Potential hidden gem: Star Trek Conquest

The game has been available for a while now. I’ve heard good things about it, but I haven’t seen any reviews for the game yet. I’ve heard from word of mouth that’s it a fun game. Has anyone here picked it up? Any opinions?

The Wii version is $30, the PS2 version is $15.

I’m personally too busy with other games right now, but this one might be worth coming back to in the games release slump that’s surely coming up soon.

It sounds like the Wii controls for it are pretty nice as you control the ship with the Nunchuck stick, and fire by pointing the Wiimote. I could see trying to keep your damaged shields away from the enemy quite fun using that control scheme. That’s the combat, plus there’s a 4x turn-based strategy layer on top of all that, which represents the main game. Plus I’ve heard you can skip the combat and auto resolve it if you choose to do so.

It’s alot cheaper than spending the $100+ for Birth of The Federation I guess but I suspect you get what you pay for. I noticed this too. If you get it I’d be curious to see what you think. I already bit the bullet, and swallowed it, on Swashbucker (PS2).

What was Swashbuckler?

The straight sequel to Swishbuckler.

Actually I’m confused about both things you said Brian.

100$ for BOTF?

I took a look the other day over at Amazon when I was checking out some older games I’ve got. The prices were starting at well over $100 for BoTF. Evidently it’s got some cult status with Trekkers or something…

Swashbucklers is…nevermind. I talked myself into checking out a game without any reviews for the good of the community. nods

Where was the thread warning us against it then, Brian? In order for it to be good for us, you have to let us know when you take the bullet. Sometimes we can’t see the blood otherwise.

And wow on BOTF. I didn’t even think the game was that great (based on word of mouth, since I never played it).

It’s in the “Are there any games for Swashbucklers?” thread. Ironically, Swashbuckler ain’t it.

I finally found a review for ST: Conquest.

IGN has a review for the $15 PS2 version.

They really liked it. A couple of quotes:

And the closing comments:

Conquest does one thing, and does it well. Freed from all the TV actors and even the characters themselves, the game instead just rests comfortably in providing a tried-and-true game of strategy with enough variety and differences in play style to make every race feel like they can tackle the game differently. Granted, the limited scope means you won’t be able to play the game for marathon sessions, but it’s perfect in few-hour bursts.

I’ll go ahead and order the PS2 version [some kind of Klingon battle cry goes here].

Funny, I just found my old BotF CD last week and considered installing. Not selling it, but wow.

My local Best Buy had the PS2 version in stock so I took a chance on it.

I’ve spent less than an hour with it, but my initial impressions are not good.

The strategic game really is just Risk. System ownership gets you a couple of different kinds of income, and income gets you fleets of ships or the ability to set off special abilities. The only difference between Star Trek: Conquest and Risk on a starry background is the “arcade” ship-to-ship combat that gets invoked when you are capturing or defending a system. If you wish, you can choose to auto-resolve system disputes or engage in a more hands-off alternative to arcade combat that involves giving “attack” or “defend” orders to AI pilots that engage in arcade comabt for you. In either of those cases the game devolves into very little more than Risk, so Conquest lives or dies on the quality of its arcade combat.

Arcade combat isn’t very enjoyable on the PS2, and I can’t see it being much better on the Wii. You can take command of a single ship in your fleet at a time, piloting it around two dimensional space in real time and firing its weapons in an attempt to destroy all of the ships in your opponent’s fleet. The controls for piloting your ship are reminiscent of Robotron or Geometry Wars. The left stick controls direction of movement and the right stick controls direction of fire. R1 fires phasers and R2 fires photon torpedos. Using R1 and R2 to fire while you’re employing both sticks to move and aim is awkward and imprecise. Worse, the camera is zoomed in much too close to the action, and the ships move fairly quickly relative to each other, making arcade battles into simple jousting contests. The opposing fleets fly toward each other, fire a few bursts as they zoom past one another, and then turn around and start the whole process over again. The ability to aim with the Wiimote would address my control complaints a little, but would do nothing to address the more serious issue of battlefield visibility.

I’ll give the game some more time tomorrow but it does not seem a winner to me.

So my Conquest order arrived and I played though a game last night. I’m not really impressed. Here’s the skinny. You can play as the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Dominion, or Breen. Each race has different strengths and weaknesses as well as qualities that will be universal for all three of their ship types: Scout, Cruiser, and Dreadnought. Each race also has three Admirals to command their fleets of up to seven ships, and each Admiral can have one of three strengths: Attack, Defense, or Movement. These Admirals are all characters from the shows, and they level up with combat experience. If an Admiral’s fleet gets eliminated, they’ll lose all of their experience and can be repurchased at their homeworld. Judging by the question marks on the race selection screen, it looks like there are also some new races you can unlock by winning campaign games. There are Borg, Ferengi, and some other races occupying the neutral systems, so I’d guess those are what you can unlock.

Scotthal covered combat pretty well above, and yeah, the arcade combat is a pain. Left analog or pad for direction and speed, Right analog for weapon arc (very narrow), and R1 & R2 for firing weapons. The problem is the zoom level is so close and the ships move so fast that your targets are often off of the screen by the time you get the arc lined up. There’s no minimap, just arrows pointing to friendlies and enemies. You can jump into any of your ships or starbases to take command, and tooling around in the little scouts is kind of fun, but overall, it’s pretty sucky.

You can also simulate combat, which is what I ended up doing most of the time. When you simulate combat, you can specify an Attack, Defense, or Neutral stance, which gives bonuses and penalties as you might expect. The main problem with the simulated combat is that there’s no way to focus fire. There could be a fleet or starbase onscreen and some of your ships will be shooting at mining colonies or outposts, neither of which have any weapons. Simulated combat is kind of like combat in GalCiv 2 except that everything fires at anything.

Each system can have both a Starbase (basic or advanced) and either a Mining Colony or a Research Station. You can also fortify these structures with turrets for added defense. Mining Colonies boost the credit output of a system and Research Stations speed up the rate at which you get tech upgrades. Tech upgrades are global and affect Mining and Research rates as well as ship speed and maneuvering.

Each race also has access to three of the six Special Weapons, and their use charges up on a timer. These have various effects, and some examples are mass damage, mass repair, or an instant wormhole.

Apart from the campaign game, there’s also a skirmish mode. Skirmish mode is entirely the arcade combat, so I didn’t mess around with it too much. Basically, you set up the sides and fleet strengths and duke it out in a selected system.

Overall, I’d give this one a pass. You can get a better space strategy fix elsewhere. I guess it might appeal to you if you’re a die hard Trekkie, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Thanks guys. Kind of a shame but not unexpected. I’d like some more strategy/action stuff on my PS3.

No PC ver. :(

A PC or XBLA version of Conquest with multiplayer added would save this game, even with all its other faults intact. It would be a scaled back, 4x-light game that could be completely resolved in an hour or two–perfect for a quick, multiplayer strategy fix on a busy weeknight.

Hm, the Wii version of this is Amazon’s DOTD at $20. I’m considering it.

It depends how the arcade combat controls are, but if it’s still way zoomed in it’s going to have some degree of suckage. You could be guinea pig Wii boy and find out.

Thanks for the heads up about the price drop Bob. I ordered it. It just sounds like the arcade combat is much better on the Wii version, so for $20, it sounds like a pretty good risk to me.

A couple of tips:

You’re much better off buying smaller ships and filling out your fleet than having a few big ships with no support. If you don’t fill out your fleet, you’re going to get creamed by early AI fleets of scouts and cruisers. Quantity over quality until you can afford otherwise.

It’s also important to get a second fleet out pretty quickly so you can cover more than one front. Basic starbases and turrets won’t stop much on their own. When supported by a fleet, they’re a lot tougher to crack.

Godamm, $120 for BOTF?!