I mentioned in previous post that I downloaded the STO Xbox One version just to try it out. To date I have a Captain that is actually a, “Captain”. I am playing the game as a complete freebie account and have not spent any money nor does my PC status as Life Member and owner of dozens of ships carry any weight in the consoleverse.
Generally I like playing games on the console as I can kick back on a comfy couch and play on a 65 inch 4k TV if I want too. Some games like Fallout 4 are fantastic on console and even though there are advantages to the PC version of Fallout, they are not enough to offset my ability to really just relax and soak up the game. But how does STO fit in to that equation? How is the experience then? Well in a sentence: The space experience sucks but the ground experience rocks. It’s kind of the opposite of the PC ride. Opposite but not equal.
The console version gives up a lot of player custom control, at least as much as I can tell. As an example, I could not set weapons to auto fire nor could I set custom power levels beyond the four presets. In space, the mechanics of flying the ship for me are just too funky. I cannot seem to get a camera view and targeting system combination that is in any way shape or form fluid. I am constantly disoriented with the position of the ship relative to enemies. Unlike the PC version you can’t glance at all your BOFF and Captain’s abilities to see the cool down timers, only the 4 abilities in the foreground, the others require you to pop open the wheel. Annoying. The console just doesn’t do all the abilities very well with the limitations of a controller. I fear that when my toon reaches level 60 and has about twice the abilities he currently has, it will go from annoyance to catastrophe faster than Kirk hits on the Orion girls. Just look at Admiral Sager’s dock below. There are thirty Captain’s abilities there. Now honestly a couple of those are silly things like the Veteran Rewards Fireworks and the Azura Comm, but 25 of those are mandatory in combat! Then the specialty ships like this Temporal Raider has its own set of commands and of course his BOFFs on the right add another 12 abilities. The controller is horribly under powered for such a monumental task. Near as I can tell the console only support 16 captains abilities and it supports up to 8 each BOFF Science, Engineer, and Tactical via the “wheel”. The “wheel” is opened by holding the appropriate button or trigger rather than tapping it. Tapping the “x” button for example activates the science ability currently selected by you as the default. To access other science BOFF abilities the player holds the x button momentarily and a selection wheel not unlike a great many games opens allowing a selection of up to eight science BOFF abilities. The controller can handle the BOFF abilities but the captain’s abilities fall well short of the PC experience.
Some other irks are: the camera distance is limited to a couple of presets and is a bit clumsy to use. You can’t really zoom in very close on your ship and that tends to suck some of the fun out of the ship customization which is actually just as good on console as it is in PC. I am not sure if there is anyway to do a keybind script like I use on PC where I tap one button and each time a tap it loads another ability automatically. This is something Cryptic needs to figure and fast! I am not sure how the game is going to deal with having 12 BOFF abilities and 30 captain’s abilities for end game players. Let’s not forget that there is a fourth tier of the Captain’s tray bringing the total possible to 40 on PC. The space battle mechanics really do suck when you compare them to the PC version.
OK I said that ground rocks. It really does. I hate the ground experience on the PC. I don’t really know why other than the fact that on PC the space battles are so epic. I like to control my toons look with the mouse on ground which means I have to hot key the abilities and I personally suck at that. I often hit the wrong hot key 😉 On console the ground is setup favorably for my play style. I do much better on ground missions in the console version than I do on the PC. I think a large part of it is the fact the ground abilities are much more limited and so the controller is not overwhelmed. The four primary buttons and the pop up “wheel” are enough to handle all the ground abilities. Where the player movement in space on the console is awkward, the ground is the opposite. It is fluid, I acquire and change targets easily and intuitively. I die less in ground battle on console than I do on PC and my toon is poorly equipped compared to the virtual juggernauts I run on the PC version! The ground missions are very “a” button centric and that just speeds things along nicely.
The buttery smooth ground experience on console is not nearly enough to offset the disaster of space battles. All in all I am glad that STO is popular enough for Cryptic and Perfect World to port it to console. That bodes well for those of us that have a king’s ransom invested in this game as it shows the game is popular and in demand. For those that just love couch-riding their game experience, STO on console could be a good thing. Be advised however, the clumsy space setup will give console gamers a serious case of consolititis.
Fear not my friends, for I have the cure for any STO player suffering from consolitits. Simply log onto your PC and go to http://www.startrekonline.com and download the PC version. Side effects reported include: euphoria, ecstasy, and even a few NARBs 😉
I don’t foresee any mass exodus from PC to console. Lay those fears to rest because anyone with more than 60 minutes invested in the PC version will develop an acute case of consolitis within minutes of trying the console version of the game.
That Molecular Deconstruction is an awesome ability and I think we will see a lot more of these ships in the hands of players in STO.