After months of development, status updates, screen shots and promises, Star Trek Online finally hit Xbox One and PS4. The main question on everyone’s mind on the way in was of course just how does it measure up to its long running PC counterpart…well – I took on STO on PS4 with that very question at the top of my list.
These are the voyages…
These are the voyages…of none of the ships or content you might happen to own on the PC version.
You might be a veteran player who stuck with STO for the past 6 years. You might own a fleet of ships and have all the hot lockbox content, you might even have a lifetime membership…but sadly – Nothing you gathered over the past 6 years on PC can be or will be transferred to your PS4/Xbox One Star Trek Online account – ever.
You start fresh. You start as a noob level Cadet straight out of the academy, all bright eyed and bushy tailed with hope for big adventures in a brave new port. Once you manage to peel your eyes away from the chat window where various people are yelling in a confused manner about what exactly is going on or where they should go, you quickly realise as soon as you move your character for the first time that while similar looking to the PC, this is a different game all together.
Depending on your console of choice you quickly collect an outfit pack and an exclusive starter ship that quickly becomes irrelevant the moment you progress beyond T1 level and off you go into the wild blue yonder to experience all manners of missions and stories of the Star Trek Universe.
On screen, Number One…
Promises were made that the graphics were getting an overhaul and indeed it does look a bit better than it does on PC. It looks better in that way that an old car looks better after a nice wash and a polish. The main thing to remember is that while the best efforts possible were made – STO is still a 6 year old game and the graphics clearly reflect it.
One has to bear in mind that it is F2P though and that the size of the universe does come at the price of some detail. Ground Combat isn’t the main aspect of STO either. Sure you use your character to run about on the space stations now and then and do the occasional ground mission but that’s not what we care about is it? An annoying hindrance we endure in order to get to the real meat of the game – Space.
In space itself everything looks pretty damn great. The combat looks great and everything feels very similar to the PC version. Smooth, beautiful and exactly what you imagined it would be like were you in your very own Star Trek episode taking on some Borg or some other manner of space faring nasties. However – once again, the game is 6 years old and in some aspects, even in space, you will notice its age.
The control scheme had a complete overall to make it work for the controller. While it does take some serious getting used to, you do end up feeling more in control of your character and your ship itself the deeper you get into the game.
The various abilities of your Captain and your Bridge Officers are now controlled via a radial menu and various abilities can be set to auto execute when needed or when certain conditions are met. This does take the footwork out of having to micro manage every aspect of every command during combat and really streamlines the whole experience in a useful manner.
For instance let’s say you have a shield restore ability…but you don’t want to have it on your screen the whole time or want to execute it manually – you can set the ability to auto execute when ship shields reach 50%. Pretty fun, actually. I’ve come to find that it makes the combat a ton more enjoyable being able to auto-execute abilities in this way and I’m truly loving every moment of it.
It’s a very solid port but obviously has the occasional bug here and there. There are some clear improvements on graphics and the control scheme. Everything feels better and looks better while the story you love continues ever forward.
The only true drawback of STO on console is the fact that you cannot port your older characters from PC to the new platform of choice however if you’re a new player entirely you won’t mind this and the fact that the game is F2P and requires no special online subscriptions is a bonus that can truly appeal to everyone.
While many say Star Trek Online is a case of ‘pay to win’, I assure you this is not the case as even with the standard ships you are given, you don’t have to engage in PVP and can play all the missions in the game pretty solidly without ever having to spend a cent. If however you feel up for one of the super high end ships, a purchase as little as R300 can get you enough ‘Zen’ to purchase a top of the line ship.
Considering the enjoyment you’ll get from this game, a purchase somewhere down the line is only fair and I for one intend to invest many, many hours into STO on console for the foreseeable future.
I might even go as far as to say that STO is currently my favourite game…
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