Elite Force – Finished

I finished my first-ever first-person shooter (FPS) on Sunday. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is a shoot-em-up where you’re the second in command of a special task force formed on Voyager to handle problem situations (like, ya know, the ones they encounter in two out of three episodes). You run around with the awesomest of weapons and kill some sweet baddies, including Borg, Klingons, silly Humans, and some races not yet invented by Paramount.

I love this game. This is the first FPS that I’ve been able to comfortably play since Doom II, especially control-wise. (I’m hoping that this will help me branch into other games that require jumping and crouching.) The gameplay is very, very linear, so even my directionless ass could find my way through the ships and puzzles without much trouble.

It also ramps up difficulty very nicely. Early in the game, it’s very, very hard to die. The final boss, though, I had to try about three or four times to kill while WO stood over my shoulder and offered helpful advice like, “Don’t just stand still!”

For most of the game, you travel with a decently helpful team of folks also on the Elite Force squad. They, like many non-player characters (NPCs) in these sorts of games, suffer from a limited set of things to say. There was always someone inclined to ask, “How many of them are there?!” when attacked by a decent-sized bunch. My reply during one fight prompted WO to make a little post and giggle for the rest of the day.

Overall, though, the game was awesome and took me three days to beat (meaning it’s really short). The weapons were sweet (personal photon torpedo launcher! …Because every FPS must have a rocket launcher.), the plot was strong, the baddies were cool, and all main characters other than Seven of Nine were voice-acted by the real actors. (Maybe she wasn’t down for the video game thing.)

Another awesome thing about this game: the Holomatch feature. Holomatch is essentially deathmatch (including team deathmatch and capture the flag), except there are built in bots if you want to play by yourself.

I remember, back in the day, begging my parents to play Doom II with me when I wanted to deathmatch and didn’t have anyone around who could or would play. No longer! Now games come with bots that can whoop your ass.

…Actually, their AI-foo is weak, at least up to the “Lieutenant” ranking of difficulty. WO and I easily wiped the deck with four of them, and he could have done it alone. (One tip: play on levels with ladders–they kind of get stuck. It’s fun!) It’s fun anyway, though.

I’m trying to determine what my next game will be… I’ve got a stack of things from WO that include Deus Ex, Half-Life, and Zork Grand Inquisitor (…yeah, hell if I know). I’ve also still got Alice, which I didn’t care for the first time around.