I have a confession to make: I am a recovering Trekkie. I never
had a uniform or an action figure, and Ive never purchased any Trek paraphernalia
from QVC, but Ive seen virtually every episode of the Next Generation multiple
times, and Ive seen all of the movies opening weekend. Now my fan-boy nature has
been significantly lessened by the most recent incarnations of Gene Rodenberrys
vision. Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise all seemed to lack that spark that made
the original and Next Generation so entertaining. Things just got too serious, and saving
the universe stopped being fun anymore. Even though Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
doesnt take place on the Enterprise, I have to admit that I was a little excited
about the prospect of wielding my Federation issue phaser and hearing that patented swoosh
as the ships doors opened before me.
Given that this
is a PC port, it was with a little trepidation that I approached the Star Trek Voyager:
Elite Force for the PS2. The PC version is almost two years old and I worried that the
graphics and gameplay would be a little dated on Sonys next gen platform. I was
right about the graphics, but the gameplay is pretty engaging. Elite Force has some very
tight controls and a story line that is actually entertaining and suspenseful. There is
more than enough in this game to cause a player to overlook the adequate graphics.
You play the game as Ensign Monroe, a member of a special task
force trained to execute the most dangerous and difficult of missions. Now this is not
exactly in keeping with true Star Trek tradition. Everyone knows that the first rule of
encountering an unknown or hostile race is to send the most important members of the crew.
There are plenty of weapons to choose from and the levels are nicely designed. The game
opens with a mission on a Borg cube. Kudos to the game designers for getting the
atmosphere just right. I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder to see if there
was anyone behind me. The Borg AI was also spot on. They reacted (or didnt react for
that matter) just as they should have. The game then moves on to an obligatory "shut
down the core or the ship will blow up" scene that was a nice homage to the show.
Elite Force is filled with a lot of little references to the series that will please the
fan, but its not so steeped in lore as to alienate the uninitiated.
As I stated above, the graphics are nothing to write home about,
but they do the job well enough. You just cant help but wonder what this game would
have looked like had it been designed with the PS2 in mind. PC games tend to translate
poorly to consoles when it comes to controls. It just seems as if there are never enough
buttons on a controller to give you the freedom of a keyboard. Fortunately the PS2
controller has enough buttons to accommodate a game like this. Running through the
corridors and shooting your way out of sticky situations is almost effortless. I was
completely sucked in to the gameplay. The single player mission based mode is the heart of
the game, but the multiplayer modes really add to the replay value of the game.
I am a bit of
an anomaly. I like first person shooters but Im very uncomfortable with blood or
flying body parts. I love how immersive the first person perspective can be. FPS games are
the closest I think you can get to actually being there. I played around a little with
games like Doom and Quake, but really didnt get my fix until the Dark Forces games
came out for the PC. I was also a big fan of Goldeneye for the N64. There just hasnt
been that many games that have been able to walk the line of being action packed without
too much gratuitous violence. Although the game doesnt break any new ground,
Im happy to report that Star Trek Elite Force serves up plenty of action for the
squeamish at heart.