STAFF REVIEW of Star Trek: Legacy (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007.
by Aceattorney

Star Trek: Legacy Box art "Star Trek." These words seem to have only two effects on people, either revulsion, or elation. If you just threw up a little bit in your mouth, don?t close the browser just yet. Read on to discover why or why not you should actually give this game a shot! To those who aren?t immediately turned off by the prospect of commanding ships in the Star Trek universe, you?ll know that this is the first time you get to control the Enterprise, from the eras of Archer through Picard.

In ?Star Trek: Legacy,? you have the chance to kick some alien butt with a fleet of up to four ships. The idea of it sounds terrific. There was one episode (episode 277, to be precise) in Star Trek: The Next Generation, where a future Enterprise-D comes and tears up a Klingon ship. There was nothing more awesome than seeing the Federation finally whoop some booty without getting punked around by some two-bit alien battle cruiser. I was filled with anticipation as I popped this disc into my 360.

The game treks (sorry, my thesaurus is broke) chronologically through the various eras of the Star Trek television universe, placing the player at the helm of the most famous ships in the history of the Federation. You start the game off controlling just one ship, but surprisingly sooner than one would expect, you?ll be managing up to four ships at once.

Missions start out with familiar sights and sounds and begin with either a dialogue or monologue featuring the voices of the famous Star Trek captains, and ?episode? titles. Visually, mission intros are simply filled with seemingly random flybys of ships, space stations, planets, and other objects that fill the void of space. Objectives are clearly indicated for you, along with a hint or two to help you complete the missions.

Since Legacy is a real-time space combat game, and not a real-time strategy game per se (although there ARE some management required here?more on this later), there are no resources to collect, no structures to build, and basically no variety in units. You?ve got different types of ships, to be sure ? from scouts to battleships, the entire fleet is at your disposal, if you?ve got the money. Ah yes, each mission completed rewards you with money to buy different ships (no Grand Theft Auto-type garage here, you can have only up to four ships at any time).

But that said, you will have to manage your ships and your ships? system resources during missions to best accomplish the mission objectives without getting your ships blown up. Part of this management includes allocating system energy to either shielding, engines, or weapons. Dedicating energy to shields obviously boosts shield strength. Allocating energy to engines gives you a boost in impulse speed, and directing energy to weapons allows a faster rate of firing phasers. That said, if you focus your ships? energy on any single system, the remaining systems will weaken.

You can also control each ship as separate units, commanding each ship to attack certain targets, or you can control all of the ships as a group, focusing your ships on a single target. Most of the time however, your best option is to not divide your ships, but to pick off the enemy fleet one at a time.

Meanwhile, you will have to select each of your ships individually to queue up repairs of the subsystems (such as hull, engines, weapons, scanners) as they become damaged during battles. It?s important to not neglect repairing your ships during battles, or else you will find yourself losing ships faster than you can say, ?Make it so.?

Targeting enemies is pretty simple, but maneuvering your ships can be a little taxing. Although there is an auto-follow when targeting an enemy, some of the ships need to be in certain positions in order to be able to properly target with either the phasers or torpedoes. The game certainly cannot predict what kind of weapons you want to unload on the enemy ships, so some of the maneuvering will have to be done manually. Just be prepared to battle the camera a little while you dogfight.

Besides the battles, there are a couple of few small varieties in missions, such as recon and escort, but rest assured, the game is primarily about destroying alien ships.

Graphically speaking, this game can look terrific. Some of the lighting and shading effects on the ships make them wish I could grab some screenies for my dashboard wallpaper. Unfortunately, there isn?t much more to the graphics. Yes, the ships are authentically recreated on screen. From Borg to Romulan, the ships look just like they do on the shows and movies. However, the textures could use some work, and personally, I?d love some camera angles that are closer up to the ships, but only if the textures were nicer.

The planets look a little small compared to the ships (planets are supposed to be huge, right?), and in fact, look a little flat. Nebulas look decent, providing a lot of the lighting sources, but the over abundance of the star-like dots on the screen makes the game look a little cheap.

One of my biggest beefs with the graphics has to be the explosions. The ships simply don't explode. They merely break apart like your mother's porcelain vase. Yes, there are some flashes of light, but ships should rip and tear apart, not?shatter into four clumps.

What I do love about the graphics are the damage models. Ships do take graphical damage, just like they did in the shows, and it is great seeing ships spark and spew smoke. The damage does not correspond to or affect the actual gameplay, but they are nice touches.

Like the voices of the captains, the sounds of the ships, weapons, and everything in between are also faithfully reproduced. However, don?t expect to hear any of the crews from the famous ships; they?re strangely silent in this game.

On that note, the game?s presentation overall lacks that human touch. You won?t see any faces or any people through the game. The Star Trek television series and films, despite the awesome special effects, were about humankind. Without the element of people, this game feels stale and only like part of a Star Trek game. Even a fuzzy picture of a captain in the HUD could have served to bring the humanness into the game.

Also, with all of the voiceover going on in the mission briefings and debriefings, some subtitles would certainly be appreciated, especially since some of the images on the screen are nice enough to be distracting.

And so while it is certainly exciting getting to control a fleet of ships in the Star Trek universe, not seeing any of the characters we know and love and not being able to rip through ships like the way the future Enterprise-D did in episode 277 of Star Trek: The Next Generation makes this game tough to recommend as a purchase, even to Trekkers.

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 7.4 / 10


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