Game: Star Trek Online
Platform: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Rating: T for Teen
This month marks Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. That’s right, phasers, teleportation, and Spock have been around for half a century. In celebration of this, Star Trek Online, the massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that debuted on the PC back in 2010, has now been released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for free.
Making Your Mark in the Galaxy
Star Trek Online places the player in a familiar universe, the life forms, clothing, weapons, locations, and spaceships should all be recognizable to fans. Conversely, the narrative is intended to have the adverse effect. The story is a novel tale in a memorable cosmos. We are afforded the ability to create a protagonist that can either originate from the fabled United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire, or the Romulan Republic, each one with a host of selectable alien races. Not only that, you can choose your very own class, like science officer or engineer, and customize the gender, hair and facial hair, body type, and the color of your clothing. Once you have named your new space explorer, it’s time to get into the action. I elected to play as a member of the United Federation of Planets, so the plot followed suit.
The game opens as your personally fashioned character graduates basic training, and is subsequently about to board their very own starship as first mate, but this is a video game. Being such, something has to go wrong, and Star Trek Online is no exception. A Klingon boarding party takes hold of your ship and kills your captain, leaving you in charge. Now it’s time for you to fight back and make your mark in the galaxy.
Setting Up Your Phasers
This is one of the most famous Sci-fi universes of all time, so the developer has attempted to recreate as much of the television show as possible, complete with both land and space warfare. Like captains Kirk and Picard, you get to fly your very own space vessel. While the ability to fly your own version of the Enterprise is certainly a striking visual, the fun factor is set to stun. Star Trek Online suffers from the classic MMO flaw—the combat system. Whether you are fighting a strange creature on an even more peculiar planet, or exchanging laser fire in the cold vacuum of space, the battles can feel a little dull due to the way in which they are performed. In order to attack a foe you have to tap a button that corresponds to a tab at the bottom of the screen, which, in turn, prompts your character to execute the desired action. This is rather a laborious and antiquated style of play. The free to play mechanic is another disappointing factor. Although anyone can download the game for free, there are in game purchases that, while are not necessary, one should be made aware of. On a more positive side of things, the RPG elements are fantastic. Leveling up your captain with new abilities is addictive, enticing to you play just a little more. Not only that, the capability to venture through space with a friend makes this game great all in itself.
Aside from a few minor visual upgrades, this is essentially a 2010 title, so it’s not going to blow anyone away. With that being said, there is plenty to enjoy here in terms of aesthetics. The game’s planets, the radiant laser skirmishes, alien races, and even the science fiction jargon the characters spout accurately represent the classic shows. Venturing through the dark recesses of space yield glorious nebulas and solar systems, and a fantastic sense of adventure.
Star Trek Online is a treat for fans of the movies, series, and Sci-fi aficionados in general. However, those unfamiliar with the lore may find the dependence on the source material somewhat overwhelming; this combined with the lackluster gameplay could spell a monotonous experience. Neverthe-less, there are great pockets of fun sprinkled throughout the universe, and best of all its free.