Star Trek Online Previews

Hands-on articles are always the most reliable, so I thought I'd point out two such previews for Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online.

A snip from Eurogamer:
Following a text-box prompt from a crew member, you're warped to a planet called Penn'Arc VI - only to find the region has been claimed by the Klingon Empire. Arriving in a colourfully hazy asteroid belt, three Birds of Prey attack you for your intrusion. Space combat isn't EVE Online - although your weapons do lock on, they have limited fire arcs, and there are no autopilot options. The focus is on physically manoeuvring your ship to keep your enemies within optimum firing range while manually firing weapons and keeping an eye on power balance.

There are only three weapon systems: forward phaser, rear phaser, and a forward-facing photon torpedo. They're fired using 1, 2 and 3 or the on-screen buttons, with the space bar firing all simultaneously. The phasers have wide, overlapping firing arcs ensuring 360-degree coverage, while the more powerful torpedoes have only a narrow range. Although these Klingons don't present a stiff challenge, they do circle you faster than you can turn to follow them - so guessing their attack patterns and tactically pre-empting them seems to be the order of the day.

And a snip from Games On Net:
My character was armed with the equivalent of an assault rifle, which I spammed through several corridors of Klingons, and was also capable of a sniper-like special attack that I regularly forgot to use. A smack with the butt of the rifle made up my melee abilities. Use of the mouse was relegated to dragging the camera about and selecting targets; my character did all the aiming himself, probably to much better effect than I could have managed with the plodding camera tracking.

Having to drag the camera everywhere slowed combat down so much that I ended up just standing in place, holding down fire, and rotating the camera to watch my party members leaping acrobatically around, strafing, and ducking in and out of cover. Presumably all these actions were available to me but until the controls are tightened up a bit, we shall never know.