I have been flying around in an ancient starship the last week or so on Tribble. I mentioned last week that the graphical quality seemed slightly improved with exceptional detail on the TOS ship models. Agents of Yesterday is going to draw heavily on the temporal cold war idea presented in the Star Trek Enterprise series that has already permeated this game.
I am totally OK with that, it does sort of allow the game designers and writers some discretionary ability to stray from canon under the guise of this behind the scenes temporal cold war. So far Chekov has been on a mission with me as “Captain Chekov” from the “future” but of course he is still from the relative past comparatively to the 2410 timeline of the main game.
The new content is a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek which is of course this year. The homage is owed to the original series that started it all, fondly referred to as, TOS (The Original Series). They have announced that Walter Keonig and Chris Doohan (James Doohan’s son) will voice Chekov and Scotty respectively. Too bad Shatner isn’t voicing Captain Kirk and Nichelle Nichols as Ohura 😦
I have yet to run into any of the voice acting, despite interaction with the crew of the Enterprise in the opening sequences of the Agents of Yesterday storyline and in continuing missions. That voice acted dialog will likely appear towards the end of the dev beta cycle or after launch on July 6th.
A few of the missions have started in or taken you to, the shuttle bay of “your” ship. It seems the shuttle bay is now part of the standard ship layout and is accessible from the interior of the ship at any time. At least so far it has been in the little ship I started out with. This may be the case when you buy the TOS bridge package which I do not own so it’s new to me 🙂 So far I am level 10 with the “new” agents of yesterday captain. The ship vendor still only shows Lieutenant level ships of which there are only two. I’m sure this is a Tribble thing as this is test content. At launch there is supposed to be a bunch of new ships for the TOS era with higher ranks.
Cryptic is offering an Agents of Yesterday package, “Temporal Agents Pack”, which unlocks a bunch of special stuff including several C-Store ships in the era appropriate trim to use as you level. I am on the fence as to whether I want the package or not. It would be nice if Tribble had the ships in the store, even if they were not able to purchase yet, so I could see what to expect in the pack. Just sayin’. Perhaps they will show up in a week or so.
I like the old school hand phasers. They often vaporize the target, just like the old ones did in the TOS show. The sound effects are all pretty TOS authentic. I really like that the scale of the TOS bridges are much closer to the scale from the show. I have complained in the past about how ridiculously large the TNG bridge is for the galaxy class. The Captain can literally walk 50 feet on that TNG Galaxy bridge which is ridiculous. I get they have to be a little bigger to accommodate in-game movement, but they seem to be much closer to the target with these TOS bridges as this one in the Agents of Yesterday seems reasonably well scaled. It is cool sitting in a chair that looks just like Kirk’s chair! You just feel like an effing boss. Hello nurse Chapel 😉
As the title suggests the content is pretty good, but the missions are fairly predictable. Cryptic isn’t reaching for the stars, nor is there anything groundbreaking happening thus far. I do like the way they have chosen to weave the temporal cold war into the story. This allows us to explore the famous events of Star Trek, The Original Series from a different viewpoint.
Flying around in ancient ships from a bygone era is not all the new expansion has to offer. There are missions in the “present” your current captains can play that tie into the “Yesterday’s War” story. The time travel angle makes for an opportunity to seemlessly connect the current 25th century events to the new events taking place in the 23rd century. With the first two missions for your “current” captains you and Daniels will gallivant across time and all three major Star Trek time periods. These episodes are again not groundbreaking, but fun. There is an annoying isolinear chip puzzle, I fucking hate those! Sorry, I really do though. The story with Daniels gets really interesting. I think I like the story they are building here.
Since they hired Chris Doohan and Walter Keonig to do voice acting, I would love to see them revamp the dialog of the whole game while they are in there. One of my pet peeves with STO is the lack of rank respect in the dialog. When you are a measly little lieutenant, sure, you get ordered around by NPCs like a dog with a bad habit. But as we progress in rank it seems that those same Lieutenant Commanders are still barking orders at you like you’re an academy cadet. Seriously Cryptic, a simple check roll for rank mismatch and a two path dialog would be easy enough. If the NPC out ranks you then he issues orders, if not then the NPC asks you for orders with which you click the box to achieve the same end. There is no scenario by which a Lieutenant should be barking orders to an Admiral. The in-game dialog should always treat you like a VIP when your rolling phat with the Admiral’s bars. At least fix the missions that require a specific rank, in this scenario the check roll isn’t even needed as the rank of the player officer has to be at least the rank required to do the mission. On a level 50 mission the lieutenant NPCs should have a very different attitude towards the player methinks.