Before September of this year the only way to play the Massive Multiplayer Online game Star Trek Online was from PC or Mac. Now the free – to – play game is available for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and it is awesome. For this review, I played on the PlayStation 4. You can check out my PC review here. Before I begin, they kept all 11 seasons from the PC game, which includes the expansions Delta Rising and Legacy of Romulus, however, they have not included Agents of Yesterday. It was a bit disappointing but it may come in future updates. Even so it is still the game that I am familiar with and it didn’t take long to get back in the game. Although, I did have to start from the beginning with new characters.
One of my two characters is a federation female Bajoran engineering officer named Cherad Rokori in command of the USS Carthage .
Bajorans became known from Star Trek the Next Generation’s Ensign Ro Lauren. Then became a main Star Trek species in Deep Space Nine where the Federation took command of the Terok Nor Station from the Cardassians in Bajoran space. A deeply spiritual people they are a humanoid race characterized by nose ridges and an earring worn on their right ear. Bajoran names are written with the surname first and then given name.
The story of ensign Cherad began following graduation from Starfleet academy. She was picked to be first officer of the USS Carthage but during the first mission Carthage’s captain got taken by the Klingons. She was elevated to captain just prior to his death. Following the destruction of the Klingon ships Cherad was sent to Vega Colony. Here she aided the civilians of Vega colony and held back the Borg invasion long enough to transport the civilians to the USS Carthage.
With help from Federation reinforcements ensign Cherad defeated Borg probes and a cube and warped to the Sol System and Earth Space dock. Ensign Cherd Rokori was promoted to lieutenant and given command of the USS Carthage. In the year 2409 the Federation is at war with the Klingons and these types of promotions are necessary. Besides, promoting a fine officer in wartime with command experience is better than waiting years to be promoted to captain.
After a few hours of game play I am becoming fond of the Klingons. First Officer Kora got command from challenging her captain and honorably killing him with her Bat’leth. The command was not finalized till a duel on Qo’nos. Prior to the start of Star Trek Online the previous captain of the IKS D’Ngak was helping the Federation. Kora took command after the first officer was killed for knowing too much and disobeying the captain. Once in command, she made sure an important Federation prisoner arrived to Qo’nos unharmed while defeating any Federation p’takh that dared to stop her.
This review will focus on my Federation character. However, with the option of choosing a variety of species from the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan factions, captains everywhere can customize their own game play and experiences to make the most out of Star Trek Online.
PlayStation 4 game play is good and converted well from the PC version. Movement of the space ships are a bit challenging at first. It took a little bit of practice to keep the camera zoomed in on the ship and keep steady in combat. I also found turning the ships a bit slow but after awhile I got the hang of it and it became more fluid. Camera control is in the captain commands menu. Exploration of all the menus and user interface controls is a good idea for new captains and those new to the console version.
What I really liked was the developers kept the weapons menu and ship menus on the main window with corresponding buttons. You know which button fires the weapons and controls ship speed. There are also different controls for abilities and consumables. In space combat you assign officers to different stations such as tactical, engineering and science. These officers give the player extra boosts and advantages during space combat. Engineering gives more power to shields while tactical provides support to weapons.
Here is a space battle between the federation and the Orion. The mission is to aid the SS Azure:
Space battles are the best part of Star Trek online. What is great about this online game is the amount of time spent on missions. They are not rushed and the player becomes immersed in the story and lore of Star Trek. For instance when battling in space you may find yourself having defeated several enemy ships and then enemy reinforcements arrive and the battle continues. They also don’t make it easy, the farther you advance the harder it is to defeat some of the command ships and gathering a party together is a good idea.
The ships that players command are upgradable. New ships can be purchased as you move up rank and are rank specific. As you complete missions better weapons, consoles, and warp drive engines are rewarded to players. This also goes for ground combat with phasers and rifles, shields, and armor.
There are also options for purchasing new ships and upgrades using zen, though this costs real money but can be valuable to make game play easy. Players can also purchase a variety of uniform packs. Star Trek Online is free-to-play and players do not need to spend real money to advance, through purchasing zen can make for a more interesting experience. There are also subscription options that add extra perks and bonuses, especially for those who really are avid players and spend a lot of time in the game. One option is a lifetime subscription to play as a lifetime gold member. Some of the perks of membership are veteran rewards, new species unlocks, and additional ships. Veteran rewards include free respecs and skill point boosts.
Ground combat is also a big part of Star Trek online. Not every mission is a combat or a war mission. There are also diplomatic missions, missions to provide aid to colonies, and rescue missions. It is Star Trek and if you play the Federation you uphold the values and mission of Starfleet and represent the United Federation of Planets. On planets you have main missions but also quests which allows for more exploration, acquiring new items, and opportunities to level up. All the familiar planets and stations are in Star Trek Online including Vulcan, Bajor, Deep Space Nine, Qo’nos, and Nimbus III from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. However, there are many more planets to explore including New Romulus.
Battle a board the SS Azure between the Federation and Orions:
The menus and user interface are easy to use and include many options. Options available are upgrading gear for captain and crew, and ships. Skills and stats are available and new skills can be purchased as well. Star Trek Online also has specializations and abilities for each one. Reputation is gained from completing specific missions. Captain commands allow for chat and viewing current missions.
One thing that the console version added was a target on the main screen. To talk to NPCs and your crew, or access consoles and mission related objects a player needs to target them first. It can be a bit annoying to have that there all the time but it is convenient. Players can also target enemies using the target icon. The game is partially voiced. Not all characters are going to have full voice overs but some do. As an RPG as well as an MMO players have dialogue choices that can alter the course of a mission and storyline.
When communicating with NPCs or crew they appear in the main window and the dialogue in another. This happens even if communicating with your ship on away missions.
As with other MMOs Star Trek Online offers players PvP missions and events along with the PvE missions. Players can also form and join Fleets and there are many opportunities to join a team for normal missions or to do events.
Star Trek Online on the PlayStation 4 is just as fun and addictive as the PC version. After several hours of gameplay I am fully immersed into the game even though they are the same missions I already have done. Its just that good. The graphics are great with all the unique characteristics of the different Star Trek species. There are many ways to customize your gameplay from the extensive character customization and uniform combinations (just find a tailor), to how you can customize and upgrade your star ship. With Star Trek themed music, familiar voices, and a game with so many different character interactions, and the Gorn, anybody with a PC or next-gen console can enjoy this new Star Trek story.
To all the captains out there Live Long and Prosper, and see you in Star Trek Online.