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Star Trek: Legacy is a video game released by Mad Doc Software for Microsoft Windows based PCs and Xbox 360. The game, a strategy/action and space combat game, was published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released in 2006 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise.

In the game, players control a fleet (up to four ships) of various Federation starships through three different Star Trek eras in combat against various races from the Star Trek universe. It was released for the PC on 6 December 2006 in North America, and was released on 22 December 2006 in Europe. The Xbox 360 version was released on 15 December 2006[1] in the US and December 22, 2006 in Europe.

Game rankings indicate that fan and critical response to the PC game was strongly negative[2] while reviews for the Xbox 360 version are higher.

The PC version received an average vote of 4.8, and an average score of 58.0% on the GameRankings website.[3]

Setting

Single player

The three eras of Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation make up the single-player campaign. In each era, the player utilizes a fleet of Federation ships from that era (fleet size is up to four ships). The Federation goes up against the Romulans (ENT), Klingons (TOS), and the Borg Collective (TNG). The Next Generation era is inclusive of material from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies Generations, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis.

Storyline

The eras that are covered in single player mode are:

An article on Eurogamer, posted on August 7, 2006, revealed that Derek Chester has collaborated with original Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana on the scripts of Star Trek: Legacy and Star Trek: Tactical Assault.[4] Fontana and Chester gave an interview on IGN, posted 29 November 2006, in which they reveal that the storyline incorporates the split between the Vulcan and Romulan races, known as the Sundering.[5]

The Enterprise Era The story begins with the player taking the role of Captain Jonathan Archer approximately four years after the conclusion of events in the Star Trek Enterprise television series. He is ordered to investigate the disappearance of a Vulcan ship. Upon arriving, he finds the Vulcans under attack by Romulans. After driving the Romulans back, the Vulcan captain, a scientist named T'Uerell, informs Archer that they must travel to a research station where the Vulcans were conducting sensitive research. Although Archer is suspicious, he agrees and escorts T'Uerell to the station which is already under attack by the Romulans. After beating back the Romulans, T'Uerell docks with the station and all communications fall silent despite repeated hails by Archer. As waves of Romulan vessels are beaten back by Archer, T'Uerell finally hails Archer, indicates that she has saved some sort of research and owes him a debt of gratitude, but promises that if they should meet again the encounter would not be pleasant. With this ominous statement, T'Uerell's vessel then enters warp and escapes. Several other missions follow where Archer and the Enterprise are tasked with dealing with the outbreak of a mutagenic virus of mysterious origin. Archer discovers Romulans may be involved yet again, and also senses that T'Uerell is somehow involved.

The Original Series Era The player then takes the role of Captain James T. Kirk in command of the Constitution-class U.S.S. Enterprise from the Original Series. Amidst the heat of a war with the Klingons, Kirk is tasked with stealing a prototype Klingon Bird-of-Prey, whose cloak is undetectable, in order to investigate and destroy a Klingon super-weapon. Kirk discovers that a Vulcan called T'Uerell is behind the Klingons' advanced super-weapon, but is unable to apprehend her before she escapes.

Post-The Motion Picture Era After the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, now-Admiral Kirk again encounters T'Uerell as well as some strange Klingon vessels. The Klingon ships have assaulted the Keteract Research Station which has been studying the mysterious Omega Particle. Upon engaging the Klingon ships, Kirk discovers the Klingon ships have actually been assimilated by the Borg. The warp signatures from the Klingon ships are traced back to T'Uerell's base, where she has successfully installed the Omega Particle onto a Borg Sphere, granting the vessel immense power. Although Kirk is able to dispatch the Borg ship, once again T'Uerell is able to escape. As he contemplates his failure to capture T'Uerell, Kirk states, "Perhaps the next generation will do better."

The Next Generation Era During the final part of the story, the player takes the role of a young Jean-Luc Picard as acting captain of the U.S.S. Stargazer. The young Picard leads a small task force to protect a star system from stellar debris that threatens to destroy three inhabited planets. After successfully concluding those missions, the story skips forward in time to when Captain Picard is in command of the Galaxy-class U.S.S. Enterprise-D. The final missions take place later still, after Kathryn Janeway has returned from the Delta Quadrant with the U.S.S. Voyager and has been promoted to Admiral. Picard, now in command of the Sovereign class U.S.S. Enterprise-E, and Janeway meet with T'Uerell who is accompanied by a pair of Borg Cubes and destroyers. T'Uerell's own ship has taken on certain Borg-like qualities and she reveals that she has taken control of the Borg Collective in an effort to bring order to chaos. She demands the Federation's surrender, which Picard and Janeway refuse. T'Uerell then commands the Borg to attack Deep Space Nine, where Picard must first protect the station, and then rally the Klingon and Romulan defenders into an allied fleet. After repelling another wave of Borg attackers, Picard and the allied fleet pursue T'Uerell, where the final confrontation takes place. Eventually, T'Uerell's ship is destroyed after Picard collapses a wormhole through which she was summoning Borg reinforcements.

Gameplay

PC

Players control a squadron of between one and four 3D-modelled starships, and engage in battles against other starships. Starship movement is controlled with pitch, yaw, and forward propulsion (as well as a straight-line "warp" capability for rapid movement across a map environment), and movement occurs in a fully 3D "pizza box" shaped environment. The player operates a single starship at a time, controlling weapons fire, movement and repairs, and can switch between each of the starships in their squadron. Players also have the ability to change from a 3D display to a top-down 2D tactical display where you can issue specific commands to ships within a task force. For example, a player is able to order a ship to warp to a specific point for defense of a station or ship.

Viewpoint is controlled in several ways, with players able to "lock" onto an opponent to ensure that the opponent is always centered in the screen, to look straight forward, or to rotate camera around the selected ship. Starships are classified according to weapons strength and manoeuvrability, and assigned a set number of points that roughly corresponds to the strength of the ship. The player earns 'command points' through performance and progress through the game missions, and can select new ships to add to their squadron by expending these points.

In addition to the linear campaign there is a customizable skirmish mode. Players select the 'map' on which they play, the number of ships per squadron, the number of command points allowed, the race and allegiance of each AI player, and the make-up of their own squadron of ships.

PC Patches and modifications

Bethesda has released a Mission Editor tool allowing users to freely customize missions, available for download on the Bethesda website.[6] In addition, an active community exists which creates and distributes various mods including user-created maps for skirmish mode, campaign missions, and user-created playable starships and races. Fans have created playable vessels both from the Star Trek mythology and other space opera fandoms, such as Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG-1.

To date, Bethesda has released two patches in an attempt to correct problems in the PC version of the game. The first patch repaired the multi-player component that, for a majority of players and systems, did not work straight out of the box. On February 15, 2007, Bethesda released a second patch, this patch performs some major repair work to the game engine, correcting numerous issues that caused access exception violations on most Windows PC system, as well as correcting memory leaks and graphic issues. More repairs were attempted on the multi-player component of the game as well, increasing the speed of which players can connect to or establish multi-player servers as well as repairing numerous glitches and exemptions in information required to host and join a multi-player game.[7]

Reception

Xbox 360

Responses to the Xbox 360 version were mixed.[8] The Official Xbox 360 Magazine giving the game 8 out of 10 and saying Legacy is the "best space combat in ages." Game Informer gave the Xbox 360 version a 7.75 out of 10 saying Legacy is "...a great direction to take the Star Trek gaming franchise."

The Xbox 360 version also does not contain some of the perceived control difficulties of the PC version, which had resulted from mapping the Xbox controller onto a keyboard, and also the issues with game compatibility encountered by some users in the PC version. The reviews for the Xbox 360 version are higher because of the easier gameplay. Game Chronicles gave the game a 9.1/10 (the highest rating for the game). "The command interface is incredibly intuitive, which totally surprised me. I was expecting some massively complicated command structure (like in Lord of the Rings), but it only takes one mission (the tutorial) to catch on".[9]

GameSpot gave the game a 7/10 "All five Star Trek series and captains tied together into one game; captures the grandeur and feel of Star Trek combat; iconic starships are modelled in good detail."[10] The biggest difference between the two versions of the game is "The Xbox 360 controls are quite a bit more convenient than those on the PC. For one thing, the controls are actually all accurately documented in the manual and the game dialogues. The left stick controls the pitch and yaw of your ship and the right stick controls the camera. After just a few minutes of play, you'll find the whole arrangement very easy to manage."[11]

PC

Although the only substantial difference between the Xbox and PC versions of the game were access exception issues and simplicity of controls, critical response to the PC game was often even more negative than the lukewarm response to the Xbox version,[12][13] with some reviewers unsatisfied with the control system,[2][14] only one camera setting that cannot zoom in or out, an inability to save more than one campaign at a time and inability to save within a mission. Complaints found in many reviews cite a buggy and slow multi-player mode, the inability to set the exact make-up of AI fleets in skirmish mode, a 3D universe without a large z-axis, an inability to change the control scheme, and AI allies that will not automatically assign repairs.[14]

Although graphics were touted as a major selling point of the game by Bethesda,[15] glitches included mouse disappearing at random intervals during attempts to re-allocate energy, initiate repairs and choppy shadow images, and damage model errors. There are also camera problems. The player cannot choose captains or upgrade ships. This feature was advertised on the game's home page as late as a week before release, which claimed that "Customizable fleets, ships and captains: Victories earn Command Points, which are used to personalize your fleet, ships, and captains."[15]

Many gamers found the control problems especially galling, as there was considerable hype by the developers saying "Star Trek Legacy would be an epic game with easy to use controls." [16] Indeed, the game controls cannot even be reassigned to different keys on the keyboard. Nearly all reviews of the PC game have lambasted the controls: IGN called the game's controls "the first and most frequently occurring aggravation,"[17] while Action Trip said "one of the most annoying aspects of the PC version of Star Trek Legacy. [Is that] It suffers a great deal from unresponsive and unintuitive controls".[14] GameSpot noted that "What will make you pound your head in frustration are the controls, which are a nightmare to learn".[2] Players who are left-handed and use a left-handed mouse or use peripherals for disabled gamers have that much more difficulty or simply cannot play the game.

As the simulated environment is a 3D "pizza box" shape, the game creates the illusion that ships "stall" as they go too high.[17] Ships also cannot traverse the edge of a map. Reviewers complained about the inability of ships to crash into in-game objects. GameSpot referred to the game's "bumper-car physics," saying that "If a starship runs into anything, such as another vessel, an asteroid, or even a ridiculously out-of-scale planet, it just rubs against it and then moves on".[2] IGN noted that "objects that collide simply repel each other, sometimes sending each other off in oblique directions, sometimes auto-piloting to a new heading, and sometimes simply warping to a new facing altogether."[17] Indeed, although Bethesda's website claims that Legacy features "fully realized nebulas, wormholes, planets, and stars",[18] the "pint-size planets"[17] are almost the same size as the ships, and when ships collide with planets, they simply bounce off of them.[17] Action Trip said in its review that "Another mystifying fact about Star Trek Legacy.. is the painful lack of more solid collision detection.. Seeing the Enterprise bounce off a nearby planet like it was made of rubber...killed the ambiance".[14] Players are unable to move their ship in any direction (however, reversing is not possible), and motion was restricted to five pre-set speeds: All Stop, 25%, 50%, 100% impulse engine speed and warp speed.

One indicator that the AI for friendly ships is inadequate is reflected in the fact that ships will not repair themselves no matter how much damage they take. Only after the player takes control of the ship can the ships repair themselves. Even so, the player must hold down the repair key, which sometimes causes players to lose their cursor. Mouse sensitivity is another problem; in the combat modes, even small touches make major shifts in the camera, which causes players to lose their view of an enemy ship. If mouse sensitivity is lowered, it becomes extremely difficult to use the strategic map. Settings also can not be changed within a campaign. To change the settings the mission has to be exited, the settings changed at the main menu and the mission restarted. Settings cannot be saved in the game in any way and must be reset each time the game is started.

See also

References

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