Undoubtedly many fans of the Star Trek movies will rejoice at Star Trek: New Worlds' land combat utilizing real-time strategy. Despite the new appearance, though, the game is not based on the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or Star Trek: Voyager series.
The action comes straight out of an era when the Federation is at war with the Klingons. The absence of any famous characters may be disappointing to some but, fortunately, the game makes up for that through other aspects. You play as the Romulans, Klingons or the Federation with each group interacting with the other two at the same level.
As with any RTS game, you begin with a few buildings and your goal is to form an entire colony. Certain buildings are required before you can build others and, in many missions, you'll be attacked by outside forces while you still setting up. To prepare for this, it's a good idea to build additional fighting vehicles. However, the only attack vehicle you can build when the vehicle factory is newly created is the Armed Personnel Carrier (APC).
The APC is helpful for taking control of enemy buildings but it doesn't hold up well in combat. Thus, it's a good idea to wait until you can develop the vehicle yard more and build more powerful craft such as the Phaser Tank or Photon Artillery (if you're using the Federation). After playing each class for a few missions, you notice the exact same crafts and buildings. Unfortunately, the designers don't introduce new buildings and special equipment in later missions.
Instead, the focus of the game is a constant mystery and diplomatic aspects need to be solved. In many cases, if you're using the Federation, you have to perform science scans on certain buildings and research the data. It would've been an improvement if the data was used to create more advanced weaponry and systems for use in future missions, but it's only good for discovering the intentions of the other party (or helping them with their technology).
Unlike Star Trek: Armada, the game lacks any notable characters or movie sequences. Other than the generic first movie, you don't see any cut-scenes between missions to help further the story. A nice aspect of Star Trek: Armada was the use of video sequences between missions featuring characters from the series. Here, you're a new character and the action focuses on a mystery that unfolds involving three generations of races that inhabit the new star system. Before each mission, you are debriefed by a commanding officer as he talks about all of the surrounding details involving your success and future endeavors.
Klingons, Romulans and the Federation all have their own version of the APC, Ground Scout, Photon Artillery and Battle Tank. Romulans can build a Cloaking Tank and APC when the colony is advanced. These allow you to travel undetected in enemy fortresses. Klingons can also build a Cloaked Tank but their most special unit is the Disruptor Battery. The latter is the most powerful unit in the game in terms of firepower, yet it's very slow and costly and uses a lot of power. The Federation's secret weapons include Advanced Photon Artillery and a Mobile Shield Generator. The former has increased capacity for strikes and shorter reload times, while the latter raises the shield status of vehicles and buildings within range to a higher level.
These are the only differences that separate the three factions (other than cosmetic). Every group builds the same buildings while their purposes are all slightly different. The Federation serves as a protector and peace negotiator, the Klingon's are destroyers, and the Romulans an underhanded race that works only for its own self-improvement. In effect, no one faction is more powerful or fun to play than another. Each group offers a different perspective on the same missions along with their own look. The Klingon missions are the easiest, followed by the Federation (moderate) with the Romulan's missions being the toughest.
The interface, unlike some other 3D RTS games such as Star Wars: Force Commander, is easy to use. In order to zoom in or out, simply press a key on the numeric keypad and the camera will hone in on the exact point of the mouse cursor. If you ever get disoriented, you can switch to the normal camera angle by pressing another single key. Various function keys provide different perspectives of the same view, ranging from a higher altitude to ground level.
The ground level view, although the most spectacular graphically, cannot be used to play the entire mission because you can only move up and down in this mode, making it difficult to get to a specific location. The entire game can be controlled with the mouse but certain keys select multiple units. For example, by pressing A, you select all the available APC units. The same methodology works for Ground Scouts (G), Phaser Tanks (T) and Photon Artillery (P).
Star Trek: New Worlds is an in-depth game with a solid storyline that unfolds before your eyes. It's a land-based game, which is somewhat unique for games involving the Star Trek series, and offers a completely new perspective. The minor faults don't hinder the overall enjoyment of the game and won't disappoint any "Trekkers" -- in fact, it does just the opposite.
If you've played Star Trek: Armada, you'll find that Star Trek: New Worlds provides the other point of view and will complete your collection. The former offers a RTS space adventure while this one brings the action down to the planets.
Graphics: Terrain could have been more detailed but still looks good. When you zoom in on the ships, they look more detailed than those in Star Wars: Force Commander, yet not as detailed as a game like Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. The photon weapons look really nice as they fly through the air, especially when you move the screen since they won't move with it.
Sound: As usual, the Star Trek series offers great orchestrated music with top quality voices and decent acting. The commander who debriefs you in each faction always has an attitude and the laser sounds and explosions are also well done.
Enjoyment: The game is addictive and lots of fun because of the new discoveries available in each mission. More unit types might have offered even more fun but the game certainly plays well as is.
Replay Value: Once you beat the Federation missions, the Romulan or Klingon missions offer just as much fun and a new take on what happened previously. Also, a multiplayer game allows you to play two other players over the Internet or via a LAN connection.
People who downloaded Star Trek: New Worlds have also downloaded:
Star Trek: Armada 2, Star Trek: Armada, Star Trek: Starfleet Command 3, Star Trek: Legacy, Star Trek: Away Team, Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Trek: Klingon Academy, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Dominion Wars
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