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Platform

PC

 

Genre

RTS

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Mad Doc

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 2001

 

 

- Some solid RTS action

- Lots of options

- Good multiplayer and campaigns

- Ability to warp has been added

- Two words: Patrick Stewart

- Great audio

 

 

- Mystery bug occasionally crashed the game

- Will send self-proclaimed Trekkers to online chat rooms to bitch about inaccuracies

- Doesn't expand the genre

 

 

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Star Trek Armada II

Score: 7.8 / 10

 

Any game that features the voice of Patrick Stewart automatically earns a 6-point rating.  He’s got a voice I could listen to for days no matter what he is saying.  I’d pay good money to hear him say; “Amoebas and monkies have cadence and rhythm that would make any marsupial envious.”  Or something – anything – equally bizarre and/or mundane.  In Star Trek Armada II (STAII) he’s relegated to the old Next Generation standbys like, “Mr. Laforge, reroute all auxiliary power to the engines.”  It’s been a while since I last heard him in his Captain Picard role so it was good to hear his return.  Actually, it was good to hear all the great audio from the show.  Phaser fire, photon torpedoes, that strange garbling sound in the background of all Borg transmissions – it’s all here and it’s all great.

 

star-trek-armada-2-1.jpg (48482 bytes)          star-trek-armada-2-2.jpg (42209 bytes)

 

Since Empire Earth (EE) and Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds (GB) it’s hard to shake the feeling that STAII is Age of Empires in spaaaace!  Both EE and GB have strong similarities to Age of Empires, and the same can be said of STAII.  You begin with a starbase and a couple of other structures and ships, and must collect resources to build massive strike forces to conquer an area of space.  Along the way you’ll populate a planet or two and forge trade alliances.

 

The reason behind all this conquest is that the Borg have appeared suddenly in the Alpha quadrant about four months after the events in the first game.  The Federation sets out to push the Borg back to the Delta quadrant and/or blast them out of the cosmos because they’re deathly afraid of the Borg’s new planet 

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assimilating technology, not to mention the huge Borg Fusion Cube (8 regular cubes combined in a Rubic’s monstrosity).  Throw the Cardassians, Romulans, Klingons, Species 8472, and the occasional Ferengi into the works and you’ve got a lot of Next Generation tension.

 

Fanatics of the show, be warned: STAII features enough holes and irregularities in Star Trek lore to drive a gas giant through.  In the 

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first mission of the Federation campaign, rabid fans are likely to foam at the mouth and have their eyes bulging out in frustration and/or anger.  If you’re one of these people, take the fifty dollars you would have spent on this game and buy a session of therapy.

 

There are three campaigns to battle though starting with the Federation, then Klingon, then the dreaded Borg.  For the most part the campaign objectives are straightforward.  Some will give you pause, like any good game should, but persistence pays off.  You’ll build massive fleets of Sovereign class (or whatever the most powerful ship is for each faction) and fight the enemy with special weapons.  As soon as it’s possible to build the bigger ships, it’s best to ignore the smaller vessels.  This aspect is entirely un-Trekkish.  You’ll send wave after wave of these huge ships to certain doom and probably won’t even blink.  All those crew members and officers lost!  Oh no!  Build more.  This has become an RTS standard – even in the Star Trek universe.  The same can be said of the multi-resource collecting that goes on.

 

star-trek-armada-2-3.jpg (37755 bytes)         star-trek-armada-2-4.jpg (51359 bytes)

 

The action is quite good.  Since this is a 3D game you have full range of movement on the X, Y, and Z axis.  However, this 3D aspect seems to be a frill. (It’s as if you’re sitting in Stellar Cartography directing the battles.)  Rarely did I bother sending ships lower or higher than the 0 axis and I still enjoyed success.  AI is predictable at times but it’s still challenging.  Warp speed has been added and used to cool effect.  I never went anywhere at impulse speed – it was warp or nothing!  Everything moves at a good clip regardless of the number of ships swarming around.  Setting up formations, rally points, grouping units, (quickly becoming standard) unit behavior, etc. are all included as well and easily accessible.  Really the only flaw with the gameplay is that I ran into a mysterious bug that crashed the game a few times in the single-player campaign.  (Usually just after I thought, “I should save my game.”)

 

Whether playing the instant skirmishes, campaigns, or online you’ll want to play panned out as far as possible to see what’s going on.  This makes the area look flat so any 3D feeling is lost.  The units are well done whatever the faction, but Species 8472 has the coolest looking stuff.  Nebulas and other space phenomenon are great to look at (and add another element to gameplay) but they will send hardcore fans (and possibly astronomers) into a tizzy.  I had no problem with the graphics except the tendency of some of the smaller units to look the same when panned out – not that you’ll build many of the small ships.

 

Multiplayer is pretty good, although it took me a long time to find servers to connect to.  Multiplayer has more options open than the single-player campaign since you can play as the Romulans, Klingons, Species 8472, Cardassians, Borg and Federation.  Computer AI will never replace the fight and creativity that human opponents can throw at you – however, “armada” rushes are still very popular.

 

As a Trek game Star Trek Armada II is above average, but as a RTS game it’s simply standard.  It does well what all RTS games should do and it’s fun to play.  It expands on aspects of the original game and provides some solid hours of gaming - plus Patrick Stewart!  What more should we expect?

 

- Omni

 

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