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 third chapter, please look here. You have been warned.
(Sorry, no new photos this time. I did Chapter Three on vacation so I didn’t remember to screen cap any on the laptop.)
So a little bit of a recap, the consular has just spent 10 whole levels sucking up to the Rift Alliance, a group of whiny planets that want stuff. At the end of the whole thing, you find out that one of the representatives is not only a traitor but an imperial sleeper agent known as a Child of the Emperor. There’s apparently lots of these people out there. Who knows how many! But I’ve got a hunch that we’ll meet probably about oh… one per planet? Just a hunch. But to fight this mysterious new menace, we need a mysterious new army. So for that, it’s up to Jedi Consular and the Rift Alliance (Worst band name ever.) to gather strange and powerful new allies to help fight the Empire.
To do that, we need to figure out a heading. The first clue is actually back on Hoth. Funny, I thought we just left Hoth. I was pretty sure I mentioned something about never wanting to go to Hoth ever again. I distinctly remember Kill-It Felix agreeing with me. Yet, here we are. Blowing up a small ice cavern to unearth an ancient Rakata roadmap. Okay, it’s like one of those mind trapped sentience thingies, but come on, all it’s there for is to give directions. And to lie to. I lied to it A LOT. Which points us to…
Oh. Shocker. The next planet on the narrow linear leveling path of planets. Honestly, would it have been that much effort to mix things up a little bit? Like do Belsavis or Voss in whatever order you choose, and then follow it with Corellia? Honestly. Darn leveling system. Anyway, yea. There’s a great and powerful army you are seeking to recruit on Belsavis. They are called the Esh-Kaaaa WAIT A MINUTE. NO! I know the Esh-Ka. I’ve had them shoot at me constantly, and try to kill me, and break out of their prisons and try to conquer the galaxy. In fact, about half of what the Republic does on this planet is try to seal that can of evil back up. Including in the bonus series! And we want to recruit them? Oh but wait a minute. These are different Esh-Ka. Nice ones, that totally didn’t deserve to be locked away for millennia. Well… that changes things. I’m still suspicious.
So you’re first task is to find this military dude who knows more about the deep vaults than anyone, but when you go to find him every member of his squad is dead. In fact, everyone but him is present and dead. Apparently this was triggered by his assistant back at base camp telling him that a Jedi was coming to find him. Hmm. An evil Esh-Ka defector? Brainwashed by Esh-ka?! WHAT ELSE COULD IT- Oh, he’s a Child of the Emperor. That didn’t stay a mystery for long. Now begins a long cat and mouse game across the planet, where the Child of the Emperor has control of all the security systems, cameras, and can send waves of droids after you (if people had this level of control over Belsavis, why is there a prison riot again?) Luckily you get aid from some unknown voice that instructs you in ways to bypass the security and to lock out the Emperor’s Kidz so that you can find the “good” Esh-ka.
Now, I say ‘unknown voice’ but if you’ve been playing this far you should have bumped into the Imprisoned One on Tatooine, and if you put two and two together you will quickly realized from the sound of the voice and the alien dialect that you’re talking to a Rakata the entire time. Apparently, this Rakata regrets imprisoning the ‘Good’ Esh-ka, and wants to help you free them while helping you kill the bad Esh-ka. Not that I honestly think the Rakata are deserving of a ton of trust, every one thus far has been a psycho trying to resurrect the Infinite Empire a few thousand years too late. But I don’t really have a choice here.
The story ends with you freeing the good Esh-ka who then immediately ditch you so you have to fight a Child of the Emperor aall by yourself. Well, not just the Child of the Emperor, the gold level Child and two silver level mobs backing him up. Unfair! Really, your only hope is to CC the Child and kill the two silvers, try to heal up and then finish off the Child. This of course leads to freeing the leader of the Good Esh-Ka who has some weird name like “Deep Throat” or something. I’m just gonna call him that. And he actually wants to help you out. Well that’s nice. My eyes are on you buddy.
A brief interlude comes when you discovered upon leaving Belsavis that Senator Grell… HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED! Now you and Nadia (She demands to come, not shocked, it’s her dad.) must board the kidnappers vessel – tracked down by Theran and Holiday because they are insanely awesome like that – and save her dad! The kidnapper it turns out is NOT a Child of the Emperor. No, it’s some creepy former Sith who did or said something and got his brain wiped. No name, no memories, no emotion. (My guess is that he was a mage. That’s a Dragon Age joke, folks.) He hopes by screwing with you he can earn his memories back. He is wrong, as I just kill him. Sadly, you aren’t ever fast enough to stop the death of Senator Grell, who apparently spilled the beans on everything you were doing.
The interlude ends with the Jedi Council reading the senator’s will. For some reason. I honestly haven’t a clue why the Jedi had his will. Are Jedi also notaries? Anyway, apparently the will was made fairly recently as it asks that Nadia be made a padawan and you be her master. Well, it only took an extra 28 levels, but hey sweet fetish fuel has arrived for the Consular too! Also, again, we have someone being made a padawan of yours solely by virtue of “Oh, okay, sure. Whatever.” Nadia doesn’t even have to train on Tython, or do her Youngling warm up excercises, or anything. She’s a Jedi now. You’re in charge. Bye. Screw you, Master Syo Bakarn. I hope you die.
The next crazy ally you get is the Voss. Yes, you heard me. You are going to recruit the Voss. I won’t go nearly in depth on this one because honestly, this is the most chores you’ve ever done since the Great McGuffin Hunt of the Prologue. You essentially are tasked with making sure a potential Voss mystic goes through his trials correctly and safely, and then you can recruit him and his entire entourage into your galactic war. Wait. Why does this not sound like it’s going to work?
You do everything from run around and gather stones, perform dangerous healing rituals to keep your lemming of a Voss alive, and kill any and every little thing in his way to have a vision. Which time and time again he fails to have. He just fails, then asks to be taken someplace else where he might have one. While it’s not the most annoying mission you have to do as a Consular, it really feels like babysitting a complete n00b.
Really, the payoff comes at the very end. Because while you have had run ins with Imperials and Sith here and there, you never bump into a Child of the Emperor. Not once. Until the end, when it is revealed that the diplomat that sent you to find the Voss wannabe is the Child of the Emperor. She sent you to essentially prep the Vossling and then when he was ready, she’d swoop in, kill you and take the freshly awakened mystic for the Sith. That. is. BRILLIANT. No, seriously. This is probably the smartest villain in the entirety of the Consular storyline. She actually uses you to get what she wants, and you never suspect her for a moment. Honestly, a lot of these ‘hiding’ in plain sight villains are pretty easy to spot early (Bounty Hunter Chapter One, we will be getting to you soon.) But I was floored by this one. I didn’t even appreciate it until way after and was looking back at everything that happened. I WISH the Inquisitor story was more like this. Sadly, her plan fails. She didn’t account for one thing: Me killing her. Twice the pride, eh?
So you get the Voss mystic, his team of Voss healers, and a squad of elite Voss commandos (I assume they’re like Asari commandos) and they’re all on your ship and joining you on your mission to defeat the Sith and protect the Republic. Hooray! Wait. Aren’t the Voss neutral? Likely, ridiculously neutral to the point of absurdity? Doesn’t this violate that? I mean, they say that the Voss will study the light and the dark and see both sides. That’s nice. YOU ARE HELPING ME KILL THE OTHER TEAM. You have officially picked a side now. Debate over. You fight for the Republic. Or is this somehow not registering through your bald blue heads? GAH!
The second interlude is an attempt to take over an Imperial flagship descending on Corellia. If you and your crack squad can take over that ship, you will gain powerful intelligence on what the Imperials are after (It’s the Bastion) and stop them from succeeding (You can’t. They’re in the Bastion already.) The whole thing is yet another giant ship to fight through, but luckily way less tedious than the one in the first act. You work with your companions who hack doors, disable canons, and sabotage alarms. And I really hate to say it, but they do it way better than the Trooper squad handled the Gauntlet in the Chapter 2 finale. However, unlike the Trooper story, this thing actually turns out to be a giant trap. Yea, you get to the bridge to find a droid who simply explains that the ship is rigged to blow for the sole purpose of removing you and your team from the picture.
At that point, the tone switches to you and your team trying to disable the bombs. You get a few of them, and your team goes after the others that are near them but in the end there are too many bombs and no time to turn them all off. So you all book it off the ship, except Nadia. Nadia has found a computer with all the data that might reveal the identity of the First Son, the leader of the Children. So no matter what you say to her, she will stay to get that data. She’s not stupid however, as she does take an escape pod off the ship before it blows and falls to Corellia below.
You stand at the end of the interlude with no ship, no defeated Sith, and down one padawan. It’s kind of a loss. Which actually can be mirrored in some of the choices in dialogue. Your crew is actively worried about Nadia being trapped on a war torn planet. It’s actually pretty well done tonally. There’s even some nice dialogue if you demand to pursue Nadia at any cost that Theran talks to you about trying to get her back. Which makes sense because if you do the companion conversations, Nadia is pretty friendly with Theran.
Corellia starts pretty much with the search for Nadia. You are able to find a smuggler? Freedom fighter? Hacker? A person in a vest that can help you find her in exchange for some favors. It’s a classic scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours scenario but I like how once he gives you the coordinates to find Nadia – deep in Imperial controlled territory – he asks you for one more favor and you can totally blow him off. YES! I’ve wanted to do that for ages in this game. Best class storyline ever! I CAN SAY NO AND NOT GET RAILROADED! Nadia’s still holed up in her escape pod and very week, luckily your favors have earned the help of the Selonians (Ferret people) who help you get Nadia out and back to health. She does have the data that reveals the identity of the First Son, but it requires the Jedi Library to decrypt. Luckily, and somewhat shockingly, you can just go to the Jedi Library website from anywhere in the galaxy and get whatever you need. So finally we get the revelation of who the First Son truly is…
Master Syo Bakarn.
Oh. Oh snap. Uh. You mean that guy who has been helping us since like level 1? Damn. That’s brilliant. Seriously, right on the heels of that great twist you get another sort of just as great one. Hear me out. The trick to this whole thing is that Master Syo doesn’t KNOW he’s the First Son. He’s a sleeper agent, only activated when his First Son persona chooses to manifest itself and Syo has no idea what happens during that time. So it’s less OMGSECRETZPLOT! and more OHCRAPHEZOURD00D! Still, it’s a surprising turn that does carry a weight. This is an NPC that has been part of your story for 50 levels. I really wonder how much he was actually behind. Believe me when I say this revelation has confirmed at least a second play-through of this class just to see. But now that the cat is out of the bag, The First Son springs his plan into action. Activating Children of the Emperor hand picked and placed across Corellia by Syo to take over the super secure bunkers called Guardian Holds that Syo was in charge of protecting for the Republic.
So now the Sith have control of the most secure bunkers from which they can hold Corellia indefinitely. So it falls to the best one for the job, the Jedi Consular, to take back the Guardian Holds with his army of Voss, Esh-Ka, and crew. And that’s pretty much what the rest of the planet is. Go to a sector of the city, find a way into the guardian hold there, and remove the Child of the Emperor in charge. I mean, yea there are some moral issues when you are fighting people who had been loyal to the Republic and/or Jedi for years now suddenly switched to evil by a glowy red eyed puppetmaster. Which leads to obligatory Light Side/Dark Side choice of trying to save them or just killing them. While I was pretty dark side for this part so I killed them all, I am really curious how one actually saves these guys. I mean, the were given a piece of the Emperor where they were infants. They are ingrained with loyalty to him. How do you break that? Well, that’s my second play-through to find out.
You finally get to the end of the road, the final guardian hold, and from there you are treated to a showdown with the First Son himself. Master Syo is no more, it is only evil that stands before you. And oh man is this a great showdown that will test your ability to interrupt, LOS, and keep up heals in order to take down your foe. Mostly I just busted out Theran. Even in lower level gear, he was able to keep me going while I pummeled Syo down with rocks. Speaking of rocks, he does a giant rock drop where he caves in the ceiling and you must interrupt it or instant KO. After words, you can shield Syo or kill him. And if you choose to kill him, like I did. You don’t even get the final blow. He actually comes back at you and you knock him away in to the wall causing a giant rock to crush him. What kind of Disney Death is that?
Well, much like the trooper, the story actually wraps up on Corellia. With the First Son defeated, you are pretty much done. You get invited back to Coruscant where you meet the new Supreme Chancellor (Former Governor) Saresh, and for the first time in any of the Republic stories, it actually makes mention that she is indeed newly elected and that something happened that forced them to elect a new Chancellor. They don’t say what that is, but I’m sure we’ll found out in one of these reviews. Still I like the fact that SOMEONE acknowledges the fact that the Supreme Chancellor for 1-49 is not the same as the one you meet at level 50, cause the trooper doesn’t bat an eye, the Jedi Knight shrugs it off, and the Smuggler probably doesn’t know what a Supreme Chancellor is.
You get a big award ceremony at the end too. But unlike the one for the Jedi Knight or Trooper, here you can totally milk the Republic for stuff for your allies. Esh-ka want a planet? Yo, Saresh. Give them a planet! Oh hey, Voss dudes wanna train with Jedi. I don’t care if you are uneasy with it, Satele. Did you just save the Republic? Let them in. It was a nice moment where you and your crew essentially get whatever they want from the Republic. But you know what they SHOULD have asked for? To not pay taxes again. Ever.
So was the Jedi Consular story the KOTOR3 we never got? Or was it the boring slogfest that forum dwellers claim? Well, the answer is the classic ‘Neither’. Honestly, the Consular story more than any other requires time to get the most out of it. It can seem like a boring slogfest at first, and really it’s not until the end of Chapter One that it all starts to come together and become interesting. If I had only played the first 15 levels? Oh Yoda, I would have dropped the class faster than Physical Education. But I stuck it out, and honestly I’m glad I did. It has a sense of completeness by the end, where it actually feels like every part – not just the last chapter or so – was a vital piece of the conclusion. The Noetikons, the shielding technique, the Rift Alliance, and the Children of the Emperor all came together in a glorious symphony at the end. But up until that conclusion, you could see it as very hit and miss.
In terms of light or dark choices, they were all pretty much what you expected for a Jedi. You have more than enough reasons to kill most of the people, but do you overcome that and show them forgiveness because they are not themselves. And really that’s the best way to summarize the Consular story. It’s a tale of enlightenment and overcoming our passions and baser instincts to become something more. Killing the Jedi in Chapter One is justified and full of anger by those who had suffered at the hands of their mind controlled friends or leaders, but we can shield them and overcome that hate. The Rift Alliance’s own desires and wants come before the needs of the Republic, but they find by working with and through the Republic they get everything they wanted and more. Looking past the uncertainty and threats of the Esh-Ka and Voss give rise to a powerful army, the Rakata want to make amends to the Esh-ka, you can overcome the betrayals and welcome back to the light all those who were tainted by darkness. On the flip side, the story can be just as much about the accumulation of power. Taking out other Jedi to secure a more prominent position for yourself, manipulating the wants of the Rift Alliance to make them indebted to you, building an army that answers to you alone and crushing those who would think to betray you.
So would I recommend this story? Yea. It had enough for me to merit a second play through, I’d say it’s worth it to try it once. It’s a slog at the start, but once you get into the thick of the Dark Plague arc, it starts picking up. I’d especially recommend it for fans of shows like Star Trek or Babylon-5, as the diplomatic parts of Chapters Two and Three really seem to share a similar vibe with shows like those. Anyway, that’s it for the Consular. Whenever I finish up my light side character I might come back for one more post about it from the other side of things. Until then, May the Force Be With You.