17/12/2018

Jedi Under Siege Character Moments

Another thing I've loved about the Jedi Under Siege story is how much obvious attention to detail and love has gone into all the characters that feature in it. It's as if Bioware sat down with a list of "NPC slots" they had to fill ahead of time and thought long and hard about where and how they could re-use existing characters, and if they did decide to introduce someone new they took extra care to make them interesting and likeable.

There will be spoilers for both factions here, so proceed at your own risk.


As an example of re-using existing characters, the introductory Republic mission is given by SIS agent Jonas Balkar, a recurring character from the trooper story. My Commando only had to wait nearly seven years to get another shot at flirting with him, but it was definitely worth it!


Meanwhile on Imperial side, you get briefed by NR-02 of Black Talon fame. The fact that he greeted me as "the hero of the Black Talon" should have been a dead giveaway, but I actually didn't recognise him the first time around because he now has a different chassis! Wonder how that happened?


The Imperial briefing then continues via Moff Pyron, formerly a loyal servant of the Sith inquisitor. More good times with personal references if you're the right class!


Republic players are introduced to their first new character in the form of General Daeruun. I have to admit that I wasn't too keen on him based on the previews for the simple reason that I think his species looks quite ugly (and unlike some people I don't have a fetish for weird-looking aliens). But then he started talking and I was charmed almost instantly - he's got something avuncular about him, which is not usually a trait we see in military commanders. The funniest thing was that I took note of his really excellent voice acting but didn't realise that Darin De Paul had once again made a comeback! I'm sufficiently well-attuned to his evil Valkorion voice by now that I instantly recognise him in similar contexts, such as this WoW video, but hearing him voice a genuinely nice character talking about his love for tea caught me completely off guard it seems.


Darth Malora ultimately has only a surprisingly small role to play considering her prominence on the poster art, but I still think it was clever of Bioware to re-use a character from a low-level side mission here instead of just creating some new random Sith, as it makes the world as a whole more cohesive and gives meeting her a slightly personal note. The game was thankfully also very good at remembering for me just how that mission on Korriban had gone back then... it's not like I actually remember every decision I've ever made in some side quest five years ago! Simply choosing the dialogue option that acknowledges that you know her makes the relevant things come out of your character's mouth. Phew!


Major Anri the twi'lek soldier is probably my favourite of the new characters. Let's just say that as someone who's mained a trooper since launch I've always found it interesting that there was no Imperial story mirror to my class. I suppose the closest is actually the Imperial agent... but I think the main takeaway is simply that as a front line soldier you basically can't be a hero in the Empire, and we don't get to see the point of view of the common soldier very often. The closest was probably in the form of the warrior companion Lieutenant Pierce. Anyway, the point I'm making is that I loved meeting this soldier who's blunt, honest, competent and funny, and getting more insight into how things look from the perspective of someone who all too often finds herself at the mercy of the whims of the Sith.


In a similar vein, I loved the way the rescue of Anri's sergeant Brax goes. When she starts off mentioning that he might be dead or alive, I fully expected it to go the way oh so many missions of this type in SWTOR go, where you find nothing but a body and a datapad at the end. But no, Brax too is shown to be surprisingly competent at staying alive, and I thought the conversation that ensues afterwards in which he appears to be kind of embarrassed by the "celebrity rescue", as Anri puts it, was utterly adorable.


Meanwhile on Republic side, we have Jedi Tau Idair, who to be honest didn't resonate with me that much, as I kept wondering how in the world she ended up wearing half a robe. However, she's not a bad character by any means.


I did love Doc and Nadia's involvement on Republic side however. Again, they didn't actually play a large role, but just using characters that the player would recognise gave the whole situation a lot more weight. I haven't done the story on a Sage yet, but on my knight I was highly impressed by how much personalisation they added to the dialogue. Even though he doesn't actually join you until later in an Alliance alert, Doc basically keeps going on about how awesome it is to see you again, how you'll totally save the day etc., which was both entertaining and seemed very natural under the circumstances. Even Nadia, who obviously didn't know my Guardian personally, commented on recognising her as previously well-known Jedi.


Even the background NPCs are pure love, as Bioware inserted some great environmental chatter in the area. The above example was pointed out to me on Reddit and makes a couple of civilians state openly how a lot of SWTOR players have basically felt about the whole Zakuul story arc. Personally I also came across this...


... which refers to the "deleted scene" from the KotFE trailer that was shown at a cantina event and had Malgus being frozen in carbonite and being presented to Valkorion as a trophy. Of course, that's a whole subject for another post...

4 comments :

  1. My assumption is that NR's new chassis was given to him by his new master to aid with infiltration, since the C2 chassis is probably regarded as more 'neutral' than the 2V chassis he used to have. Or maybe they were hoping that his sadistic nature would be lessened somewhat in a newer chassis? :P

    Nice to see the C2 chassis in silver at last, at any rate.

    I think Brax's survival was meant to be BW's way of showing how successful Raven Squad was: Pyron's description of them being his best soldiers would be undermined by showing one of them being killed by the geonosians, vicious as they are, rather than holding their own.

    Although at the same time it would also be a way of showing his frustrations with Malora if her experiments were shown to be costing him soldiers in the story rather than through gameplay alone. The route they took was obviously far more satisfactory. We got to see Anri interacting with and supporting one of her own on a face-to-face basis rather than bemoaning his loss following a doomed holocall.

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    1. Yeah, I also figured that NR-02 changing looks can probably be justified by his shady dealings. I still would have liked a conversation option to ask about why he looks so different though. :D

      And agreed about Brax. The way your first look inside the cave focuses on this giant pile of Geonosian corpses definitely highlights that this guy isn't just another incompetent mook.

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  2. Spot on analysis. Or well, maybe I just happen to agree :D
    Tau Idair is fine, but I couldn't get over the weird look - maybe it's something with my graphics settings, but in your screenshot she looks smooth and on my machine it's like.. grainy? Like the exact opposite of the plasticy look of all NPCs and chars, not like bad acne.. just weird. Also the eyes seem to pop out. Unnerving.

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    1. Now that you say it, I also had some distracting graphical issues with Tau, though it sounds like we had different problems. I just remember being immediately distracted by white lines on her face - the best way I can think of describing it is that it looked as if she was wearing neon white eye and lip liner. If you view the screenshot of her in this post at full size you can probably just about make out what I mean, but either it got better over time or I just started to get used to it. It was definitely super distracting the first time I met her though.

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