Star Trek: Armada 2
I love Star Trek. I love RTS. So this can’t go wrong can it?
“Voyager” and “Enterprise” are my two favourite spin-offs from the original but there is only one true captain: Jean-Luc Picard. He has charisma, the appearance of an old wise man and a great voice to listen to. Janeway was irritating when she talked, Sisko had nothing interesting to say but Archer comes close to Picard; but it’s not fair to compare the two since Archer only recently started with his captain career in the latest spin-off “Enterprise”. The adventures and special effects were/are the best in “Voyager” and “Enterprise”, however this game concentrates on the state of the universe in Picard’s time.
The first thing that struck me was the presence of species 8472. “The what in the where how?” I hear you say… shame on you.
Species 8472 is a race that was made contact with in “Voyager” by Janeway but the contact was rather violent. To make a long story short: she gave the Borg, who were losing a war against species 8472, a weapon against them in return for free passage home through Borg space. Janeway had reasons to believe that species 8472 were going to wipe out everything after defeating the Borg.
However, their presence all makes sense during the single player missions. The missions are well made to include the different races that are found in the different spin-offs. Great stuff for Trekkies.
The races you can play with in single player campaign are Starfleet, Klingon and Borg. You start with the Starfleet campaign and the others unlock as soon as you finished the previous.
Species 8472, Cardassians and the Romulans can only be played in multiplayer or skirmish. They all play alike and have similar units and buildings but they do have their differences.
The only race that is a breed apart is Species 8472. I wouldn’t have expected otherwise seeing that they are the perfect biological race who live in a parallel universe. It’s all about embryos; they have to evolve in buildings or in ships. They are a welcome change in this game, it’s just too bad they don’t have a single player campaign.
Ferengi will be in the game with a trading post or by sneaking away with a damaged ship of yours to sell it somewhere, but they are not available as a race to play with (who wants to be a Ferengi anyway).
The game will feel familiar to those that played its predecessor. A significant change is the real 3D-aspect, making it possible to go with your ships “up” or “under” the grid shown on your screen. Besides the fact that it looks somewhat nice I didn’t find any other reason to really use this option. It just made things harder to oversee and difficult to control. Another new option is the ability to go in warpspeed, making you travel a lot faster over the map but while in warpspeed also a lot more vulnerable.
It’s an RTS, so like most games in this genre you have a base in which you build, research and harvest. You’ll have to build a shipyard to build your ships, research facility to research new technology and so on …
The resources are metal, dilithium, latinum and crew.
Metal must be harvested from planets, dilithium from dilithium-moons and crew comes from a colonised planet and grows continuously (but slowly) at your starbase. You’ll need a crew to control your ship, you can even transport your crewmembers in a deserted ship to take control or transport to an enemy ship or building to seize control (their shields need to be down for doing this).
A trading post can be built to exchange goods from one station to the other which results in latinum (the currency they use in the Star Trek universe) or you can harvest some latinum-nebulas. The Borg and Species 8472 are the only races who have no use for latinum
You’ll never run out of metal, dilithium and crew, enough planets and moons to harvest from.
The missions in single player are very entertaining. For instance: a mission where you need to set up an outpost and wait for backup from the Enterprise. Then suddenly you’re being hailed by Enterprise requesting backup. You’ll have to build repair ships and defend those through the nebula to repair the Enterprise, meanwhile holding off the Borg cubes that have some unfinished business to arrange with the damaged Enterprise. The mission objectives get you going and are fun to play.
If you do know the series a bit, you know the ships are quite strong and can have a good fight from time to time. Just drop those thoughts if you’re playing this game. It’s about making lots and lots of ships and mass attacking the enemy with it, several will die but you’ll have to make sacrifices.
The graphics could have been better. There isn’t much too see except for some nicely done nebulas and great explosions from ships. But that’s it basically, nothing wrong with the graphics that are there but the amount of “black” is pretty high. I know I’m playing a space-game, but still…
Gameplay is of course the most important part and it scores high on that part, especially if you’re a Trekkie. Having a whole Starfleet at your command is extremely cool and Patrick Stewart’s voice is the cherry on the pie. It’s rare to see a good Star Trek game but this is defenitely one.
On a personal matter: I hate it when I begin with 15 ships and some buildings in place. Give me a construction ship and let me begin from scratch, it makes me feel more in control. The same thing goes for red alert and co, why are there always missions with already some buildings… hate that.
In the end it’s a great game though. You’ll have lots of fun with it if you have the patience to follow the tutorials in the beginning cause you will need them to enjoy Star Trek Armada 2 to the fullest. May you boldly go where no one has gone before! (Just couldn’t leave it out, sorry.)