Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes Review

SB_PS3_CvrSht
After watching the anime, I was ready to go back and finish up the Sengoku Basara game I got a very long while ago. I’m a pretty big fan of beat em ups and it’s just very satisfying to blast away whole armies. Hyrule Warriors and Gundam have done the best with the genre because the over the top special effects just make it that much more intense. Still, Sengoku knows something about that as well and its predecessor Devil Kings for the PS2 was one of the most well crafted titles in the genre. This one follows suit and is a must buy for all fans.

As with most beat em up games, you can pick whoever you want and start the story. Each story has 7 battles and there are over 10 characters to play through. I chose Yukimura’s story of course. In his story, Yukimura is now the head of the Sanada clan while his boss is injured and he decides to follow his leader’s last request and take down Ieyasu’s army. Throughout the story he wonders if this is the right call though and if he should start to make his own decisions. He has dreams as a result and does a lot of crying. He even loses to Date Masamune once again. Yukimura eventually finds his resolve though and decides to keep going straight ahead to wherever this path will take him.

I’m not sure about the rest of the stories as I just did one, but Yukimura’s doesn’t have much of an ending. We end up having a draw with Ieyasu and both fighters just walk away. It wasn’t as satisfying as I would have liked. That being said, the actual story was pretty well done as we got some nice cutscenes throughout. I think the developers put a reasonable amount of effort into it. It’s also nostalgic to see the characters in the style of the anime. It’s too bad they couldn’t get all of the voice actors back, but they got most of them which is pretty impressive.

The gameplay is what you’d expect as you plunge ahead and take down hundreds of opponents. You have your standard attacks as well as your supers. The first levels are pretty difficult since you’re at a low level, but level ups come very quickly in this game so it’s not a problem for too long. It also makes you fight with strategy as sometimes you actually will have to retreat and get some health before going back to the boss. It’s always tough to retreat, but you gotta do what you gotta do right? The levels had a perfect amount of health items and size without it being too much. The attacks are also nice and flashy although they are a big step down from Gundam and Hyrule. The attacks don’t have the same widespread devastation that the others had, but I’ll take it over nothing. It is still trying to be semi realistic I suppose.

This game does also have trophies to collect, but good luck getting them all. It would certainly be a bit of a grind so I don’t plan on getting many more anytime soon. I should try to grab some to boost my rank up, but the Platinum is a little out of reach. This title certainly does have a bunch of replay value though. Playing through each story should take you around 3 hours a piece and then maxing everyone out and getting all of the equipment is another huge hurdle. The game’s going rate nowadays isn’t even all that expensive so it’s a bargain.

The soundtrack is all right. It’s rather forgettable, but it works reasonably well. I can’t recall a single tune but you’ll be so busy vanquishing the enemies in front of you that you won’t really care by the end. The graphics are pretty good as well. I’d definitely say that they’re PS3 level although they can’t shine as much as they could if it took place in a city. Why have we never had a beat em up in NYC? You have to admit that it’d be pretty awesome.

There’s not really much more to say about the game. It’s one of those titles that really just sells itself. The gameplay is really polished so fighting through the levels is a blast. I guess if I had one critique it would be that the story is a little weaker. Devil Kings was a lot more hype because he really felt like a big villain who was behind everything, but I guess you can’t have someone like that every time. Having the main antagonist be someone who’s also trying for world peace is definitely an interesting dynamic after all.

There’s also a lot of depth to the game’s gameplay that I didn’t even get to tinker with much. Not only can you equip better weapons as you go on, but you can equip accessories to them. I believe some give you extra EXP while others are more standard like more attack and such. You can have fun with a lot of experimenting there. It’s probably also a good idea to try out all of the characters to see which one you like the most. I believe Nohime was my favorite in the last one because using two guns in a game that’s usually all about swords is pretty fun. That being said, I always had to go back to my swords at some point.

Overall, This was a really fun game. It really captured the essence of what a beat em up is all about. You pretty much always had a choice of going straight for the boss or sticking around and helping your army take on the generals. I decided to savor the experience and took down all of the generals in each level before going for the boss. What made this possible was how quickly the enemies went down and that the levels weren’t too huge. I think it was a perfect blend in both cases. I played the game on Normal so it wasn’t a walk in the park but it wasn’t a brutal grind either. The map size was also good based on how fast you can fun. A bigger map would still work well as long as you can dash a little faster. Naturally there is also a co-op mode so if you really want to lay devastating damage to the armies with a friend, it’ll make the game that much better. Co-Op was basically made for beat em up titles like this one. If you don’t own this game yet, you should definitely fix that.

Overall 8/10

Advertisements

Star Wars The Force Unleashed II Review

Star-Wars-Force-Unleashed-2_US_ESRB_PS3
It definitely didn’t take too long to get to the big sequel to the original Force Unleashed. I enjoyed the first game quite a bit so I was excited to see what the sequel brings to the table. Ideally a sequel should always be just as good or better in every way. This sequel managed to pull that off in all areas aside from the plot. Is it enough to get that extra star and nab a 9 or will it continue to elude the game? Time to find out!

The game starts with Starkiller waking up in one of Darth Vader’s training rooms. The Sith explains that this Starkiller is the only clone to have been a success and that the original Starkiller is dead. This clone has all of his powers and memories and Vader will make him destroy the Jedi. Clone or not, Starkiller decides to escape instead and manages to find his old resistance teammate, the blind Jedi. The Jedi claims that Vader is lying and Starkiller is the original. Starkiller’s not sure what to think about all of this, but the main heroine is in trouble so he decides to launch a full scale attack on Vader’s base. Ultimately, his origin won’t matter as long as he can save her.

I don’t really mind the game keeping it ambiguous as to whether Starkiller is the genuine article or not. It adds a little tension and who doesn’t want to see some of that in the story. As long as it isn’t overplayed, it works well. Unfortunately, the story still was a step down from the first. It’s still cinematic and feels like a movie, but it’s a movie that doesn’t have much of a plot. It takes a while for Starkiller to decide what to do and by the time he does, the story is over. You could sum up the game’s story in a few sentences. Starkiller returns and meets up with his old pal. The two of them make it to the resistance base, but it was destroyed. They head over to Vader’s base and blow it up as they save the heroine. That’s really all that happens in this game.

Of course, the game was quite short so it was never going to have the same amount of content as the first game. Still, I was expecting a little more. Admittedly, part of the fault is in the fact that I thought the game was more about choosing between good and evil the whole time like in the Shadow The Hedgehog game. It turns out that only the ending matters like in the first game so it’s quite different from what I had assumed. The game is supposed to be roughly 5 hours long and that sounds about right. Hardcore gamers can finish it in one sitting although it took me 2. 5 hours of straight gaming may have been something I did more back in the day, but that is really a long time to be sitting down.

Granted, the ending is quite great just like in the last game. I ended up obtaining the dark ending. I wanted to make the hero call of course, but then the villain started to goad me on and I decided it was time to end him. A pretty shocking moment occurred and honestly it was all handled beautifully. As always the blind Jedi was supremely annoying, but I suppose that couldn’t be helped. Personally I’d say that the Starkiller in this game is a clone. It’s not really a spoiler since I know people have gone either way with this although most see it the way that I do in this case. That being said, he may have been more likable than the first one.

The gameplay is a lot smoother than the first game and I was hoping that would be the case. It’s the same core gameplay as it’s a 3D hack and slash title where you have other abilities at your disposal as well. You can shoot lightning and harness the force to protect yourself. This time you have 2 Lightsabers and you can switch out their crystals to give the weapon other special abilities. I recommend the extra EXP ones since those really add up by the end. The combos are a lot more fluid and the tutorial is fast while also being comprehensive. You’ll really feel like a Jedi Master as you slice through dozens and dozens of opponents.

There are a lot of cubes to find and trophies to collect which should add to the replay value. It has about the same kind of bonus content as the first game so there’s not much new to be on the lookout for. Just grab all of the cubes that you can and level up. It’s considerably easier than the first game as well I might add and that is probably because of how much smoother it is. I died quite a few times in the first game because my lightning wouldn’t lock on, but that’s never an issue here. With the original’s story this would instantly be a 9. As it is, it is a close call. The gameplay is amazing, but the experience is relatively short.

You probably figured this from the first game, but the graphics are still quite great. They have improved from the first title which is saying something. This is definitely pretty high end even for the PS3. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable though. Surprisingly both games didn’t really have any memorable tunes. I guess this game had to have a weakness somewhere right?

Speaking of weaknesses though, I did think that some of the quick time events were a little too hard. Not in terms of timing as that was pretty normal, but the events where you had to press a button really quickly. I just couldn’t push it fast enough and had to keep trying different ways until I finally nailed it. There were around 3 bosses like this and they just didn’t feel fair or balanced. I can’t imagine how a kid would get through these levels. I definitely have to respect their button mashing skills if they pulled it off.

Beyond that, I am still a big QTE fan as always. Personally I think it makes the boss fights more epic. I know some don’t care for it and I can see the negative side (Losing near the end of a long QTE sequence and having to do the whole thing over again) but it’s certainly still a positive in the end. As for the story which I keep taking subtle shots at, I just felt like the writing for Starkiller was a little all over the place. At times he was fairly quiet and treated like an experienced veteran. Then he would suddenly talk and then he wouldn’t stop as he panicked about everything and did a ton of yelling. The former is what I expected of Starkiller while the latter just feels out of character. He’s just a lot more emotional than I would have expected at times although he still makes the rational choices in the end.

I did say that I liked him more than the first Starkiller though and that’s because he’s just a little more intense. He makes the controversial decision to abandon the alliance so he could save the heroine instead, but it’s a move that I can go with. The rebellion is always falling to pieces anyway and they were okay with sacrificing her so naturally that was not okay. Starkiller made the right move. The game’s ending is quite dark no matter which ending you ultimately ended up going for. Naturally mine was incredibly dark but probably the more hype ending. It just seems like Starkiller can’t catch a break. I’d love a sequel to this game, but it seems like it isn’t to be.

Overall, The Force Unleashed II did everything you could ask for from a sequel. It tightened up the already solid gameplay to make it even better. It improved the graphics and still gave us a full cinematic story. There’s also a good amount of replay value here and none of the trophies are too crazy. You’ll have a blast from start to finish. Even if the story isn’t quite as intense as the first game, you’ll still be pretty reasonably hooked during it and the climax ends the game with a bang. Now if only we could get a multiplayer mode.

Overall 9/10

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Stats and Records

Stats time! The Play time should actually be higher, but apparently the game auto saves don’t actually count as saves and as such don’t count play time. When I go through the game again for the trophies, I’ll have to remember to save manually.

Play Time 4h 36m

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review

star-wars-the-force-unleashed_6540380f
I’ve been waiting to play this Star Wars game for quite a while. It got a lot of hype when it first came out and I’ve owned it for quite a few years but was blasting through the older games first. While the gameplay may not have aged incredibly well since it first came out, I quickly got into the swing of things and enjoyed the game quite a lot. Ironically the beginning of the game was more difficult than the second half of it since the upgrades really helped to change the course of battle. I just wish I had realized that I wasn’t logged in to my PSN because of some network issues as I missed out on the trophies. I’m still a little salty about that. With this review done, I’m also ready to begin the sequel to see how it improved upon the original!

The plot focuses on a young padawan named Starkiller. Darth Vader decided to train him as an apprentice in the hopes that the two of them could team up to destroy Palpatine. To this end he has Starkiller go around hunting Jedi to improve his abilities until he is ready. The problem is that Palpatine becomes aware of the plot so Vader has to take some drastic measures, but this ends up being a fatal mistake by the end. Honestly, Vader should have just taken the opportunity and fought right there. That definitely would have been his best chance.

The gameplay is 3D where you have total freedom to use The Force, Shoot Lightning, or attack with your Lightsaber. It’s one of the best gameplay styles out there and it was cool to play it. A lot of games like this I don’t really get to play like Infamous or Grand Theft Auto. You can level up the skills and get a lot stronger during the game. By the end you can really feel the difference in your abilities which was handled really well. The boss you had trouble with at the beginning is nothing more than a minion by the end. Now that’s what I call character progression.

One issue that I do have with the title is the lock on feature though. It’s really not helpful as it always locks on the wrong thing. You tend to miss with your attacks as a result at times which can really be annoying. You learn to work around that by the end, but the gameplay just could have been a little more polished in this angle if you ask me. I shouldn’t have to work around it. I’m sure this will be fixed by the end though.

The game is reasonably challenging, but it’s not unfair. You get to keep your EXP from the minions so just keep retrying the level until you win. Use strategy and try different tactics, you’ll get through eventually. I had some trouble with the first mini boss but it all went well after that. Once I had mastered the controls, it was on to the races. At only 9 levels the game is a little on the short side, but it should still last you about 4-5 hours. There is also some good replay value in finding all of the collectibles and obtaining your shiny Platinum Trophy. It seems like a bit of a grind as well as being reasonably difficult so it should take you quite a while to grab them all.

The graphics are really good and the game spared no expense with its cinematic cutscenes. The game feels like a big movie at times without limiting the gameplay. You have a good amount of quick time events for all of the bosses which always adds a thematic element into the mix. This is really the definition of a AAA game and we need more Star Wars games like this one. The soundtrack is also on point with most of the iconic film themes making it into the game. I can’t say much for the original music in the game as the film ones are the only themes to really stick out.

Starkiller is the protagonist here and he starts out as an evil follower and eventually becomes a hero. He even makes the tough call at the end to spare Palpatine instead of destroying him. Same for Darth Vader. He may not be quite as intense as I thought he’d be, but he’s pretty solid. I like him more than Luke Skywalker and some of the other Jedi. He probably is one of the best Star War Jedi either way though if that’s any consolation. He reminded me a lot of Cole from the Infamous series. I definitely also think that he’s one of the most powerful Jedi as he was able to hold his own against Vader and Palpatine, no easy feat.

The rest of the supporting cast was all right. The main heroine was good and took the plot twists in stride. The only character who was annoying was the blind Jedi. I believe Rogue One’s character was basically taken from this one. While he technically gave some good advice like telling Starkiller not to destroy his opponents, he was incredibly weak for a Jedi. He spent the entire story getting beaten up and being a liability. Starkiller actually could have made it through this game if not for him.

Still, it was an epic story no doubt about that. This could easily be adapted into a movie and I think it would be a really epic one. The cutscenes are movie quality as it is and the story could easily fit into the universe. Vader’s whole plan maybe felt a little extra convoluted and training Starkiller so well may not have been a good idea, but it made for a good excuse to have a character be so strong. I imagine Vader would be a pretty good teacher since he is so ruthless.

Overall, The Force Unleashed absolutely lived up to the hype. The only thing holding it back from a 9 is that the camera work/lock on feature is a little too unreliable and the game is perhaps a bit too short. There aren’t any real negatives, but to get to the 9 Star rating you just need something extra. Perhaps the sequel will be able to make it all the way up there, but at an 8 it is still a great title that you should get at all costs. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll be able to appreciate the game all the more. It lets you utilize every Jedi/Sith power seamlessly in the gameplay. You’ll feel like The Force is with you.

Overall 8/10

Hail to the Chimp Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 4h 56m
Squandered Teams 4%
Hazard deaths 13%
Falling deaths 44%
Curses taken per game .6
Clampaign chest 5895
Votes won 252230
Games Played 67
Attacks leveled 4806
Clammiest game 256
Clammiest teamup 27
Campaign Trail 22MI
Attacks Successful 37%
Victorious 52%
Teamups per game 2.0
Profitable teams 85%
Teleports per game 1.3
Curses landed per game 1.1
Switches per game 0.5
Invites Accepted 62%
Double Jumps 31%
Clams stolen per game 32
Clams recovered 3
Flair share 24%
Successful blocks 13%

Hail to the Chimp Review

7497820PALFrontccc-79027-full
Hail to the Chimp is like the roughest of waves. It looks fun to play from a distance but once you’re on it you start thinking about how much more fun the kiddie pool would have been. The game had a lot of potential since it is effectively a 4 player fighting game with various themes built in to make the gameplay diverse, but it ends up falling flat. This is because the controls aren’t all that well thought out and the gameplay wasn’t very polished. I’ll give it some props on the unique premise of the story, but the way it was executed wasn’t great.

So, the plot is that a bunch of animals are trying to be President. Each level has you play as one of them as you become President I suppose. It was hard to tell if it meant that you won the primaries and could be President now or if you actually became President. I’ll go with the latter I suppose. Either way, it was a pretty intense moment as each character got a commercial first and then an interview after completing the level. I like to think that this must have been some kind of political satire as all of the candidates were really bad. One of them couldn’t even talk in a way that we could understand since it only knew alien talk. I wonder how it won so many votes. Anyway, that’s the main campaign. The Monkey got the last level so I’ll assume that he is the President. It is called Hail to the Chimp after all. The story was fairly amusing even if getting to the cutscenes could be a drag.

There isn’t really a lot to do in the game. The story will last a little while, but after that the only thing to do is Vs. Mode. I did unlock various videos during the story so I suppose that replaying the stories could help you get more. The problem is that the game is super vague about how or why you unlocked the videos so you wouldn’t know exactly what you would need to do. Furthermore, this came out before trophies so those can’t help the replay value. Vs. Mode is nice in that regard, but I have a sinking feeling that you won’t be playing it for very long. The game is only a few bucks to purchase though so at least it won’t set you back all that much.

The graphics aren’t anything special. The colors actually make it difficult to see the characters at times. It certainly doesn’t look like a PS3 game at all and the PS2 titles from the good ole days had more heart. The soundtrack is pretty bad as well with no good themes. I can’t think of a single catchy one and that’s too bad. I’d expect nothing less from Hail to the Chimp though. In theory the gameplay can save it so lets talk about that now.

The actual gameplay style had a lot of potential. It’s an overhead 4 player brawler so it’s similar to TMNT Mutant Melee. You swing at each other with your standard attacks and can use parts of the environment to hurt other players as well like cranes. You can even decide to do a link attack with another player if both of you press the team up button. Use this move strategically though since another player can quickly steal your teammate by running in first and also pressing the team up button. It’s incredibly overpowered and will always net you a few KOs. One issue that you’ll notice from the get go is that the controls are very limited. Every character only has one combo…that’s it. That sort of limits your options quite a lot if you think about it. Furthermore, the game rarely has you actually fighting it out with your opponents in a Last Man Standing ruleset.

The game gives you a few different goals depending on the level. In some you have to rig the voting machines by destroying them and others have you paint the machines. The vast majority of the levels are in this style and that’s the problem for me. I only really liked the combat ones. The others are all heavily luck based since the opponents will team up and sometimes they won’t. If you fall in the wrong place then you’ll waste a lot of time or all of the computers will gang up on you. There really isn’t much to look forward to during these battles and the fact that you have to play them over and over again really doesn’t help. I wouldn’t have minded the gameplay as much if it stuck to being a fighter, but the problem is that it wanted to be a party fighting game. That blend only works for the best of titles and this one lacked the budget as well as the gameplay to complete such a move. As a result, the game grows tedious very quickly.

Multiplayer mode is the only reason this game should even deserve a glance. It fixes most of the game’s issues as you can simply limit yourself to playing the survival mode of combat and the luck/cheese factor is eliminated for the most part. You may still grow bored of doing the same combat for so long but it’s a slight improvement. Beyond that, I suppose the videos will give you some chuckles. There are quite a few of them after all and the game wasn’t too popular so you may have a hard time finding them on Youtube unless you just skip through a walkthrough to nab them all.

Overall, Hail to the Chimp is not a game that you’ll want to play for long. The story mode wasn’t thought out too well as each minigame is way too long so nobody wants to play a 7 round tournament. Losing at the very end is also devastating because then you have to do it all over again. It’s quite telling that you’ll be hoping there is no secret final level just so you can finish the game already. That’s just sad. Since the soundtrack and graphics aren’t quite up to snuff either, there’s not much holding this game afloat. If you see it for a few dollars then I suppose you can’t go wrong, but you should still question whether you should do such a thing or not. It’s not worth it if you ask me. Just go buy a Mario Party game instead.

Overall 4/10

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Review

Super
It’s always a little unfortunate when having a story mode isn’t a positive for a game. It’s not as if it’s bad enough to lower the score (Although it was close) but the game doesn’t benefit at all from having it. That being said, this is Super Hero Squad so you have to enter the game with reasonable expectations I suppose. I didn’t mind the show too much when I watched it although it is certainly one of Marvel’s weakest titles. I played the first game a while back so it was about time that I got to try out the sequel. It’s about as good, maybe slightly better. The gameplay is more diverse, but it doesn’t really do a whole lot to make a name for itself.

The plot is about how the Infinity Stones have surfaced. Iron-Man tells the Sqauddies that they cannot let the villains take them so they decide to collect them all. Unfortunately for them, Dr Doom and his army of henchmen are after them along with Loki and his cabal and even Thanos and the Skrulls. With 3 different factions after the stones, the heroes will have to keep their guard up at all time. They’re not too good at that though.

I mean, it is a comedy storyline since it’s in the Super Hero Squad universe so I never expected anything serious. That being said, the characters talk a lot during the game. I don’t mind this when it’s witty banter like in Spider-Man or Sonic, but when it’s these characters it just isn’t quite as fun. They all only seem to have 2-3 phrases as well so they end up repeating them over and over again. I think some more variety could have helped them out. The comedy is also pretty weak so the game won’t be getting any laughs out of you. The only scene that I actually thought was pretty fun was the final one where Thor puts on dancing boots and is forced to dance for everyone’s amusement. It was pretty mean of the others to just let that happen, but it is what it is.

The gameplay is your standard Ultimate Alliance/Lego style where it is mostly overhead as you dish out the pain. Each character has their standard punch and projectile. You can charge up these attacks and also use Ultimate Attacks when you have enough meter. The meter builds rather quickly so you can use the super attacks constantly. Button mashing your standard attack will work for just about the whole game as well since the enemies will just run into your attacks. It’s a pretty simple, but repetitive style since all of the enemies start to be the same after a while. I don’t really mind that per say as I love beat em ups and button mashing is one of my strengths.

What is annoying is that all of the bosses and big enemies have super armor so they hit you as you hit them. When your character is launched it takes a few seconds to get back up and the bosses also deal a lot of damage. You can expect to die a lot if you’re rushing through the bosses but it doesn’t count as actually losing unless both characters die at the same time. The A.I. is terrible so this may occur once in a while, but usually it’s not a big deal. So I like the actual combat for the minions, but the bosses weren’t really a lot of fun to beat up. I did enjoy getting a chance to spam my projectiles for such a long time though.

The game was clearly developed with co-op mode in mind. When playing single player there are some levels that just don’t work well. The ones where you have to shoot at objects approaching from the skies comes to mind. The A.I. couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn so you end up having to hit both sides on your own which gets really tricky. It made these levels tougher than they should have been. Same with parts where you have to use both character’s skills as the A.I. will follow you and forget what they’re supposed to do. It’s not really a problem if you choose to play co-op, but be warned if you’re a solo fighter.

The graphics aren’t bad even if they don’t look quite up to par with what you’d expect from a PS3 game. The character models look good enough and the level designs aren’t bad. It looks like a mobile game if I had to make a comparison so take that as you may. It’s acceptable while not being impressive. The soundtrack is less impressive as we get the classic theme song, but not much else. I wasn’t expecting much in this category to begin with though.

One part of the game that is pretty mild but annoying is that if a character is blocking your way, you can’t move. The A.I. has a habit of cornering you if you go into a tunnel so if you want to back out the only way is to switch to the other character and move him out of the way. It’s such a random little thing that you may have to do a double take at some points. Just one of those things that they probably should have picked up in quality control if they had been playing the game more.

The main campaign is 11 levels long and they vary in length. It’s not a very long game so I think you could reasonably complete it in around 5 hours or so. Perhaps a little less but the cutscenes do make a difference. The replay value here are the Challenges you can tackle and the large array of trophies available. I don’t imagine that this would be a very difficult game to Platinum if you were ever so inclined. There is certainly enough here to give the game some reasonable replay value.

Overall, Super Hero Squad was a little glitchy and the story wasn’t particularly engaging, but not everything can be Sonic Adventure 2 Battle right? I think the game could have used some more quality control, but it worked well enough. It had its issues, but I’d still say that it was a good game in the end. If it had dragged on too long that may have been an issue, but it didn’t happen. The gameplay is good and I did enjoy throwing everyone around with my special abilities. I think what makes this game seem a little worse than it is at times is how good most other games are. Comparatively speaking this game isn’t great, but if you look at the game on its own then it works pretty well. That’s a win in my book. So, buy this game if you want some classic Marvel action, but you should probably just grab Ultimate Alliance instead.

Overall 7/10

Star Trek Encounters Stats and Records

Stats time!

Character Cards

Enterprise 4/5
Star Trek 4/5
Next Gen 4/5
Deep Space Nine 5/5
Voyager 3/5

Level Stats
Incursion Silver
Xindi Superweapon Silver
The Expanse Gold
Savior Silver
Cat and Mouse Silver
A Specter’s Shadow Silver
Dead In The Water Gold
Battle at Genesis
Shadows and Dust Silver
Into The Wormhole Gold
See No Evil Silver
Behemoth Silver
Into The Badlands Gold
Fire At Will Gold
The Chase Silver
The Luddite Prophecy Silver
My Enemy’s Enemy Gold
The One Who Is Many Gold
The Orion Syndicate Silver
Against All Odds Gold

Star Trek Encounters Review

Star-Trek-Encounters_ps2_sleeve-front
It’s time to look at a game that I got a very long time ago. I found this one at an obscure Gamestop on a random day and thought it looked interesting enough. It’s not exactly what I expected and had a bit of a slow start due to the game not explaining things very well, but it picked up quite a bit as the game went on. It’s not the ideal Star Trek game but if you’re really just interested in the space aspect then this is certainly the game for you.

The story mode features 3-5 levels from each of the Star Trek shows. Classic, Enterprise, Voyager, Star Trek, Next Generation, and probably some others. There are also two final levels which crossover the whole franchise. Maybe more like 1 to be honest as the first one just sets the stage for the event. There’s not much of an actual plot as each mission or series of missions are essentially stand alone adventures. You get some text at the very beginning which tells you what is happening and mini cutscenes during the level. Only very small parts of the game have any real voice acting.

You figure out early on that you need to be playing this game for the gameplay and not the plot. You never get to see a single character as the ships are then only things on the screen. As I mentioned, the gameplay isn’t explained too well as it’s actually fairly complex and intricate. It’s an overhead airplane shooter. Of course you’re a spaceship and not a plane. You explore the universe, fight aliens, and help people out. You have your primary weapon which you can switch from two different options and your sub weapon. The sub weapon has around 6 options and some of them are not actually meant for combat like your tractor or energy fuel. They all serve a purpose though so you’ll want to know what they are when tackling a level. You can use R2 to target an enemy so that you can transport some of your crew aboard or to shut down their engine without destroying the ship. You can alter your ship’s stats during the level as well by putting more power into shields at the expense of weapons or vice versa. Throughout the game I always kept weapons and engines on maximum with shields and scanners on minimum. It’s just the best call for me as otherwise the weapons take a really long time to load up.

After you get the hang of the controls, the levels start to feel a lot easier. There is also the occasional race level which is a nice change of pace. When the Borg Queen attacks you are not strong enough to stop her so racing through a bunch of portals is your only way out. The races can be reasonably difficult as missing more than a few portals can be fatal and crashing into enemy ships is just as lethal. They were some of the most fun levels in the game as I do like racing quite a bit. The most tedious levels where the ones where you’d have to do the same thing multiple times like transporting bombs. Plus, I just don’t like having to protect things (Like the bomb) as I prefer to just fight and knock everyone out. It lets me just go all out.

So the difficulty is pretty reasonable and the game’s length isn’t bad. I could usually only complete 4-5 levels in one sitting and there were around 20 if I’m not mistaken. It should last you around 6-7 hours if I had to make a ballpark estimate. There are a lot of checkpoints throughout the levels and you have infinite lives so you don’t have to worry about replaying a large segment or anything like that. One unfortunate thing is that you cannot skip cutscenes. If you lost in a place where the cutscene is particularly long, you have to watch it over and over again.

The graphics for the game are pretty nice. They may not pop out at you quite as much as in the cover, but it’s aged really well for the PS2. The colorful levels towards the end like being in the pink monster were really intense and I liked the last level’s design as everything would keep spazzing out to show you that you were in a time loop. The soundtrack is quite bland though. I feel like there were only 2-3 songs that just kept repeating over and over again. None of them were catchy either so that’s a little disappointing.

There’s a little replay value here, but not much. You can try to find all of the collectibles which honestly weren’t that hard to find. I grabbed about 80-90% of them without even trying during the normal play through. Hopefully it tells you which levels have the rest though since it would take a while to go through all of the levels. I can’t imagine that the reward is really worth the time to be honest so it’s not something I would pursue. There is also Skirmish mode which sounds like endless fighting and multiplayer so that definitely helps the replay value quite a bit. It’s no Star Fox, but I can see you having some fun here.

On a final note I do have to say that the final level was a little anticlimactic. There wasn’t a final boss or anything which was a little disappointing and the level just ends. We were actually losing against the legion of enemy ships, but the time stream just ends up warping them away so everything is happy again. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that a full win would have been a lot more satisfying than the villains simply being whisked away. The only true boss in the game was probably the Borg Queen which was handled well. The final level should have absolutely done the same thing.

Overall, Star Trek Encounters is a fun game. I really think it could have used more of a plot but at least the gameplay was solid. The final level was pretty epic as it was great to see all of the Starships from the Star Trek franchise team up. We may have only been all together for the final part of the level but it felt like a really good payoff. Since this was a crossover Star Trek game, I would have felt a little cheated if this didn’t happen. The game did a good job of including all of the iconic Star Trek enemies like the Klingons and the Borg as well so it had a nice attention to detail. I’d recommend checking the game out, I think you’ll like it more than you’d expect. You should play it straight through though as forgetting the controls can be fatal in a title like this one.

Overall 7/10