For the past week or so I’ve been playing the open beta of Star Trek Online. And I have to say, after some initial concerns my overall opinion is very positive.
There has been quite a lot of negativity about the game on the forums, and on the whole I agree with most of it. But the things that are good about far outweigh the bad in my opinion. The most overwhelming positive note for me is the space combat engine is probably the best I’ve seen in a Star Trek game. The only other one I can think of that is close is the one from Starfleet Command, but that loses points for having far too many non-canon elements (missiles?).
The ground control side is the biggest “bad” part of the game. The controls are non-intuitive, everything’s a little chaotic in combat, and the non-combat missions are pretty dull. I call it “bad” in quotes however since despite the flaws, once you’re on a mission with four other (real) people fighting an army of Klingons it’s still tremendously fun.
Another big plus for the game is the backstory. For those you don’t know, the game is set inr 2409. That’s a 30 years after Deep Space 9, 25 years after Nemesis and nearly 15 years after “normal universe” elements of the 2009 Star Trek movie (and it is set in the “normal universe” – the one that has a Vulcan, but no Romulus). The creators realised that conflict is a big part of games, and when it comes to games even Star Trek strays from it’s utopian diplomacy-and-mutual-respect-and-understanding-is-the-key-to-everything ideals and so the story has been cleverly written to allow a lot of conflict. For example, at launch the game is mainly the Federation vs. the Klingons. I strongly suggest anyone interested in Star Trek to read the backstory whether you intend to play it or not.
So overall, if you’re interested in gaming and Star Trek, give it a go. There are beta keys available from various places, or you could pre-order it and get one. Or just wait for the release date on February 2nd.