Star Trek - Starfleet Command Volume 2: Empires At War
Interplay £29.99 PC CD-ROM Out Now
Pentium 3 500 without 3D acceleration (Pentium 2 350 with 3D acceleration)
64MB of RAM
4MB graphics/video card (Direct3D is advisable)
Starfleet Command 2, like Starfleet Command, is primarily about space battles between the different races. The main idea of the game is to command your spaceships to victory in a variety of different scenarios. The game itself has been greatly improved on the graphics front and many more 3D items are now on screen. This has got rid of the awkward 2D/3D mix that plagued the first game. In this sequel two new races have been added The Mirak Star League and The Interstellar Concordium. These have been added to the initial line up of the Romulans, Federation, Klingons, Gorn, Lyran and Hydran.
The game has loads of depth and can appear overwhelming at first. The tutorials are good, textually displayed and not too long. The only problem that I have with the tutorials is that I still felt that I didn't know enough knowledge to appreciate the game fully. To make up for this the manual is of the usual high standard that we have come to expect of Interplay so looking up what you need to know is fairly straight forward. One of the features of the game that will either please you or annoy you is the independent style for the interface for each race. To go through the tutorial with the Federation style control panels is OK but when you start a campaign as the Klingons or Romulans it is quite a shock to find it looks completely different. Thank goodness everything is tool tipped otherwise this would be a nightmare. Having said this though Trekkies will appreciate the authenticity of the look and that is who this game is squarely aimed at. As well as the single player skirmishes you can engage in an ongoing campaign that pits your race against an enemy. You are given missions to accept of refuse. The more successful you are the greater your reputation will become. The increase in reputation enables the better ships and better missions.
thumbnails for the big picture.
It is a bit disappointing to find that the dynamic multiplayer side of the game is still in beta stage. The main attraction of the original was this feature and it has become quite popular on the Internet. Also it must be noted that the patch that fixes most of the bugs within the game is 17MB (although it is worth it and raises the game to the standard it should have been on release) and will take about 1½ hours to download via the Internet. The game was reviewed with the patch applied. Prior to the patch being applied it did occasionally crash. Although most information is reported textually not all of it is. Thankfully though the missing text only concerns things that are not too important (in a game like this) such as you have casualties. However, it does seem strange that a few things have been missed out.
can be captured as well as destroyed and the full range of options are available
to you such as reinforcing shields, employing tractor beams overloading photon
torpedoes etc. etc. The battles are very cinematic and do have that Star Trek
feel to them. All in all Starfleet Command is very good. Deaf gamers will be
pleased that most things have text feedback and also that decisions can be made
in pause mode (the game speed is highly configurable as well). Although Starfleet
Command 2 has it's roots in a board game it has translated well into the RTS
Overall Game Rating: 8/10 A Trekkie's delight.
Quality of text: 8/10 Good. Some verbal comments are missing though.
Graphics: 9/10 The graphics are crisp and very good. Animation of the ships is great too.
Interface: 7/10 Good but you will find it strange when you change race as it looks different.
Gameplay:8/10 Takes some learning but it is worth it. Especially if you're a Trekkie.