Star Trek: Armada
Following last month's Force Commander disappointment (at least in terms of what it could have been), it was always going to be interesting to see if a Star Trek RTS could fare any better. The answer is both yes and no, although to be fair both games are quite different. FC is a land-based 3D RTS, while Armada is more like Command & Conquer in space. And this is where we encounter the first problem, because there is something just wrong about space vessels moving around a 2D plane. Homeworld might have hurt a lot of people's brains with its fully 3D galactic beauty, but it was a massive achievement that makes Armada look very limited and simple by comparison. But when you're a simple and limited person like me, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Armada is very much a story driven game, with the strategic and resource management side of things kept as light as possible. This could have been a big problem, except for the fact that the story is so damn good. In fact, it's better than some of the film efforts from recent years, and works like a string of exceptionally good episodes.
The main plot revolves, as so many of the best Trekkie ones do, around the Borg. A ship comes back in time to warn the Enterprise of an imminent Borg invasion, which in another timeline has been successful and reduced the Alpha Quadrant to an assimilated Borg outpost. The Klingons become involved, complicating things with an internal struggle for power, as do the Romulans (led by Tasha Yar's daughter) with their deceitful self-interested tactics.
What is so good is the way the narrative unfolds through the missions, and how these are structured around scripted moments.There are four campaigns (Federation, Klingon, Romulan and Borg) which you can play in any order, although you'd be stupid to spoil the plot by doing so (if you want to try out all the races straight away, go for the excellent skirmish mode). It's tempting to reveal too much, but we will say this; towards the end of the game you can lead a Borg invasion of Earth. And this isn't the only highly interesting mission - you can look forward to beaming a Romulan spy onto a Klingon prison facility from a cloaked ship, assimilating a Dominion cloning centre, so you can clone Locutus, using the Enterprise to... but we're already giving too much away.
An Armada Leg
With all this variety of missions you might think there'd be no base-building but, while the game does go easy on the resource management side of things, it is still an essential part of the game. No matter which race you're controlling you have three resources: Dilithium, crew and officers. While the strategy is quite simple, there are a couple of things that add more depth to the gameplay. You need to use the space terrain (nebulas, ion storms, black holes and worm holes) to your advantage and research special weapons and features for your ships (anti-matter mines, commando teams, shield disruptors and tractor beams). You can also take over enemy vessels by destroying their shields and beaming soldiers aboard.
In spite of this, things can get repetitive and boring and it's hard to forget that a 20 space map just doesn't work. The engine-rendered 30 cut-scenes give an idea of what could have been if it had gone the Homeworld way rather than stupidly blocking off bits of the map with asteroids and covering unscanned areas of space with an ugly grey mass.
You can zoom right into the action (there's even a cinematic camera mode), but, as usual, this is useless in the heat of battle. It's also not the most stable of games. And, while the presentation is good, it does have a certain unfinished quality and a few crashing bugs that are very hard to forgive. This is yet another missed opportunity to make something truly great out of a guaranteed-hit licence.
Download Star Trek: Armada
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
There have been more good Star Trek games than bad and if you ask me, Star Trek: Armada here is one of the best. Originally released in 2000, this is a game that would be so popular with Star Trek fans that it would spawn a sequel as well a popular fan mod.
As there is so many different series of Star Trek out there you may be wondering what one does Star Trek: Armada follow? Well despite being released in 2000 while Star Trek Voyager was still on the air. The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and even the movie, Insurrection are the main driving forces behind the game.
Smart As Commander Riker
Star Trek: Armada is notable for not just being an action game or some kind of flight sim. This is the thinking person’s Star Trek game as it is a real time strategy game. Interestingly there is nothing about this game apart from the Star Trek license that really sets it apart from the other RTS games on the market at the time. To be fair this is not a bad thing as sometimes a developer will try something new or crazy for the sake of doing so. Star Trek: Armada though does play things very safe and as a result for hardcore RTS fans may seem a little weak. For me though is the is the perfect level of depth that I would want in an RTS game.
Pick Your Side
In the game, you have a choice of four different factions that you can represent. The United Federation of Planets, The Klingon Empire, The Romulan Star Empire, and The Borg. Each faction has their own kind of ships and space stations that you can make use of, but you can capture enemy ones and use them as your own. In all honesty, I found that it really did not matter which faction you picked so just go with which one you think is coolest and that you like the best.
In the game's campaign, you actually get to play as each of the four factions and then there is a final part of the campaign where you play as The United Federation of Planets, The Klingon Empire and The Romulan Star Empire as a unit to try and take down The Borg. As well as these factions there is a lot of fan service as well thanks to the inclusion of races such as The Ferengi and The Cardassians.
You only have to worry about two main resources. Dilithium can be mined on various moons when you send your resource gatherers there. Your other main resource is your crew. Your crew will grow at your starbases as you progress through the game.
Picard vs Riker!
Ok so maybe you cannot have this matchup, but the multiplayer aspect of Star Trek: Armada is actually a lot of fun. Even after all these years, it remains fun. Going head to head with a buddy is great. As the RTS action in the game is not super in depth like a modern one is. You will find it is a lot easier to kick back and just have fun with this.
Star Trek: Armada is a rather basic RTS game, but I think that helps add to the charm of it. If you love the Next Generation Era of Star Trek then I really do feel that this is a game you are going to have a lot of fun with. The presentation holds up pretty well and the battles are a lot of fun. So if you are a Star Trek fan this is most certainly a game you want to check out.
- Four factions to play as
- The game still looks pretty good
- The campaign is a lot of fun to play through
- Fantastic when playing against a friend
- Set during the Next Generation
- It is a rather basic RTS game
- You have to be a Star Trek fan to really get the best out of it