Star Trek: Tactical Assault is a strategic action game for the PSP and DS, released alongside the similar but separate Star Trek: Legacy on console and PC. These titles were both produced by the very experienced Bethesda softworks in 2006 to celebrate the 40th Anniversay of the Star Trek franchise. While Star Trek: Legacy was a somewhat buggy nostalgia trip through the series as a whole, Tactical Assault is a much more effective story that takes place around the same time as Star Trek II.
Star Trek doesn't have the best track record in the video game world but Tactical Assault is surprisingly well put together. The story takes place over two campaigns, one seeing you control a federation crew, the other a group of Klingons. Both campaigns place you in command of a small crew and a small vessel, as you work through a series of loosely connected mission, your crew gains experience while you are upgraded to a series of better craft. As your crew matures, you gain points to spend on departments such as engineering or weapons. This will unlock new abilities (emergency turn, phaser overload etc.) and keep the game interesting. This approach is Tactical Assault's best feature, flying s starship does not feel like zipping around in a stuntplane but managing a naval operation. It's a nice change from other Star Trek games that haven't really been able to get this right.
While this game is available on the PSP, having played both version I can tell you that it was clearly designed for the DS. The touch screen is the most intuitive way of performing most actions and is styled much like a movie era Starfleet interface (a nice touch.) Where the PSP version is fiddly and requires memorising some fairly complicated button combinations, on the DS the game is almost without a learning curve. The touchscreen displays a blueprint of your current vessel, around it are your weapons systems and your shield. To the left is a bar representing acceleration and an ark above the craft that represents your angle or rotation. A simple tap is all it takes you speed up, slow down, flip 180 degrees or fire all phasers. As a control system for a spacecraft sim, it's absolutely perfect and great fun. While I was very happy with the touch screen interface, I was also pleased to see Bethesda providing button controls for all functions too. Precision touch screen controls and bumpy bus rides don't mix. The game also incorporates the typical range of scanning, hailing and warping mechanics to investigate the universe around you. However, these are context sensitive, only performing any kind of function when it's part of the story. An element of treasure hunting or secrets to be found by warping to unexpected areas or scanning supposedly unimportant planets would have been nice but the game never tip-toes from the main line. It's a shame but not a big loss.
The story itself is an exploration of Starfleet's uncomfortable relationship with the Klingons. Not too much of any lasting effect happens and most of the missions seem unrelated at first, only when you've completed the game can you step back and see the wider sequence of events. It's nice and keeps the game feeling somewhat casual, some missions can feel routine and repetitive however.
Graphically, Tactical Assault is nothing to shout home about. Models are simple and while the DS usually outpaces the old Nintendo 64, these models would have looked primitive back in 1996. Possibly the most disappointing move is the decision to show space in all it's empty glory. It might be accurate but flying around in a universe that consists of nothing but the occasional isolated planet and stars off in the distance isn't as captivating as the developers seem to think. It's not all bad though, the power they save on the models is used to give Tactical Assault an exceptional draw distance, you can always make out ships from an incredible distance and that's pretty valuable for a game set in the vastness of outer space.
At times this is a game that feels a little dated, there's a lot of dialogue going on before missions and a lot of information to take in if you want to fully complete your missions. However due to the limitation of the DS cartridge size, the game makes no attempt at voice acting (unless you count William Shatner's voice over in the opening cut scene) and instead gives you a lot of text to read. It's a bit tedious and occasionally I found myself tapping through long runs of text to get into the level and the discovering I'd missed something important. Also, if you're a graphics obsessive then you'd probably be better off with the PSP version which looks much prettier. Personally I find the sacrifice of the touch controls to be a poor trade off however, the PSP version is far too fiddly.
Star Trek Tactical Assault can be found pretty easily on Amazon, eBAy, at Game or Gamestation. In fact, I recently saw a copy in CEX for £2.50. A bargain for a game that really does offer a lot of fun. If you're a Star Trek loving gamer then I think you'd get a lot of fun from this but it also offer a lot to those uninterested in the franchise. It's one of the best space-sims on the DS and offers a surprisingly deep and lengthy campaign for a handheld. There's a lot of replay value here and if you get the chance to pick up a copy for a good price, no reason not to give it a go.
I'll start by saying that I tend to prefer Star Wars over Star Trek. It's personal preference but thats just me. However, when I saw this game for £2.98 brand new in gamestation, I thought that I would give it a try.
It is a stategy based space fighting sim. It is based in Real Time & not turn based so it is pretty action packed for a strategic war game. You will play as the Federation & once you have completed the game you can play as the Klingons. The single player game is quite challenging & lengthy. The levels are varied, sometimes you have to protect another vessell from multiple opponents. Sometimes you will be in a mid rated ship with an ally trying to take down & more powerful enemy.
The controls are easy to use & the game is easy to get the hang of. Your ship has shields which slowly get worn down by enemy fire until your ship starts taking damage. You'll find yourself trying to protect one side of the vessel & presenting the other to your foe. Equally, you'll be trying to target their weak point.
I haven't played multi- player as I don't know anyone with the game. I am slightly dissapointed though as there is no single card multi player option. There is also no option to play against people over the internet. Shame. Another disadvantage is that none of the characters are familiar. It would have been more fun to be Captain Kirk than some unknown.
In all, it's not a bad game. It's a change to turn based strategy & does feel more action packed & realistic because of this. It's fun to play, although it does get a little bit samey after a while. I would say it's better played in short bursts. It's worth a go, especially if you can pick it up cheap. Otherwise, it might be best left to the Trekkies.
Being honest before I start -- I'm a nearly 40 something, who has just about owned all the various Star Trek games that have been made since the dawn of the PC (and some for the ZX Spectrum aswell).
Star Trek: Tactical Assault is a DS incarnation of Star Fleet Battles for the PC.
What it is: A space combat simulation, where you carve out a career in Star Fleet. Starting with small, underpowered ships, you can work up to vessels of the class of the Enterprise from The Orignial Series.
This is not an intense shooter -- more of a thoughtful simulation. Phasers and photon torpedoes are there -- sadly the Klingon and Romulan weapons are also called phasers and photons - no disrupter cannons or plasma torpedoes in sight.
The sound effect are excellent, faithfully recreating the atmosphere of the show. The ship visuals are as good as you'd expect from the DS.
The control system is intuiative, using the stylus to control heading, weapons, scanning etc.
In Campaign mode, you only get to plat as the Federation. In skirmish or 2-player mode (WiFi), you get to choose Fed, Rom or Klingon. Sadly other races from the Star Trek Universe are not represented.
All in all, a good, solid Star Trek game -- possibly with most mileage for those fanboys/girls who want a Trek fix on the go.
Star Trek: Tactical Assault is a real-time spaceship combat game for 1 or 2 players, featuring a wide array of authentic Star Trek races, ships, and weaponry from the universe of the original Star Trek series. Players take command of powerful Federation and Klingon warships and must outthink and out duel their opponents in order to succeed. Play through either the Federation or Klingon campaigns in single-player mode or go head-to-head against a friend in wireless multiplayer action.