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Head 2 Head Review: Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

The Match-Up:

Name: Tristinian (a.k.a. Commodus) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Adventure, Action/FPS, Sims

Favorite Games: Baldur's Gate, Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, Red Alert, Jedi Knight.

Tristinian

Sephiroth

Name: Sephiroth (a.k.a. BIGBOSS) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Adventure, Action/FPS

Favorite Games: Quake 2 and 3, Red Alert and more...

Tristinian: Years have passed and without a doubt, it always seems that some of the most coveted licenses are the ones that the PC game industry continues to batter senselessly. Star Wars has seen its share of abuse, but Star Trek has unfortunately seen much more and those who have played some Star Trek titles over the years should probably have a facility donated to the recovery of their sanity...

"There have been many saying it is the best PC Star Trek game to date...and to be blunt-i agree."

Sephiroth: Wow, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Tris for those kind and gentle words. Me being a fan of any type of game that deals with space fantasy, I really hadn't paid much attention to the PC Star Trek saga over the years. I know tons of people that know a little more about it, *cough*TRIS*cough*, but i never really found it to be as exciting say Star Wars for example...

Tristinian: Well enough hooliganisms...the Star Trek franchise has essentially seen only one decent game lately...if at all-Star Trek: Armada. A solid, if not toned down RTS with sweet graphics and sound. It wasn't perfect in a lot of ways, but the game was pleasing all the same. However, with Elite Force hitting the FPS market, and using the Q3 engine, hmm...interesting stuff. There have been many saying it is the best PC Star Trek game to date. And to be blunt-I agree.

Sephiroth: I must admit that the only Star Trek game that i played and really enjoyed was Star Trek: Armada because i'm such a die hard fan of RTS games and i usually give any RTS games a shot; it just so happened that it was actually GOOD. And now, the Star Trek franchise jumps into my favorite category, FPS! Ok, well, to be honest with you, i wasn't expecting much from this game. But when i heard that its using the Quake 3 engine, i gave it a second thought...to be even more honest, if any game came out with the Quake 3 engine i'd naturally expect it to be good...

Tristinian: Well, let's start off with this then-I believe Voyager is the weakest ST series ever and the fact that this game can grab my attention the way it did is a credit to its creators. All voice-overs are done by the original actors and the details of the ship interior (screenshots below) are exceptionally well done. The over all game simply feels like an episode. Speaking of which-how about you give us the low down on the story behind the game?

"Voyager is the weakest ST series ever and the fact that this game can grab my attention the way it did is a credit to its creators "

Sephiroth: Well, like the demo that so many played out there, the game starts off with a team FPS sequence on a Borg ship where your goal is to rescue your teammates. Things go crazy and you realize that the entire situation has been occurring in a holodeck program and that you have been training as a member of the Elite Force Hazard team in Voyager's holodeck...hence-the game's name. But, i agree with you that the game feels a lot like an episode; every once in awhile during cut-scenes i get the sense that there should be a commercial in between or something.

Tristinian: hehe, true true. I won't go into much more detail than you did other than the fact that the ship itself becomes trapped in some space graveyard near the game's beginning, which is the focal point for all the adventures that occur subsequently. :) but to sum up the plot-it is better than what i remember from DS9 or Voyager put together in general despite the occasional generic ST elements.

Sephiroth: Well, I'm a very newbie 'Trekkie', and I don't think i've seen more than 5 episodes of Voyager, so as far as how good the storyline is being incorporated into the game, I can't really give you an answer if it's done well or not. I used to watch a lot of the older episodes of ST: Next Generations.

Tristinian: Ahh yes...now that was great Star Trek. But OK! The game...as expected Elite Force doesn't necessarily blaze new trails in the FPS world or even the gaming world for that matter. What it DOES do is 2-fold though and very simple. Firstly, it creates a multiplayer game that is fundamentally, Quake 3 in the Star Trek universe. (and fun like hell too as a result). Secondly, it assembles an FPS single player adventure that isn't astounding, but is still very professionally done.

Sephiroth: I wasn't overly blown away when i started playing it, but i was VERY surprised as to how closely it related to Quake 3. When they said it uses the Quake 3 engine, THEY WEREN'T KIDDING. I jumped right into the game and it felt like home. I almost felt like i had played it before. From what I've played, i think its safe to say that's Elite Force (multiplayer) is a mixture of two FPS games. First, the most obvious, Quake 3, just cause it uses its engine as well as other features such as console commands or game options. And secondly, the weapons are a lot like the weapons found in Unreal Tournament. Very detailed guns and alternative fire ability, similar to UT. I think Activision has successfully captured fans of both games (Q3 and UT) with Elite Force...

Tristinian: Totally. i loved the weapons-it's about time we saw some guns with alternate fire modes in a Q3 environment. And the effects are sharp as hell. The graphics in EF are what you would expect for the Q3 engine-pretty, but with the occasional small lackings as usual. As i have always said, the standard in texturing realism was set BY Quake 3 and it seems both FAKK 2 and EF seem to fall short in coming up with textures as convincing as that. But, the texturing is still nice indeed-no need to nit-pick..the character modeling of course still needs work (something FAKK 2 showed off in its version of the Q3 engine), but otherwise the game is entirely faithful to the recreating of Voyager and the various ST backdrops. I just wish the 'movie' sequences were a little more complete and not the jabberings of the stiff character models in an in-engine format.

Sephiroth: I wish the cut-scenes were either in full motion video and/or the actual actors and actresses themselves-now that would rock! I was really blown away with the effects of the weapons, that i must agree on. It was a tad bit dark at times, it was OK because you got to see the effects even better; they became more vibrant...

"all of a sudden you got these Borgs after you and you get those guns blazing-IT ROCKS!"

Tristinian: The music was more than fitting for the game as well and the control was what was expected-blissfully accurate. This game was tweaked and perfected in every way possible in terms of playability-which is godsend now-a-days in this age of 'week-later-patches'. But in terms of gameplay, it ranges anywhere from fast and furious to quiet and covert.

Sephiroth: The music rocked, but i was most impressed with the sounds of weapon effects and the voice-overs, which were crystal clear with superb accuracy by the way. I agree sometimes during the game you'll spend lots of time walking around, looking for things, and then all of a sudden you've got these Borgs after you and you get those guns blazing, etc, IT ROCKS!

Tristinian: Damn straight. But enough about the single player for now-the multiplayer is a section all on its own-even accessed via a separate .exe file-and you can tweak it differently from your single player experience because of this. (A helpful little detail) But when we say the single player game can get fast and furious, the multiplayer game can get so bloody vigorous that all one can see is phaser flare effects crisscrossing from screen corner to screen corner.

Sephiroth: Oh my God, i love EF multiplayer style! To put it simply, if you enjoy Quake 3 and you like to play it in multiplayer mode, its VERY hard to dislike EF. I think that when you play with multiple opponents in EF, its a lot more exciting than Quake 3 when its full of action and effects all over the place. Because the lighting and weapon effects are far better achieved in EF, I find myself more concentrated than i would be with Q3; its THAT amazing.

Tristinian: Without a doubt-your points are right on. The only thing i find myself wishing is that the Q3 style texturing could have been applied to the darker MP levels such as the Klingon variety in order to make them FEEL more like Klingon maps. But, when i start talking about texturing this much, it is evident that this game doesn't do much wrong. Let us be honest-it doesn't do anything world-shattering, but what it does do is very well done and just pulling it off this well in the Star Trek theme deserves brownie points-big time. The game is not one though that sweeps you off your feet. The single player aspect-the real meat of the game-isn't overwhelmingly strong plot-wise. That said, good plots are hard to come by these days-especially in the Star Trek world, so not too much can be complained about.

Sephiroth: Yep I agree. I wasn't expecting an FPS that would surpass the likes of Q3 or UT, but i definitely got a little taste of Star Trek FPS style. It's amazing how one game's engine can affect the outcome of another. To put it in semi-mathematical terms: EF = Q3 + UT, now that CAN'T be bad right? Quake 3's superior game engine plus Unreal Tournament's great graphics, effects and weapon system gives the ultimate combination, and that combination is none other than Star Trek: Elite Forces

Tristinian: Can't say much more-a little more ingenuity would have put this game over the top, but i think we'll take this. :)

 

Tristinian's Mark
Tristinian's Final Words
Sephiroth's Final Words
Sephiroth's Mark
85%
The game is among the elite in FPSs this year-just don't expect something mindblowing.
Quake 3 and UT in the perfect union-a Star Trek World!
90%

Elite...yes indeed.

Places like this transporter room are seemingly perfect translations of what you find in the show itself.

 

The stasis gun is one of many weapons in the game with pretty effects, but the 'pretty' thing here is that i cleared a room full of alien baddies with it in seconds. Observe: bodies strewn across the floor. By the way, doesn't this gun look like something from Daikatana? NO INSULT INTENDED. ( i mean it)

 

We just had to throw in another shot of how perfect the environments look in terms of the ship interior-just lovely isn't it? Right out of a show!

 

A Klingon temple on a holodeck. We were firing the phaser here to show you how you can deform walls and floors with your phaser fire, but we went for the more 'gothic' view of the temple instead.