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Phil Larsen
27 Jan, 2007

Star Trek: Legacy Review

360 Review | Spock isn't happy.
There isn’t a fan on earth that can contend with the power of a Trekkie. It seems no one group of enthusiasts are dedicated to their chosen entertainment as much as those who follow Star Trek. So it must have been good news to all the 360 owning fans out there that an extremely ambitious Star Trek game was in the works, and developed by Bethesda no less. Here’s something to begin with – if you are a Trekkie, you will probably love this game. Anyone else will need to approach with caution, because the glaring problems are enough to turn away those who aren’t particularly devoted to the Star Trek: Legacy.

In the beginning (no religious reference intended), Star Trek: Legacy is quietly immersive, shaping itself up to be an epic space adventure that spans the universe and features an array of amazing locations. The overhead map screen is superb, showing a vast expanse of space completely open to explore and enjoy. When you initially get behind the proverbial wheel of a giant cruiser, it instills an immense sense of power and confidence in the player and the map teases to be explored while the physical size of your space fleet is well-equipped to handle such exploration and discovery. The actual gameplay puts a strict handicap on pretty much everything.

Captain's Log: Nothing to report.

Captain's Log: Nothing to report.
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Rather than making gameplay almost similar to that of an RPG – visiting worlds, making new alien friends, undertaking side missions – the entire focus of gameplay is squarely on combat. This seems fine, as the Trek spacecraft creations are more than capable of dishing out some extreme firepower, but they are capable of so much more within the universe, and it’s a shame to see such inventive design go to waste in one battle after another. There is indeed inventive design by the truckload – many ships are detailed within the loading screens, and you can expect to spend plenty of credits in stores purchasing and upgrading new additions to your fleet. You can control up to four ships at once, selectable via the D-pad. Different classes round off nicely, and you’ll want a decent mix of combat, cruising and scouting abilities.

Most indicators you’ll see during gameplay are extremely vague, and will cause missions to fail more often than desired. For example, an ability is available to divert power from shields and engines to increase weapon capabilities (and vice-tri-versa), and the game merely states “Hold X and use the Left Stick to divert power.” That’s great – holding X now, and a circle with some tiny, blurry symbols around it has appeared. Um, now what? Well, fair enough, that’s not exactly the most taxing of problems to solve, but it is a problem nonetheless. In fact, most of the text and symbols are small and vague, and given the multi-coloured/black backdrop of outer space, reading detailed map descriptions and making split-second combat decisions (that could theoretically be based on a number of different variables) is made physically uncomfortable.

Speaking of comfort – the ships are real tankers to control. This makes complete sense, as Trek starships are always gigantic, but again the focus on combat and painfully dragging a cruiser around in a hundred-mile turning circle to square up an enemy for torpedo fire ceases being enjoyable after a very short time. The ships also are completely unable to collide – hitting an enemy ship, a planet, or indeed any solid mass will cause the spacecraft to awkwardly bounce off and continue on some other erratic course. To top off the movement – the actual combat isn’t really in true 3D. Unlike real space, where top and bottom, up and down don’t even exist, Legacy shoehorns combat into a quasi-flat plane, like some other space shooters, and you’ll always be fighting the camera or fighting to right yourself in relation to your enemies or objectives. This is meant to be the real space experience, give us the full monty of movement.

I'll shoot you with GREEN!

I'll shoot you with GREEN!
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What’s interesting is that this really is a Legacy, tying together multiple ages of Trek history in one game. Non-Trekkies who are only after a good space shooter will probably be confused by the extreme Trek database of information that spews forth at every possible story interval. Trek nuts, however, will eat it up like a giant Star Trek-Stomach Machine at a Star Trek Information Eating Contest. Story scenes are devoid of human life, rather you’ll watch giant ships cruising around as voice-overs provide narrative direction. Even William Shatner and Patrick Stewart lend their voices to the Legacy, seemingly out of obligation to appease the fans. For the record – Picard would whoop Kirk’s ass.

The shortcut developers can sometimes make when designing outer space is that there isn’t all that much to design. Sure, chuck a few nebula clouds here and there, an asteroid or two – the rest can be black with white dots. The problem here is that the 3D objects just don’t look all that great, and with such a limited environment this should have been improved. Ships have a few jagged edges, and the frame rate suffers on a regular basis – not in a massive way, but enough to be noticeable. Explosions are also rather creepy. Upon destroying a dastardly enemy, the ship breaks into several brownish, extremely polygonal chunks that appear to increase in size. Looking back at explosions found in games like Saints Row, this doesn’t cut it. Heck, these aren’t even just cars – we’re talking about massive futuristic spacecraft, let’s see some damage!

Space exploration in these mammoth machines isn’t exactly fast, and Legacy backs this up by having extremely long missions. The problem here is that once failed, it’s back to the beginning. Fumbling with the ship management controls or fleet commands will all result in extra time taken for damage, and eventually your ships will wear down and explode without proper maintenance. Some other objectives including protection missions are also somewhat vague, and it’s difficult to determine how close you are to passing or failing. You may be busting Romulans down left, right and centre before some other vague objective pops up as failed, and it’s mission over. Slow-paced combat combined with high frustration after losing hours of gameplay is not fun.

There's all this junk just lying around.

There's all this junk just lying around.
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Online multiplayer is available, and for the most part it emulates all one would find in another multiplayer game of a different genre. There aren’t quite as many players out there as you would expect for say, Gears of War, but finding a match isn’t game-breakingly difficult. It’s neat to actually manage an entire fleet and pit these epic machines against one another, but if you weren’t amazed by the chugging combat in single-player, the possible addition of lag isn’t going to help matters in the slightest.

Star Trek: Legacy proves to be a passable effort overall. It’s plagued with awkward gameplay decisions rather than lacking in technical and visionary prowess, so the ambition must be admired. The atmosphere is superb, the music is epic, and the license is used well. It may even be the type of game that’s more fun to watch than actually play. The problem really does lie with how it performs under direct control – slow combat throughout the entire game, wonky physics and frustrating difficulty are such large issues that anyone not after Star Trek – and only Star Trek – will probably find a better flight/space shooter out there to enjoy.
The Score
Once past the impressive introduction, it's a downward spiral into a mediocre experience. Trek fans are encouraged to give it a try (if they even need an extra push), but it's not recommended gaming for newcomers.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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8 Comments
7 years ago
The story is fairly crepe too. Takes a relatively interesting concept about the origin of the Borg and wastes it. I would have much rather preferred a 'best-of' series of missions - say, the best battles from every series and movie, like Star Wars Rogue Squadron.
7 years ago
I think it's fun, mainly for the fact that it's so different from other 360 games. I'm happy it's in my collection, because it provides good variety- it won't get lost like, say, Vegas did, just because it had to compete with Gears.
7 years ago
Captain's Journal stardate.. Uuuuuh...
Ouuu April 13th.
April 13th.2 We have failed to uphold Brannigan's law; however, I did make it with a hot alien babe, and in the end is that not what man has dreamt since first he looked up at the stars? Kif I'm asking you a question.


Exactly how I remember star trek.
7 years ago
It did get better than that. Though after that, it got worse. It may get better with the next movie in the hands of Lost/Alias creator Abrahms though.
7 years ago
What hurts the most is that I set aside my $100 for this game thinking it would tide me over for the next few years of star trek wasteland, and now the overwhelmingly negative reviews it is receiving have actually stopped me from buying this, heck I even turned down the chance to rent it for $3.50 from the local video shop for the weekend. Do I have to face the awful truth that like any movie franchise they know they can polish a turd, throw it at a wall and enough of it will stick to make triple their money back? I know enough copies of this will sell ( jaws and happy feet anyone?) to make it a stellar hit, and that will somehow justify to the developers that it was a good game, I can only hope they will wail and gnash their teeth in a very special hell reserved for people who take advantage of fans addictions to all things with warp drives.
7 years ago
The ships also are completely unable to collide – hitting an enemy ship, a planet, or indeed any solid mass will cause the spacecraft to awkwardly bounce off and continue on some other erratic course.

Let me get this straight... You can't even re-enact the final confrontation in Nemesis (the only GOOD part of the movie), where Picard ploughs the saucer section of the Enterprise into the Romulan ship, both dispensing and sustaining - dare I use the phrase - massive damage?

I mean, seriously. Isn't that the reason we all wanted a next-gen console in the first place? Realistic physics? Destructible environments? To do and see things we couldn't on a less powerful system? To boldy go.. no, sorry - wrong speech.

To top off the movement – the actual combat isn’t really in true 3D. Unlike real space, where top and bottom, up and down don’t even exist, Legacy shoehorns combat into a quasi-flat plane

Even Star Trek on the 32-freakin'-X let you fly around in all directions.

Come to think of it, didn't Spock criticize Khan for thinking 2-dimensionally in Star Trek II? icon_rolleyes.gif
7 years ago
Nev wrote
The ships also are completely unable to collide – hitting an enemy ship, a planet, or indeed any solid mass will cause the spacecraft to awkwardly bounce off and continue on some other erratic course.

Let me get this straight... You can't even re-enact the final confrontation in Nemesis (the only GOOD part of the movie), where Picard ploughs the saucer section of the Enterprise into the Reman ship, both dispensing and sustaining - dare I use the phrase - massive damage?
Surely the ships have shields like in the shows/movies which would cause them to bounce off of each other. icon_think.gif
7 years ago
sonicwired wrote
Reman ship
Oh... Right.. icon_doh.gif

Ah well... If it starts with an "R" and ends with "an", it's the same thing.......

Uh... except for the Romans...

As far as shields go, I think it depends on the strength of the shields. Two Galaxy class starships with 100% shield strength might repel each other, certainly, but rather than simply bounce off, I imagine there'd have to be some kind of huge power surge which would end up with each ship being knocked off course, and their shield strength severely reduced.

In any case, shields or no shields, starships do NOT "bounce off planets". icon_wall.gif
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Ubisoft
Developer:
  Bethesda

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