Thursday, January 3, 2008

2007 in Review - Star Trek Legacy

I started off the year with Star Trek: Legacy, which would've been how I ended 2006 if not for a shipping error from, followed by some unusually heavy winter weather for our area, followed by another shipping error by UPS. Perhaps the run of bad luck was an omen, because when I got the game, I was less than impressed. Long, drawn-out objectives, cryptic controls, and the world's lamest explosions turned playing this game into a chore.

What really surprised me, though, was the voice acting. The acting in Mad Doc's Star Trek Armada I and II was superb; it really felt like the actors were into the game. With the actors for all five captains doing their traditional roles, I was expecting something epic here as well. When I heard Scott Bakula sounding like he was sitting at a table reading lines for a high school play, I hoped it was just his style that was disappointing me. But when I got through it, none of the five captains ever sounded like they were "into it". They might as well have been narrating for a book-on-tape — a book on differential calculus, for all the excitement they had.

Multiplayer wasn't much better. At the time, I had not figured out how to get UPnP enabled on my router, so "Open NAT" was not available. Legacy refused to even let me attempt to host a game, and even trying to play with a friend who did have Open NAT, trying to connect was a hit-or-miss proposition at best. Eventually, a network patch improved things on that front, as did getting UPnP and Open NAT on my own network, but a complete lack of a party system means you play one game at a time, having to reconstruct the room from scratch every time. Not exactly a recipe for fun.

Simple things would've made this game better. The models are beautifully done; a way to freely examine them would've been nice. (Yes, I want to play with the little ships; is that so wrong?) Better or easier controls would've been nice, too. Apparently you can direct your AI-controlled ships to different behaviors, but for some reason the commands overlap with commands for directing your own ship to do unrelated things. And, there's nothing on-screen to tell you this. I don't want to have to memorize button presses to play the game, not for complicated commands like what I'm trying to do here. Oh, and how about a planet that's the size of a planet, instead of twice the size of a shuttlepod?

I really wanted to like this game, but it probably ended up being my biggest disappointment.

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