Review: Star Trek Legacy (PC)
Written by Pitch   
Tuesday, 23 January 2007 10:02
Article Index
Review: Star Trek Legacy (PC)
Inital Thoughts
From Bad to Worse...
Campaign
Multiplayer
All Pages




I remember reading an article in PC Gamer a few years back which branded the Star Trek franchise as “the most lucrative franchise for PC gaming in the world”. So why is it that just about every other Star Trek game was dire? There were a string of bad releases from Activision based on the Star Trek universe and ever since Klingon Academy, nothing seemed to have broken the cycle of very average games. Granted, Bridge Commander and Armada were both good games in their own right, however, a lot of work by the modding community was needed for the games to really shine.

Many blamed Activision for the string of bad games. Activision blamed Viacom, stating that:

“Activision cannot successfully develop and sell Star Trek video games without the product exploitation and support promised by Viacom. A continuing pipeline of movie and television production, and related marketing, is absolutely crucial to the success of video games based on a property such as Star Trek.”

So Activision was dropped, and with it, the licence to the Franchise (outside the MMO) was handed to Bethesda. With Bethesda having already had a string of good releases such as “Oblivion”, the future of Star Trek games looked safe.




Star Trek: Legacy (PC)

  • CPU: 2.6GHz P4 or AMD equivalent
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB DX9.0C Compatible.

  • Developer: MacDoc Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Released: October 2006

Legacy is one of three games planned by Bethesda. Tactical Assault for the PSP/NDS and Encounters for the PS2. Legacy was released on PC and Xbox 360.

As Legacy picked up speed, it started gaining a lot of attention. Bethesda has drafted all five Captains from the series for voice-overs and also had D.C Fontana write the storyline for the game.

Legacy certainly looked good and seemed to be on track.

Having installed it and fired it up, I ran through the normal check list; Video Settings, difficulty and configure the controls.

Well immediately I ran into a wall. You can't configure the controls!

Just for effect, I'll repeat that. You can't... configure... the controls!

This wasn't good and only screamed one thing at me.. a direct port from the Xbox.


    
    


So I started up the campaign and pleasantly, the graphics were very nice. The ship models looked good, the lighting effects were good and it was difficult to find fault with the way it looked... then I saw the star field textures.. Oh boy.. things were not looking good. Enlarge the pics below to see what I mean.


    


It was a minor problem, and only seemed isolated to certain maps. Most of the maps do look pretty good.


      
  






You control your ship in a chase camera type view, using your mouse to rotate around. You can control up to 4 Ships taking direct control of any of them at any time. However, since the AI is woefully stupid, I can say that I only really enjoyed spending time in a one ship fleet.

As if I needed more reason to get worked up, I found that my non-configurable controls were rubbish.

Why on earth would you map “select target” and “intercept target” to the same key?!

So now, when ever I want to select a target to attack it, the AI hijacks my ship and sends me on a collision course. Fantastic.

Just what I need while trying to make a retreat... I'll line up my rear torpedo tubes getting ready to rock my pursuers with a volley of Photons... select the target... and lo and behold, my ship does a U- turn! “Nooooooo!” I scream as the AI drives my crippled starship through a great curtain of incoming fire... “Mission failed.”





Great.. I'll just reload... oh no.. I forgot, there is no save option. <sigh>

And there's the ship handling.

Exactly why can't I cruise upside down? Why don't I have full axis of movement? This is SPACE after all; Down is whatever direction I say it is! And WHY does the AI suddenly take over control of my ship mid manoeuvre?!

Everything so far was pointing to the fact that this game should have never been released on PC; the control, the preconfigured key bindings... it all just made the game feel like an Arcade style shoot-em-up.

This is NOT what this game should have been.




The Campaign itself was lukewarm at best. The storyline was great, but I just get the feeling some missions were scrapped. Things were missing, it was like watching an episode of your favourite series and missing the one previously; it made references to things that didn't exist.

You play in the Enterprise, Original Series and The Next Generation Eras.

You don't play as either Voyager or the Defiant in relation to DS9. Captain Sisko only says two lines, and Janeway only makes an appearance during a cut-scene.


    


The campaign also changes eras very quickly. One minute you are Captain Archer with the First Enterprise and the next minute, you are Kirk commanding the Enterprise from the Original series, the lack of cut scenes between eras just leaves the player completely confused.



My initial thought was that the level of difficulty had something to do with it, and that upping it to its top difficulty level would fix it.

Well. Nope. In fact all changing the difficulty did was halve the damage of my weapons and double the damage of everyone else's. Deeply uncool.

The AI is pretty laughable too. There's no thought put into it, and they don't display even a glimmer of intelligence. They just attack whoever attacks them and launch all their torpedos while your shields are up. This is rather stupid since, by default, torpedos don't do any damage unless the shields are down.

So the AI was stupid, predictable and boring. It never gave you a challenge unless you shot once at every single ship to get them to attack you.

I was really at a crossroads... So far the game was pretty terrible. But I wanted to like it. I just needed a reason... and I found it.






The multiplayer is good - good enough to save the game in all honesty. Fighting human opponents and being forced to use tactics made the multiplayer a lot of fun. The ship balance is good and one can't expect to stand off against certain ships without altering your tactics.

I played the game over a LAN with a friend of mine, we chose different teams and each had an AI team mate just to throw some more ships into the fray, and as far as multiplayer experiences go, I was impressed. Sure I was bullying him down with the Defiant, keeping in the blind spots of his hulking Klingon Battle Cruiser and using it's natural manoeuvrability to avoid incoming fire, but it was all fun, and after all the dust settled, I really saw a glimmer of hope. Heck I was in a Defiant, flying circles round a Vor'cha while peppering it with Pulse Phasers, what more could I want from a Trek Game?

What's more, the modders kicked in and started completely redesigning the game, fixing most of those little stupid things and overall turning it into a much better game. Community projects such as Heroes and Legends are worth keeping an eye on.

  


Conclusion.

The game is pretty demanding when all the shooting starts and can become pretty demanding. Demanding to the fact that the game defaults multiplayer to only allow a maximum of 16 Ships. It's not the best Trek game ever, but it's not the worst. The campaign is playable and the multiplayer is good. It's not complicated, liken it to the Arcade racer of the Trek games. Those who who prefer Racing Sims may want to move on, but if you enjoy a good sessions of space born destruction, Legacy may well hit the spot.

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