Star Trek Online has always been a great game; ever since I started playing it I loved the attention to detail and the lore, even if there were a few things that I took issue with. I never did quite like that you were able to choose your own uniform – that’s just not something that would fly in the Star Trek universe. The thing is, however, that they needed to make it more enjoyable as an MMO somehow and custom outfits are never a bad way to go.
Despite enjoying it, I couldn’t help but pine for the old days of pastels, clumsy aliens, and exaggerated technology that the original series brought us. Sure there was the new Star Trek game that was modeled after the new movies but seriously, they made everything too sleek and modern for that game, and you know what? That’s what most people want these days.So what about the rest of us? What about the true Trek fans that grew up peeking through the cracks in their bedroom door trying to see the living room television after their bedtime? What about those of us who scoured late night television with VHS tape in hand, ready to record whatever happened to be showing at the 10 PM time slot? How many of you spent countless hours playing with Star Trek action figures, making up your own storylines simply because the damn TV wasn’t airing new episodes where you lived?
I’m going to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what time Star Trek aired when I was growing up in the 90’s, but I sure did see a lot of it. Sometimes the reruns were plentiful, sometimes there would be massive dry spells. When there was no Trek to watch, I would bury my nose in novels, comics, and any other form of Trek I could find. There were games, sure. Who remembers EGA Trek or Star Trek 25th Anniversary? All of those were cool, of course, but we needed a modern foray into the original world that Gene Roddenberry created, and when I heard that STO: Agents of Yesterday was coming to Star Trek Online, I think I may have shrieked a little.
STO: Agents of Yesterday – Back to the Beginning
I have to admit I was pretty excited when I fired this thing up, and right off it let me create a TOS character straight out of the Kirk era. You have no idea how happy I was to finally be able to wear that TOS miniskirt, and I’m usually pretty modest in my dress, even when it comes to video games. I was even more excited when I finally logged in and heard that vintage transporter noise – they really went the distance on this one and it showed.
The STO: Agents of Yesterday expansion starts out just like you’d want it to – on the bridge of a starship. It’s not a constitution class starship but the bridge is pretty much identical to Kirk’s Enterprise, so you’ll want to stand around for a minute and take in the view before you proceed with the questline. It begins with speaking to the captain, then using the instruments on the bridge to scan the surface of the planet. Once you do that, the fun really starts, or at least I thought.
Okay, so really cool thing here: I got to go to the shuttle bay rather than using the transporter. For those who don’t know, in the TOS series the shuttle bay is the lower half of the ship beneath the nacelles. You don’t see it very often in the series and I have to say, getting to walk around in it definitely made me happy. In any case, we took the shuttle down to the surface in a mission designed as a follow up to a TOS episode, and we immediately came under attack by the hostile species. This is where things began to get a little complicated.
If you’ve played STO: Agents of Yesterday then you probably know that the first mission involves picking up a phaser rifle and distributing the rest to a science team stranded on the surface. Well, the problem I ran into was that once you picked up your phaser rifle, the rest of the team literally would not pick theirs up, putting a complete halt on the main quest. Not to be deterred, I took to the internet looking for a solution and I found that many other people had actually experienced the exact same problem and were offering up their own makeshift solutions.
The first and most obvious solution was to delete my character and restart the quest, which I rather begrudgingly did. I ran through the opening again, took the shuttle down to the planet, and ran through the quest, hoping that it would work properly this time, but guess what? It didn’t. Once again I refused to be deterred and I literally deleted and remade my character again. I repeated my previous steps, then figured out that it wasn’t going to work. I tried a few more things mentioned on forums and on Reddit, including running around the entire map to try hitting some hidden trigger that would advance the questline. There was no such trigger, and finally I sighed and logged out.
I came back a few days later to find that the bug had been fixed by removing a part of the tutorial mission, which isn’t a fix by any means but I guess I’d rather have a small bandaid over a huge wound than a huge wound with no bandaid.
Moving Forward in the Expansion
The rest of my trip through the expansion was pretty smooth and there are a few cool things that I want to point out. First of all, the constitution class model has been reworked to look a lot more like the TOS era ship that we all know and love. There was a constitution class model in the game already but there were a few minor details that needed correction.
Secondly, the choice of weapons is pretty neat. For example, you get to use a Type 1 phaser which actually has a unique function in the TOS universe. The Type 1 phaser was actually a small handheld weapon that literally plugged into the frame of the Type 2 phaser for extended range and greater power. Think of it as a booster. These were rarely seen in the TOS show, but they were sometimes used if an away team needed to be discreetly armed.
The second type of weapon I found myself using that you don’t often see is the phaser rifle. Now this was not something you commonly saw in the show, in fact in the TOS episodes the only time you saw it was in the second pilot episode (there were like three pilots) and they were tucked away, never to be seen again. There are many theories as to why they so readily disappeared, I personally think it’s because they looked hideous. The studio might have you believe that it’s because the show was about exploration, and having assault weapons constantly visible was putting a hamper on the intended vibe. Whatever the reason might have been, I have to say I was pretty happy to see these things in the STO: Agents of Yesterday expansion.
Along with using fun TOS weapons I found that there were a lot more opportunities to use melee attacks, and I have to say I had way too much fun using my knockback to stun the enemies. In fact I might have done that a little more than I actually fired my phaser.
Visits from Old Friends
The STO: Agents of Yesterday expansion wouldn’t be complete without a few visits from old friends and they were definitely there in force. First of all, you get to fight the Gorn, which is a staple of the original series even if it only appeared once. They also brought back the Klingons from the originals series – the ones that looked more like angry Russians.
Some of the enemies were a little closer to home, however, such as the parasite incursion on the federation space station that called for you to fight against your own people. Right now, the biggest thing that surprises me I suppose is that the human enemies were able to take so many phaser blasts before the succumbed. It’s the nature of an MMO I guess, but it definitely raises some questions and makes the ‘battle’ a little less exciting.
Enemies are great, but visits from old friends on STO: Agents of Yesterday made the game a bit more fun. As I explored a space station, I was able to speak to some of the members of the original Enterprise, like Scotty, Sulu, Checkov, and even Spock. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to have too much to say and I have to say I was a little disappointed in the blatant lack of dialogue.
A Temporal Element
It couldn’t be called ‘Agents of Yesterday’ without a temporal element to the story and there definitely is one. I’m not going to spoil the whole thing but I will say that Crewman Daniels from the ‘Enterprise’ series shows up to guide you through some pretty tricky situations, including one with time traveling aliens.
It’s pretty much the same old STO that you know and love, but I will say that some game breaking bugs nearly ruined the experience. Early on in the expansion I had to stop for a few days and then pick back up later. After the major bugs were fixed the game still didn’t run smoothly as the scenarios rely heavily on triggers and some of them were hard to trip. In addition to that there were some serious clipping issues planet-side which caused my character to become caught up in the environment.
The development team managed to bring the magic of TOS to STO: Agents of Yesterday in a big way. Not only do you get to use TOS models, you get to play with the old technology, interact with memorable characters, and explore TOS era ships. The original constitution class is even given to you for free, and we have to say that’s pretty cool.
The STO: Agents of Yesterday community is alive and well as usual and they’re always quite helpful. I’m in a pretty good fleet called ALT and I love interacting with them whenever I get a chance. I just want to take an opportunity to give a shout out to fleet leader Bethany who tolerates me showing up about as often as Crewman Daniels, and usually only when I need something.
They revamped the entire game to make it look and sound just like the original series. I don’t know how anyone could possibly have a problem with that.
Value for Money 9/10
The game does still have a cash shop, as you’d expect, but you can play through the content of STO: Agents of Yesterday comfortably without spending a dime. You might want to spend some money on aesthetics, ships, and even bridges, and you could take advantage of the monthly subscription fee if you want to unlock even more features. If you are a Star Trek fan, the small amount of money that you will be putting into the game is definitely worth it. I also have a feeling that once the new Trek series comes out we’re going to see a boost in game membership, so be ready for that if this review has convinced you to hop into the STO: Agents of Yesterday expansion.
+Great TOS Era Graphics
+TOS Themed Storyline Faithful to the Original Series
+Gorns – ‘Nuff said
-Game Breaking Bugs Early On
-Events Were Hard to Trigger Planet Side