Star Trek: Legacy Review (PC)

Star Trek has had its ups and downs, particularly in the gaming world. After a longer than normal wait between this and the previous Trek game, I’m sad to say this isn’t an up. But nor is it a down. Disregarding the discussion or whether or not the best type of Star Trek game would be an adventure/rpgish game, of which this is neither by any stretch of the imagination; what we have here is a half-decent 3d space combat game with a well implemented Star Trek theme. The voice acting cast, and quality therefore, is most impressive as Bethesda have managed to acquire the vocal input of every major captain from Kirk to Archer; whist constructing a mainline story which reaches from the very foundation of the federation, to the Borg-driven swan song of the next generation.

Good ole NCC-1701A – constitution class star-ship dontcha know
And this would be Admiral Piccard’s final vessel. “Sovereign” class… apparently

You start the main game as Captain Archer (Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap/Enterprise) and your mission is a seemingly innocent task involving a Vulcan research scientist. Obviously all is not what it seems, and then onwards from mission to mission the mysteries sprouting from this beginning are followed through the various ages of Star Trek - Captains Archer, Kirk (hurrah!), Picard, Cisco and Janeway all have a place within the lifespan of the campaign. As I mentioned briefly before, the voice acting is pretty top-notch. William Shatner seems to briefly forget how to do Kirk’s voice during his first appearance in the game, but he soon turns on the style.

The primary gameplay is centred on space orientated combat. In the campaign mode you typically assume the role of the USS Enterprise, with the possibility of having up to three other ships simultaneously under your command within your fleet. Move and attack orders can be issued from an overhead map screen – which can be frustratingly inadequate due to the 3d nature of space and the 2d deficiencies of a flat map and the tenuous AI of the rest of your fleet – or control of any ship can be assumed directly in a sort-of 3rd person style view. The controls and camera angles are somewhat annoying and difficult at first; and because the game is worryingly short, by the time you get the hang of them you’re about a third of the way through the main campaign.

The top down map screen, which fails to account for the Z vector of space
How come the supposedly peaceful federation always seems to have the forceful upper-hand on the “war-like” races

The combat system has given the player some room for tactical scope. Phasers are better used to take down shields, and generally lock to their target more effectively if fired while your ship is facing the enemy; whereas photon torpedoes are much more effective against an unshielded hull and they typically lock on better at greater distances. Also, ships have a faster turning circle at lower speeds, and therefore fleeing an enemy must be weighed against the need for evasive manoeuvres. The energy distribution between shields, engines and weapons can be at any time instantaneously set to your liking; which allows various quick-hit or shielded retreat star-ship configurations.

Game elements such as scanning planets, hailing ships, and beaming capture squads on to defenceless stations are present, but they are barely on the edge of implementation, and if anything they can be considered an after-thought adding nothing more than pseudo-depth to the single player campaign.

Throughout the main campaign you acquire command points for completing primary and secondary objectives. These points can then be used to purchase the other 1-3 ships within your fleet. The list of ships available for purchase expands and develops as you progress through the time-line of the campaign, and old ships which you’ve maintained from previous ages can be decommissioned to be replaced with the newer models.

The game’s main story line *is* pretty good; but my very fascination with it is just the kind of Star Trek element making me wish this was more than just a space combat simulator. If perhaps the gameplay discussed so far as only half of the actual game, and we also had access to an immensely fascinating third person adventure game which kicks in when you beam down on to planets, then it’s possible Star Trek Legacy would be aiming for much higher prestige.

Graphics wise we’re looking at fairly standard stuff considering the outstanding heights reached by next-gen games these days. There’s nothing really special about the graphics here.
Planets look fairly pathetic if you fly too close, and the star-ship explosions are nothing special.

The pitiful Borg are no match for mighty Klingon battleships – Ka-Plar! Or whatever
Didn’t get to see too many of these babies in the TV series, they look pretty cool though

This is one just for the big Star Trek fans. The average gamer is unlikely to maintain interest for too long; especially given the main campaign has a completion time of around 10 hours. The game comes with a network multiplayer mode, but given the lack of strategic elements within the game that really doesn’t count for much.

Top Game Moment:
Indulging in long term treky nostalgia.

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