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Star Trek: Encounters Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 50%
Star Trek: Encounters
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  • Review Score:

  • C
2006 marked the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek. It was also the time when the 6th console generation was transitioning to the 7th. As such, two very different games were released to honor the history of the franchise. Star Trek: Legacy got the lion's share of the attention for two major reasons. The first is that it was releasing on the then-brand-new Xbox 360. The second is that it was much better than Star Trek: Encounters on the Playstation 2.

Like Legacy, Encounters features ships and scenarios from the entire history of the franchise. Unlike Legacy, there is no overarching plot to connect the different series. Each series gets a two to four mission arc to itself, from Capt. Archer's battle with the Xindi to searching for missing ships during the Dominion War. That would be fine except for the fact that the story missions are incredibly frustrating. While the missions do have checkpoints (instantly making them better than the missions in Shattered Universe), they are still maddening. The attack on the Xindi superweapon was aggravating enough to make me want to break my controller. On top of that, the cutscenes can't be skipped which got really annoying after dying twenty times at the same spot.

Star Trek: Encounters (PlayStation 2)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Fortunately, when I got tired of getting curb-stomped by the story missions, I was able to switch to the skirmish mode which was much more fun. Skirmish mode features three game types highly reminiscent of fighting game standbys. Head-To-Head is a basic versus mode; Battlefest is a team battle; and Onslaught is a survival or Horde mode. All three of these can be played in multiplayer, and I had fun with them. The only downside is that more ships for skirmish mode only become available by completing missions in the story mode (unless you plug in the cheat).

Despite Legacy clearly getting the focus that year, Encounters still came out looking, sounding, and playing well for the most part. The battlefields are colorful, and the ship designs are the best one could expect on the PS2. Unfortunately, the game has a bad habit of zooming in and out almost at random which sometimes gave me a headache. The music and sound effects are great, but William Shatner's narration was lifeless. He sounded like he was just reading it for the paycheck. The twin-stick controls are largely solid when it comes to moving and shooting, but switching weapons and allocating power in the heat of battle can be annoying at times.

Star Trek: Legacy was the better of the two games released for Star Trek's 40th Anniversary, but Star Trek: Encounters wasn't a bad alternative. Like with Shattered Universe, the story mode is so frustrating that it's torture to play. Unlike Shattered Universe, Encounters has a much more enjoyable skirmish mode and multiplayer options to offset the terrible campaign. On a scale of "Sisko's a badass!" to "Archer's a screw-up!", Star Trek: Encounters ranks a solid Captain Janeway.
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