[Spoiler!] I made a Jedi Knight do see if he is more fun than the sage. This is my review of the first Republic Flashpoint, Esseles.
When I get the mission for Esseles, I am told that there is a fast and dangerous way to where I want to go and a slow but safe one. The fast and dangerous one is the Flashpoint. The slow and safe one is a teleport.
Inside the transport ship (the Esseles), I am contacted by a blue woman. She suspects that an Imperial ship is following us. A few seconds later that ship attacks us and we have to fight security droids to get to the bridge. Pretty bad technology those droids if an attack on our ship makes them turn against us.
Once at the bridge I need to calm down the second-in-command, as the captain was killed by random explosions on the bridge. These ships really need better design and not have the captain sit next to exploding computers. After a little while the Imperial captain contacts us. He doesn't actually want to destroy our ship. At least not just yet. Instead, he wants to capture an ambassador on our ship who turns out to be the blue woman.
During the conversation the Imperial captain tells us that they are right now boarding us and where. I make a quick jump out of immersion and to the meta-level of story telling. It would be absolutely stupid of the Imperial captain to tell us this. It's probably a story telling-tool, just like the fact that the blue woman talked to us in the beginning.
Before I leave the bridge I look through the large windows to see the Imperial ship endlessly fireing weapons at ... I don't know what ..
Anyway, we make our way down to the specified location and defeat four imperials. Somehow we also have to fight Imperials on the way down there. Seems there are a lot more boarding parties, really. Anyway. We reach the location and defeat some boss guy.
Next, the ambassador joins us and tells us that it was a ruse and the real boarding party just captured and sealed off our bridge. I am forced out of immersion and make a meta-level story-telling note to myself: “lol”.
So I was wrong: the hint to go down here wasn't bad story telling. Instead it was a ruse. And one that was so damn obvious that I thought it's a stupid story-telling trick. My character seems to be not very smart. And, by the way, I have already encountered lots and lots of boarding parties ...
We now try to gain control of our ship, the Esseles, back. Sure, there's an Imperial Warship right in front of us and it could destroy us if they wanted, but they want the Ambassador alive, who is with me now. We go to the engineering room to ask for help. There we are told that there are two ways to circumvent the lockdown. The one is to reset the reactor core. But that empties the reactor room with everyone inside into space (don't ask). The other one is to destroy a few electronic devices.
The first one is a dark side option, the second one is a light side one. Honestly, at this point, I have no way to make an educated decision. I need to know how long that second option would take and why speed is important in the first place. Of course we pick the light side option. Who would make a light-side character to then make dark side dialogue choices?
Disabling the electronic devices is very quick. It turns out they were just around the corner, really. We now are on the way to the bridge. There, the second boss, Ironfist, tells us all kind of crap that is supposed to make us feel good and heroic (“I thought your are more”). We then attack him.
After the victory we decide that in order to flee from the Imperial Warship we need to disable the tractor beam. Before we leave, the commanding officer convinces the ambassador to join us because she knows that layout of the Imperial ship. The ambassador agrees. A few seconds later the commanding officer contacts us alone and asks us to leave the ambassador on the Imperial ship because even if we managed to disable the tractor beam, the Imperials would just chase us down again. The only way for the Esseles to escape is to give the Imperials what they want and then flee.
We can decide what to do later. For now we fly over to the Imperial vessel. There is no explanation as to what the Imperial ship does now that they have lost contact with Ironfist. Nobody seems to be afraid that they might destroy our ship. There's also no indication as to how we manage to get our shuttle through the space cannon fire. We are teleported to the Imperial ship.
Now we fight through lots of Imperials at the imperial ship. During the whole time the Imperial Captain uses the comlink to entertain us. He tells us how brave we are, how unexpected, etc. A quick immersion-killing jump to the meta-level of story telling makes me understand that he is just trying to make us feel powerful so that we enjoy EA's game more. At least that's the only explanation I have for this captain chatting with us instead of commandeering his soldiers. The idea that time is important doesn't come up, by the way. We take our time chatting with him.
At no point does anybody fear that the Imperial Captain might now destroy the Esseles - after all he knows that the ambassador is on his ship now. He doesn't need the Esseles anymore. He could destroy our only chance to get away. Be he is too dump to count to three and so are we ...
After many chats and some boss fights the Imperial captain manages to sneak a Sith to our shuttle where our ambassador waited for us. I try to forget that we took the Ambassador with us because she knew the layout of the Imperial ship. We left her at our shuttle alone with a little escort, where her knowledge of the layout of the Imperial vessel seems a bit wasted. whatever.
We kill the Sith just seconds before he ... killed the ambassador? Now that wouldn't make a lot of sense. After all the Imperials wanted her alive. That's why they didn't destroy our ship right away. But then they also don't seem to want to destroy the Esseles anyway. At this point I am waaaay out of immersion. I'm struggling trying to figure out what is the story, what is just the usage of bad story-telling tools and what is a loophole in the story. And how anybody could oversee loopholes the size of the moon.
We kill that Sith and then decide to (surprise) not leave the Ambassador behind. Our shuttle doesn't seem to have any problems getting through the enemy fire and back to our ship: teleport. At no point does my character even consider this flight as being a risk.
Once back on board we activate the engines and off we are. The Imperial ship doesn't do anything against it. They don't even try to destroy us after their tractor beam was disabled. They apparently didn't try to send more boarding parties after the defeat of the first. The idea that they might follow us and capture us again turns out to be wrong, too. As usual, choosing the light side of the force turns out to not have any disadvantages and certainly not the disadvantages that might have made us decide to select the dark side option.
Conclusion: If I accept this as a game and just a game, it's nice. If the story was meant to add anything of value to the game, well, it didn't. Not for me at least.