02/11/2019

Musings on Onslaught's Story, Part 1: Onderon

I had to think long and hard about how to tackle the subject of Onslaught's new story content. There's a lot to talk about here, but unlike the chapters of the last two expansions it's not as neatly divided into chunks. In the end I decided that I'm going to make a three-parter out of it, one part for each of the new planets and one for everything that comes after. Needless to say, this post will contain spoilers.

The basic setup of the expansion's plot is... well, why not simply let the opening crawl speak for itself? (Click to embiggen.)


The player character's job is to intervene on behalf of or against Republic reinforcements in two different locations, until you join the battle on Corellia itself.

The pivotal event on Onderon is the destruction of the local Republic fleet with hijacked planetary cannons - or to prevent this from happening. The two factions' stories don't take place at exactly the same time though.

The Imperial story has you landing on Onderon earlier, to assist resident Dark Council member Darth Savik with her plan to drive the king of Onderon into starting a civil war, which is supposed to serve as a distraction during which you will be able to hijack the aforementioned planetary cannons and destroy the fleet.


The Republic story on the other hand starts with this attack, which you immediately foil, followed by you spending some time figuring out what happened and hunting down the instigators.

I played the Republic story first and I'm wondering whether that didn't contribute to me initially feeling a bit underwhelmed by it. It's not entirely clear that the attack you're foiling at the beginning is the big assault, and hunting down a Dark Council member who just happens to be on the planet afterwards feels almost incidental.

It doesn't help that your main contact on the planet, Senator Nebet, doesn't have much personality. I actually feel a bit bad saying that - considering the sheer size of Onslaught's cast, it seems somewhat petty to complain about one character coming across as kind of bland - but it still meant that I wasn't very heavily invested in assisting her. It kind of reminded me of some of the weaker planetary story arcs of the base game, where you're more or less just running errands for some run-of-the-mill Republic official.


I thought the Imperial story felt a little better, as there was a clearer progression towards a defined climax, but to be honest Darth Savik didn't leave much of an impression on me either. She's just kind of... there, always telling you what needs doing next. It's funny because I remember being somewhat annoyed years ago by how pretty much every single Sith NPC in the game appeared to be clinically insane, and I found it hard to imagine that the Empire could retain any sort of stability under such a regime, but the "new" kind of Sith prospering under Acina's reign feel almost too nice and tame to me now.

Also, King Petryph's idiocy quickly goes from being amusing to just being annoying. I mean, you can kill him in the end, but until then you have to listen to him go on for quite a while.

What did elevate Onderon to above average for me in the end were the many interesting character interactions.

On Republic side, you get to see General Daeruun and Master Gnost-Dural again (I think he survived Ossus regardless of your choices?) and we get a new character called Arn who becomes Tau Idair's padawan. I can't say I was particularly enamoured with him, but he instigates some interesting bits of dialogue.


Also: Lana! I've been one of those people who got incredibly tired of having her shoved down our throats for the past four years or so, with the story insisting that she was our best friend whether we wanted it or not, but I will say that my appreciation for her has greatly increased again with her lines being cut down to more reasonable levels. Little snippets like seeing her discuss the Sith code with Master Gnost-Dural or adopting a scary Sith image to get a rise out of Tau and Arn were great.

On Republic side there was also an attempt to do something similar to what they did with Malora in Jedi Under Siege by re-using a minor character from the base game and fleshing them out big time: Darth Savik is apparently a named opponent in one of the Republic missions on Corellia, though she has no lines there, so basically no player will actually remember her. While it's still nice to see the game referencing older content like that, the lack of immediate recognition means that it's ultimately not as impactful as it was for Imperials with Malora.


Both factions also get Jakarro and C2-D4 back, whom you first met in Depths of Manaan and who then assisted you until the end of Shadow of Revan. This was an obvious opportunity as C2 previously mentioned having worked for the queen of Onderon. I wasn't actually too keen on seeing them return as I remember finding them kind of annoying in Shadow of Revan, but they actually seemed a lot funnier and less abrasive this time around, and so far I've been happy to welcome them into my Alliance on all of my characters.

On Imperial side you get to have an audience with the new Dark Council, which only yields minor insights but is still pretty cool and makes the Sith Empire seem significantly strengthened since the days of a lonely Acina welcoming you to her "throne room" on Dromund Kaas without much fanfare. I mostly took note of a certain Darth Xarion taking over the position of "Darth with a cool, mysterious mask speaking with a gravelly voice" previously held by Darth Marr. I'd keep an eye on that one.


In summary, I did like how Onslaught's story started off, but it was mostly because of the love for detail evidenced in many different character interactions. The main plot didn't really grab me right away as it felt a bit generic and the main NPCs you interact with didn't leave a strong impression on me the first time around.

3 comments :

  1. I don't think I ever like Lana quite as much as this time around - or at least, not since KOTFE. She seems to have regained some of her humour, her interactions with the other Jedi and her baiting Arn were amusing. I also love you finally get the option of complaining you're in charge in theory but she keeps bossing you around. I didn't (my main wouldn't say something like that even if it crossed her mind; she's a diplomat after all), but having the possibility means a freakton.
    I like previous small characters coming around and being reused and getting all this feeling of having people around... Which just made me all the sadder to see that my companions wouldn't say a work - or even react - to the scenes. I know it's a lot of work coding dozens of companion interactions, but I'd be fine with being allowed to take just one or two if it meant they felt like something rather than a save stick beside me. Even C2D4 continuous chattering would be welcome when opposed to absolute silence. In an ideal world, I would be able to choose between all my characters, and while I can recognise that this is impractical, I bet I would've gotten some very amusing and endearing moments of conversation between Nadia and Arn, for example (she was with me all along for no special reason, she would've felt absolutely in place to help with his breakdown). Still, I would've settled for even a bland/cheap character like T7 if it meant feeling less alone.
    Since I have also been leveling a whole new character, another thing I missed was the mindless local chatter. Thre's so much in the expansion that reminds us of vanilla game's best parts, that I ended up missing the whole "walking by bits of conversation".
    The Onderon Senator was so bland I was sure she was up to somehting and trying to come around as innocent. Glad to know it didn't feel "meh" just to me. As the rest of the people were more interesting, I just rolled with it. NOW, Mek-Sha I really did enjoy, while I expected it to be the other way around.
    I haven't done Empire yet, but it does feel worth it (I haven't done a single Empire storyline after Vanilla, though I did SoR/KOTFE on an Empire character - as I was rushing through for DvL, I skipped over Makeb and never really came back).

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    1. There are actually a few places where companions do have something to say if you got the right companion with you, and some bits of environmental chatter. I guess it's somewhat less than usual though.

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    2. You missed Imperial Makeb?!? Go play it! It is leaps and bounds more engaging than Republic Makeb, and perfectly suited for an Agent.

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