Star Trek Online for the Xbox One is a console port of the popular science fictions series’ PC massively multiplayer online game. The original Star Trek Online launched in February of 2010. Since that time, it has seen many ‘seasons’ and numerous updates, and holds a mostly positive overall rating on Steam.
Having played Star Trek Online previously in the past on PC, I was genuinely curious at how the console version of the popular free-to-play MMO would turn out.
The game starts with no shortage of customization options, just like on PC. You will be faced with making the choice of joining the Federation, Romulans or Klingon Empire. Afterwards you will begin with character creation. Having played as the Romulans in past, I decided to give the federation a shot this time around.
You are immediately brought to the customization screen where you can choose from a number of the alien races in Star Trek universe for your avatar. After choosing a species you can customize their facial structure, eyes, hair, etc. Once your character’s looks are set, you’ll then proceed to choosing their role. The choices were Tactical Officer, Engineer, and Science officer.
After becoming a tactical officer, I was shown a brief cutscene and thrust into my character’s graduation day at Starfleet Academy—the introductory tutorial for the game.
The U.I for the game is hit and miss, and a lot of criticism can be directed towards the game’s overall controls. The spaceship controls on the Xbox One controller feel awkward, at least until you start commanding your Miranda-Class ship. The controller just doesn’t have the same snap responsiveness as a mouse and keyboard do. Another annoyance was the way your character would aim his/her weapon and ‘snap’ to different targets during ground missions, not all of which are foes. This method of cycling through targets with the left analog stick needs to be further refined, less they wanted your aim to keep frantically snapping across the screen.
You’ll have to bear through some painfully dull tutorial missions even after the Starfleet Academy graduation, all of which isn’t overly interesting, but does give you important insight on how best to play the game. Fans of the Star Trek series will likely appreciate the attention to detail, and the way the game introduces enemies famous throughout the series. Space combat, while a bit clunky, is fun. Massive ship battles reward you with impressive explosion animations and beautifully colorful phaser/torpedo clashes.
Graphically, the game has improvements over the PC version, optimized for consoles to bring out more impressive visuals. Some are more noticeable than others, but in combat you’ll be more focused on the game itself half the time and not paying close attention anyway.
After the tutorial is done and you’re essentially free to do what you want, you’ll be allowed to customize every aspect of your ship, from to loadout to appearance, and even her crew. Certain bridge officers are better suited to different roles/situations. You can recruit new bridge officers at special locations or obtain them through missions.
This is where the game shines, allowing you to customize every inch of your ship. The majority of your time will be spent acquiring bigger, faster, stronger ships. Once you’ve become comfortable with a certain ship class (certain ships even have variations, allowing for even more to choose from) you can begin the long and rewarding process of customization and tailor your ship to your desired playstyle.
Star Trek Online for console will launch with a full six years worth of content since its original release on PC. All four quadrants are accessible along with more than one hundred unique Star Trek locations, so players will have no shortage of content to browse through.
The customization options are impressive, and have carried over nicely from the PC version. Overall Star Trek Online does have an appeal, especially to fans of the franchise. Ship to ship combat ensures you will analyze every engagement and make adjustments on your ships armament and abilities. Combat on the ground could certainly use some refinement, but updates can fix that.
Do note that while the game is free-to-play, it does have micro-transactions that allow players to purchase items/ships/weapons without the grind of playtime. During the beta on Xbox One no purchase options were present, but will certainly be available on launch day.
MMO’s typically do well when they have plenty of customization options, missions, and equipment for you to obtain throughout your progression through the game. This game has a six year head start if you’re a console gamer. With that being said, further refinements on the controls would be nice, although squeezing further functionality on a small controller compared to a keyboard may be difficult.