A long time ago, at a phone company somewhere near you, someone saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming a mile away and saw a dollar sign above their head. I exaggerate, of course. It’s a perfectly acceptable reality that money is simply what makes this game industry of ours go round. What’s not is the headache of boredom that Star Wars: Uprising induces after thirty hours of playtime and that’s a shame.
At its heart, Uprising is the perfect pop-up ad for a Star Wars story. Set some time after the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Uprising tells us that Galactic Empire has managed to keep secret its defeat at the hands of the Rebels at Endor and set up an Iron Blockade of starships separating its citizens from the outside galaxy. Amidst this new paradigm shift, the Rebels have turned to other means of harassing Imperial targets, including the scum and villainy of the underworld like you.
Uprising has a decent pile of fiction to work with. The character creator is basic at best, with Human, Zabrak, and Twi’lek body types as and a variety of drab costumes and modestly-powered weapons to choose from. As the errand boy or girl for the outrageously named smuggling kingpin “Happy Dapp,” you find yourself performing an endless series of pickups for the Rebels or just yourself retrieving ship parts or code breakers while on some vague mission to liberate the Anoat sector from its resident Moff Adelhard. In what never amounts to much more than minimal dialogue and cheesy one-liners, Uprising is a skeleton of a story hung in a closet of Star Wars canon that’s likely already been forgotten by its writers.
Developed by Kabam Games, the maker of Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon and Kings of Camelot, Uprising is designed as a top-down MMORPG in the manner of a poor man’s Diablo clone. You’ve got your loot, you’ve got your crafting, you’ve got your character classes, all in a rather rich universe. Yet none of it ever feels like more than a thin coating of a game. At its various difficulties, its uninvolved combat devolves trading blaster fire with wandering enemies that will either squash you if you’re not leveled up enough or just pure tedium of mowing through grunts to the “Finish” icon.
That Star Wars: Uprising is theoretically repayable doesn’t in itself demand that it be fun to replay. While a faithful week of logins will net you a steady stream of credits, weaponry, and special items, few if any of it is more than generic stat-boosting paraphernalia. For every desolate planet the plot takes you to, from Bespin to Hoth, you get nothing more than a montage of shooting barrels, unlocking doors, and shooting the same stormtrooper over and over again. Boss battles result in some appealing alien designs like a serpentine Hutt guard droid, but even these grow tiresome in your third encounter.
On some level, Uprising would be genuinely ambitious for its chosen platform if it was interested in killing more than mere time. It works just fine on i0S and has none of the notorious slow-downs or logouts of its peers. Yet that’s likely due to the fact that minimal amount of action happening onscreen. Its online missions attempt broadens the scale of its universe, allowing you to join up with your friends to form factions and fight enemy waves together or send out your allies on money-making missions Assassin’s Creed-style. These extend your investment somewhat, but without any skill-heavy battles, the whole affair demands any real players over in-game AI.
Only so many weeks before The Force Awakens, I can’t imagine how long Star Wars: Uprising will be able to ration its welcome among even the biggest, most bored Star Wars enthusiast. Even for the very low cost of free, it isn’t worth the time, the effort, or the storage space it takes to realize you could’ve scrolled through The Wookiepedia and tapped your monitor repeatedly for the same asking price.