Ubisoft Star Trek: Legacy review

Price when reviewed

After a five-year wait since the last Star Trek PC game, Star Trek: Legacy is here and initially promises some great action. It spans every chronological facet of the Star Trek universe, with vessels and cast from every series. Not only that, but William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks and Kate Mulgrew have all voiced parts of the game.

The game is built around a well-crafted plot, put together by Star Trek script writer DC Fontana, and has you in hot pursuit of a rogue Vulcan by the name of T’Uerell. She’s discovered that the Romulans are the long-lost brothers of the Vulcans and takes it upon herself to unite the two groups. She then comes to the rather twisted conclusion that the best way to unify the two groups would be to introduce the Borg. This doesn’t go down well with either side and you, as the leader of the human task force, are given the job of hunting her down.

So far so good; after all, a ripping yarn will keep you playing a game right to the bitter end. But sadly, things soon start to go awry.

After the initial movie that introduces a level and what you’re going to face – which can range from keeping a cluster of asteroids from hitting a planet through to a full-on fleet battle against the Borg – you’re allowed to pick the three other ships that will accompany your cruiser. In theory, there are four different classes at your disposal: fast, but lightly armed scouts; destroyers that are a little slower and pack a reasonable punch; cruisers that contain a balanced mix of weapons and armour; and the battleship class, slow-moving but packing a knockout punch of weaponry, shields and armour. But the reality is that, other than in the final two maps, there’s no reason to have anything other than battleships in your fleet. None of the missions have time constraints, so you can get your slow-moving fire bases into position without worrying about speed. And it’s firepower and who can stay alive the longest that wins battles, and nothing else. Intelligent play doesn’t exist.

Once you’ve picked your craft, you’re thrown into combat proper and it’s here the game takes a real tumble, mainly because it plays more like Homeworld than a proper RTS, as there’s actually precious little interactivity within the game. While the developers had promised a game that would let you upgrade your ships and choose your captains, the end product lets you do very little. You can direct your ships, either by manually steering or using the 2D strategic map. You can assign the current target and you can chose how you want to allocate your crafts’ energy reserves – shields, weapons and engines. Except there’s almost no need to split your power, your ships will fire on the nearest hostile ship and, if you’re manually steering and you target a vessel, the autopilot kicks in anyway. Most of the time, you’re spectating rather than playing.

The game does improve when it comes to the visuals and sounds. Most of the vessels look like their TV and film counterparts, and the authentic actors’ voices improve the atmospherics. However, you can’t help but feel that it’s a good-looking console game and not a well-designed PC RTS. Ultimately, Star Trek: Legacy is disappointing, and little more than a jazzed-up interactive story.

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