I did it. I gave in and downloaded Star Wars: Uprising for iOS.
Look, I’m a big Star Wars fan. I saw the Holy Trinity in the theaters before George Lucas started modifying and altering them. The last iOS game I became obsessed with was also a Star Wars franchise game, the Farmville-like Star Wars: Commander. The hours I lost there… When I heard that there was a new game that was more of an RPG, I resisted. Right up until a couple of friends mentioned that there was co-op play. I’m a sucker for doing things with my friends, even if it’s online. So I installed it.
I spent a half-hour launching the game, messing around with the character creation, and then closing it again, until I settled on my alter-ego: Lunar Strongarm, a smuggler who’s bumbling and brash and snarky but also eager to please his bosses.
Here he is at Level 11, wearing some of his leveled-up gear. I like that the game classifies him as “sentient.” Good to know.
The time frame for the game is immediately after the events in Return of the Jedi. A crafty Imperial Governor named Abelhard has enacted an IRON BLOCKADE around Anoat System, preventing everyone within from learning of the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Emperor Palpatine. Smugglers are struggling to move shipments in or out, and that’s where the players of the game come in.
I haven’t played a modern computer RPG in, like, forever (Skyrim doesn’t really count, does it?) but there’s a lot to learn in SW:U. Special abilities that use touch-screen gestures to activate. The ability to spend currency in the game to level up gear. Any gear you find, even that lowly cloth-and-twine backpack you find. And the amount of gear available seems overwhelming to me. My impression is that it’s similar to Destiny, in that you’re supposed to go look up what all this stuff does when you’re not actually playing the game. That helps with immersion, I suppose.
There’s several different kinds of currency, and they are all spent on different things. Crystals for upgrading equipment. Scrip for buying random junk gear. And credits, which are used in addition to the other kinds on everything. You can, of course, purchase more, trading real-world cash for in-game currency. What free-to-play game wouldn’t have that, these days?
There are many different kinds of missions, too, and they have you jumping around between worlds of the Anoat Sector, which location, if you’ll recall, didn’t much impress Princess Leia. It does, however, include the familiar worlds of Hoth and Bespin, and the new-to-me worlds of Mataou and Burnin Konn. There are story missions, daily and repeatable missions, and Sector Battle missions, which allow players to influence the Galactic Empire’s influence over each system.
My favorite mechanic of the game is sending my crew off on their own missions, though. That’s a nice way to keep gaining in-game currency for a casual player like me. And I finally joined a cartel today, which will let me play co-op and give me access to more experienced players for advice. I want to make a cartel with just my friends, but maybe after I’ve learned more about the game.
If it sounds like I’m skeptical and cynical about this, I am, a little. But overall I’m having a lot of fun. The Star Wars universe, even now, is like an old home to me, and any chance to play around in it is worthwhile. Even if it means distracting me from this pile of work I should be doing…