Review: Star Trek Online for consoles


Star Trek Online has been released for consoles, here are our initial thoughts on the Xbox One and Playstation versions of this classic Trek MMO.

ICYMI: Star Trek Online developer walk through video.

If (like me) you have a PC that runs slower than a two legged dog called Stumpy and is as powerful as a hand held novelty fan, you have probably spent the last 6 years sat watching PC Gamers from afar with our green eyed friend Mr. Envy as they levelled up by saving the galaxy in Star Trek Online. Finally we will no longer have to endure the company of Mr. Envy (who smell’s a bit like fish if you ask me) as console user now have the chance to take on the Klingon Empire in epic battles to the death as September saw the launch of Star Trek Online for Xbox One and PS4. Qapla’!

Since its launch on PC in 2010 it has gone on to amass over 2.5 million gamming accounts has been registered with no signs of letting up and with this release onto consoles can only help cement Star Trek Onlines place as one of the most popular MMORPG available. This is what Stephen Ricossa, Executive Producer for Star Trek Online had to say:

"” Welcome Captains! Star Trek Online began its journey many years ago, but is now ready to travel to a new frontier. Starting today, Star Trek Online is available for free on the Xbox One and PlayStation®4 consoles in multiple North American regions, with more regions in the Americas and Europe unlocking in the coming days. An unforgettable voyage in a universe that has entertained millions for over 50 years awaits!We have over 6 years of content available to you right at launch, including amazing character and ship customization, over 125 episodes that tell an amazing story, voice work from more than 15 actors from every Star Trek era, and fantastic end game queued content. In addition to all of that, we’ve completely overhauled the game for its debut on consoles. The gameplay was worked and iterated on constantly as we strived to craft a fantastic controller experience. The lighting engine was heavily upgraded to ensure everything looks as amazing as you would expect on the current generation of hardware. Finally, all of the UI was completely redone from scratch to ensure we have an experience that is purpose-built for consoles.Star Trek Online is 100% free-to-play – that means free to download, no subscriptions, and all of our content updates are completely free. All you have to do to have an amazing adventure in the Star Trek universe is show up and have fun. ”"

So now that the game has arrived, what is it actually like and has it delivered?

As you might have noticed at the top of this article I have decided to give my initial thoughts on the game rather than a full blown review. The reason for this is simply because I would find it harsh to review a game that has only just made the transfer from PC to console and which will have a variety of bugs and issues as players participate and progress in the game and in a bit of forewarning, there are bugs and issues. So once we have a sense of a more completed game, we can offer a fuller review. I have also used the Playstation 4 version of the game.

As with most games of this nature you start off by creating your character and have  a number of options available to you. You can select to be a member of the Federation and be one of many aliens that within that faction such as Human, Bajoran, Ferengi etc. Or you can select to be a part

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of the Klingon or Romulan Empires. Once you have selected your character type you get to name him and play around with his appearance including altering his uniform before being thrust straight into the action.

Your very first mission is a training one so that you get to know the layout of the heads up display (or HUD) and get to grips with the buttons. This is where I thought I would encounter my first real problems with the console version of Star Trek Online. A Standard keyboard has roughly 101 keys including 26 letters, up to 20 numbers and a whole host of function keys most of which correspond with some kind of action that you character in Star Trek Online can do. One of the main challenges facing the team working on reproducing Star Trek Online for consoles was reworking the control system so that it could be condensed into a 19 button controller system without affecting game play. This was the game’s biggest challenge and for me its biggest achievement; graphics can be upgraded fairly simple all you need to do is look at the recent spate of PS3 games being re-mastered for the next generation console as evidence of that, however redoing an entire control system is a different prospect all together and they really make it work.

My starship in full action

You start off life as a cadet but while on your training mission the captain of your ship is captured and killed which means that you have to step up and take command and you a promoted to the rank of lieutenant. MMORPG games are all about gaining experience points, building up your character so that you can get better weapons, carry and build items, posses better equipment, snazzy clothes and armour and so on with Star Trek Online being no different in that regard. With each mission you complete you gain some experience and gain a new level, with each level you obtain you get closer to your aim of promotion and with promotion comes better starships and gear. I am currently on level 13 and when I reached level 10 I was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and was given a new starship that very much resembled the USS Enterprise refit as seen in The Motion Picture. With every ten levels (or missions completed) you seem to get a promotion so when I reach level 30 I will become a commander; level 40 a

Star Trek Online  feels like Star Trek”

Captain. The concept of gaining new items and ships is a driving force behind

Star Trek Online

as you would expect but in my years of gaming I have come to believe that this can detract from the playing experience by which I mean sometimes players can be too focused on becoming the highest level they can be or have the best starship rather than just enjoying the game. That is something I like about

Star Trek Online

is the fact it feels like

Star Trek

, beaming down to the surface of a planet to rescue hostages or destroy illegal Klingon experimental weapons then heading back to your ship to do battle with the Gorn and other aliens in space. All of which are fun to do. The space and ground combat are great and demonstrates how good a job the team have done to adapt the controlling system as when engaged in full battle you seem to easily select weapons and offensive manoeuvres with ease, all done surrounded by really impressive graphics. I am not going to say that the graphics are blowing my mind, especially due to the power behind consoles these days but that doesn’t mean they are not great to look at. Planets are presented really well and it’s fantastic to see places we know and love recreated with details that we can recognise from the TV shows. However that all changes when you get to see one of the starships up close and personal and the graphics step it up a notch. The attention to detail to make the ships look like they have leapt right out of an episode of

Star Trek

is amazing and really gives you a buzz.

Vulcan and the statue tribute to Leonard Nimoy

As you read this you probably think I am a big fan of the game and you would be right, however I did say earlier that there are some buggy issues and it would appear the transition from PC to console hasn’t gone as smoothly as Cryptic may have wanted. Graphic related bugs I don’t mind so much; as when a cut away screen is loading certain aspect load slower than others so you are

A nice tribute to those we have lost. Names include Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett, James Doohan, Deforrest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin

left looking at blocks for a few seconds are minor and as long as this doesn’t start to happen when actually playing the game then fine, it’s something we can all get over. However when in combat and you are frantically fighting off a small incursion of three Klingon Bird’s of Prey, pressing buttons like a mad man in the hope one of your photon torpedoes get’s a direct hit, then you realise you haven’t fire a single shot the moment your ship explodes. That is a big deal and has happened a number of times with me which has left me no alternative but to log off and log back on again to try and rectify the issues. Thankfully this has worked for me and since I can count on one hand how many times this has happened I can’t gripe too much but the fact remains I shouldn’t have to log off and on again to fix a problem and I hope it is not going to be a regular occurrence. Other small issues I have come across include not being able to leave my captains side (see video below) and not being able to wear the free Wrath of Khan uniforms that are available as a free download.

I’m sure once Cryptic Studios has had a chance to go through the bug reports they will no doubt be receiving they will look to put things right and once the bugs have been ironed out this will propel the game onto another level of greatness. If you have a console I would really recommend getting this game and giving it a go as its the closest we have yet to being a captain in our own Star Trek adventure.

Next: The Game is in Star Trek Timelines

So what do you think of Star Trek Online? Have you had a chance to play it yet or will you be downloading it at all? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.