Cryptic showed off a public demo of Star Trek Online at PAX; Penny Arcade Expo, in Seattle this past weekend. We have some video of these live demos below along with some of the media reactions to the first hands one with the upcoming MMORPG. Cryptic also released some more screenshots.
Close-up look at Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online goes into closed beta later this year and was shown to the public for the first time at PAX. Here are a couple of videos showing off the space and ground combat (thanks to tacticalzen and HailingFrequency).
These video sequences give a very view of the interface which looks very clean and simple to navigate. Something interesting about the top video is at 2:01 there will be a display box to ‘Take Items'(it appears that as soon as you defeat an enemy in STO you will immediately be allowed to pick up any items).
These give a view view of ground combat. The interface for this looks very simple and similar to space combat.
There are more videos at YouTube for both space and ground combat demos from PAX. Also Star Trek gaming site Hailing Frequency also has a video interview Craig Zinkevich, you can view that at their site.
A few of the big gaming sites were at PAX and Star Trek Online was one of the hot topics. First hand impressions were mostly positive, but there were some critiques as well. Here are a collection of some of the reactions to the game.
And just like that our PAX 2009 demo is over. The game certainly looks good and its use of the Trek universe in a timeline that is several decades beyond the Next Gen/DS9/Voyager time zone allows it to use pretty much everything in the Trek universe (no J.J. Abrams alternate timeline here). The gameplay is definitely action based, much like Cryptic’s earlier work. Our biggest worry about the game at this point is that it feel much like other MMO games.
AS a Star Trek fan for far longer than I’d like to admit, I was pleased with what I saw of Star Trek Online, to a point. Cryptic has displayed a great deal of respect for the property, which shows in the graphical design, interface elements, and some of the odd design choices they’ve made in order to keep the feel of the franchise intact. I just hope the away team mechanic doesn’t end up being an example of how their reverence for the series backfired.
STO’s space combat was easily the most talked about gameplay element over the two days I spent on the show floor at PAX. Nearly everyone I spoke to had either played it and had something positive to say about Cryptic’s approach to space combat, or were trying to find time to sneak away from their own booth to get some hands-on time with it. Considering the caliber of the developers and titles on display at the show, the fact that STO’s ship combat was generating such a high buzz factor really speaks volumes about the potential of the game, at least if initial impressions based on a single looped demo mission are any indication.
Space combat was lots of fun, even for someone that was learning on the fly. It’s very tactical with a deliberate, steady pace that allows you to make regular decisions without feeling like you have to mash buttons. It also happened to feel very much like Star Trek, something that was somewhat lacking in the ground-based portion of the game.
All in all, Trek Online definitely captures the feel and style of Star Trek. The merits of an MMO are ultimately determined by how it plays out in the long run: How tedious the character growth is, how interesting the writing is, how worthwhile the mission objectives are. If you spend less time shooting Klingons than you do collecting a dozen tribble pelts to trade the some guy’s dilithium crystals, it’s gonna be pretty lousy. But I’m hoping Cryptic manages to avoid such a basic mistake. It’s clear their designers get Trek fans: They even presented the demo as a time loop with the Guardian of Forever, allowing players to jump to the beginning of the demo within the narrative by letting them to jump through the Guardian to restart. If that sort of nerdy cleverness is present throughout the entire adventure, it could be one of those rare licensed MMOs that does its namesake justice.
Finally, Cryptic’s new screenshot for the weekend shows off their new Miranda class navigating an asteroid field.
And GameSpy’s preview includes some exclusive shots, including this one of the customization station.