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Author Topic: GAMECON - IGN Review  (Read 2910 times)

Offline Acidrain

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« on: 21 August 2009 07:40 AM »
There are few franchises in the world of entertainment that carry as much loyalty or have as deep a history as Star Trek. So it seems odd that it's taken so long for developers to take a stab at making a massively multiplayer version. Thankfully, Cryptic Studios has taken the challenge and offered us a first look at the actual gameplay here at Gamescom.

Fans may remember from our earlier previews that this game is set 30 years after the events in Star Trek: Nemesis and 22 years after the massive supernova that devastated the Romulan Empire. The galaxy that players will explore has also seen the breakdown of the accord between the Klingons and the Federation, as well as the return of the assimilating Borg. With so much going on, it's clear that there's going to be lots of conflict right from the start in Star Trek Online. Throw in some time travel missions, a few mirror universes and the obligatory wormhole, and it seems like the game has everything a Star Trek fan would want.

Following the pattern established in the TV series and the movies, Star Trek Online will feature lots of transitions from ship to planet and players will rarely stay in one place very long. Our demo focused on a Federation ship escorting a Vulcan ambassador to a Vulcan monastery. En route, the ship is stopped by Klingons who claim that the Federation ship is carrying a shape-shifter and demand he be turned over. When the Federation captain refuses, the Klingon Birds of Prey open fire and the battle begins.

The ship combat takes place in a third-person perspective with the players looking down on their ships at an angle. Standard WASD controls control pitch and yaw giving players 360 degrees of movement while an energy management slider allows players to divert power to their shields, weapons, or engines depending on the tactical needs of the moment. Each ship has four shield facings --front, back, left and right -- and learning how to maneuver within your firing arcs to strike your opponent's weak side is key to success here. You'll also be able to utilize the abilities of your crew members who provide their own special bonuses. The tactical officer aboard the Federation ship, for instance, is able to fire a volley of three proton torpedoes at once.

After watching the space battles, I wondered why the team opted for a third-person view of turn and burn space combat rather than the more system-focused tactical action of other Star Trek games like Klingon Academy and Bridge Commander. Craig explained that they tried a bridge perspective but it made the game feel too much like a dogfighter. The team discovered that the tall ships style of combat simulated in Star Trek worked best in this new 3rd person format. Even so, the speed and maneuverability of the ships in Star Trek Online are higher than the lumbering wooden ships in Pirates! or Empire: Total War, so we're hoping that other tactical factors will be revealed later.

With the Birds of Prey eliminated, the captain was free to escort the ambassador down to the planet. He can take a team of up to four people with him, including other player captains or members of his crew controlled by the AI. The type of crew you bring depends on the way you want to play. You might bring a few tactical officers and a medic if you want to shoot it out. Or you might bring support staff like science officers if you'd rather approach problems from a different direction.

Unfortunately, the Klingons have taken over the monastery as well, so the captain and his crew have to fight their way in. The combat in Star Trek Online should be familiar enough to most MMO veterans. This time around, you'll be relying more on long range weapons and the support of your AI-led crew. You can give them specific orders if you like, or just set general rules of engagement and let the AI handle the specific actions. The combination of various crew specialties and your own captain's skills is likely to allow for lots of tactical variety, but it wasn't clear from our demo that things like posture or position played much of a role in the current build.

The majority of content in Star Trek Online will be instanced, but there are some large social hubs and plenty of action to be found on the large sector maps of Alpha Quadrant. The team isn't yet talking about the PVP aspects of the game, but given the outbreak of hostilities between the Klingons and the Federation, it seems clear that the game has to include lots of directed conflict between players on either side of the war.

The one thing that's already clear is the tremendous work that's gone into the game's visuals. The level of detail and authenticity is certainly high, which is even more impressive considering the tremendous variety of elements the team has included. The ships themselves are the real stars, but even the ground action seems to capture just the right feel for Star Trek world.

With so much riding on this license, we'll be sure to check in with Star Trek Online in the near future.


Offline JeanAllTrekkie

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Re: GAMECON - IGN Review
« Reply #1 on: 22 August 2009 12:45 AM »
Hey Guys

Also I found this out while scouting The IGN site.

IGN Video: Star Trek Online PC Games Event Video - GC 09: Press Conference Demo

Its a HD quality video of The STO Demo that came out a few days ago.