I like how it boldly proclaims 'YOU are the Captain. You have the Conn.' on the cover and has an empty captain-shaped hole to show that yes it's actually YOU commanding this ship! Plus you've suddenly become a bald man with a strong resemblance to Patrick Stewart and the crew are concerned that if you lean any further you'll fall off your chair.
You know I'm sure there's something off about this model. I'm hardly an expert on the Starship Enterprise, but didn't it have engine exhausts sticking out the back edge of the top section in the TV series?
Fortunately it's one of those weird space explosions that managed to travel across hundreds of millions of kilometres to reach the planet almost instantly, but can't seem to catch up to the hero ship as it struggles to get out of the planet's orbit with a broken FTL drive.
Well now the Captain's dead, it's time for the First Officer (that's me!) to take control, save the ship, and get to the bottom of this mysterious disaster.
Why is this cutscene even in the game? They could have replaced it entirely with two seconds of dialogue saying "Captain, engineering reports that the warp engines are back online".
Maybe this flyby could've been the player character's introduction to the story, as he's shown his new ship by someone from the bridge crew. They could've chatted a bit as they went around, introducing the characters and explaining what the player's expected to do now he's a captain. Sure that'd be cliché, but as it is this is just pointless and boring.
To be fair though, this bridge full of officers does have to share system resources with the space action soon to be going on outside, so I can forgive them for cutting back on detail. This is all just an elaborate cockpit really.
|Star Trek: Elite Force II|
I have to give them full marks for getting Patrick Stewart in to perform the voice though. I'm sure he probably appears in every Next Generation game with voices, but I definitely don't take him for granted. The guy just adds class to anything he's in.
Oh crap, I've been so distracted by this tutorial that I've totally forgotten what I was actually sent out to do. Fortunately my first officer is way better at remembering mission briefings than I am, and was professional enough not to facepalm when I asked her to remind me.
Alright it's time for some sensible beige adventures aboard the Starship Comfortable. Mister Sulu, engage!
Well actually I don't say a word. The player character has absolutely no dialogue, spoken or otherwise. I don't even get to make the occasional dialogue choice. I'm just a bald empty silhouette where a person should be.
OH, of course! I need to switch to Red Alert to activate weapons and shields. Damn, this is all very familiar. I made the same mistake while trying to shoot down space rocks in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator (damn that's a long name), only that time I managed to get the crew cooked by radiation as well because the shields weren't on.
And of course the second I turn up the Romulans arrive and shit immediately starts kicking off.
The Romulan captain is a bit suspicious of all these top of the line Federation ships flying around so close to a star that just happened to explode and she'd like to know what's going on. My first officer tries to calm her down, but the previous escort vessels are still hanging around and unfortunately they're crewed by trigger-happy Klingons, so this soon escalates into a fight.
So now what the fuck do I do? I feel like I should back up the Klingons, but that might just make things worse.
Eventually the Romulans took a shot at the Starfleet ship that I was ordered to look after, which made the choice a lot easier. We traded coloured beams of light for a while until they ran off to bother us another day.
I'd like to talk a bit here about the way the combat works, but I can't, because I'm still not sure. I spent the entire fight in cinematic view just taking screenshots and left the crew to fend for themselves.
A FEW MISSIONS LATER.
Okay, what am I supposed to be doing this time then? Oh, I'm apparently supposed to be switching shields and weapons offline and then taking the ship behind a moon to spy on some other ships. First officer, set green alert. Navigator, orbit the moon. Well that was simple enough.
Right, I'll reload my the last autosave, and give it another shot.
SEVERAL GAME OVERS LATER.
But now all I have to do is stop this bastard getting away and find out what he was trading. First I'll shut down his engines with a few pinpoint precise phaser blasts so he can't outrun me.
I guess I was supposed to blow up the OTHER engines. The faster than light engines. So he couldn't just disappear off into the stars and leave me coughing in his space dust. Okay, let's try that again then, from the top.
First, I deactivate weapons and shields and head for the moon...
For this mission I've been sent over to a space station to stand in-between two aggressive alien fleets and stop a fight from breaking out. Of course when I got there I found that one of the fleets was actually my trigger-happy Klingon buddies from that escort mission a while back. This time they've been busy trying to antagonise some Cardassians (mostly the bloke on screen right now.)
Okay, so which button do I press to avert a diplomatic incident?
It's funny how I've basically been playing the game from this view. And by 'playing the game' I mean 'trying to get cool screenshots'. It's like a space battle cameraman simulator so far.
I'm trying to get hands on now, fine tuning my power distribution and actually steering the ship myself. I need to get my currently charged weapons facing the enemy, while keeping my weakest shields away from them. Meaning a lot of slow motion spinning around in space.
Unfortunately I have barely any power left and he's breaking all my guns. So all I can really do here is try to hold on long enough for the Klingons to come and rescue me. This is second time they've started a fight and gotten me caught in the middle of it , so those bastards owe me.
Anyone going to run for the escape pods? Look at them all, little beige squares dotted all over the hull, more than enough for everyone. Surely someone wants to escape this exploding ship. No? Fair enough then.
Well there's no way I can be bothered playing through that mission again from the start. Maybe if I had any idea of what I could do differently I'd give it a shot, but I'm totally clueless and replaying that stealth mission over and over earlier has burned away all my patience.
I'm finding it hard to judge Star Trek: Bridge Commander, because I'm not sure I've even played it yet. I mean I get the feeling I was supposed to be taking direct control of the ship far more often than I did, but I'm not sure what I could have done that the computer wasn't doing already. But what I've seen of the gameplay so far definitely hasn't inspired me to continue any further with it and what I've seen of the story makes me wish I hadn't even started.
Sadly the bridge crew add very little to the game as it seems that Starfleet forgot to issue them with personalities. Despite having names they're more like talking bridge stations than characters in their own right, which is a bit disappointing really. If these guys had piped up more during missions, sharing their opinions and suggestions, getting in arguments, and actually laying out my choices and what the consequences of them might be, then I think I would have gotten a lot more out of the game. Plus not a single one of them laughed when the Cardassians used that 'muzzle your Klingon dogs' line. My crew just ain't human man, I can't relate to these people at all.
If you have any opinions about Star Trek: Bridge Commander, or things relating to the game (like all those words I just typed for instance) then please feel free to stick a few of your thoughts in the box below.