Star Trek: Infinite has arrived on PC and Console. If you have ever wanted to run your own United Federation of Planets, this is the game for you. This game lets you run and build Starfleet and the Federation. Seriously, I’ve always wanted to run the Federation my way. Or perhaps lead the Klingon Empire to great honour. This game lets you do just that. In this Star Trek: Infinite Review, we discuss the highs and lows of the game. Don’t be put off by it looking too complicated, either! This game welcomes new players from the get-go.
In Star Trek: Infinite, you make the choices. For instance, I had to choose between handing over reports about the Khitomer Attack and implicating “The House of Mogh” or keeping it for our own intelligence. My choices would give different outcomes. Obviously, I didn’t want a repeat of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” type of war with the Klingons.
Developed by Nimble Giant Entertainment, you can create your own Star Trek story. Paradox Interactive, who developed and published Stellaris, are the game’s publisher. As I mentioned, this is the game for you if you want to command your Trek faction. The game allows for multiple paths to victory. For example, you can choose a faction to lead. These include The Federation, The Klingons, The Romulans and The Cardassians. Each comes with a diverse range of starships and characters.
- Star Trek: Infinite Releases October 12th on PC and MacOS
The Visuals and Artwork of Star Trek: Infinite
Immediately upon launching Star Trek: Infinite, you are greeted with fantastic artwork. This artwork ranges from iconic stills of the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise-D to the fearsome sights of a Romulan D’deridex warbird. I reloaded the game several times, not due to bugs or issues, to experience a different loading screen. My two favourites are either Deep Space Nine or Enterprise-D.
Space battles are both fun to play a part in as they are to sit and watch. For example, multiple times, I would find myself sitting and watching the Miranda-class and Intrepid-class ships fight it out with pirates and other factions. The art style and graphics can be appreciated even more when you turn the in-game HUD off. Press CTRL-F9 for that. Thank me later. Weapons fire and even damage effects stay true to the Star Trek brand material we are oh-so-familiar with.
Star Trek Infinite’s Gameplay Is Spot On
Gameplay-wise, Star Trek Infinite hits the nail on the head. However, I’ve got to say that most of the game is a branded reskin of Paradox’s Stellaris. I’m talking about the base level of the game. However, to be clear, I don’t see this as a bad thing. A franchise like Star Trek is perfect for the type of game Stellaris is. It makes a ton of sense to port the gameplay elements that are so familiar. Surveying planets is basically Star Trek 101. Intergalactic relations and politics are a core gameplay aspect and element of Trek.
Personally, I chose to play as the Federation to begin my first game. As someone who wanted to be “by the books”, I did take the time to stop and read. Be aware Star Trek: Infinite gives you a lot of information. This is either coming from your own faction or others. This also includes the science ships you send out to the final frontier. Much like an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Enterprise can find a Borg Cube. How you respond is up to you. I chose to be careful and not “upset” them.
Expanding on this point, exploration is a big thing for all factions. This is how you find resources to fund your faction expansion, new ships, and technology. This is to be expected because Star Trek: Infinite is built upon the core systems of Stellaris. But at the same time, these systems have been simplified to better resonate with the Star Trek franchise. One of my favourite elements of the Federation is the “Integration Process”. This is how we invite minor factions, like Trill, into the United Federation of Planets.
Missing Time’s Arrow
One thing I will say in regard to gameplay, you have to pay attention to timed events and what is going on. One issue I encountered on one gameplay save was losing Jean-Luc Picard. While, yes, Picard is a very important character, that does not mean he will live forever. Sadly, Jean-Luc passed away in my game, so I could not activate the Borg event. It requires Jean-Luc present and to command the USS Enterprise. I was able to get around this with some cheats, but still. It does mean you need to act quickly with in-universe events.
Other surprises are in store. For example, Star Trek: Voyager fans will be delighted to know that a certain USS Voyager can appear at some point in the game. This does seem to revolve around a mission tree being activated. But I will let you figure that one out. While Star Trek: Infinite is very much about you creating your own story, these additions are nice. Having well-known and recognisable characters has been a good addition. I will say it would have been good to have some known voices in-game.
While yes, I imagine hiring the actors may have been over budget, could old recordings not have been used? With the likes of modern media and the recently finished Star Trek: Picard series, I think the game has missed something here. For example, clicking the Enterprise-D when Picard is a commander could have him say, “This is Jean-Luc Picard”. I think one simple, quick line would have helped my immersion into the game.
Automating Star Trek: Infinite
One feature that was somewhat handy was automation. For example, if you start expanding your empire, it is harder to keep on top of everything. You are able to automate planets and the population to do what you want. Therefore, I chose to automate some of my other planets towards mining and mineral production. However, I eventually automated more to do energy production to be able to keep up with my spending. I would keep personal control over planet Earth to build unique buildings.
My only issue with the automation gameplay is that the game A. I seemed to struggle. At the same time, you must “designate” what a planet should do, the A. I seemed to struggle actually to do any of this. For example, I told one of my planets to be automated in mining. After an hour of gameplay, I left it in the same state.
A Story for Star Trek: Infinite Or Not?
Looking at Star Trek: Infinite, there is not really a story. As the game says, you choose the outcome of your faction. You can lead the Federation to victory through peace and prosperity. However, you could lead the Klingon Empire to victory through conquest. There is no main storyline to the game itself. But, with that said, there are familiar events. For example, the USS Enterprise-D can encounter a Borg Cube. This kicks off a prelude of events that can ultimately lead to The Borg arriving in the galaxy.
Other elements of gameplay also reflect a base level of the story. For example, if you play as the Klingon Empire, you face stability problems. Long-time Trekkies will likely be able to guess why. This is due to the in-fighting of the Klingon Empire. As such, stability problems in their colonies are something Klingon faction commanders have to deal with. I’ve played a little bit as this faction. It takes some getting used to. Still, the play style is similar but different at the same time. I think this is what makes the game unique and stands out.
Victory In Star Trek: Infinite
To “win” a game of Star Trek: Infinite will take time. However, there are two victory conditions that all four powers will race for. As you’re playing the game, you can decide which one of these you will edge towards over the decades. The first is “Galactic Hegemon“. This comes down to whoever obtained the highest score in the Balance of Power by 2646. Whoever is the most powerful, I imagine this can be done through many means—for example, diplomacy or even conquest of other powers.
Secondly, we have the “Triumph of Diplomacy“. This sounds more like the Federation’s traditional route. This victory condition is a little more complicated, but it was the one I chose to pursue through in-game missions and my gameplay style. This condition is linked to obtaining civics. These represent the general beliefs and culture of a power. To obtain more civics, you can “assimilate” minor powers. No, not like The Borg. However, you might be able to do something similar in conquering them.
Overall, Star Trek: Infinite offers a top-tier return to the gaming scene for Star Trek. We’ve been needing a modern game like this for some time. To be able to command your own version of the Federation is fantastic. For example, you can choose how you deal with the galaxy and other major powers around you. This could mean going down the Section 31 route. On the other hand, you can go down the more common diplomacy route that we are familiar with as The Federation.
I feel the need to point out that some things have been missed. The way The Borg introduction is handled, with the Enterprise encountering the Borg Cube, felt rather underwhelming. Given Wolf 359 is a Major Event in Star Trek, I was expecting some more destruction. Instead, the Borg were not that powerful of a threat to deal with. I think it might come down to how powerful you are as a faction. For example, I scaled my fleet early to deal with pirate attacks. My gameplay strategy is always defensive anyway.
However, with that said, the gameplay is superb all around. Star Trek: Infinite is the perfect game for those looking to lead their own version of the Federation, Klingons, Romulans or even the Cardassians. I found myself loving the elements of Diplomacy gameplay. However, I also enjoyed playing with the different types of starships and getting ready for future wars. We all know skirmishes and battles eventually come around anyway.
Doing this review without mentioning Star Trek: New Horizons would not feel right. As a longtime Stellaris player, since the game’s release and with 200+ Hours, I’ve always loved the idea of playing as Star Trek factions. So when I found the fan-created “New Horizons” mod in 2016, I immediately fell in love with it. One aspect of the mod is that it guides players through the ENTIRE Star Trek timeline. This does take time. But it means you experience key story events with the NX-01 Enterprise right up to 2400 and beyond.
It’s a shame that Star Trek: Infinite does not seem to benefit from this mod. However, with that being said, it is still early days for the game, and perhaps it will have more features down the line. I personally would have loved to see Infinite explore more eras of the Star Trek universe, especially as each era is so rich with stories, ships and missions. For example, you would think a brand collaboration would work well with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds leading the live-action Star Trek. Maybe in the future.
Star Trek: Infinite – Out Now
Star Trek: Infinite is out today on October 12th for PC and MacOS. You can purchase the game from the likes of the Steam Store page. Make sure to keep up to date with Trek Central as we bring you the latest on Star Trek: Infinite.
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