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Macintosh : Star Trek Star Fleet Command 2: Empires at War Details



Publisher MacPlay Release Date June 16, 2002
ESRB Rating Everyone Views 701
Ever since Starfleet Command's release, Star Trek fans have been anxiously awaiting a sequel with the same blend of strategy, real-time action, and respect for its source material. At last Starfleet Command II: Empires at War is upon us, and although it doesn't quite live up to all the promises, it's still a worthy sequel. There are more races to explore, more technological gadgets to experiment with, and the game's stunning universe is rendered with an improved 3-D engine. Unfortunately, the campaigns for each race are boring and repetitive, and the promised online universe for massive multiplayer battles was not ready when the game was released.

Starfleet Command II, like its excellent predecessor, is ultimately a game of balance. The ships you command are massively powerful, but that power can't be everywhere at once. Doubling your rear shields means reducing your defensive power elsewhere or shunting power away from the ship's weapons. Transporting marines to disable an enemy vessel's vital components or physically take it over requires lowering a shield section, leaving you completely vulnerable for a few precious seconds. Every tactic at your disposal involves compromise.

Realism is taken up a notch by the plodding, massive ships you command. Everything from turning to charging weapons takes time, forcing players to think several minutes ahead of their ship when plotting strategies. The ships look, sound, and behave as they should, and plumbing their various strengths and weaknesses can take weeks of study and practice.

The end result is a game that actually makes you feel like the captain of a large starship, to the point where the line between strategy game and all-out simulator is blurred. If the generic campaigns were improved and the massive multiplayer component ever works properly this could become the best Star Trek game ever. As it stands, it's still worth the money for its challenging skirmish modes and stunning audio-visual fidelity. --T. Byrl Baker

Pros:

  • Lots of thought required, but the real-time action also keeps players on their toes
  • Generally remains faithful to the board game it's based on while capitalizing on the computer's strengths
  • The audio sounds like it was taken directly from a Star Trek movie, ships are rendered in amazing detail, and explosion effects are fantastic
Cons:
  • Persistent online universe wasn't available at launch, but should eventually make this game even better
  • Severely weak campaigns
  • Still plays out on a flat, two-dimensional plane instead of three dimensional space

Content Summary

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