by Wade Manns – The Corsair
Star Trek Online
By Cryptic Studios
Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
rating: Teen (fantasy violence, mild suggestive themes)
I was recently given the opportunity to try out a 10-day free trial of “Star Trek Online,” the new massively multiplayer online RPG set in the Star Trek universe. As first MMO’s go, it’s not bad at all. I’m not a massive fan of the genre, but this definitely has enough to keep me interested.
The storyline follows the original timeline established in the original “Star Trek,” “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise,” but directly follows the events that lead into the reboot movie, which was recently released.
Shortly after Spock used the red matter to create a black hole to try to save the two home worlds of the Romulan Star Empire from a supernova (an attempt which failed, resulting in the destruction of Romulus and Remus), the condition of the Federation and its relations with various other inhabitants of the Milky Way Galaxy quickly deteriorated: the Klingon Empire declared war once again, the Borg again found a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant, and the Romulans schemed by clandestine means to regain their prominence.
As a newly christened Captain of either the Federation or the Klingons (eventually), you’ll command your starship and travel among the various clusters, systems and planets of the Federation and beyond, trying to save the galaxy from utter annihilation. In space, as you would expect when commanding a starship, its movement speed in close quarters is extremely slow, especially while turning. You have impulse and warp drive to help you out, but this does not do any good in ship-to-ship battle. Also, you must sweep through the arcs of your weapons; meaning you must turn your ship so that all your weapons can be brought to bear in a broadside. Your ship has forward and aft weapons, each with limited firing arcs, and you must position your craft relative to the enemy in order to ensure maximum coverage of your weapons.
On the ground, the action takes the form of a third-person shooter, though many non-combat actions can also be performed such as equipping your characters for maximum power, protection, and efficiency; communicating with those whom you meet in order to trade or get missions; and communicating with Starfleet in real time to get more information about your mission. Each weapon you can have has three modes of attack: a normal attack, which uses little energy, but does relatively little damage; a secondary attack, which may cause an Expose, or a temporary lowering of an enemy’s stats; and a melee attack, to be used when the enemy is at extremely close range to knock them back, setting them up for other attacks.
In both space and on the ground, you may be joined by myriad other players on the same mission, and in the same instance (any MMO’s name for an actual game session being played in a certain area of the game world). They may help you, or hinder you, and if you happen to be on their team, then you will share experience and loot from defeated enemies.
Graphics in the game are actually pretty good; I do notice a bit of texture pop-in when they’re first being displayed (a much lower quality texture is displayed followed by filling in of a higher quality one), but it turns out not to be too distracting.
The controls seem to be quite confusing at times, with my fingers straying all over the keyboard at some point just to keep my starship from exploding at the hands of the latest Orion Pirates. Bu,t I’m eventually able to destroy them all (that is, if I’m joined by someone and if my enemy is a level sufficiently lower than mine).
If I were a fan of this genre, I would give this game five out of five stars. As it is, well, what can I say? I’m enamored of this game; five out of five stars anyway!