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Star Trek: Legacy

Score: 68%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Mad Doc Software
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Action/ Simulation/ Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Star Trek: Legacy is brought to us by Bethesda and Mad Doc Software, and tries to uphold the proud tradition of the Star Trek franchise. Personally, I am a pretty big Trek fan myself, bordering on the term “Trekkie”, but since I haven’t gone to any conventions, nor do I own any William Shatner autographs, I guess I can’t claim that status just yet…

Graphically, the attention to detail to the over 75 enemy and friendly vessels is pretty solid. The classic, low-tech designs of the early models, to the supped up Enterprise-D, pay accurate tribute to these awesome ships. Each tiny window, insignia, marking and more is painstakingly recreated. They also show wear and tear of space combat, leaving chunks of floating debris strewn about, as well as impressive explosions that cause even more space junk. The weapons effects follow suit, with some excellent rendering of photon torpedoes, disruptor blasts and more, scarring your ship's exterior. The galaxies never looked better either, with sparking auras, spectacular nebulae and the vast blackness of space enveloping all. There is nothing quite like the void of space to bring home the fact of how tiny we are here on planet Earth, overshadowed by the infinite universe beyond. There are a few clipping issues concerning explosions and ships coming into contact, but these aren’t a big deal considering the whole package.

Sound wise, this is another strong area. Patrick Stewart (my favorite captain Picard) and William Shatner (Kirk), Scott Bakula (Archer), Avery Brooks (Sisko) and Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) all lend their voices. This is quite the eclectic cast, from all 5 series - pretty impressive to wrangle up all these stars for this project. Noted Star Trek author D.C. Fontana also pens the script, but comes up a little short in this effort. Some of the dialogue just sounds off, a little corny, and crams in a lot of information haphazardly. This isn’t exactly a noob friendly environment with some of the subject material. Beyond the voice talent, the musical tracks bring back all the grandeur of space exploration and danger, and a robust array of more authentic sound effects brings that experience home even more.


Gameplay:

Star Trek: Legacy is set against the backdrop of a Vulcan scientist, one who manages to embroil multi-generations of Federation commanders in the premise, thus linking some classic characters and parts of Star Trek lore. Neat. It’s a little choppy at times, and jumps around a bit, but altogether holds up. Many of the classic Star Trek baddies show up as well, from the cold, methodical Romulans, to the war-mongering Klingons (or as my friend proclaimed when he was 5 years old, “the butt-faced people”) and the always cheery Borg.

Besides the main mode, you can launch into Skirmish mode, which brings up some interesting options. Up to 16 ships can launch into epic battles, but unfortunately, you can’t decide what the enemy uses, only their available resource points. Lame. But for some quick action, it ain’t half bad. Plus, using the mysterious Borg “Cubes” is a memorable experience. There is also multiplayer, but more on that later.

Most storyline missions involve plotting a course to a beleaguered quadrant, planet and the like, where you will duke it out with the aforementioned enemies. Pretty simple, and relatively fun, although it does grow a tad repetitive after a while. Some branch off into exploration and science, some involve supply missions, while others still will take a heady diplomat to resolve. Along the way, you will command a host of Federation ships, and beyond this, you get to upgrade and purchase your later vessels with command points. This adds some customizability with regards to ship choices, but be wise on your selections. If you don’t bring the right ship for the right job, you could find yourself in a world of hurt. For example, would you bring a lithe scout ship to an all-out space brawl? Worst yet, you have to restart each mission in case of failure - where is the handy dandy auto-save feature? Yet another console influenced mistake…

Those who have played Star Trek: Bridge Commander will be familiar with many of the aforementioned missions and pacing, along with the real-time combat. Crucial in this equation is the A.I. of your various crews and ships. For the most part, it stands up all right, but can sometimes be a bit tricky to target pinpoint enemies, and in the thick of battle, this can be quite annoying.

If single player is causing undue frustration, you may want to check out the robust multiplayer mode. You can try out either Deathmatch or Co-op mode, the latter involving a last stand (aboard Deep Space Nine!) versus a ton of enemy ships, while the former is a tad more enjoyable, pitting you against another enemy vessel or fleet. Besides some sparse interface in the lobby area, the stability was pretty decent and provided some fun destruction of other Trekkies. Although... only 4 players? That seems a bit odd for a PC game, but with the larger fleet options, perhaps that would be too much to track for a few CPUs.


Difficulty:

Star Trek: Legacy is a pretty straightforward title. Most of the missions are laid out in similar patterns: attack here, warp there, pick-up that, blow up a bunch of stuff and off you go. VOILA! However, with a few wonky A.I. issues, namely with managing such things as ship repair and critical pinpoint aiming, this game can give you a headache from time to time. The enemy A.I. can surprise you as well, placing some deadly shots to your vulnerable warp drives and other sensitive areas. Also, if you are new to the whole Star Trek scene, some of the terminology, weapon systems and general space jargon may be over your head. Overall though, this is a medium difficulty game for the most part, and it shouldn’t take more than a few days to complete.

Game Mechanics:

One thing about having a multi-platform title such as this is the correlation between different input devices, i.e. the controller versus keyboard and mouse. Unfortunately, the developers seemed to have put the PC interface on the backburner, with floaty mouse issues, and a myriad of missing RTS elements, like no mass selection and zero waypoints. Utilizing a combination of WASD and mouse look, you will perform most of your piloting functions this way. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), the crafts handle like bloated hippopotami, so perhaps a different, more mouse-centric control scheme would have worked out better.

I also mentioned earlier the various clipping issue, well this comes into play again. When ships collide, they may careen off in all manner of directions… however bizarre this sounds considering the sheer size of these vessels, not to mention the unusual physics involved with space. As a result, the camera will bounce around more often that not, obscuring your viewpoint of the ensuing carnage, and leaving you scrambling to get focused.

Ultimately, Star Trek: Legacy is a game I really wanted to enjoy, not only for its stellar graphics and audio presentation, but for its representation of 40 years of cherished Star Trek lore. Sadly, the mediocre storyline and missions, coupled with some truly cumbersome mechanics, beckon you to not “boldy go where no man has gone before.”


-Tybo, GameVortex Communications
AKA Tyler Whitney

Minimum System Requirements:



System: Intel Pentium 4 2.66 GHz or equivalent, RAM: 512 MB, Video Memory: 128 MB, Hard Drive Space: 5000 MB
 

Test System:



Windows XP, Intel P4 3.2 Ghz, 1GB of RAM, ATI Radeon X800 XL 256MB

Sony PlayStation 3 Fight Night: Round 3 Sony PlayStation Portable Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated