Star Trek Conquest Review
I want to start this review off with the notice that this Star Trek game does not let you play as Kirk, Picard, Janeway, or even that dude Sisko. Scott Bakula? Nope. Instead, you'll pick up the role of one of six races and fight to the death in a collection of star systems. And that's pretty much it.
Star Trek: Conquest is primarily a turn-based strategy game where you'll build fleets of starships and take over various star systems in an effort to wipe out the other races (Klingons, Federation, Romulans, Cardassians, Breen, and Dominion) while you do get to fight a few insurgencies of Ferengi and the Borg. Note that this game throws out all actual story or continuity from any of the shows or movies, so don't expect to get anything that's actually worth it to a fan of the shows' plots. Those who are into strategy games and phasers and torpedoes might have a good time, though.
The game plays out on a 2-dimensional "board" (since that's what this kind of does resemble, a board game) of interconnected planets. As you build up your fleets from your home base by constructing ships, you'll blow through money which is slowly replenished every turn. Take over other systems and build some defenses and mining at each one and you income will continue to increase. Your enemies will be moving around each turn as well, first securing systems around them and then venturing out into others' territory.
When you do start a fight, Conquest allows you to do the battle via a "sim" mode where it just calculates who the winner is, or you can drop into "arcade" mode and actually play the battle out. The fighting is fairly simple and mostly involves timing your shots and aiming with the Wii Remote correctly at weakened enemy shields while rotating to present your strongest shields to your enemy. The action is only mildly entertaining, though; anyone who picks up this game looking for some decent Star Trek action would do better with one of the classic Elite Force first person shooters released on the PC several years ago. Sure, you can put together a battle with over a dozen ships along with a starbase and turrets all firing at once, but the game's simplistic 2D perspective even in the action-style gameplay makes this one feel too much like it would have gone over better ten years ago. And that's kind of a prevailing feeling you'll get when playing Conquest - with low production values and simplistic 3D models and entirely 2D gameplay, this could have done well as a PS1 game a decade before.
As far as your tactical options go, you can build starbases at the systems you conquer, extra defense turrets, mining facilities for income, and fleets of ships that range from small and fast vessels to the Dreadnaughts that are bulkier but have lots of firepower. When in arcade mode you can switch between the ships you have in battle and even control your starbase's rotation when you're defending. And each of the game's six factions also have their own unique abilities as you research new powerups, or there are a few that more than one race can get, like moving a fleet twice in one turn or using a Genesis Device to launch a remote attack against an enemy system.
Without a story of any kind or any of the voice acting from the original Enterprise captains or anyone else mentionable (although I do recognize the Klingon female voice as the same woman who does High Elf females in Morrowind and Oblivion, also published by Bethesda), you might be wondering what the draw of this game is at all. And honestly, if you have never been able to enjoy a good little game of Risk - the actual board game, that is - then Star Trek: Conquest is probably not for you.
The Wii Remote controls do give this strategy title more of a PC-game feel than you might expect, as almost everything is a point-and-click style with a cursor that you use. The action sequences have you moving around with the analog stick and aiming and firing, again, by pointing the Wiimote. The PS2 version of Star Trek: Conquest went on sale at a very budget price of $15, but unfortunately Bethesda has decided that the recent Wii craze and those newfangled controls warrant a $30 price tag for this version instead. This is definitely designed to be a budget game and would do well as one, but the $30 price tag for the Wii version seems just a little much for what amounts to a turn-based strategy game designed solely for a niche crowd. This is a decent little distraction for the right kind of board game-playing, Star Trek-nerd, Wii-owning gamers out there, but most of the rest will probably want to stay away.