Reviewed: December 27, 2006
Released: December 5, 2006
I think one of the biggest obstacles to creating a Star Trek game for any gaming system is trying to live up to the better movies and television shows that so many of us have seen. Making a video game that recreates the many different aspects and fantasies of the Star Trek universe is a tough job for anyone but I think Bethesda Softworks and Mad Doc Software have done a pretty good job.
Star Trek: Legacy follows the exploits of all the famous Star Trek captains from Captain Archer of Enterprise to Captain Janeway of Voyager. You take on these roles with three distinct sections of the game that follow a generation spanning mystery that makes for a pretty decent story line.
A Vulcan scientist is in trouble and Archer jumps to the rescue only to have the scientistís ship depart and then be a contributor in some kind of system wide plague. Later the story deepens with this same scientist making appearances in the chaotic times of Kirk while Starfleet tries to deal with the rising Klingon problems of his time and later with Picard and Janeway trying to muscle through the beginnings of the Borg invasion.
I wonít beat around the bush but I do believe some of the other reviews for the PC version of Star Trek Legacy do not take this game on its own merits and are trying to compare Legacy not only to the others in the Star Trek line but to the movies and shows. The game does have problems but it is more than playable and actually quite fun.
The hardest part of dealing with any space sim is the fact that your ship and your personal view in space is three dimensional and to fight others in these three dimensions can be tough.
They have done a good job with the camera mode and the ship in space while fighting. Your camera is controlled by the mouse movements while you fly your ship using keyboard keys. This makes for some fast paced camera movements at times but you get used to the views racing around when you select a new target or try to follow one ship to continue to fire on them. The actual combat is right along the lines of all the Star Trek shows with some kind of lasers and torpedoes while you try to hold your ship together in combat.
You start off any mission in the campaign mode by selecting the ships of your fleet using your command points earned from prior missions. You have a wide variety of ships, over 80 in all the eras, according to the era youíre in from scouts to heavy battleships. Each ship has varying amounts of phasers in several firing arcs around the ship with a variety of forward and rear torpedoes. The firing arcs are a bit tricky to get used to but when any ship is in any firing arc the target reticule changes to let you know you can fire upon them.
The torpedoes are weapons that are more often useful for when you bust down the enemies shields to quickly deal massive amounts of damage. Several times just getting the shields down is quite a chore but having up to four ships make for a good fleet and being able to pick and choose your ship classes help quite a bit.
Each ship costs so many command points and completing a mission with all your ships adds more points. You can also sell these ships for points and buy other ships with better weapons and shields but they do cost a lot so getting enough points can take a few missions.
Firing on a specific target can be as simple as pressing the spacebar to select the nearest enemy or holding the spacebar to pick and choose from a dropdown list. To pick one of these targets in the dropdown you simply scroll down the list and stop on the one you want.
Your target reticule in the 3D view will jump to that target and your view will jump around when the enemy is not in view. The reticule tells much about the ability to fire upon the target from your enemy being in any distinct firing arc of your phasers or your torpedoes having a lock.
Each mission in the campaign is different with some varying goals but many of them end up being a battle to just destroy lots of ships. There are ways to make this easier and a concept used to great success in World War II is also handy here. The group concept of having several ships collectively protecting each other and fighting as a whole works well on most of the missions and having the chance to retreat, repair damage and return to the fight also helps.
You can jump from one ship to the other at will and control all the ships from a 2D tactical display but there are some problems with it. The mouse is very sensitive on the tactical display so selecting enemy ships or other things using the mouse can be tricky.
Your ship selection is easy using the number keys but anything else on the tactical display can be tough. There are other problems but most of these are ones that seem to stem from this game being a port from the Xbox version. The manual has some key assignments that donít work in the game and no way to change them in settings.
Repairs on your ship have to be handled personally and are not automatic, but this is something that is understandable. Each ship you need to jump to and prioritize which system you want repaired whether in combat or when you retreat to effect repairs. You also use other systems on your ship during some missions like scanning planets and transporters beaming people to other ships or stations.
The story line is pretty good with a good variety of mission objectives to keep things interesting and moving along. Fighting in space is easily learned in the first tutorial mission and you get used to things like having to be moving at quarter-impulse to make turns faster or thinking out of the box to accomplish some missions. One system that would have been really nice to have work was the targeting sub systems while fighting, this did not work at all in the PC version and some missions require this.
There is a multiplayer mode where you can play against others online in a skirmish mode or coop against waves of enemies. You can also play the skirmish mode in single player choosing any of the over 80 ships on your team against any of the Star Trek bad guys from any of the eras or a combination of these. The gameplay of Star Trek Legacy has its problems but you do have an interesting storyline written by ďD.C.Ē Fontana and Derek Chester that bring the various eras of Star Trek together in a plausible way.
From the first mission of Star Trek Legacy to the last the graphics were pretty good but again here I think porting this game from the Xbox 360 had its problems. The ships were well rendered and damage was realistic looking but did not coincide with damage that needed repair on the ship.
When you got hit by a phaser or torpedo your ship would show damage but not the correct amount according to what you saw and what showed in your repair section. Whole sections of your ship would be on fire and exposed to space and yet a few minutes repair and all was well and back to the fight.
The space scenes were fine but a bit cluttered with realistic looking nebulas, space clouds or whatever they used to show that space was not as empty as it really is. The systems you fight in are near nebulae or other special objects to give the background some sort of scenery that was not really needed. The planets and asteroids looked a bit small when you compare them to your ships but these are all small details.
The explosions, phaser fire and torpedoes looked good but some of the exploding objects didnít work correctly. You would see an explosion and it would look good often with a wave of expanding whatever from the death of a ship or station but the object itself would break apart in several pieces like a jigsaw puzzle falling apart. This added an unbelievable aspects to the fighting when a huge station or weapons platform would burst and explode in great balls of fire and shock waves and then be these dozen or so pieces falling apart from each other.
The menu interface and other on screen items looked good and were easy to use. I had no problem playing this game on my system at high detail but no Anti Aliasing even though my system is just below the system requirements. The graphics, ship details and effects all looked pretty good even though there was an occasional odd thing with some areas.
William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks and Kate Mulgrew all add their voice talents as the captains in the story line and do a very good job with their parts. Just getting all these actors from the shows to do the video game makes this a pretty good part of the Star Trek universe and having the theme music composed by Rod Abernethy and Jason Graves adds to the nostalgia of the Star Trek game.
The explosions, phaser fire and other sound effects are straight from what you expect of the Star Trek universe and all sound pretty good. I think there were some problems with porting the game from the Xbox 360 version as the sound had some skipping and other problems but overall it was pretty good.
Star Trek Legacy has a good campaign, single player skirmish fighting, multiplayer mode and some extras that make for a well rounded and good game overall. The campaign will take twenty hours or so to complete no matter what difficulty you play because some of the missions will require you to retry using different tactics or ships to accomplish.
There are fifteen missions in the campaign split in three eras with the last being the best as far as different mission types and varying goals. There is also a pretty good single player skirmish mode where you get to choose the era of ships, area of space youíre fighting and your race as well as the enemies you fight.
The Multiplayer mode works just fine and you get to choose to fight beside others in a coop mode fighting against waves of AI enemies or in a death match against others using any of the ships from any era depending on the game setup. There is also a nice extra with a well made graphic story of one plausible origin of the Borg that does follow along with the story line of Star Trek Legacy but not necessarily as a part of it.
Star Trek Legacy is a pretty good space simulation game but does have its problems. It may be a straight port from the Xbox 360 version but does play well and has a very good storyline with well-done voice acting from all the original Star Trek captains. I can only wonder if this would have been more playable using a gamepad controller but Legacy is a decent game and follows well along the Star Trek universe.