• Star Trek video game fans let out a collective “Hallelujah!” when Bethesda Softworks announced they would be introducing a brand new addition to the immense catalog of Trek-themed games in the form Star Trek: Legacy. Developed by Mad Doc Software, Legacy promised to bring together everything from the collective Star Trek universe through their exclusive licensing of both the television and movie rights and wrap it all up into a nice, neat little RTS package. The result is a game that features 40 years of Star Trek goodness including more than 80 authentic ships and the ability to play as Federation, Klingon, Romulan and Borg races. Additionally, all of the actors who had portrayed captains throughout the series, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, and Kate Mulgrew provide the voice-acting in Legacy, a first for any Star Trek game.

    The early emphasis from Bethesda focused on the realism of the in-game content, and deservedly so. The ships throughout the game look absolutely fantastic with great attention to detail and outstanding damage modeling. They also did a very nice job recreating more familiar animations from the series’ from warping to firing your photons. “Man’s final frontier” has also been reproduced with stellar (pardon the pun) effect that comes across as a very believable backdrop for Legacy.

    From a gameplay standpoint, Star Trek: Legacy is not the sort of game you can expect to master in short time. When you take a genre that was really designed to be played using a keyboard and mouse and move it onto a console, it’s no surprise that the controller layout will end up a bit complicated. Playing the game well depends on how quickly one can learn the, hmmm.. lets call it “busy”, controller configuration. In whole, there are more than 20 different commands mapped all across the controller, a good portion of which require combinations of button, directional pad and trigger presses in order to execute. When you begin the game, your first mission serves as a tutorial for the control scheme, but most will find that it moves along too quickly to really commit the entire layout to memory. You may want to do what I did and crease the “Controls” page in the game manual in order to lay it flat in front of you until you’ve mastered them in their entirety.

    Star Trek: Legacy

    The single player campaign begins, as I mentioned earlier, with a tutorial mission and progresses from there. Completing each mission successfully gains you Command Points which are used to “purchase” additional ships for your fleet. Smaller, less powerful ships cost less than stronger, more durable ones, so players need to choose wisely in order to make the most out of their available pool of points.

    By default, the game is played from a third-person perspective with the ability to swap to any ship in your fleet with a simple press of the directional pad, while pressing the Back button brings up a 2D map of the current mission area. While issuing commands for the entire fleet is pretty straight forward, I found that issuing movement orders to specific ships in the fleet was accomplished much easier using the 2D map and it’s point-and-click controls. However, in times of battle, you really need to be in third-person if you want to survive.

    This brings me to one of the games weak points. While the battles themselves are the most exciting part of the game, they can also be the most frustrating. When I first began playing the game, I found that several ships in my fleet were often times just sitting around not involved at all in the ensuing fight. I learned quickly that you need to keep jumping from ship to ship in order to make sure an enemy was targeted. Even then, you have to be careful that you are issuing your order to a specific ship instead of the entire fleet. Otherwise, your fleet will gang up on a single target while the rest of your enemies swarm around, picking you, or your objective target, apart. The result is a less-than-thrilling combat experience.

    Aside from battle commands, players can also issue orders to focus their ships energy to engines, weapons or shields, depending on the current situation, as well as setting repair priorities and other ship-specific commands.

    One of the big differences between Star Trek: Legacy and a traditional RTS is the fact that you are playing in a true 3-dimensional environment (i.e. outer space). Because of this, and the fact that ship movement has a tendency to be slow and sluggish, tracking enemies can be somewhat tough. This is offset somewhat by the fact that most ships have weapons mounted in both fore and aft positions allowing you to continue to fire at an enemy even after they have passed.

    The Xbox Live multiplayer portion of Star Trek: Legacy offers two modes of play: co-op and battle. It does, however, allow hosts to select from a number of different options such as maximum fleet size, race and the number of Command Points each player has, making for a variety of game scenarios. Gameplay online is pretty much the same as it is in single player except for the replacement of A.I. with living, breathing competitors. In my online experience it seemed that joining a player-match was much easier than joining a ranked-match, although that may have been more the exception than the rule. The game seemed to run pretty smoothly online as well with only sporadic lag issues.

    Controller issues aside, the one complaint I really have with the game is that it’s somewhat boring. Bouncing around from ship to ship will certainly keep you busy, but battle sequences are just plain long and redundant. As I mentioned, ship movement is quite slow. Couple this with the fact that enemies require a significant amount of “hits” in order to be eliminated and the result can be less than exciting.

    Overall, Star Trek: Legacy should be a big hit with true Trek fans if for no other reason than the games inclusion of everything Star Trek. In fact, I don’t know of any other title that has ever encompassed as much of the complete Star Trek universe as Legacy does. The attention to detail, coupled with the games outstanding graphic and sound effects help to offset some of Legacy’s weaknesses, but non-Trekkies may want to give this one a rental test-run before committing the cash.

    Score: 7/10

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