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Tag Archive | "cryptic studios"

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PC Game Review: Star Trek Online

Posted on 08 March 2010 by Tim

Like many PC gamers, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Star Trek Online. The anticipation of the rush of commanding my own starship in a fast-paced battle really grabbed me. Will you choose the Federation or the Klingon Empire?

I bought the game the first day and created a Federation Male Vulcan Tactical Officer. And actually, you can’t even create a Klingon character until you reach level 5 with your Federation toon. Starting out in the game is a little lame because you begin with ground missions. The ground portion of Star Trek Online is basically a poorly designed first-person shooter (FPS). While the graphics look great the gameplay is not very exciting and you have very limited weapons and attacks.

Once you’re in space though, things improve quite a bit.

I’ve heard from a lot of players that they expected more from the character creator than Cryptic currently offers in STO. I wasn’t expecting the same depth of character creation as Champions Online because I don’t really care to choose the color of the accent on my belt and the exact curve of my character’s lower back. Seriously. I’m far more concerned with logging in to play a great game…not a Sims-like character designer.

Star Trek Online has five ranks:

  • Ensign
  • Lieutenant
  • Lt. Commander
  • Commander
  • Captain
  • Admiral

Leveling up! I’ve been a little surprised at how slow level progression is. Each of the 5 ranks has 10 levels. For example, in the pictures below my character is a Lieutenant Rank 8. To make it to Lt. Commander I have to hit Lieutenant Rank 10, then I’m promoted. The nice thing about this though, is that you gain skill points with each mission you complete and even pick up a few while you’re doing a mission. You grow more progressively rather than at set points like more traditional RPGs like World of Warcraft.

Want to get promoted faster and learn detailed strategies? Take a look at the Star Trek Online Mastery Guide.

  • Leveling Guide
  • Career Buide
  • Professions
  • Traits, Skills, Ships and more!

When it comes to character class (known as Officer Class), you are basically limited to three – Tactical, Engineering and Science Officer. Tactical is focused on combat, Engineering on ship/ground abilities and survivability, and Science is more a support class with healing and enemy debuffs.

The learning curve for this game is very shallow, it’s a simple one to figure out. Space combat, while fun, is not particularly challenging. Simply keep your ship flying around, mind your deflector shields, and pound your enemies shields till they drop and you can use a special attack to finish them. Then repeat.

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The most boring missions are the exploration missions. Fly long distances doing nothing along the way, scan an anomaly then go to the next one.

Also, at what point is a game considered massively multiplayer? Because for most instanced missions, Cryptic has decided that 5-players max is MMO scale. So far, I haven’t heard of any boss fights either. Maybe I’m not far enough yet. But that seems like a serious problem for people who like raid-style challenges.

Star Trek Online, great in concept, is only average at best. Cryptic Studios hasn’t impressed me with any of their MMOs and it’s a bit sad that they got the Star Trek franchise. Outside of World of Warcraft, I have yet to find an MMO that has grabbed and held my attention. But I have high hopes for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The pictures in the gallery above are screenshots of Star Trek Online from my computer. I hope you enjoy them!

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Champions Online: The Superhero MMO

Posted on 25 November 2009 by Tim

Champions Online, made by the same folks who created City of Heroes, is essentially an MMO version of the same thing. Heroes with powers run around and kill people. Typical MMO fare. However, the content is relatively shallow, the powers aren’t that interesting and you have to stick to established builds to do well in combat. There’s an archenemy system that is supposed to challenge you but other than that there aren’t many truly unique aspects of this game.

One thing you’ll notice right off the bat, after installation, is the drawn out super-in-depth character creation. You can customize your character with a wide array of features. The sad thing is that the rest of the game doesn’t seem to have the same level of detail put into it.

Leveling is a linear progression of quests. Basically, questing is the only way to level a character. Not that it’s a bad way to level. But Champions doesn’t offer much…the quests aren’t interesting and didn’t pull me into the lore of the game. Although Cryptic Studio is working to improve group quests, there isn’t much group content at this point.

Champions Online will not pose a major threat to other MMOs. It’s simply not that good.

I gave it a go. But the game didn’t turn out to be worth the monthly subscription. I won’t be playing CO anymore and will approach Cryptic Studios games with a bit more caution.

I’m holding out hope that Star Trek and Star Wars: The Old Republic will turn out to be much better.

Champions Online Logo

Other Reviews of Champions Online:

  • MMOCrunch says, “It’s extremely casual and alt friendly, but is hamstrung by a lack of group content early on.”
  • For The Lore thinks that “This is the next step in the evolution of hero MMO’s. It is a good game but it is very clearly built upon the shoulders of City of Heroes.”
  • EuroGamer covers it pretty well here: “Cryptic’s superhero MMO serves a huge heap of wish-fulfilment to you before you’ve even started playing, ladles yet more onto your plate after barely an hour, and then lets it all go cold and you hungry for half the game’s length. It has hundreds of missions, but somehow they’re barely enough to sustain a single play-through, and they’re stretched out over a handful of over-extended locations. It doles out character progression in terms that are hard to understand or notice; it constantly showers you in meaningless items, but rations exciting new skills with mind-numbing parsimony.”

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