Star Trek: Conquest
“This is arcade action, not strategy that slaps fans in the face with its lackluster effort.”
Star Trek Conquest is the first Star Trek game to be released on the Wii. It doesn’t follow any Star Trek story line but rather lumps a few races in the franchise together and slaps on a price tag with the words “strategy” on it. Firstly, this game is not strategy and has no strategy element to it. It is simply an arcade action game that cashes in on the familiarity of Star Trek. Don’t be fooled or you’ll end up being the fool, this game is very badly made and rushed through without any thought for Star Trek fans.
Don’t believe me? Well then prepare for constant Wii system lock ups. That’s correct, this game will crash the Wii quite often. Almost every game will incur a lock up. If that’s not bad enough, then how about computer A.I that is so woeful that even on the hardest setting you can win every time if you simply do laps around the battlefield? Prepare yourself, as this game will test your patience and gullibility.
The story line itself is just ludicrous. The tell you its an all out state of war for control of the galaxy. Diplomacy is dead and it’s a free for all. So, basically they have taken the core component of Star Trek (that of diplomacy between races) and removed it. The biggest draw to the franchise has just been removed. But wait, it just gets so much worse from here on in…
I won’t lie, the graphics are good. Too good for the system. The backgrounds in battle modes are detailed and rich, beautiful even. So rich are they that the game will slow down whenever you have more than 5 or 6 ships shooting at each other. The max you can have is 14 (7 for your side and 7 for the enemy) and every battle can be won with the slow down by picking your shots during the slow down.
Effects are rich in detail also with debris and spinning turrets. There is a useless graphical overlay of lines on the screen that serves no purpose, other than to annoy you and destroy the beauty of the environment. It’s really frustrating because you can’t turn it off and it doesn’t do anything. Just imagine a top down view of a battlefield, now draw a few lines and some circles that serve no purpose, check out the screenshots if you want to see the stupid HUD overlay.
The music and sound effects are all clones of the franchise and that was to be expected. The music will cut out during skirmishes sometimes, it happens randomly. The voice acting is lame and gets really annoying with the same statements being said over and over again. They vary for races, but there is only one set.
Another annoying thing is that other races talk in English. I know I’m being pedantic, but it would be great to listen to Klingons giving orders in Klingon. It’s the little touches.
This should have been the biggest draw card for the game. There is no story, no diplomacy, no missions, nothing. You just setup a game and try to kill everything around you. There is even a severe lack of Star Trek elements to the game. The Romulans and the Klingons biggest asset are their cloaking abilities for their vessels. You cannot do any of that in this game. It’s just straight out shoot ‘em up with the last man standing winning.
Also, there are characters and Generals that you can use in the game. There are three for every race and they have little back-stories that match their Star Trek history. However, these are all really bogus characters that are minor even in the series. They are also disjointed and out of any time context so why not put in more famous officers that players would rather use?
Another horrible aspect of the generals is that you always get the same three for every race. Every time. So not only do you get lame ducks, you’re stuck with them. It wouldn’t have taken much to have a little variety.
The game play is horrible for a strategy game. Even for an arcade shooter (which it should be classified as) it is flawed and easily beaten. Okay, here it is, the secret that you’ll discover yourself once you play and will always give you a victory: the AI will ALWAYS focus on the ship you control. Always. So, all you have to do is a few laps and then the rest of your fleet will do their work and kill everything else.
You can’t designate targets for the whole because the AI that controls your ships is the same one that controls the enemy. They follow the exact same pattern of targets for every mission. They will always target a star base first, ships second, turrets third and facilities last.
Wait it gets worse, much worse. You can’t even alter or recharge your shields (which is what they do on Star Trek all the time!). Once they are gone in a battle, they are gone until the next one. You can’t even change the focus of the shield so once the enemy punches a hole, they can destroy your ship while ignoring the rest of the shields. I don’t really understand how this can be seeing as shields tend to “envelope” your ship.
Okay, now we can get to the really bad part. There is only one ship to use in this game. Each race has three to choose from, the same three for ever race (light, medium, heavy) but its all redundant because the heavy vessel trumps the other two every time with only a slight monetary increase between them.
This means that every fleet you will ever make will be comprised of one type of ship. What’s the point of having a fast scout ship if it dies on the very first attack run? Or a medium vessel that dies just that little bit less fast? There is no strategy here what so ever, it’s just grab seven of the same ship rinse and repeat.
The auto resolve features of battles are just stupid. They never reflect the actual outcome of a battle and are always stacked heavily of the opponents’ side. Even when they attack you, it will still always favour the enemy. So everyone will always use the arcade real time resolve feature, which just boggles my mind as to why they would make it the B button! It’s almost like they did it to annoy because every screen must be advanced by pressing A, except in battles which will instead cause you to simulate a battle by pressing A and therefore automatically lose. Why not make the most obviously chosen option the most used button?!
This game is a quick play game that is single player only. Don’t buy it unless it’s severely reduced because it won’t hold your attention for long. It’s purely action, not strategy; it’s repetitive and skin deep with details. Great graphics cannot patch a faulty game and this game is extremely faulty.
The real pity here is that this could have been so much better if minimal effort was made to fix the bugs and develop some of the aspects of this game. It doesn’t just feel rushed; it feels completely abandoned. Almost as though they got halfway into making this game when some came in and said “Okay guys, just wrap it up here.” Even just putting in rudimentary options for visual controls would have given this game a higher rating.
It can be fun to play for a while but with no multiplayer this game will be a solo act for you and honestly there are so many better strategy games out there to play like Battalion Wars 2 and Fire Emblem. So like the rest of us, we are still waiting for a decent science fiction space strategy game for the Wii. Only grab this if you’re inconsolably desperate.