For the past week I have been indulging in the Star Trek universe on offer from Cryptic free of charge and I have to admit I was impressed with the game. The graphical appearance of the world was most impressive and the game appeared to have a well thought out story. As with most games you start with a tutorial scenario taking you through the various workings and details necessary to explore the world’s on offer just like Captain Kirk himself you learn how to fly your ship, beam down to unknown areas and analyse strange chemical readings.
The game does well in creating a world for a user to explore and missions are filled with information and details for a person to read if they are interested. Surely enough for any a star trek fan to enjoy. For myself I have only seen the original series with Kirk, Spock and Bones. I know little of the Star trek universe beyond that show so things introduced in the game like the Borg creatures are new to me. The game has a wide variety of species you encounter. Enemies so far that I I have encountered include the Gorn, Borg, Romulan and the Klingons. Apart from these I’m sure there are a few more to encounter as a player levels up.
As far as game play is concerned the game is broken up into two parts the first being ground combat and the second being space combat. In my week of playing space combat has by far been my favourite part of the game, while ground combat to me is slightly dull in comparison but not boring.
Again the visuals of the game are most impressive in space to. The first location you are exposed to aside from the tutorial is the Star fleet docking station and the main base where all Star fleet ships seem to congregate. Below is a picture I took at Star Fleet.
In space the player is offered the ability to travel to different sectors where missions take place. Along the way you can encounter areas where enemy Klingon or Borg ships are conducting an attack, you can enter the area and engage the enemy. You can also be hailed by star fleet to assist in a distress calls while you are travelling. When you respond you are put into an area with other players who must defeat waves of enemy ships until you are able to warp out of the area. Some of these areas are XP boost zones where you can gain extra XP for defeating enemies. A screen shot is shown below of a space battle.
In space combat you get the choice of weapons including photon torpedoes or phasers in my case but more weapons can be unlocked and added at different times. Combat is simple, you press 1 for weapon 1 and 2 for weapon 2 and so on. You can also click on the dashboard to select options for weapon boosts or shield boosts and so on. Space battles in the game are entertaining and the soundtrack the game provides for them is most fitting for the purpose and task at hand. So far after a week of playing the game I don’t have any complaints or gripes with the space combat. For me it’s fun, has a slight element of strategy of when or if to fire all weapons at once or wait (they take time to recharge) or the right moment to use a shield boost. However the ground combat is where I experienced most of my problems.
To describe ground combat in a paragraph is difficult as to me all ground combat is, is stand there, take phaser out, point and shoot. You can gain points for flanking an enemy but so far it’s not challenging. You are awarded a team to take with you, when you first start you take a security team with you as your party. They will stand next to you and point and shoot at the enemies you are engaging. When you start levelling up you are awarded officers like the science or engineering officers which you can take down with you. It’s not that the ground combat is bad, but I have encountered a problem with it which I have not been able to solve for 2 days now.
Basically as I’ve mentioned, I have been playing the game for a week. I have reached level 8 which is not high, but enough I think. I did want to get to level 10 and have been addicted to the game for most of this week. However a problem occurred. During a mission in which I was fighting the Gorn which was a ground mission. I was standing there shooting them when all of a sudden I could no longer shoot. When I push the mouse and aim and fire nothing happens, when I push number 1 or 2 which also fires the weapon nothing happens. I have tried removing the weapons and punching but still nothing. I cannot punch. It’s my belief that some setting is ticked not allowing me to attack or it may be a glitch. I have taken a screen shot of this situation and am showing it below.
If you look closely above three of the weapons are grey and are like they are locked out, when I draw my gun pressing B it is still the same no matter what mode I’m in I can’t shoot any more nor do I have any method to fix it and have spent hours trying. I even started a new mission and finished it, with my team killing all the enemies while I stood there.
So like any person I thought that maybe I’ll ask other users that are walking around. Nobody responded and most were not helpful at all or not willing. Others were still new and had no clue. One user told me to press P which is the powers button and try customizing but still I have not been able to solve it. So then I thought, I’ll put this problem in the game forum on their site, I logged in with the account I have, attempted to post and apparently I do not have permission to post a new thread or comment. Most disappointing I thought. So I looked around the Internet and found this thread on their site discussing the same issue or what i’m sure is the same, and even worse there was no solution. http://forums.startrekonline.com/showthread.php?t=230317
If anyone reading does play the game I’d like to know if you know about it, or can fix it because currently for me; if I can’t fix it in the next few times I choose to play I probably won’t play any more.
Finally like most games of this type, the player is involved in a levelling up process. Generally I don’t like games as much where I have to monitor my level points and what is in my inventory or managing my inventory when it’s full. I prefer to just do missions and not worry about these things and level up automatically. This is one of the main reasons I don’t play games like world of world of Warcraft because honestly I just don’t have the time for it, I just want to play. But often enough the games are still good it’s just a personal preference that’s all.
In this game I think the levelling up system is good. For me it is clear and easily understandable I actually skipped through the instruction telling me about it. All you have to do is once you gain some points you select what ability you want to level up and move the arrow until it’s full. Move down to the bottom and press accept. Actually if you forget to press accept it won’t do it. I’ve taken a screen shot of the level up menu and placed it below I’m sure people gazing upon such a site would see it clearly. Scrolling down on that menu will take you to other things like ship shields, and ground combat abilities. You can also level up abilities of people on your team which help you to deal with more powerful enemies. Overall I think this system is good, easy and simple not much time is needed examining various things which is great as it let’s you spend more time on missions.
Overall Star Trek online surprised me as a game. It far exceeded my expectation graphically for an online game of it’s type and the universe the game has created is interesting and fun to explore; the environments are well animated. A lot of care has been taken by Cryptic to add detail and depth to the game universe that I’m sure satisfies any a fan who dreamed of flying their own star ship across the universe. Although the game does a few flaws and a major problem I described I do really like it, and before that problem I did have interests to level up all the way and am excited in obtaining new ships as I advance.
It’s a fun game that is now free, if you have time and like Star Trek it’s an opportunity not to miss and is sure to entertain well into the hours of each night.
Overall my experiences with this game has been good and I have recommended it to friends this past week it’s not the greatest game I have played in my life, but is a good online game and certainly a different experience. Once I resolve my one issue I’ll be back on and levelling up I want a bigger and stronger ship I’ve seen other people fly around in and I want to progress through star fleet and also try out those klingon missions (yes you can play as them to).