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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Star Trek: Conquest

So about a month ago I picked up some really great deals on Wii games at EB Games. .. I bought Trauma Center: New Blood, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and Star Trek: Conquest-- all "new" and all for about $10.00 each. Killer deal!

I've been playing Star Trek: Conquest the last few days.... it's fun.

Here's a trailer for the game:

This is a budget title, when it was released it was about $35.00 (Canadian) on the shelf. So from that I don't think expectations were too high for this title. But for huge Star Trek fans like me, we eagerly anticipate games set in the ST universe (and desperately pray that they don't suck)

Set during the Next Generation timeline (roughly) all the ships come from the shows Star Trek:TNG, Voyager & DS9.

The concept is basically, all the major races in the Star Trek universe are at war with each other. Just a big free-for-all, and even the normally peace-loving Federation are hell-bent for conquest. Gene Roddenbery might be spinning in his grave... if he was still alive maybe he'd be all like, "WTF??? War war war??? Where's the 'Wagon-Train to the Stars' I envisioned??" But then again, he would probably be cashing in his cheque & not asking questions.... let's face it, massive starship combat: it's just TOO FUN of an idea NOT to make a game of!

The game is turn-based light strategy, with some action elements. You move from system to system, and fight any opposition there. You can do this in 1 of 2 ways: "sim" style, which basically has the Wii fight out the battle for you, or "arcade" style, where you actually control 1 of your ships (you can switch between them all) and do all your flying/targeting yourself.

Most of the fun comes from this "arcade" style, the "sim" mode is best only if you don't want to take the time to fight it out. One of the problems with sim mode is that you can lose battles that you shouldn't really lose... the control is out of your hands. But sometimes the battles are just too slow/tedious that you just want to hit the sim button & move on.

Despite a bit of resource management, the game isn't super complex or deep. If you're a hardcore RTS or turn-based game player, Star Trek: Conquest probably won't satisfy. For me, I liked that it was fairly accessible right away (even though there's no tutorial)

The reviews for this game have been about 5-6/10-- mediocre, but if you read some of them, they actually admit to some entertainment value. I found that to be oddly paradoxical when I was researching the game, but after playing it... it is fun just to fly around & shoot up other ships in a top-down manner (maybe similar to Geometry Wars which I haven't played) but it is repetitive; you're doing the same kind of fighting every time... I think the reviews give it mediocre scores because the overall game & production values are kind of low. There's voice acting, but a lot of it is repeated & gets very tedious before long. You'll hear "This is for Earth!" way more than you'd ever want to. And while the interface & ships look very faithful to Star Trek, the top-down ship view & the space backgrounds are nice, but don't push the Wii as far as graphics. Sometimes it can be hard to see what's what because some ships will be green, but the nebula in the background is green... ugh. Could've used some polish.

That's the way the whole game feels, like it's a bit rough around the edges production-wise. Nothing I've come across is outright BROKEN-- I've gotta point that out. There is some lag & slowdown during some big ship battles... and I've had problems with the game freezing & locking up, requiring a Wii power reset. Judging by the reports it's a common glitch that should've been discovered after only a few hours of play by the testers.... if there were any.

The music is the same music used in the PSP/DS game Star Trek: Tactical Assault (I have both versions) and probably the Xbox 360 game Star Trek: Legacy (I don't have) All these ST games are published by Bethesda, though they are all developed by different studios. It would've been REALLY NICE to have had actual music from the movies, like James Horner's stuff from Star Trek II-III. The game music is not bad, but it's not quite Star Trek.

There's 2 gameplay modes, "Skirmish" & "Campaign". Skirmish is just 1 battle, you set up the parameters, play & it's over. Campaign mode is the actual turn based game, with the battles being the "skirmishes". As you win a campaign with each race, you unlock things you can use in Skirmish mode, but otherwise there's no real story or things to finish in the game. It's very pick up & play. It reminds me a lot of Star Wars Battlefront's Galactic Conquest mode, the turn based & map movement elements are very similar.

Overall, it's fun, but not really deep. Totally worth $10.00, I'd even pay $20.00-$30.00 for it. But I'm a huge Star Trek fan.


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