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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review of Star Trek Online: Part Two

Welcome back to my review of Star Trek Online after two months of playing. if you missed my first part please read it HERE first. Otherwise lets get back into it.

Crafting – 3.4

Crafting is somewhat entertaining, but ultimately confusing. Basically you gather Data Samples from around the galaxy and use them to make different items both for your person and ship. The biggest problem is the number of different data samples to obtain and which one to use when. I was able to get the hang of it after some time, but for a new player it may appear confusing. Also everyone crafts the same things with the same stuff. I much prefer a system that lets me pick my profession. In STO there is no choice if you want to craft you need to do what everyone else does. One last thing that annoys me is that the only place that I have found where you’re able to craft is a planet called Memory Alpha and no where else. it can be a pain to have to run up there every time you wish to make something.

Foundry – 4.8

Using the Foundry is by far my favorite part of STO. In case you didn’t know, the Foundry is a program you log into that allows you to create your own custom missions and then share them with the general player base. The details you can go into while making your missions is pretty in depth and make this a lot of fun. You can perform a wide variety of options including creating your own maps to setting up each encounter to adding sound effects. For a first release of this program it is well done and the only reason I did not give it a perfect score is because I feel there is some room for improvement. Adding some more advanced features like a building builder and item builder would help. This is one of the better parts of the game and one I look forward to using.

Game Play

 The meat and potatoes of any game is how well it plays and whether or not it has replay ability. In STO you have two completely different styles of game play, Space and Ground. Because these two are so different from each other I thought it prudent to separate each ones score and talk about them differently.

Space Game Play – 4.5

Ship combat in this game is very well done. You have well thought out offensive and defensive systems and many types to choose from. You can have Turrets, Cannons, Beam emitters (Phasers and others) and Torpedo Launchers. You can change out your ships consoles to improve different things both offensively and defensively. You can change the setting s of your shields, change your crew and on and on. There are a lot of options and it is fun playing around with them to find the right mix. Also the ships themselves are customizable and come in three different classes, Escorts, Cruisers and Science Vessels. Each looks completely different and performs different roles in the game.
Action is usually smooth with minimal bugs and traveling around open space, even in transit, is fun. By far the best aspect of this game and you never want to leave your ship. But alas this is a Star Trek based game after all and what would Star Trek be without Away Teams and ground based missions.

Ground Game Play – 1.5

I tried to give this a better score, I really, really did but for me the ground based missions are just too darn buggy and bland. Every time I stop running for no apparent reason or my forward progress is halted by a plant leaf I want to log off. Also the weapons in the future apparently miss fire a lot because my weapons almost never appear to fire when I press the button. Randomly generated maps also often create misaligned graphics leaving over laps and bugs. Enemy and crew member intelligence appears very low and they will often do very dumb things like running into bad. Fights are often chaotic and disorganized with very little effort given to strategy or team work.
Besides the bugs and messy game play of random generated maps, pre made maps like space stations and fleet actions operate better and better scripted storylines in some missions are an improvement, but overall the game play of ground based action is just a mess right now. Fortunately most of the developer’s time has been centered on improving this portion of the game and I am hopeful for it.

Fleet Actions and other things – 4.2

Fleet actions are fun period, the come in both space and ground varieties and are basically zones that people join and work together for a common goal. They are very similar to Warhammers public quests as each person is rated by their participation and given a reward based on it. They can be a lot of fun especially when you get several people working together. In fact my ship has been parked outside “The Big Dig” for quite some time now.
The other things I wanted to cover are Warzones. Warzones are areas in which opposing factions, Star Fleet and Klingons, can enter and compete to capture an objective. One in particular is about the Borg and shutting a Cube factory down. Which ever side completes the listed tasks first wins. It has group play and PVP in one and it can be quite fun. Unfortunately there always seem to be a shortage of Klingons playing in Warzones when I play, but from a game play aspect they are very well done.

Overall Rating - 3.7

Well there you have it 3.7 is the average of the 10 categories I graded above and quite frankly seems about right for the game as a whole. If we were to take that as a letter grade it would be somewhere around a C+ to B-. Either way the game is at times great and at other times abysmal. I still am enjoying my time in game and have decided to continue on to at the very least I reach level cap.
This after all is my opinion of the game so far and I hope this review will prove helpful and informative. I would like to hear from you on what you think of the game so far and also feel free to grade it yourself or criticize my grades the more the better.   

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