Your average star trek episode, say a Next Generation one sometime around season
five or six, runs thusly. First, new planet discovered. Second, slightly dull dispute about crop irrigation or something. Third, dull warbling about the prime directive. Fourth, Counsellor Troi senses discord or infinite sadness. Fifth, they find out it was the Romulans all along. Sixth, the episode's special effects budget is expended when something in space blows up. Seventh, Data looks bemused.
Your average mission in Star Trek: Legacy, however, runs a bit differently.
It may start with those assuring blue episode titles in the top-left corner, but what follows are more breaches and explosions than any budget could allow. Space battles are here by the space bucketload... Which must make for a wonderful game, must it not?
Legacy can and will make you want to hurt things. No, I take that back - Legacy will make you want to kill things and then hold them between your teeth while you repeatedly slam them into broken glass.
I might be a tad hysterical here, but it's taken something that's dear to my heart (Star Trek in its several generational forms), then haphazardly wandered towards a gameplay model that would have made me mildly gleeful, and proceeded to throw a veritable sensor array of glitches and oversights into the works that stop the show far short of a recommended purchase.
MAKE IT NOT
The story, as it is, isn't bad (see 'Unfinished Symphony', opposite) - and it certainly is nice that they've roped the whole 'four pip' captain gang in for voice duties. But the game is just so unwieldy (less so on 360, so read into that what you will), its controls so flailing in their driftyness and its map screen so sluggish and ill-conceived that just thinking about it earlier caused me to dry-heave.
Once you've got used to the idiosyncrasies of Star Trek combat (predominantly based around exactly which angles you can fire from - a factor not helped by the game's poor tutorial system), it's fair to say that its levels are relatively varied - even if they always do revolve around interplanetary fisticuffs.
Each one begins with the relevant captain speaking as the voice of their ship (there are no cut-scenes beyond ship exteriors - giving a one-vehicle, one-voice Thomas The Tank Engine ambience to affairs), and a variety of twists and turns play out from then on.
A significant problem then arises, however, since the lack of an in-mission save feature coupled with wavering difficulty levels and sections that can last anything up to a half-hour leads to quite remarkable levels of frustration. Call me prissy, but when I play a rock-hard level four times over for half-an-hour at a time and I get killed in its closing act EVERY SINGLE TIME, then I think I deserve to get a little upset.
What's more, the action itself is rather shallow, tactic-less and difficult to follow - something compounded by the fact that issuing decent orders to the other three ships in your entourage is nigh-on impossible. Sure, you can take each over individually - but trying to get any battleplan going other than my own constant "bundle in on that big bastard there!" ruse is rarely an option.
Far from a slow, gradual drip of goodness into your federation flotilla meanwhile, the game unlocks über-ships to buy remarkably early in each generation of the game - providing the most non-gratifying instant-gratification you may ever experience.
In even the bleakest, most mundane of Enterprise episodes though, there was always the morale-lifting possibility of Jolene Blalock needlessly being infected with something and being shamelessly stripped of clothing, greased in sci-fi lube and placed in a decontamination chamber. Does, I'm sure you'll be wondering, Legacy have a saving grace - a metaphorical erect Vulcan nipple peeking out of the murk?
Well yes it does - but only in what the game could have been. Even the most steely-hearted of Trek-fans won't feel a tingle of excitement as they hear the enthusiastic bark of Shatner, go into battle with a Bird of Prey, see Deep Space Nine orbiting Bajor or first bear witness to a Borg cube. But, sad to say, the lumbering combat, laborious controls, frankly bizarre collision detection and remarkably glitchy graphics really put a bit of a kibosh on things. Disengage.
Resistance is worthwhile
- It's Star Trek!
- Interesting mission structure
- Floaty, unresponsive controls Laughable save system
- Dull combat