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GAME REVIEW - June 14, 2006

by Devon Varesko

Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed (PC)

My Rating: 6 out of 10

SWG: Jump to Lightspeed

Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed is an expansion that adds space systems and space ships to the game Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. As of a few months ago, this expansion should be free to anyone who is new to the game. It lets you buy, manage, repair, and launch your very own space ship. As you work your way towards Master Pilot, you will be given a number of missions such as escorts, destroy, and simply docking with ships for different reasons (such as to drop off beings to repair it or help a boarding party board).

Jump to Lightspeed is useful because it adds a feature that lets you warp in hyperspace between different systems free of charge (meaning no in-game credits fee). You can also use a "Travel" option from Starship terminals to instantly travel to another Starport free of charge.

The downside to this is that it lacks a large space economy. There are no trade routes in games such as Freelancer, and you will not earn money for transporting goods or people from one location to another. The only real way to earn money, loot, or experience in space is shooting other ships or doing preset space missions. You also cannot hunt bounties in space (although this may change in time).

There is also mining, but it isn't as fun or intuitive as games such as EVE or Freelancer. You will need specialized ships and lasers to mine properly, which are only acquired in certain quests (some of which may be broken still). Once you do manage to start mining, the resources you aquire are only useful in crafting ships, and cannot be sold on the general market for making weapons, clothes, and other necessities - since the only people who will value them are Shipwrights (now known as "Trader", specialized in Engineering).

Another thing it is missing is the ability to dog fight on a planet's surface, shoot at ground targets, and land and takeoff at any location you wish on any planet (which is what a starship is really for, right?) Since there is already a traveling system in place which allows players to use public transport, and since there is no reason for a player to avoid using public transport, you won't be able to charge much (if anything) to transport another player somewhere. This results in the piloting profession being very inflexible.

Combined with the poor controls and lag of most MMO's, it's a recipe for disaster. Your ships generally move much slower than in the movies, turn much slower than in the movies, and are simply much less fun to control than in games like Freelancer and Freespace 2. Granted, there is some nice scenery, and clouds are animated to move around planets as you hover above their surface (though it still is annoying that you can't enter the planets' atmospheres).

In summary, Jump to Lightspeed is useful as a means to an end for transportation needs, but little else. Fans of space simulators will find it somewhat sluggish, but thankfully it has Star Wars based ships and missions which can make up for that, depending how much of a fan you are.

Related Links:

Official Star Wars Galaxies Website

Related Reviews:

Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided

Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees

Star Wars Galaxies: Trials of Obi-wan