Star Trek: Elite Force 2
Without calling myself a Trekkie, I do consider myself a Star Trek enthousiast. Still, of all the Star Trek Licensed games I have only played Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, which left me craving for more. Did I get that with Star Trek Elite Force 2? We shall see!
Star Trek Elite Force 2 starts off where the TV-series of Voyager is about to end with the second episode of “Endgame”. The crew has the opportunity to use technology of the future (how they get it… watch the episodes!), and use a Borg Transwarp conduit to get to the Alpha Quadrant… But the Borg Queen does not like this and sends a Sphere to intercept. That’s where the action starts.
You and your team are sent into the sphere to de-activate the forcefield holding Voyager. You need to get to the Central Plexus, but from the start you and your team are seperated, what leads to additional searching. And when things couldn’t get any worse the Borg are able to jam the only weapon you have that is effective against them, the Infinity Modulator or I-Mod in short, .
During the search for your friends and the solution for all your problems you immediately notice something that was mostly lacking in EF1: you really have to use your Tricorder a lot to find passages and secrets, but that’s a topic for later on!
Once you think you succesfully finished your mission, and Voyager is virtually free, you cannot be transported out… and have to face a new Borg: a cross between Frankenstein, Dracula, a couple of zombies… and a one-track-set-to-assimilate mind. Of course you have to beat this jolly fellow to get out of the Borg ship!
Back on earth administration does what it is known for doing: your team is taken apart and everybody gets new assignments. You have to train cadets at the academy, a task you don’t really like but still give your best doing.
Two years later: you are going through a holodeck-training when you have a well respected Starfleet Captain watching. Jean-Luc Picard is very impressed with your performance and asks you to join his crew and wants you to put back together a Hazard Team.
Arriving on the Enterprise the proverbial brown mass hits the fan: the USS Dallas sends out a distress call… and completely disregarding all warning not to help, the Enterprise enters warpspeed, direction: trouble…
Like its predecessor, EF2 is of course a FPS, and is very un-Star Trek-wise reasonably violent… The bodycount in this game is higher than all the corpses of every Star Trek TV-series put together. What is very Star Trek-like is you helping other races against attacks by a never-seen-before alien species, infiltrating Romulan complexes, etc. Besides shooting just about everything that moves you have to solve some puzzels as well: synchronising signals and rerouting power without damaging vital systems. A little more variation in these puzzels would have been welcome. These puzzels are solved via the Tricorder, but that’s not all that you can use this futuristic Swiss Army Knife for. You can also use it for checking the structural integrity of walls and such, detecting gasses and bioscanning are also thrown in for good measure. A nice addition to the action, and something EF lacked a bit.
Some of the weapons in your arsenal are well known: the faser and faser-rifle are taken out of the tv and movie series, complete with correct sound effects. Others you have seen in EF (the I-Mod, grenade and foton torpedo launcher) and were modified according to current standards, some more are found on the way and used.
The character you play in EF2 is not selectable anymore. In EF you were given a choice between Alexander or Alexandra Munro, but that’s not happening anymore. The script is said not to allow the choice between male and female characters… A pity, but not more than that. For the other characters some of the voices were done by the tv-actors: Patrick Stewart is present as Cpt. Picard, Tim Russ as Ltd. Tuvok, etc. But the list of celebs is somewhat shorter than EF1 which is again a pity (and not more than that!).
Soundwise this game is excellent: for me this is one of the best examples of how a licensed game should be done. Almost every sound you hear is just like the films and series: the slight humming on the Enterprise, the typical sounds when using consoles, the computer’s voice, it’s all there! Graphics are great although I noticed some very small but non-disturbing errors.
But… does all of this make this a great game? The singeplayer is reasonably short (it took me only 3 nights to finish it… although my nights are not that short…), but when you want to unlock all the secrets you will need to take your time! To unlock these you have to look for Enterprise models in most of the areas. A great idea, but not really adding any value. What I did like was the feeling I got of being involved in a story. Cut scenes were used for character exploration, deepening the plot, and… you get to pick a girlfriend. Your choice: the special friend of EF1 or a very exotically dressed lady…
The multiplayer mode is not really original: all the familiar ingredients are there: a bunch of maps and some weapons… start shooting your opponents! This is of course what First Person Shooters are all about, but to me it all seemed reasonably common and predictable.
Despite being pretty short, the singeplayer does give you a very good storyline and enough incentive to keep going, and not only for Trekkies. Sound and graphics are top notch, controls and weapons are too. In short: the game feels nice, but does not live up to my expectations