And we’re back! I hope you all had a pleasant rest after last week’s episode of Tales from the Old Republic. We left off last week with Reija noodling around Taris in order to take out the Republic High Command in order to instigate another full scale war. Last week saw the death of Commander Kom Orda and the repeated screw ups of Darth Gravus’ apprentice Thana Vesh. Before we pick up that thread, it’s time to hunt us some Rakghouls. Since the Republic first landed on Taris years after its destruction by Darth Malak, they’ve been hoping to turn things around by analyzing the toxic waste as a possible energy source and curbing the Rakghoul population. One method they’ve discovered to deal with the monstrous beasts is to herd them into Imperial fortifications via toxic waste deposits, forcing them down a path of the Republic’s choosing. The Imperials didn’t take too kindly to that, so an officer tasked me with venturing deep into Rakghoul territory and taking out strategically placed toxic containers that, when destroyed, would herd the monsters back to their handlers. The mission was a success and the Republic forces were sent into disarray.
But now for the task at hand. The next target on my list was General Minst, who was reported to be hiding deep inside an abandoned reactor. The road to Minst was a difficult one, as the reactor had been littered with droids, several of them Elites that easily took me out and I did my best to avoid those, considering that my low-ish level would make the fights pretty difficult. I eventually caught up with Minst in the main reactor room and had to fight his bodyguards and once defeated, the Rodain named Minst revealed himself to be a decoy who was sent to stall me while the real General initiated the reactor’s self destruct system. A little persuasion got the decoy to give me access to Minst’s nearby fallout shelter and for his trouble, I gave him a lightsaber blade to the gut. Malavai Quinn and I ran to the shelter and started a hacking sequence that opened the blast doors just mere seconds before the reactor blew up. Inside, I confronted the real Minst over his choice of sending in his own men to die so flagrantly, to which he felt that loyal patriots would be proud to accept such a sacrifice.
After taking care of Minst, the next Republic target was General Durant. Mere moments after Minst’s death, I was contacted by Lt. Pierce, the leader of an Imperial special ops squad who found themselves pinned down in an attack led by Durant himself. Before I could join the assault, I had to shut down the security system in his underground compound, making my infiltration all the more easier. Dug deep in an underground base, Durant’s forces were more than a match for Pierce’s soldiers because he had successfully refined the toxic waste on Taris into weapons grade blaster ammunition that was double the strength of regular blasters. Despite this advantage, Durant himself was a pushover and it wasn’t long before he was dead at my feet.
Reports of my successes reached all of the Imperials on Taris, sending them into an excited frenzy that could only mean one thing: War. Travelling to one of the Imperial’s forward bases, I was greeted by a Sith Lord who mentioned that my actions against the War Trust have sent the enemy scrambling and the Empire’s forces were primed to assault General Faraire’s base and end the Republic’s incursion. There would be no silent incursions this time, no stealthy hit and run attacks. It was war on an epic scale (well, as epic as can be depicted in an MMO - in other words, slightly disappointing). Much like Mass Effect 2, my task for the battle was to assign my crew to specific missions that would have an impact on the assault. Unlike Mass Effect 2, however, the choices were incredibly obvious. Vette would be assigned to disarming traps and other nasty tricks the Republic had set up, Lt. Peirce would lead an assault against Faraire’s spaceport and I would lead the charge with Jaesa while Quinn stayed behind and handled various field operations.
Everything went according to plan, which meant I had to deal with fewer Republic troops than initially expected. Battling my way deep into Faraire’s base, while leaving a trail of corpses in my wake, I approached the surprisingly calm officer who claimed to have a surprise for me in the form of a ridiculously large battle droid. There was honor to be had in understanding that the Republic had to send a massive war droid against me and much to Faraire’s dismay, I easily defeated the metal beast. Showing his true colors, the general attempted to flee, but was halted by Quinn. Knowing that the war was over for him, Faraire calmly asked to be taken prisoner as per the rules of the Coruscant doctrine of war. Haha, how cute.
Stepping over Faraire’s corpse, Quinn and the Imperial war leaders showered heaps of praise upon me for my actions on Taris. Lt. Peirce was incredibly impressed and requested that he join my crew, as there was nothing left for him on the planet. Just as I was preparing to leave, I was invited by Darth Gravus to further engage in clean up operations designed to get the Republic off planet for good. I accepted, but this meant I had to work directly with my rival, Thana Vesh. Thana would prove to be a real pain in the neck, as each mission we worked together on usually ended with her needing to be rescued in some way.
The push to get the enemy off planet involved displacing the Republic-friendly natives: the Cathar. Led by the charismatic Bashun, the Cathar have allied themselves with Nikto mercenaries order to preserve their place on Taris and maintain relations with the Republic. Reporting in with an Imperial officer, he indicated that all attempts to eliminate Bashun have failed, causing him to plant himself deep within his base, surrounded by Republic-grade weaponry. Thana rushed on ahead to assault Bashun’s hideout, claiming that she would have him and the entire base destroyed before I got there. Not only were the base and Bashun still in one piece when I arrived, but Thana got herself captured and had been presented to the “free people” of Taris by Bashun as proof that the Empire was losing ground against him. Seeing this as a grand opportunity, I engaged Bashun in combat and killed him in front of those he had been broadcasting his message to. Thana offered some faint praise to me for my actions and needed help getting out of the cell. I walked off instead, suggesting she use this opportunity to reflect on her actions. Needless to say, she was not happy.
It was time to show no mercy for those who sympathize with the Republic as Darth Gravus assigned me to assault the Republic’s spaceport and disable it to prevent them from sending rescue ships to collect their own and safely take them off planet. Just as I was getting ready to head out, Thana reported in via holo and was more than a little upset with me for leaving her behind. Gravus forced the two of us to work together for the assault, something we both begrudgingly agreed to. With Thana getting a head start, I had to journey by myself to the spaceport located deep within heavily occupied Republic territory. They defended the area well, as I went toe to toe with several Jedi masters, elite war droids and more soldiers than I can count. After some hard fighting, I reached my target and found Thana, once again, captured - this time by three Jedi guardians. We worked together to defeat them, but I can tell you that I was getting awfully sick and tired of saving the woman who has given me nothing but attitude since my arrival. Together, Thana and I secured the spaceport and attempted to disable the station, but found ourselves locked out of the system, with the codes currently in the possession of Jedi Master Cerik who had been tasked with overseeing the evacuation.
We met up with Cerik who had called in three Republic troop transports filled with soldiers, Cathar and Nikto and as impressive as their numbers had been, they were no match for two Sith Lords. With the rabble defeated, Thana and I battled the Jedi Master and stole the security codes, rushing back to the main computer terminal where Thana worked feverishly over the controls in order to lock down the base. Wanting to set a harsh example for those who do not follow the Empire, I ordered Thana to overload the spaceport’s reactors, effectively murdering all Republic and Cathar refugees and causing the remaining evacuation ships to turn back. As Thana marvelled at her handiwork, I felt this was the opportunity to finally dispose of the young Sith. She was wise to my actions, however, and the both of us engaged in combat while the building blew up around us.
The Thana battle was the second best experience I’ve had in The Old Republic, not because it was a long time coming, but because of how I ended the fight. Although she was a higher level than my character, the battle seemed pretty one sided, thanks to my judicious use of Force Choke, Ravage and Saber Ward. When her health got really low, I decided to utilize my Force Choke/Push maneuver on her and because I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings, I was caught completely off guard by the awesomeness of the finishing move in this particular instance. I used Force Choke on Thana, lifting her up a few feet from the ground as she struggled for air. As soon as the skill’s duration ended, I sent her flying backwards with Force Push, causing her to completely clear the railing behind her and fall about twenty feet below our dueling area and coming to rest at the very edge of the platform overlooking the spaceport’s vertical entry chamber. It was times like this that a) I wish I was recording my game sessions or b) BioWare implemented some sort of instant replay feature.
Feeling exceptionally good about myself over the death of Thana Vesh and the destruction of the Republic War Trust, I felt it was time to check in with Darth Baras and report my success. While pleased to hear news of my work, Baras revealed that the final member of the High Command, an Admiral Monk, has intercepted Darth Vengean’s flagship in orbit around Quesh and has engaged in open combat with the Sith Lord. I docked with Vengean’s ship and secured the hanger by eliminating all Republic threats before reaching the bridge, where the ship’s Moff accused me of being a part of Baras’ betrayal of Vengean - the implication suggesting that Darth Baras, who wanted Vengean’s seat on the Dark Council, leaked the location of the flagship to the Republic with hopes of him being destroyed. Unfortunately for Baras (and myself), Vengean fled to Quesh to chase after Admiral Monk and the Moff ordered his troops to attack me. Not liking where things were going at this juncture, I landed my ship on Quesh in order to track down the final member of the Republic War Trust and hope that if I were to bump into Darth Vengean, he would allow me to explain myself or at the very least, kill me quickly.
Teen Services Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.