Star Trek: New Worlds
Someone obviously forgot to tell Star Trek that this is 'official Star Wars year', with no less than three bold Trekkie games lined up for release over the coming months. Yep, Star Trek is a massive name in its own right, with a huge following and a lengthy back catalogue of PC games to its credit. Unfortunately none of these games have truly fulfilled their licence potential or managed to capture the atmosphere and feel of the series in the same way that most Star Wars games have.
In contrast to the other two Star Trek releases this year, Birth Of The Federation and Starfleet Command, which are graphically tame by comparison, New Worlds is an ambitious real-time strategy game in full 3D. Although the action is mission-based, an elaborate storyline holds the whole thing together.
The story concerns a cocked-up Romulan experiment that has caused a spatial anomaly which has let through a host of new worlds from another universe. Over the course of 25 missions you control either the Federation, the Romulans or the Klingons in their race to take advantage of these planets and whatever resources and technologies they may contain. Choose the Klingons and you have to follow a strict code of honour that basically involves as much looting and pillaging as possible; playing as the Romulans features lots of dirty back-stabbing, deception and boxy, grey pyjamas; if, on the other hand, you go for the Federation, expect to employ big, shiny-white-teeth smiles and Westernised diplomacy (like proclaiming yourself Benevolent Universal Peace Supervisor, while at the same time making sure you're always top dog). Stepping out of character could even result in penalties from your superiors, so don't even think of building an ecologically sound Klingon base expansion.
Because every race is affected differently by the developing storyline, playing each one should be even more of a unique experience. And if you want to see the plot to its full completion, you have to finish the game as all three.
There are enough details here to send any die-hard Trekkie into convulsions of ecstasy. Besides the familiar ships (Klingon Bird of Prey and so on), the developers have designed new races and units which have not only been approved by Paramount, but have also been sanctioned for use in future episodes and films. There's also plenty of other stuff to look forward to - the 3D worlds that brim with secrets; interaction with other alien races; the chance to collaborate in both single and multiplayer mode; characters that develop and play a crucial role in your missions; a close-up view of every unit; a slick and easy-to-use interface - so even if the sound of the Captain's Log sends you reaching for a sick bag, you might be pleasantly surprised by Star Trek: New Worlds. We're happy to report that we are.
Star Trek, the series may boldly go to the outer reaches of space, but Star Trek: New Worlds, doesn't go anywhere. Instead it skulks around the bars frequented by failed RTS games, fraternising with the likes of Force Commander and other franchised disappointments. Like them, it's been led astray by its affiliation with a successful sci-fi series, which has turned it from a decent and potentially competent RTS game into a hyped-up and deluded drop-out, destined to be scorned by its more successful rivals as it trawls the streets aimlessly, going nowhere fast.
So You're Saying You Don't Like It, Then?
Not exactly. What we're saying, is that Star Trek: New Worlds has gone down that sad old route of relying on a license rather than concentrating on its own merits. Apart from the realistic movements of your units, the fantastically overdone explosions and the atmospheric music, it's hard to find too many positive things to say about it. Star Trek: New Worlds isn't solely centred around combat, as it also focuses on construction and research. Perhaps you're thinking that this sounds like quite a good idea, but it's not.
For starters, you don't even get a choice of where to build your base, so the adrenaline rush of looking for a potential building site while fending off marauding enemy units is lost straight from the offset. The first 15 minutes of a mission are usually spent constructing and upgrading the correct buildings to complete your first mission objective (yawn), while desperately trying to get to grips with the ridiculously unclear interface, and disorientating first-person viewpoint option. You'll soon discover that using the good old overhead view is the only practical way to play.
Most missions involve several goals, which range from taking out an enemy base, to scanning buildings and analysing the results, the latter of which really is as uninteresting as it sounds.
As with any sci-fi game, there's the obligatory new race to discover. You know the story. "Captain, we've discovered a new mystical race, they appear to be deeply superstitious and we need to tread carefully, blah, blah, blah." In Star Trek: New Worlds, this race is called the Taubat, and your choice of which one of the three sides (Federation, Romulan or Klingon) to play as, will affect your attitude towards them.
After discovering these new worlds, the Romulans are intent on claiming them as their own. These pallid skinned humanoids fight greedily among themselves for possession of the new planets, in tanks that look like giant spanners. The Klingons and the Federation, also turn up to stake their claim. At which point, you realise that all sides have pretty much the same selection of weaponry. To make matters worse, the combat is quite often reduced to a set of isolated skirmishes, so the little action you do see is usually pretty boring to watch.
Thought For The Day
One day, in some far-off utopian future, developers will make games that are as good as the licences they're based on. Until that day, we'll just have to accept that mediocre games like this will somehow sell in droves, just because they've got Star Trek in their title. Had it gone under any other name, it would have been seen as just another 3D RTS to drop off the production line, and if you're prepared to ignore its background, you'll see that, in fact, that's exactly what it is.
Download Star Trek: New Worlds
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Star Trek: New Worlds Screenshots and Media
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