I purchased Star Trek Online on a whim two months ago when I found it on sale in a store. I had been curious about this game ever since its release and wanted to give it a try, but bad reviews had kept me away from it until recently. I joined the game right in the middle of its one year anniversary and for the most part have had fun since. Although I am not at level cap, only commander level 8, I thought I would give a review of the game so far. This means that I will not be reviewing any portion of the game reserved for those of higher level than me.
Keep in mind that I never had any intention of playing this game past the first 30 day subscription that comes with the game so it has already surprised me. For grading I will go over some aspects of the game and rate certain aspects with a numbered grade, 5 being the best possible grade and 1 being the worst. I imagine I may miss some aspects of the game which may have changed my grade, but keep in mind this is a grade based on my experience of the game so far.
This is going to happen a lot during this review so let’s spell it out now. There are two sides to this game space and ground. In most cases the space portion is a lot better than its ground based counterpart. I will get into detail under each category, but for the most part this games grades have suffered because of the bad design in the ground aspects of the game. It is almost like the ground portion was incomplete when the game was released and not much attention was given to it when it was being worked on. I am glad to hear that many fixes and changes for ground combat are in store for Season 4 which will be released soon.
** A final side note - most of my review focuses on the Star Fleet side of the game as I have only played a handful of levels as a Klingon. However the game play seems very much the same. **
With that said lets get down to the individual grades.
Graphics – 4.0
The game does not look that bad, in fact in some ways it is down right beautiful. I play the game at max settings and can easily say the space portion of the game looks gorgeous. The Planets, Nebula, Ships and other space traversing items all look good. If not for the ground portion, the game might have gotten a higher grade, but damn it those randomly generated away team mission maps just leave much to be desired. Static maps like “The Big Dig” and such look good, but the majority of the maps you play on will be random generated and they just are not up to high standards. Characters look pretty good and interact somewhat okay, but some things like running animations and looping movement animations can use some work.
Sound and Music – 4.7
Cryptic must have went to great lengths to grab the sounds and music from the TV shows for this game, because they are all here and done well enough to fit the feel and flow of the game. I would have preferred a few more songs, but allowing you to control your music player via the game itself allows you to easily interject your own flare. The only negative I can think of is the lack of voice acting. Having Leonard Nemoy speak as you enter new zones is nice, but other than that there isn’t much. The “Featured Episodes” have voice acting and that also helped to push this grade up to an A.
Interface – 4.6
I can imagine some people do not like the user interface of this game. I on the other hand find it quite handy and easy to navigate. Changing the settings and placement is easily done as well. On a negative side for some reason the PVP Ready Block that comes up will not disappear in some cases when you click to ignore the call to battle. This is technically a bug, but since it is interface related I will list it here.
Missions – 3.8
If not for the “Featured Episodes” and some other well written missions, this grade would have been lower. The biggest grade drop to this portion of the game is the repetitive nature of the missions. Many of them appear to be retreads of the same thing just recoated and presented differently. However the Featured Episodes are decently done and stand out in stark contrast to their brethren and show promise for the future of mission running. Obtaining missions and finding their location in the beginning is a little hard to follow as well. A newer player may be a bit put off with the lack of direction in locating and finishing missions.
PVP – 2.0
What can be said here about a system that shows so much promise but ultimately falls flat on its face? Space combat is awesome when you can find it and ground combat suffers from the same thing that ground based missions suffer from, Bad game play (See part two) and bugs. For some reason the PVP Queue times are long 18-30 minutes in most cases and even then the game usually fails to find enough other PVPers to start a match. The once you have gotten into a match it is often mismatched and boring because one team has an unfair player advantage.
PVP seems like it was all but forgotten in this game, but I think that is a mistake on Cryptics part. Space combat against other players is by far one of the better aspects of this game and should be promoted instead of ignored. Just imagine you are roaming around a battleground looking for the enemy with a handful of other Star Fleet vessels, when suddenly five Klingon war birds decloak and open fire. Unfortunately this happens to far in-between and usually leaves you wanting more that you can’t get.
As for the ground PVP available the imbalance and buggy game play ruins what matches you can get in. I only hope the changes they have planned for ground combat also improve the PVP side of it.
Check out Part 2 of my review where Icover Crafting, The Foundry, Game Play, Fleet Actions, War Zones and my overall grade for the game. Thanks for stopping by