[Review] Star Wars: Uprising – Wait, No Lightsabers?

We have seen quite a few Star Wars games by now. Many of them are discontinued; others are mediocre and/or heavily loaded with IAPs; nearly 90% are clones of other much abused structures of CCG or TD type, and only select few are decent. So, which one is the new creation from Kabam – Star Wars: Uprising?

The Game is Good, But You Won’t See the Iconic Characters

There is something wrong with the latest releases in the Star Wars franchise, at least to me. Neither the movies, nor the games manage to evoke nearly as much excitement and wonder as the first Lucas’ trilogy did decades ago. I am not the kind of SW fan who partakes in cosparties and knows all the characters and their lifelines. God forbid. I’ll tell you what I like about Star Wars – the Jedi, the lightsaber fights, R2D2, Princess Leia, Obi Van, Master Yoda and Luke Skywalker. And Harrison Ford starring as himself. Everything Disney has built upon the original feels like a regurgitation of sorts, and A-listers don’t help much. Truth be told, I dread the upcoming Force Awakens release. Alas, Uprising has none of my favorite Star Wars things. Yet, frankly speaking, I am quite into it, and been living it since its launch.

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Yet, with all its virtues, Uprising feels more like an infatuation than a relationship with long-term commitment.

Structure

At first, the game feels a bit overwhelming, but you will find your way pretty fast. To a certain extent, Uprising does borrow liberally from Spirit Lords, an earlier release from Kabam, as one of our readers anticipated in our pre-launch discussion. So, if you played the said Spirit Lords, a lot of the Uprising’s structure will feel familiar.

Characters

You get to create and customize a hero, and you can choose from 4 races – the Humans, the Zabraks, the Twi’Leks, and the Mirialans. Thank goodness there is no sight of Jar Jar and the likes of him. Nor is there a way to play as a Jedi and wield a legendary lightsaber. Period.

Thing is, the game takes the time frame in the SW universe when the Jedi were nearly extinct and still hiding, so forget it. I am saying this because there is a global chat in the game, and 90% of newbies are literally flooding it with “how do I get a lightsaber?”

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Not too cheerful, huh?

There are a few basic customization options for each race – the gender, skin color, facial traits, tattoos, hairstyles and hair color, first and last name. You can also randomize the looks, but once you tap Create, you can only customize the things like tattoo and hair color. You can’t go back and change the gender or race.

You Can Create More Characters, but Will You Want to?

If you want to create another character, you will need to tap Settings and select Change Hero. It will take you to the initial room, where the four species sit in a limbo of sorts. However, to create an additional character, you need to pay 150 white crystals, one of the in-game currencies, the hard to come by. So far, I have created two, and when I have enough crystals I might consider making a human at last, but the case in question is – is it worth it?

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You level up, upgrade and earn XP for each hero on a standalone basis while the leveling up chase is what drives the game forward for the majority of players. Whenever you look to join a faction or a cartel, the entry requirements quite often demand lvl 20, at least.

One of the reasons I created a different hero was to see whether the gameplay would differ much for a female and male hero, of different races. No, it doesn’t. You are just going through the same areas, missions and dialogues again, but with a new skin.

Open Classes

Uprising boasts of something called “open classes,” a system that lets players customize their hero continually. For example, you always start out as a smuggler, but it does not mean you can’t acquire the gear, experience and skills of a bodyguard, enforcer, street punk, or rebel guerilla. Throughout your interactions in between the missions, you will meet the characters with the purple light bulbs above their heads – these offer their skills for sale. Pay in cash and learn something new.

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Skills

Skills come in great variety, but pay attention to what you learn – passive, targeted, directional, self or ultimate. You need to choose carefully because you can take only one skill in each skill class to battle, but you can have many of them in store. Still, it is better to acquire at least one in each class as soon as possible.

Gear

No lightsabers, remember? Not sure the multi-million crowd in the chat will be able to forgive that to Kabam. Your hero gets loot and gear, as well as crew members during the missions. You will see the new equipment as you tap your hero’s icon. Each hero has its own armory.

All gear is of six classes – the helmets, the weapons (guns or swords), the trousers and boots, the gloves, the backpack, and the vest. You equip and unequip them, level up and upgrade with the help of crystals of different colors you earn by playing or salvaging other equipment.

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Selling Equipment

Another questions nearly all of the players ask in the chat is how to sell the items they don’t need. You have to reach level 9 to unlock the “Salvage” feature. It scrapes the stuff you won’t be using into crystals you need to level up the stuff you are wearing. Along with the salvage feature, you unlock the possibility to sell the gear for gold.

Blueprints

The armory is structured so that you can see the gear sets – Enforcer, Guerilla, Smuggler, Stormtrooper, Bodyguard and their different classes. If you collect and upgrade to its max capacity a complete set, you get a blueprint for it. I am not quite sure the purpose of the said blueprint, except for you need it to upgrade your crew members.

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Crew

Uprising lets you recruit other characters. These are not players, but in-game characters you find when playing missions, performing crew runs or trying your luck at supply cranes. This is akin to collecting card in a deck in CCGs. The crew members can be of the same four races, random looks and genders, and skills. You can not predict which characters are where, but you will see them before the mission, in the description as the guaranteed and possible loot.

Once you have your first crew member, you unlock the Crew Runs. These are basically side-quests you don’t play, but send your crew members to complete with the only aim of leveling them up.

You can then upgrade them, provided you have the said blueprints. It’s a long-term commitment.

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Missions

Your smuggler plays in duet with his operator sister, who is always on the other end of line. Lots of dialogues accompanied with nice graphics always bring you to the same end – a couple minutes of a mission that plays and feels like every other mission in this game.

Before the mission in the story mode, you get to choose your skills and gear. The good part is each mission lets you choose the difficulty level based on your XP and hero level, but you get to have the final say which difficulty you choose. So, the game may tell you the mission is risky with your current meager hero level, but you can still take it and beat it.

The difference in the difficulty level is the amount of imperial troopers and odd creatures trying to kill you, and also in the amount and quality of loot you earn afterwards. Don’t ignore the possibility of shooting the vases and crates scattered all over – some contain gold.

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Opportunities

There are daily battles you complete to earn more XP, loot and gold. You can only find them in the public places of the game, like the cantina. Just keep an eye open for random characters with a golden light bulb with stars in it – these offer daily gigs.

There are also Special Battles and Imperial Opportunities, but you can only buy them in exchange for “battle plans.”

There are also cartel opportunities that become available when you join a cartel. Truth be told, the opportunities system is a bit over-complicated, especially considering how these opportunities get unlocked at uneven pace.

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Cartels

The multiplayer part is quite fun, and I strongly recommend you join an accessible cartel. Many of them require at least lvl 20 to join; others screen your stats before accepting, but many are easily approachable and offer just as much fun. Each cartel can have up to 40 players, with a chat channel, logo, name and description.

Multiplayer

Just when you are choosing the mission difficulty and gear set, you can also choose to play the mission with a friend, provided you have befriended someone. Below the difficulty options, in the bottom left corner, you will see an inconspicuous user icon with a plus sign. Tap that to invite a friend to the mission, and provided your friends are online, you can share the battle. Having your friend on board will also let you beat the more difficult modes.

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Factions

As you play the story missions, you unlock Factions, which unite players “by interest.” You earn faction trust points, and it is the faction trainers that sell the special skills.

IAPs

The game has four in-game currencies, as if the above-listed content weren’t enough to keep you sorting out the game’s structure for a few days.

Credits, I call them gold, is the money you earn by completing missions and shooting crates and vases. Credits buy you skill training, gear leveling up and upgrades. Chromium, the white crystals, are premium, and you get them for daily log-ins and crew runs. They are rather hard to come by, so logging in daily becomes a ritual for an avid player. Chromium buys you additional hero slots, revives, supply cranes and battle plans. Requisition Scrip is a ticket you need to draw random boxes from the supply cranes. Faction currency buys you unique faction abilities.

The IAPs come in great variety from $4.99 to $99.99, and if you feel like skipping the grinding part you can as well invest in a Kashyyk pack, but the truth is the game is well balanced to keep you busy hours on end without bumping that paywall. No timers, no stamina. Play all you want. Thank you, Kabam. (Do they read reviews at Kabam, or what?)

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Gameplay

With the missions, opportunities and cartels, as well as the gear micromanagement, you have many tasks on your hands. The bottom line is – the sector missions, the multiplayer, and the opportunities battles all look and play the same. The background and the maps may be different; they may be located on different planets, but the gameplay is the same. Enter a location, shoot the troopers and an occasional boss, collect the crates and boxes, shoot the vases for gold, restore health with the help of the blue containers, finish the mission, claim your reward.

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It is repetitive, and after a while it even gets boring. This is why the gear micromanagement, the supply cranes, the factions, crew runs and cartels exist. They are basically a distraction that tries to conceal the simple fact – the battles are short and lack the variety. The multiplayer does add some fun, provided your friends are online.

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Design, UI

Uprising looks good, at times impressive, but mostly good. We have just played Angel Stonethat was impressive while Uprising is a solid B. The UI is overloaded, and there is no living person who can prove that earning a login reward requires claiming it in the mail section – two separate windows, four taps! The factions, cartels, crew runs, missions, opportunities, multiplayer, gear and armory – you will get used to the structure, but some elements feel unnecessary. The music is SW-like, non-intrusive.

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The Good

  • Story missions
  • Three difficulty modes
  • Opportunities – daily, cartel, imperial, faction
  • Cartels
  • Factions
  • Multiplayer
  • Good design
  • No paywall, at least up to lvl 20 (will update the review if discover otherwise)
  • No stamina, no timers – play all you want, grind all you can, lots of content
  • You can create a character choosing from 4 races, with good customization options
  • Open classes, where each character can learn skills pertaining to other characters and wield their weapons
  • Global chat, cartel chat, chat for friends
  • Extensive maps, where players define which sector gets expanded

The Bad

  • Online mode only, no offline
  • Too many in-game currencies
  • Crowded UI
  • Loading times
  • Android players report loading errors and server errors in multiplayer, I myself experienced a glitch when I was supposed to claim a reward and the game said I already claimed it “on another character,” which I did not
  • Friend and cartel invites are glitchy
  • Missions are repetitive

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SW logoStar Wars™: Uprising

Developer: Kabam
Genre: Role Playing
Price: freemium
Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

The Verdict

A lot of work and thought went into creation of this game, and it has the Star Wars atmosphere and spirit. The artwork is great and animations are fun to watch. There is a lot to do, and with Kabam deciding to make do without timers for upgrades and stamina, the gameplay is enjoyable. As a result, leveling up and grinding is not that tedious, and you can play without paying in real money. As for a game that just launched a week ago, Uprising feels surprisingly complete and polished. Although the Android players complain about the loading times and occasional frame rate drops, I have not experienced these issues. The best part is the multiplayer missions and the cartels that add variety to the somewhat monotonous story mode missions. Down at its core, Uprising is a casual RPG – entertaining, addicting and accessible. It goes well with the competitive folks, the Star Wars fans, the RPG fans and the fans of the simplistic dungeon crawlers à-la Diablo. It is difficult to pass by; it sucks you in; it lets you grow strong and compete. It may not be overly original, but it’s good.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Gameplay
Controls
Design
Replay Value
Difficulty
IAPs
Performance