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Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Expansion Pack

Score: 65%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Raven Software
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 16
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Action/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Expansion Pack (that's a mouthful!) are identical to those that were in the original game, minus some variety. You can read that review if you like, but the short form is that the game presents the world of Voyager quite nicely, with the proper look and feel of Star Trek. Because the Expansion Pack doesn't cover anywhere near as much ground as the original game, and 95 percent of that ground is in the Voyager itself, don't expect to see anything really new here. The multiplayer maps are generally nice, and in theme with the whole Trek thing, but it's the same engine running the same styles of maps.

The only notable difference in this game's sound from the last game is that Jeri Ryan does Seven of Nine's voice, instead of whoever doubled for her in the original. Indeed, installing the Expansion Pack will replace said actress' voice with Jeri Ryan's in the main game as well. You can also get a patch for the game separately that will do the same thing. I'm sure Jeri Ryan fans of the world will rejoice. Other than that, it's the same sounds as before--the weapons in holomatch sound the same, the voice acting is the same, and so on. I noticed some weird gapping with my sound card that I didn't notice when I reviewed Elite Force itself, but it was nothing too frustrating.


Gameplay:

The problem nowadays is that we've honestly come to expect a lot out of expansion packs. When packs like Brood War and The Conquerors come out, it really raises the bar of what needs to be packed in to an expansion to make it worth a purchase. The bottom line is that the Elite Force Expansion Pack is only worth it for diehard fans of the series; none of us who enjoyed Elite Force because it was a solid FPS first and foremost will find much to enjoy here.

There are two major parts to the Expansion Pack. The first is the addition to the single-player 'experience', the Virtual Voyager tour. This ostensibly allows you to explore the Voyager in its entirety, interacting with the crew and enjoying the time. What it ends up being is a glorified treasure hunt, as you look for action figures and talk to uncooperative crewman. Remember how everyone brushed you off in the original game? They still do now, unless they're supposed to say something for the 'plot's' sake. Urgh.

To be fair, the single-player experience picks up a bit when you get to the Holodeck, but even there it ends up being uneventful. The four 'missions' available to you range from the utterly boring (target practice) to the mildly cool (Klingon ship) to the neat-concept-bad-execution (the Captain Proton bit). Yes, black and white is cool; no, killing the same enemy over and over is not. You can tear through the 'additions' to single-player in a matter of an hour or two, and none of it approaches the brilliance of the original game.

The other core part of the Expansion Pack is the expanded multiplayer experience. There are two entirely new game modes--Action Hero, which is reminiscent of the old mod The Man With The Golden Gun. One person has all the weapons and regenerating health, and fragging them nets you five frags and the transference of the Action Hero rank to yourself. It's mildly amusing, but nothing that will keep people playing for long. The Assimilation mode is more intriguing; it's the Borg against the rest, and the Borg can teleport around the map. The other team must find and kill the Borg Queen to defeat the Borg, whereas the Borg must assimilate all of the other team. It's definitely more amusing, but still a little more gimmicky than most game's modes.

The major addition in multiplayer is the number of maps, a scad of which are for capture the flag. This is good; if I really wanted to play capture the flag, though, I'd be playing Unreal Tournament. The weapons in Elite Force just don't stack up compared to those in UT, and since the Expansion Pack makes no changes to the arsenal, that's what you're stuck with.


Difficulty:

There is no real 'difficulty' in either section of the Expansion Pack. The single-player missions aren't very challenging, and the Virtual Voyager may frustrate you while you try to find that last figurine but certainly can't qualify as hard; the multiplayer aspects definitely depend on your opponents.

Game Mechanics:

The controls in the Expansion Pack are identical to those in the original game, with the addition of the tricorder in the Virtual Voyager bit that lets you run around scanning things to see what they are. Whee. The separation of Holomatch and single-player into two executables boggled me with the original game, and it still boggles me--do they use separate engines? Is the code that incompatible? But I digress. Despite the specious single-player experience provided by the Expansion Pack, the core engine is as solid as ever, and still throws out some pretty impressive graphics.

I was hoping for a quality experience with the Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Expansion Pack, but what I got was a few multiplayer mods and a dull single-player jaunt that held none of the charm from the original game. While fans of the series may want to check this out because of the ability to wander around the Voyager, everyone who loved Elite Force because of its gameplay will find little here to appease us. Even at the low price it's being offered at, there's not enough meat here to keep anyone going unless they adored the show or loved the Holomatch.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



P2 233/AMD K6-2 350, 64MB RAM, 3D Hardware Accelerator w/ OpenGL, 650MB HD Space, 4x CD-ROM, Soundcard, Mouse
 

Test System:



Athlon 1.1GHz running Win98 SE, 512MB RAM, GeForce 2 GTS w/ 32MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live!, 8x DVD-ROM

Windows Echelon Windows Emperor: Battle for Dune

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated