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| Dear Star Trek: Legacy (for the PC) (7 comments )|
by: Millroy (24) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
Dear Star Trek: Legacy
Iím sorry, but I donít think itís working out between us. I want to like you, I really do. The thought of hurting your feelings makes me feel terrible, and I wish I could say that itís not you, itís me. If you deserve anything though, itís to hear the truth, which is to say: it is you.
Iím not saying youíre completely to blame. My expectations for you were very high. I mean, your previews were so beautiful, so breathtaking in detail, I knew that the months awaiting your arrival would feel like years. In those days I thought only of you: your voice work from every actor to play the captain of a series, your promise of playing a fleet commander, sending specific ships off to face threats as they arrive in real-time. Your expanses of dangerous and exciting nebulae, begging starships to enter and carry out their cat and mouse games, their life and death marco-polo. You promised all this and most importantly of all, you promised an immersive, visually stunning, robust starship combat platform from which I could reenact the best battles from Trek history for hours and hours of replay value.
Maybe I was foolish to believe these promises, but the differences between what I thought you were and what you actually are were apparent from our first moments together. The first thing I noticed was your daunting need for control. Now when I get to know a new game, the first thing I like to do is set up my keyboard or my gamepad, get the controls where I like them, and get comfortable. I may not read the manual, but Iím no man to go flying blind into the cosmos without knowing stop from go. This is how I found out you wouldnít let me assign my own controls, which is a feature so basic I was taken aback by your complete lack of it. I searched though your menus repeatedly, thinking Iíd missed it somewhere, thinking it was me.
This, of course, might have been a forgivable sin if your control scheme were intuitive and easy to use. Sure, itís learnable. So is the cockpit of a 747. Still, Iíd be willing to bet that the 747ís controls were designed with efficiency and logic in mind, unlike yours, which gave my left hand cramps as I searched like a nervous cadet mashing every button but the one I needed. Itís a miracle I didnít blow the thing up.
As if that werenít bad enough, you lack something that youíd think any game about flying through space would have: a 3rd dimension. Sure, I could go a little bit up and a little bit down, but I soon found myself confused as my ship, pulling up, seemed to get stuck against an imaginary ceiling. It took me a while to figure out that not only was there a claustrophobic limit to how far up or down youíd allow me to go, but that you wouldnít let me pitch my ship more than 90 degrees vertically. No looping back my enemies. No cool maneuvers besides ever turning left or right.
Do you realize how much this limits not only the illusion of space flight but the simple fun as well? Instead of concentrating on out-turning my enemies to line up the weapons and hide my weak side, I also had to keep in mind where I couldnít go and what I couldnít do, or else Iíd find myself wasting valuable time bringing my ship back around. Were you brought up as a flight sim when you were a kid? Didnít your developers hug you enough?
Iím sorry. That wasnít fair. Iíve known a couple of flight sims that handled space very well.
Iím not trying to be mean. Iím telling you this because I think itíd do you good to hear it. Some games have it all, yes, but some get by because theyíre purely fun to play. Youíre not. Other games, while not as instantly fun and easy at the start, are rewarding in other ways. Depth of gameplay, for example, or an intriguing plot. The obvious thing you could have offered was an immersive experience within the rich Trek universe you inherited. Unfortunately, you donít have that either.
As I went through your missions, acquiring points for my performance, I could ďbuyĒ and ďsellĒ ships, which then joined or left my ďfleetĒ. Iíd just finished saving a space station from Romulans and was given the opportunity to change my fleet at your perverted starship bazaar. At the beginning of the next mission, the ship I ďboughtĒ suddenly joined us, no explanation given, as if it had always been there. I know, it was my choice, but it still jarring. It felt less like we were commanding ships in Starfleet and more like we were kids skipping school, picking up and losing members of our little gang as we kicked around the neighborhood looking for things to do. At this point, Legacy, I couldnít take you seriously anymore. I had to laugh. The glories of piloting a Federation Starship had been reduced to an episode of Little Rascals.
And you know what? You donít even look that good. Okay, so Iím not running you on the best system in the world, but thereís some fundamental flaws to your design that take away from the immersive experience you could have been. For starters, thereís your goofy explosions. When a space station or other large object is destroyed, it looks like a large block of cheese breaking apart, and inspires just about as much awe. Yes, your ships are wonderfully detailed, with phasers and photon strikes creating dynamic lighting effects that are impressive. Unfortunately, your strange and difficult camera doesnít allow for much enjoyment of the view, all the while giving the impression that these space battles are playing out between micro machine scale miniatures, not skyscraper sized battleships.
See, deep down, what turned me on about you was the promise of majesty. Why do Trek fans love Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan so much? Itís not the action packed script, though that helped. Itís not those creepy ear worms, though they helped too. And no, itís not Ricardo Montalbanís plastic chest. It was the epic space battle between two Federation Ships, and when the camera panned slowly across the bow of the Enterprise, we knew, no, felt she was huge. When a torpedo slipped through the shields and blew through the saucer section, pieces went flying into space. It was a big deal, and the ships limped away, bearing bleeding wounds. It was the first time we witnessed a starship bear the ultimate of indignities: losing a warp nacel, and it was absolutely breathtaking. How did you fail in creating and capturing that same beauty?
First, you let your ships give up their wounds too easily. Early in any engagement the shipís hull is nicked up and bleeding like a 14 year-oldís face after his first date with a razor. By giving it up to quickly, you cheapen it. Second, your scale in space is inconsistent. Planets look to be the size of grapefruit. Ships bounce off each other with all the weight and grace of rubber duckies in the bath.
Finally, and most annoyingly, your idea of space is simply too busy. Have you been outside after dark recently? When you look up, what do you see? Black, with some white dots? Me too, along with pretty much everyone I know, as well as the dudes from NASA, the telescopes weíve put in orbit, and the probes weíve flung across our solar system. Real space is dark and empty, with some bright things here and there. Your space is ever colorful, milky and cloudy, as if it were hollowed out from cotton candy. The lovely detail youíve put into your ships is lost, along with any chance for them to seem grand, when theyíre set against this constricting background. Space never felt so small.
Iím sorry. I really am. You donít know how badly I wanted things to work out. In the end though, It wouldnít be right to force it. It wouldnít be fair to me or you. Especially me. Donít get too down about it though. Iím sure youíll find someone special who will love and cherish you. Try hanging around the bargain bins, and wearing $15 stickers.
Donít worry about me, either. Iíve got a date lined up with someone already. Maybe youíve heard of her: Star Trek: Tactical Assault. Oh, wait, thatís right. Thatís your sister, isnít it? Ouch! Sorry again.
Happy Valentines Day,
(We can totally still be friends if you want)
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