Star Trek: Elite Force II

On my trip to Target yesterday I managed to pick up Star Trek Elite Force II which I heard from a few reviews was pretty good. Lots of emphasis on FPS (my personal favorite type of game) and not so great emphasis on Star Trek (:sniff sniff:).

Right off the bat, I’ll say that so far I do enjoy the game a great deal albeit a few gripes I have. I managed to play roughly one third of the game so I can’t really say anything too bad about it thus far.

The first thing I liked a lot was the first mission of the game. It actually takes place during the season finale of Voyager when they got sucked up by the Borg cube on their way home to the Alpha quadrant. During the actual episode, you never really got to see what happened when they got captured. You only saw Janeway give the order to fire and all of a sudden they were greeted by oodles and oodles of Starfleet ships. Apparently, because of all of the new baddies in Voyager’s timeline, Tuvok created a special team of “shoot first, ask later” type of guys. It’s these guys (Hazard Team) who are responsible for everything that was missed during that time when Voyager got gobbled up.

I have never played the original Elite Force, but I liked the fact that you fight the Borg in this first mission. I’ll have to admit that when I was playing this in the dark with the sound turned up I got kind of startled when I heard a Borg behind me state, “Resistance is futile…” However, the fight with you (Alex Munro) and the ultra-borg that appears right before Voyager blows up the Borg sphere seemed a little too chintzy for me and not too “Star Trek-ish.” It reminded me very much of the final battle in RtCW with the final bad guy, which in that game was way too easy anyway.

Afterwards, the game dies down a little action wise so that you can check out Starfleet headquarters and chill with Captain Picard. The cool thing is that you can actually roam around the Starfleet campus to check out the various buildings and eavesdrop on other conversations that the NPC’s have. Another cool thing is that when you are on the Enterprise-E, you can walk around and investigate the place. Definitely very cool for a Trek junkie like myself.

Next, is where I am in the game now. You get to fight this alien species that reminds me of the aliens in Alien. It’s a little so so. I would have much rather fought more Borg or Romulans than take on a new species… Plus, I’m not crazy about the shoot first, ask questions later mentality the game throws at you. That’s definitely not Star Trek…

So far, the weapons seem pretty standard which is a good thing. I wouldn’t want to play a Star Trek game with like a BFG or something. So far, you get the standard phaser, a standard rifle, an enhanced rifle, a batleth to play out your Klingon fantasies and this funky stun rifle type of thing. I hear the weapons down the line are not as relevant to the Star Trek series. Hopefully they’ll be cool.

You get to play with a tricorder in this game which I think is extremely cool. However, you’re only limited to a few things that can be done with it. You can re-route power to busted power conduits, do some phase-modulation, scan for weaknesses in structures (like walls and rocks so you can blast through them) and use it as a funky mini-radar which doesn’t work too well. I would have liked to been able to scan anything within the game to get more information like in the series. You can scan people, but what if I would like to scan a rock just to see what it’s made of? Or scan the area ahead for items like health regen areas or energy areas to recharge my weapons. The little mini-puzzles you get (routing power and phase modulation) were really cool at first, but it gets old pretty fast. However, I can see it’s mainly meant for breaking up the action sequences throughout the game.

The movement in the game is just like any other game based on the Quake III engine. Fairly smooth with the exception of a few funky glitches. However that’s to be expected when you’re using a game engine made for twitchy-movement style deathmatches.

The graphics are awesome, but then again I have a high end card so my resolution is set at 1600×1200 and the details are set to max on everything. The characters are a little stiff and not very well animated, but I’d guess it’s another limitation of the game engine. Also, doesn’t the main character, Munro look exactly like that lawyer guy from the Practice?

The main gripe of this game for me is the crappy AI of the monsters and NPC characters. I can’t tell you how many times I had to go “unstick” the character that was having an NPC seizure attack. Nor the amount of times I blew myself away because my squad mate ran in front of me. The monsters weren’t too great either. It seems the only way they can defend against you is just to move from side to side. Which makes them very easy kills…

Gripes aside, I like this game so far. It’s a solid FPS and promises to be an awesome multiplayer game. If the AI were better and they truly stuck to a more realistic Star Trek story, it would be an amazing game. It reminds me a great deal of my reaction to watching Nemesis in the theatres. It was a good movie on it’s own, but to a “seasoned” Star Trek fan like myself, it was way off the mark in quite a few critical areas which made it lesser of a movie.