E3 06: Star Trek: Legacy Impressions

We get our first good look at Star Trek: Legacy, the first Star Trek game in years, and it looks like Star Trek gaming is back on track.

LOS ANGELES--Star Trek returns to gaming later this year after a long absence, and it looks like the franchise has some fresh new energy driving it now. We got a close-up look at Star Trek: Legacy, the upcoming ship combat game from Bethesda and developer Mad Doc, and it really captures the beautiful grandeur of Star Trek combat.

Legacy will cover all the eras of Star Trek, and it features vessels from every Star Trek television series, including the original series, Enterprise, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. There are more than 60 vessels in the game, and we're told that some of the most dedicated and capable Star Trek ship modelers contributed to the game, including Rick Knox, who designed some of the most photo-realistic mods for Star Trek: Bridge Commander. Each vessel has between 5,000 and 10,000 polygons, and they really come to life like never before in a game.

There will be four playable factions in the game: The Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Borg. We got a chance to see all of them in action during one mission, when a Romulan armada attacked the Deep Space Nine space station. Klingon ships battled beside their Federation allies, but only the arrival of a task force featuring a Sovereign, a Galaxy, an Intrepid, and a Defiant turned the tide. However, the Borg then appeared, and the three warring factions united to destroy the gigantic Borg Cube. You really get a sense of just how big the Borg Cube is, as everything is pretty much to scale. Seeing the gigantic Galaxy class starship dwarfed by a Borg Cube is pretty awe-inspiring.

The single-player campaign will take you through all the eras of Star Trek history, starting with Enterprise. Though you can command a single vessel, Legacy is all about commanding task forces of up to four ships, and you can give orders to your other ships or take direct control of them. Combat isn't the frenetic, Wing Commander style of fighter combat; rather it's slower and more graceful, as it should be with vessels this large. It's all about maneuvering to get the best position on the enemies and then unloading on them. Weapons are modeled pretty faithfully, and you can shift power between shields, engines, and weapons if you need. Legacy will feature command points, which are something that you'll accumulate. You can spend them on upgrades and on requisitioning better and more powerful vessels.

Multiplayer will feature deathmatch and cooperative gameplay modes that allow players to team together on objective-based missions. Mad Doc is also working on a tug-of-war mode, which is a series of missions linked together. Players will accumulate command points during a mission, spend them on upgrades, and then battle again. The idea is to push into the enemy's territory and capture their base.

Star Trek: Legacy is due out for both the Xbox 360 and the PC later this year, just in time for the franchise's 40th anniversary.

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