Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Star Wars: The Old Republic class storyline for the Jedi Consular. If you would like a spoiler-free summary of the second chapter, please look here. You have been warned.
With the Jedi Order saved from the threat of the Dark Plague, it’s time for you to get a new job to save the day. Namely, it’s time to play Star Trek and escort a bunch of diplomats around the galaxy to convince them not to break away from the Republic. Not even joking. Meet the Rift Alliance, a coalition of worlds that are thinking of leaving the Republic because they feel neglected and their needs ignored by the senate. These worlds include but are not limited to places like Manaan and Balmorra. Although I don’t think Balmorra is a Republic world actually. However it is funny to see the Manaan representative make mention of the ecological nightmare left on his planet after the events of Knights of the Old Republic. That made me giggle. But I’m getting a head of myself here. Before you get to hang out with the representatives, you have to save them.
See they were all on this big party ship that they were going to use as a base camp while working with you, but it got hijacked by the Empire! So you have to fight your way to save them. After that, it’s decided that they’d be much safer on your ship than the party boat. Which, okay, kind of makes sense. But my ship doesn’t even have enough beds for my crew, let alone the rest of these people. So… I hope the chairs are comfy?
The first stop on our “fix the galaxy” tour is Balmorra. Essentially the mission is to put the representative from Balmorra in charge of the planet, and in exchange he will make sure that Balmorra joins the Republic. So it’s NOT part of the Republic at the moment. In order to change things over, we need to find the old president and have him pass over the authority to the representative. Because that’s apparently how presidents work now. No elections, just point a finger and say “Tag, you’re it!”
The real issue is that the now currently in charge Sith overlords have got the president in hiding somewhere, and that’s where I come in. Well, me and the rebellious revolutionary known only as Zenith. Zenith is a jaded freedom fighter, and I don’t much blame him considering the history of Balmorra: abandoned by the Republic and handed over to the Sith, and depending on what happened during the Imperial storyline their unofficial support from the Republic Military not only pulled out but also publicly confessed ensuring no future support. Yea, I’d have a chip on my shoulder too.
You pretty much spend most of the planet playing back up for Zenith in an effort to track down and save the president. Fortunately, you are a bad enough dude or dudette to do so. Downside, President is being guarded by Darth Lachris, the sadistic Sith you met at the end of the Imperial Balmorra storyline (Yes, this is what happens to her). Upside, you get to kill a Sith! More downside, she royally messed up the President’s brain so he can’t do anything even if you save him. This leads to the somewhat disturbing option of using the president like a meat puppet to pass the torch of leadership. It’s cruel, unethical, and I did it in a heartbeat. What? My job was to get a new president for Balmorra, not to make sure the old one lived to a ripe old age.
Quesh is the usual short single mission that really isn’t worth talking about usually. This one does set up some important plot threads for later, so that’s a step up from the Trooper. The gist is that the Rift Alliance had a secret science lab on Quesh that they totally didn’t mean to neglect telling you about but oh by the way the Imperials are attacking it and it has some superpowerful tech hidden there please oh god fix it. The super tech in the lab really doesn’t do much except offer you a choice of how they develop it. Maybe this comes up in Chapter 3? I don’t know. So far all it did was get me a piece of mail with a severely under level blue quality companion gift.
What Quesh does introduce is two ideas: the first is that a tracking device was found on your ship, which means that you might have a spy on board. This is actually a great diplomatic conundrum. Do you tell the diplomats – one of which may be the spy – and diminish their already low opinion of the Republic’s ability to keep its house in order, or do you keep it quiet and risk worse damage being done by the spy as you try to figure out who it is without letting the others on. I actually really liked that twist. Sadly it doesn’t last long as we’ll see.
The other thing that happens is that we see Nadia Grell, daughter of one of the diplomats, join you on a mission and display an impressive use of Force power. Yes, it appears that little Nadia is a force sensitive and a powerful one at that. Nothing comes of that immediately, but it does come up more later that I can promise you.
Your final job for the Rift Alliance is to help a team of their soldiers finish their job and back on their way home. A task the Republic troops on Hoth have been most unhelpful in completing (Of course, the troops on Hoth just got hit by a surprise attack that knocked out their power, are getting cornered by pirates and Imperials, and are seeking a powerful weapon to use to help win the war. But taking care of the one squad of Rift troops that wanna leave the cold planet while they’re stuck there? Not a big priority shockingly.) The job is to kill one Captain Valon, a two bit pirate who was attacking the Rift Alliance’s shipping routes that has suddenly become a lot more problematic. See, the word on the street is: Valon is immortal. Yup. Can’t kill him. Why even try? And these poor guys are stuck on the ice ball until the Immortal Pirate is dead. Wow. Sucky job.
Of course, one quick smack around from a Jedi and the jobs done right? Sadly, no. While the rest of the team is often getting ready to celebrate leaving, you get a message proving that while you did seemingly kill the man and leave him cold and lifeless on the floor, he is still alive and kicking. It’s up to you know to figure out putting him in his grave. Luckily, you find out that the Empire is after Valon as well. Something about stealing an experimental healing armor? No… you don’t think… I see. Well, time to bust up a lab for answers. And after ransacking and pillaging the Empire for some sweet sweet secrets, you find out that yea it’s the armor that keeps him coming back. You also find out that Valon’s plan is to raise a massive star ship from the ship graveyard and use it as his new flagship as the future immortal pirate leader of the White Maw. (Aaaand he might be searching for One Piece. Maybe. No clue. But hey, it gives us an excuse to rap on the way! Ready Qyzen?)
Ultimately, you find the pirate, use the secret technique of ‘Keep killing him until he stays dead’, and you and the troops get to leave this Popsicle stand. Afterward, you get a new crewmember! Lt. Felix Iresso has joined the brawl! I’d love to tell you all about Felix but so far at least, he’s a bit of a cardboard cut out. Seriously, the guy doesn’t have any really stand out-ish qualities while you talk to him on Hoth beyond he is willing to straight up lie to his men if it means not destroying morale. Beyond that, he’s a soldier aaaand that’s about it. I mean, he seems like there’s definitely some backstory stuff that I’m sure to get into as I keep shoving gifts into his face. He seems perfectly happy to leave the military behind to sign on with you. But that’s it. Kind of a weak sauce companion compared to the fairly strong personalities we’ve met so far.
The finale is short. Like seriously short. You finally track down which of the diplomats is the traitor/spy/guy who keeps stealing the cable, but oh no! He was JUST sent off on an important diplomatic mission with Royalty! I sure hope that hi jinks don’t ensue. To make a long story short, everyone’s dead when you show up. You just walk through the ship littered with dead bodies until you find the King and Queen of WePaintsOurFaces-vania with the traitor diplomat who to the shock of no one is actually a Sith. Dun dun yea yea. More importantly, he is one of the Children of the Emperor. Ah, now that IS different. You fight, you win, you save the King and Queen. And that’s it. The finale is seriously just that one fight. Well, two if you kill the bonus gold star robot boss trapped behind a door. But it does set up the next leg of the journey with the introduction with the Children of the Emperor. I do wonder if Miss Kira Carsen will be showing up for cameo?
The second chapter of the Jedi Consular story is a lot of set up for whats to come it seems. The whole traitor thing REALLY doesn’t get played up to its full potential, and it really could have been something great. With diplomats constantly pushing for more info, the risk high of angering them and the Rift Alliance continually looking for a reason to abandon the Republic that, quite frankly, they owe nothing. Instead, the diplomats are grumpy but mostly content to just sit around, give you your space, be polite in the face of whatever happens. It’s not a catastrophic let down because I really do dig the whole political angle of the Jedi being explored, so I would definitely rate it above something like Trooper Chapter 2, but it really could have been something amazing but became satisfied with being meh.
Our new companions feel like two variations of the same archetype. Both Zenith and Felix are soldiers, but while one seems worn out and just wants to be done, the other is super jaded from broken promises. Still, recruiting them back to back just makes the comparisons even more startling. Especially since Zenith is introduced with so much more character and gusto than Felix. Almost like they blew all their cool ideas with Zenith and had nothing left for Lt. Iresso.
In the end, Chapter Two decides to just settle with doing what it does. It doesn’t strive for amazing, it doesn’t break down into terrible or tedious – it just is. Which is a shame. It really did have potential. But the whole thing still hasn’t lived up to the horrendously boring snoozefest I’ve heard it claimed to be on the forums. So who knows what awaits us beyond in Chapter 3. I mean, besides the Children of the Emperor. (OH YEA!)