral? Likely, ridiculously neutral to the point of absurdity? Doesn’t this violate that? I mean, they say that the Voss will study the light and the dark and see both sides. That’s nice. YOU ARE HELPING ME KILL THE OTHER TEAM. You have officially picked a side now. Debate over. You fight for the Republic. Or is this somehow not registering through your bald blue heads? GAH!
The second interlude is an attempt to take over an Imperial flagship descending on Corellia. If you and your crack squad can take over that ship, you will gain powerful intelligence on what the Imperials are after (It’s the Bastion) and stop them from succeeding (You can’t. They’re in the Bastion already.) The whole thing is yet another giant ship to fight through, but luckily way less tedious than the one in the first act. You work with your companions who hack doors, disable canons, and sabotage alarms. And I really hate to say it, but they do it way better than the Trooper squad handled the Gauntlet in the Chapter 2 finale. However, unlike the Trooper story, this thing actually turns out to be a giant trap. Yea, you get to the bridge to find a droid who simply explains that the ship is rigged to blow for the sole purpose of removing you and your team from the picture.
At that point, the tone switches to you and your team trying to disable the bombs. You get a few of them, and your team goes after the others that are near them but in the end there are too many bombs and no time to turn them all off. So you all book it off the ship, except Nadia. Nadia has found a computer with all the data that might reveal the identity of the First Son, the leader of the Children. So no matter what you say to her, she will stay to get that data. She’s not stupid however, as she does take an escape pod off the ship before it blows and falls to Corellia below.
You stand at the end of the interlude with no ship, no defeated Sith, and down one padawan. It’s kind of a loss. Which actually can be mirrored in some of the choices in dialogue. Your crew is actively worried about Nadia being trapped on a war torn planet. It’s actually pretty well done tonally. There’s even some nice dialogue if you demand to pursue Nadia at any cost that Theran talks to you about trying to get her back. Which makes sense because if you do the companion conversations, Nadia is pretty friendly with Theran.
Corellia starts pretty much with the search for Nadia. You are able to find a smuggler? Freedom fighter? Hacker? A person in a vest that can help you find her in exchange for some favors. It’s a classic scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours scenario but I like how once he gives you the coordinates to find Nadia – deep in Imperial controlled territory – he asks you for one more favor and you can totally blow him off. YES! I’ve wanted to do that for ages in this game. Best class storyline ever! I CAN SAY NO AND NOT GET RAILROADED! Nadia’s still holed up in her escape pod and very week, luckily your favors have earned the help of the Selonians (Ferret people) who help you get Nadia out and back to health. She does have the data that reveals the identity of the First Son, but it requires the Jedi Library to decrypt. Luckily, and somewhat shockingly, you can just go to the Jedi Library website from anywhere in the galaxy and get whatever you need. So finally we get the revelation of who the First Son truly is…
Master Syo Bakarn.
Oh. Oh snap. Uh. You mean that guy who has been helping us since like level 1? Damn. That’s brilliant. Seriously, right on the heels of that great twist you get another sort of just as great one. Hear me out. The trick to this whole thing is that Master Syo doesn’t KNOW he’s the First Son. He’s a sleeper agent, only activated when his First Son persona chooses to manifest itself and Syo has no idea what happens during that time. So it’s less OMGSECRETZPLOT! and more OHCRAPHEZOURD00D! Still, it’s a surprising turn that does carry a weight. This is an NPC that has been part of your story for 50 levels. I really wonder how much he was actually behind. Believe me when I say this revelation has confirmed at least a second play-through of this class just to see. But now that the cat is out of the bag, The First Son springs his plan into action. Activating Children of the Emperor hand picked and placed across Corellia by Syo to take over the super secure bunkers called Guardian Holds that Syo was in charge of protecting for the Republic.
So now the Sith have control of the most secure bunkers from which they can hold Corellia indefinitely. So it falls to the best one for the job, the Jedi Consular, to take back the Guardian Holds with his army of Voss, Esh-Ka, and crew. And that’s pretty much what the rest of the planet is. Go to a sector of the city, find a way into the guardian hold there, and remove the Child of the Emperor in charge. I mean, yea there are some moral issues when you are fighting people who had been loyal to the Republic and/or Jedi for years now suddenly switched to evil by a glowy red eyed puppetmaster. Which leads to obligatory Light Side/Dark Side choice of trying to save them or just killing them. While I was pretty dark side for this part so I killed them all, I am really curious how one actually saves these guys. I mean, the were given a piece of the Emperor where they were infants. They are ingrained with loyalty to him. How do you break that? Well, that’s my second play-through to find out.
You finally get to the end of the road, the final guardian hold, and from there you are treated to a showdown with the First Son himself. Master Syo is no more, it is only evil that stands before you. And oh man is this a great showdown that will test your ability to interrupt, LOS, and keep up heals in order to take down your foe. Mostly I just busted out Theran. Even in lower level gear, he was able to keep me going while I pummeled Syo down with rocks. Speaking of rocks, he does a giant rock drop where he caves in the ceiling and you must interrupt it or instant KO. After words, you can shield Syo or kill him. And if you choose to kill him, like I did. You don’t even get the final blow. He actually comes back at you and you knock him away in to the wall causing a giant rock to crush him. What kind of Disney Death is that?
Well, much like the trooper, the story actually wraps up on Corellia. With the First Son defeated, you are pretty much done. You get invited back to Coruscant where you meet the new Supreme Chancellor (Former Governor) Saresh, and for the first time in any of the Republic stories, it actually makes mention that she is indeed newly elected and that something happened that forced them to elect a new Chancellor. They don’t say what that is, but I’m sure we’ll found out in one of these reviews. Still I like the fact that SOMEONE acknowledges the fact that the Supreme Chancellor for 1-49 is not the same as the one you meet at level 50, cause the trooper doesn’t bat an eye, the Jedi Knight shrugs it off, and the Smuggler probably doesn’t know what a Supreme Chancellor is.
You get a big award ceremony at the end too. But unlike the one for the Jedi Knight or Trooper, here you can totally milk the Republic for stuff for your allies. Esh-ka want a planet? Yo, Saresh. Give them a planet! Oh hey, Voss dudes wanna train with Jedi. I don’t care if you are uneasy with it, Satele. Did you just save the Republic? Let them in. It was a nice moment where you and your crew essentially get whatever they want from the Republic. But you know what they SHOULD have asked for? To not pay taxes again. Ever.
So was the Jedi Consular story the KOTOR3 we never got? Or was it the boring slogfest that forum dwellers claim? Well, the answer is the classic ‘Neither’. Honestly, the Consular story more than any other requires time to get the most out of it. It can seem like a boring slogfest at first, and really it’s not until the end of Chapter One that it all starts to come together and become interesting. If I had only played the first 15 levels? Oh Yoda, I would have dropped the class faster than Physical Education. But I stuck it out, and honestly I’m glad I did. It has a sense of completeness by the end, where it actually feels like every part – not just the last chapter or so – was a vital piece of the conclusion. The Noetikons, the shielding technique, the Rift Alliance, and the Children of the Emperor all came together in a glorious symphony at the end. But up until that conclusion, you could see it as very hit and miss.
In terms of light or dark choices, they were all pretty much what you expected for a Jedi. You have more than enough reasons to kill most of the people, but do you overcome that and show them forgiveness because they are not themselves. And really that’s the best way to summarize the Consular story. It’s a tale of enlightenment and overcoming our passions and baser instincts to become something more. Killing the Jedi in Chapter One is justified and full of anger by those who had suffered at the hands of their mind controlled friends or leaders, but we can shield them and overcome that hate. The Rift Alliance’s own desires and wants come before the needs of the Republic, but they find by working with and through the Republic they get everything they wanted and more. Looking past the uncertainty and threats of the Esh-Ka and Voss give rise to a powerful army, the Rakata want to make amends to the Esh-ka, you can overcome the betrayals and welcome back to the light all those who were tainted by darkness. On the flip side, the story can be just as much about the accumulation of power. Taking out other Jedi to secure a more prominent position for yourself, manipulating the wants of the Rift Alliance to make them indebted to you, building an army that answers to you alone and crushing those who would think to betray you.
So would I recommend this story? Yea. It had enough for me to merit a second play through, I’d say it’s worth it to try it once. It’s a slog at the start, but once you get into the thick of the Dark Plague arc, it starts picking up. I’d especially recommend it for fans of shows like Star Trek or Babylon-5, as the diplomatic parts of Chapters Two and Three really seem to share a similar vibe with shows like those. Anyway, that’s it for the Consular. Whenever I finish up my light side character I might come back for one more post about it from the other side of things. Until then, May the Force Be With You.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Sith Warrior storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. If you would like a spoiler free summary of the storylines you can find them here.
The Sith Warrior. A powerful fearsome enforcer of Darth Baras. Now armed with a starship capable of reaching the ends of the galaxy. Fear is your weapon. Your master’s enemies are your enemies. And with Darth Baras’ deep undercover spy network being found out and eliminated, it falls to you as the servant of your master’s will to put a stop to any possible threat to your master’s doings.
Baras’ spy on Balmorra is a big shot officer in the Republic forces that are “not officially part of the resistance”. But before you do that, it’s time to make sure that you cut off any possible loose ends to the spy. That includes his son. The blabber mouth kid has got himself taken in to the custody of the resistance, so it’s up to you to bust him out and either mind wipe the bugger or silence him for good. Then you’ve got to take out the spy in the Balmorran arms factory. This is probably my favorite scene in the whole planet, because you defeat the soldiers guarding the spy (his own squad that he commands) and the last one gets to live just long enough to witness the true betrayal of the commanding officer that he was moments ago ready to lay down his life to protect. The spy quite properly asks the Sith Warrior to just kill the trooper and put him out of his misery, and you can or you can force the spy to do it. I honestly just killed the trooper because there’s no reason to be so mean to this guy. Especially since he then explains to you quite plainly that he knows why you are here, that he is ready to die, and he knew that he was a liability as that would be cut out one day by Baras. Really reasonable for a guy I was sent here to kill. I mean seriously, based on every other class I’ve played in this game I’d expect him to just turn tail and run and try to buy his way out, but no. He knows his place, and he knows it’s time to go. Doesn’t mean he isn’t going to go without a fight though. He’s a soldier after all, and if he’s going to go out, it’s going to be in honorable combat. Which is fine by my dark knight Sith Warrior. Honorable combat it is.
You also meet your second companion here. Malavai Quinn. And he’s an imperial trooper that helps you. He proves to be quite skilled as after you eliminate the spy, he finds that an investigator was listening in on the whole thing and to make matters worse, the investigator is a Jedi. You hunt and stop the Jedi who informs you that she already has sent the information off to Baras’ old foe Noman Karr and his padawan who can see people’s true nature. This shocking twist is only interrupted by Quinn who scoffs at the whole thing and explains that he intercepted the information so that Karr never received it and the truth dies with the Jedi. So Quinn is apparently a bad ass with communications, and is also quite adept at combat, and flying your ship, and many other duties. He’s kind of just an all around bad ass who is stuck on Balmorra for some reason. It’s mentioned that a lot of higher ups want to see him stay there,but Baras rewards him with a recommendation for officer-ship and says his debt with Baras is wiped clean. Whatever that means. Apparently I didn’t ask the right questions to find out what that was or it’ll come up later. Anyway, Quinn is a proper Imperial soldier through and through. Kind of like the Empire equivalent to Elara Dorne I would say.
Baras’ spy Agent Dellocon has run to hide under the protection of Darth Baras’ rival Lord Rathari. In order to get to Dellocon, the Warrior must draw Rathari out of the shadows and remove the protection. To do this, you must disrupt all of his operations and dealings on Nar Shadaa forcing a confrontation that will give you an opening to the agent. Rathari kills the woman assisting you and challenges you to a duel. He then refuses to duel a lowly apprentice and has his lackeys do it. Finally, you defeat Rathari and he kills Dellocon for you (stealing your kill if you wish to offer some disapproval) and then you are free to do with Rathari as you see fit and he acknowledges your strength and takes whatever punishment you dish out. Even asking for a swift death if you wish to kill him.
There’s a small interlude after Nar Shadaa where you assault a Republic tracking station that has been keeping tabs on you for Noman Karr. You break in, kill everyone, and have a fun confrontation of taunting the Jedi and making your intentions generally known. He becomes more resolved than ever to keep his padawan safe and out of reach, so Darth Baras decides the next course of action will be to lure her out by destroying everything she holds close and dear. This will be interesting.
So first up on the whole “destroying everything she holds close and dear” road trip is a visit to the sandy dunes of Tatooine and slaughtering her old master that helped develop her unique power. Of course, the master just happens to be a remote hermit who know is sure where he lives. But your assigned assistant from Darth Baras has an idea: let’s retrace the padawan’s steps. So first up is to ‘subdue the devil of the desert’ and bathe in its… shiny… stuff. Maybe blood. They’re not very specific. I’m going to go with blood. And subduing it with a lightsaber to the face. Quinn, do you object? No? Excellent. Stab the giant desert bug and become shiny. Then you can enter the sand people encampment and figure out what happened next because heck, I wouldn’t mess with someone covered in shiny sand demon bug blood juice stuff.
So the next thing the padawan did was bathe in a spring to purify herself. Really? We’re doing this? The game is actually gonna make me take a bath. Dangit. Okay actually it’s more so like meditating at a spring and facing your inner self, who you must defeat to move on. This is one of those things that makes me really want to do a second character with the opposite alignment to see if it changes. Because my encounter was extremely dark side orientated which made sense because I was dark side. So I have to wonder if you have a light side Sith Warrior, if this whole thing changes. Either way, when you defeat yourself (Insert “That is why you fail” joke here), you receive a vision of the deep desert where the Jedi lives. Your assistant says she will not follow because no one goes to the deep desert and survives, which is funny because I’m pretty sure I’ve done it AT LEAST 7 OTHER TIMES. You think an experienced tracker would know about all the other people, and the established bases in the dune sea that are not filled with dead people but whatever.
Finally, you get to meet the Jedi proper. He goes on with his usual Jedi blather about how I will fail, and how I will now die here, and how I will never find out anything. Luckily, he has a little buddy. One that is more than willing to spill the beans to save his master. Unluckily, I killed them both anyway because such was the will of my master, Darth Baras! (I’m a good Sith. We’ll a bad Sith. Who does good. Good to his master, not to like other people. You know what I mean.) But we do learn a very important clue, a name: Jaesa Wilsaam. Well how about that. Time to put that intel to use.
I wasn’t joking when I said we were gonna put that intel to good use. We’re going after Ms. Padawan’s family. And we are going to kill them. Or that’s what Baras wants at least. You don’t HAVE to technically. But as we’ve stated that this playthrough is me being a good bad sith of bad done good but bad-ness. So we’re killing them. But first we have to find them. And to do that we have to use this sniveling Thul politician to locate them. Unfortunately, he’s a fricking weasel. So he constantly tries to divert the conversation, blame others (including you), and poorly manipulate others to do his own personal bidding.
Case and point, he tells you that a House Alde noblewoman had Jaesa as a servant at one point and that you should kidnap her and bring her back to him to be properly interrogated. Well, it turns out that no. She was not this noblewoman’s servant. Actually, the Thul jerk has been attempting to woo her unsuccessfully because he’s a creepy freak so he just figured he’d get you to kidnap her so he can… well, I don’t want to think about how he’d “interrogate” her. Because that’s kind of sickening to be honest. I actually let her go after threatening some good information out of her. Just to irk the Thul Jerk Creep.
Next is a bunch of filler about trying to track her down, breaking into a high security station, hacking the planet, blah blah blah. Ultimately, it leads to the fact that you find the Wilsaam family in the center tower of the Organa palace/castle/estate/I-hate-nobles. Upon entering, you are challenged by their sworn guardian: a Jedi Knight. Oh fun. They think they can stop me. And if you choose to kill the family, you get probably what is the FUNNIEST moment in this entire chapter. Instead of dueling the Jedi Knight to kill the family, you just force push the Jedi out of the way, and double force choke Mommy and Daddy at the same time, and THEN the Jedi fights you. Because he failed. Failed so hard, I dare say this falls into the Epic Fail category. This probably wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if it wasn’t for the fact that it pretty much subverts EVERYTHING ELSE in the game, where you declare your intention, then fight the gold mob, and then deal with the target. The Sith Warrior is just like “NOEP. KILL TIME.” and I was on the floor.
After dealing with the family, Darth Baras gets a hold of you and says that the Slimy Thul Jerk Creep has been telling your master that you’ve been goofing off and messing around this entire time, trying to further your own agenda. Not shocked. However, upon clarifying the whole mess, Darth Baras gives you a present: You can deal with the Slimy Thul Jerk Creep anyway you see fit. Ooooh yes. And his Sith bodyguards will do nothing to you, because they are more loyal to the Darths then they are to a loser politician. It’s murder time again! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Ahem. I mean. Goodie.
The finale of chapter one comes at first in the form of an invitation from Jaesa to meet her and settle this between the two of you, since it’s clear that both of you are just pawns in a battle between your masters. And you’ve already guessed what happens, haven’t you? Oh yea. Jaesa isn’t there when you show up. Just two of Nomen Karr’s Jedi goons who have big heads about wanting to beat up a Sith. They also are dead. (Okay, you CAN send them packing with their injuries as a message to Karr, but why?) Turns out Jaesa did plan on meeting you as she said, but Nomen Karr stopped her and sent the goons as an uh… “elaborate” trap. Like you didn’t expect it to be a trap to begin with. This however is immediately followed by an actual message from Karr sent to Darth Baras, challenging him on Hutta.
This is the fun part. On Hutta, you have to fight Nomen Karr three seperate times (Protip: Heal before talking to him each time) and taunting him into releasing his anger. During these fights, he stops using his Jedi Knight abilities and starts using more abilities from the Sith Warrior arsenal (Force chokes, slams, ravage, etc) and he goes further and further dark side. Swearing up a storm about how he’s going to kill you, maim you, hurt you, and is going to enjoy doing it. Meanwhile, innocent lil’ ol’ Jaesa makes her entrance to see her master frothing at the mouth.
At this point there’s two distinct paths that the rest of this encounter: you can use dark side choices to complete break her and destroy her world view by forcing her to use her “true nature revealing” power on her own master to expose the darkness he’s had in his heart all this time, thus causing her to doubt the power of the light side and convert. That for the record is the way I went. The other choice is just to disillusion her into joining you without completely breaking her, and thus becoming much like the Inquisitor and having a doubtful Jedi join you, but doesn’t want to go Sith. Either way, she becomes your new apprentice. But she can only be romanced if you converted her to the dark side.
Despite how simple everything seems to be described here, the Sith Warrior storyline is actually really amazing and enjoyable. Mostly not because of the plot, but because of the conversations and interactions. If you ever wanted to be the supremely bad ass dragon to a big bad, and just wander around terrorizing the universe – you can be that! If you are the noble servant to a dark master, who only kills when necessary – YOU CAN BE THAT! If you want to serve your master loyally or start to subvert him to overthrow him later – both are viable paths to take! The story may be simple, but how to get to tell it is extremely varied based on your choices. And really choice seems to be the big thing for this leg of the Sith Warrior’s journey. You can choose to obey or disobey, you can choose to kill or spare, you get to choose to convert or simply recruit an apprentice. The choices are really what makes this storyline shine.
I’m not saying the actual plot is that bad either. Just simple. Your master’s spy network has been compromised against impossible odds. Time to eliminate any possible loose ends and then stop the source of the problem: a padawan. But the padawan is in hiding! Well, start killing everyone she has a close bond to, that should lure her out. It’s a simple but well executed story. There’s no real twists or turns, no mystery, but still exciting as you serve as the right hand of Darth Baras and execute his will across the galaxy (or not). It’s fun because you already feel powerful going in, there is no build up to earning your place. You are Vader at this point. Full stop. And it’s pretty awesome to have that much authority and power in Chapter One.
I’d say more about your new apprentice Jaesa Wilsaam but you literally get her right at the completion of Chapter One. And considering the girl has two distinct versions you can get to know, I’d rather play around some with that before I say my piece on it. I will say this: Dark Side Jaesa? She is one freaky lady. Like makes me wanna take shower after talking to her dark side. So, there’s that. Now I have to shower from thinking about it. Yuck.