SPOILER WARNING: Minor ‘Crisis on Umbara’ and The Clone Wars ‘Darkness on Umbara’ Episode Arc spoilers.
Most of you who have been following me on Twitter or have read some of my articles recently will know that I have been incredibly excited to see a Clone Wars planet in Star Wars The Old Republic. While Umbara was sadly only featured in the Flashpoint, ‘Crisis on Umbara’ and was not a full fledged planet like I was hoping it would be, it still had some TCW nostalgia.
So what was Umbara like in SWTOR compared to the TCW? Let’s take a closer look.
The Atmosphere and Feel
Umbara in SWTOR honestly didn’t have that same dark, mysterious feel that it has in TWC. Umbara is SWTOR is bright and airy compared to TCW Umbara. The Clones had a hard time seeing on Umbara at times that’s how dark it was. Not to mention the fog. There was very little fog in SWTOR. In the comparison shots below, you can see just how dark and foggy Umbara is in TCW while in SWTOR, there is barely any fog at all and it’s not that dark. You can faintly discern some fog while you are on the Train before it crashes but there is none while you are walking around on the surface chasing the Traitor (Click on images to enlarge).
If I could hazard a guess as to why Umbara was so bright in SWTOR it might be a graphics/game engine issue? Maybe they can’t go too dark or have much fog because they can’t? I honestly have no idea about how the graphics and game engine work so it’s just speculation to explain why they didn’t make the planet doesn’t look quite the same as it did in TCW.
The comparisons above lead on into our next topic. In TCW screencap, you can see the fog on the ground and the plants towering above. In the SWTOR screenshot, there is no fog on the ground and you can even see the sky. The lack of fog is just odd considering that no matter where the Clones were throughout all the episodes in the Arc, there was almost always fog.
Landscape and Plant Life
As the ‘Darkness on Umbara‘ Arc proceeds and the Clones make their way through the wilds of Umbara, the landscape changes. Where we are in SWTOR most closely resembles the area where the Clones land on Umbara in the Episode ‘Darkness on Umbara’. There is minimal plant life in this area, compared to the rest of the episodes in the Arc, (probably why it was chosen as a landing site in the first place). The landscape when we are on the Train is quite flat but where the train crashes, the landscape is elevated and varied. This is similar to how where the Clones landed is fairly flat but, they are quickly met with the elevated terrain as they fight through the Umbarans defending the way to the Capital.
The Plant Life (especially the pink plants) are pretty much spot on with what we saw in TCW (except for the colouring but that’s probably a graphics/style thing). The only thing missing from the pink plants was the subtle pulsing effect they had in TCW. We don’t see many of tree like red plants but we get more of the red vine plants that grow around the pink plants. The red tree like plants that we do see look a little different to how they looked in TCW.
There are a few hostile wildlife species we come across in the Flashpoint. But only one of these species also appears in TCW (click on the image to enlarge).
You fight some swarms of Banshees as you make your way through the Flashpoint in SWTOR. In TCW episode ‘Darkness on Umbara’, a couple of Banshees swarm the Clones as they’re making their way to the Capital. They are seen several times throughout the Arc basically acting like Vultures.
None of the other creatures seen in the Flashpoint appear in TCW. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t any Vixus.
Yes, there are Umbaran soldiers and even some Umbaran Force Users we come across as enemies in the Flashpoint. However, there are some inconsistencies with TCW. Umbarans have to wear helmets as the air is toxic to them (but not for most other sentient species). For the most part, the Umbaran soldiers in SWTOR wore helmets, however, the force users and the Boss Technician Canni (who is not force sensitive) did not wear helmets. This struck me as quite odd.
While perhaps there is a way for force user Umbarans to be able to breathe despite the toxic air (perhaps a force technique, I know I’m grasping at straws here), Technician Canni should have had a helmet on. There is no evidence of alternate apparatus on him that would enable him to breathe.
While we didn’t see much Umbaran Technology (compared to the variety we see in TCW) what we did see looked somewhat similar to TCW. The only technologies we really see are their Weapons, used by the Soldiers and their Fighters which are seen flying over the Train escorting it.
While the Weapons certainly don’t look quite the same (as seen in the comparison images above) the Fighters look fairly similar to what we see in TCW.
Sadly we can only see the Fighters from a distance in SWTOR. This was the best screenshot I could get (below).
One last thing I wanted to bring up was the traps on the train in the first part of the Flashpoint. They are a nice homage to the traps on the highway to the Capital the Clones had to deal with when General Krell forces them to march on the main road in a frontal assault (which goes badly).
While there are some inconsistencies, I reckon the SWTOR Developers did a pretty good job of recreating Umbara in SWTOR within the confines of the game. We also have to keep in mind the long time period between SWTOR and TCW (ignoring the whole cannon thing) when considering these various elements. While some things change with time we know also that a lot of things don’t change that much with time in the Star Wars universe.
Hopefully, in the future, we will see more planets from TCW or even from the newer Star Wars movies and Rebels in SWTOR. I’d love to see Scarif in particular!
What did you think of Umbara in SWTOR? Do you think the Devs did a decent job recreating it? What planet from the Star Wars Universe would you like to see next in SWTOR?