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Star Trek Legacy

Score: 83%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Mad Doc Software
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Action/ Simulation/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Star Trek Legacy is one of the more visually stunning Star Trek titles to come out yet. When compared to the other recent releases of Encounters and Tactical Assault, it is obvious that the developers have really used the 360's abilities as much as possible.

The various models of the ships (the Enterprises, Voyager, Birds of Prey, etc.), stations (Jupiter Station, Deep Space Nine, etc.) and even the game's rendering of space itself are wonderfully done. I found myself pretty well amazed by the amount of detail this game was able to churn out, and with very few noticeable framerate hits to boot.

Audio is another area where Legacy shines. Not only is the musical score of the standard Star Trek flair, but the game also sports the vocal talents of each of the series' captains. That's right, everyone from William Shatner (Kirk) to Patrick Stewart (Picard), Avery Brooks (Sisko), Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) and Scott Bakula (Archer) reprise their roles for this game and this is just one more of the little details that helps to pull off the overall Star Trek feel.


Gameplay:

As it is implied in the previous section's vocal talent list, Star Trek Legacy spans all fives series and lets you control ships from the original NX-01 all the way to the latest and greatest Enterprises (not to mention Voyager, Defiant and various other classed vessels in between). During the campaign, you will run into not only Federation ships, but also the Klingons, Romulans and, of course, The Borg. As you progress through the Story mode, these other races become available in the Skirmish Mode.

Skirmish puts you in battles with up to four ships per fleet. These matches come in two flavors, Death Match and Co-Op Wave. These are also the modes of play online when you take your tactics to Xbox Live.

An interesting aspect of the more recent Star Trek games is the attempt to balance out control over your ship's systems and ease of use. Some games (Tactical Assault for the DS) give you a lot of control over various little aspects of your ship, but because of that, force you to go through tons of menus just to do something simple like warp.

Legacy seems to find a nice balance in having only a few secondary controls be accessible via sub-menus that show up on the Hud in-game. These controls are the Energy Allocation Panel, Command Panel and Repair Panel. By holding down a button and using the analog sticks, you can do everything from redirect power from shields to weapons, re-prioritize repair locations and decide whether you want to hail or tractor an object in your sights. I found this game's system of making these commands just outside of my normal access a good solution. I rarely found myself accidentally changing settings in the middle of a battle, and I rarely forgot how to go about making the changes I needed to when I wanted to.

Like most pure ship-to-ship Star Trek games, there are really only a few types of missions and you end up seeing those same styles with only slight variations over and over again. Missions will typically have you flying out to halt a conflict before it gets really bad, escort some ships through some potentially bad areas or have you test out your diplomatic skills. Unlike games like Star Fleet Academy (which offered an interesting mix of ship-combat and action/adventure/puzzle), Legacy hits the same pitfall as its similarly styled brethren and just doesn't offer enough variety to keep you interested for a long time. Quite frankly, if it wasn't for the lure of Achievements and the joy of seeing the various ships in their HD splendor, I don't know that I would have gotten as far in this game as I have.


Difficulty:

Star Trek Legacy's difficulty level seems to be pretty steady throughout the game. I never really felt like the game got harder or easier as I progressed. In fact, the toughness of the first few levels felt very much like the difficulty of most of the later missions.

Unfortunately, this along with the aforementioned lack of mission variety does the most damage to the game's score since it really makes the game feel repetitive and stale quicker than it should.


Game Mechanics:

Star Trek Legacy's controls could be a lot worse, and from what I've heard about its PC counterpart, the use of a gamepad is a blessing, making the decision to buy the 360 version an easy choice.

Ship and camera control is done with the two analog sticks, while the trigger buttons are for firing your primary and secondary weapons (i.e. photon torpedoes or phasers). The D-pad buttons allow you to switch between the four ships in your fleet, while the (Y) button activates your warp drive. (B) will toggle you between full impulse and all stop while the (X) and (A) buttons guide you to the Energy Allocation and Command panels respectively.

For the most part, these controls felt fairly solid and I rarely had any kind of real trouble maneuvering my ships and lining up the shots I needed to take. There were a few times when the screen got too crowded, or I ended up being too close to a ship and had a hard time seeing exactly what was going on, but for the most part, these events were few and far between.

Star Trek: Legacy is a game for Star Trek fans. Though you don't necessarily need to be on the level of trekkie to enjoy the game, a good understanding of the various series and timelines helps a lot in working through the game's so-so story.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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