Editor's Note: WarCry believes MMOs are ongoing experiences which are difficult to permanently judge with a review score. We will be offering our opinions on the experiences of MMOs as they come out and hopefully these reviews will be helpful for you in deciding which game you'd like to try.
"...All that we were... Dust, blasted across empty, heartless skies. But we live. Our legacy lives."
Legacy of Romulus is the latest update for Cryptic Studio's free-to-play MMO Star Trek Online, bringing several major changes to the core game as well as introducing a new faction based off of the Romulan Star Empire.
However, unlike the Federation or Klingon Empire, Cryptic has placed a stronger focus on story and character development with the Romulans. Instead of your character being a fresh recruit ready to explore the galaxy or bring honor to the empire, your Romulan character actually starts off as a civilian trying to live a simple life on one of the many fledging Romulan colonies founded in the aftermath of Romulus and Remus' destruction two decades prior (as seen in the Star Trek reboot of 2009). Unfortunately, there's a civil war going on between the new Romulan Republic, a break-away faction that hopes to rebuild civilization through peaceful means rather than force of arms, and the Tal Shiar, a remnant of the Romulan government under the control of Empress Sela (with Denise Crosby reprising her role in the cinematics). You're drawn into the conflict when the Tal Shiar attack your colony and start abducting your neighbors, and it's during this action-heavy tutorial you get a good first impression that your character's story is going to be much more involved than what you might have experienced with the other factions.
The Romulan story missions follow a much more structured and linear arc, complete with cutscenes and tons of audio dialogue to guide the narrative of battling the Tal Shiar and finding a new homeworld for the Romulan Republic. For much of the early to mid-game, you'll find yourself travelling between a mission on one planet to another, with little room to breathe or explore the rest of the galaxy. You might feel frustrated at the lack of side missions or dailies (at least for the first few chunks of the game), but it's balanced out having characters and a story that you feel much more invested in. Your first bridge officer, for example, is a young Romulan named Tovan Khev, and is your best friend and fellow survivor of the colony attack that begins the game. Other bridge officers you recruit are characters you'll meet through your quest to defeat the Tal Shiar and look for a new home for the Romulan Republic, and each have their own reasons for joining you. You are still able to pick up other bridge officers through a recruiter at your faction's home base, but it's nice to be able to develop more of a connection with your bridge crew by interacting with them in the narrative versus picking them randomly.
After you've completed some of the early story missions for the Romulans, you'll be given a choice of allying with either the Federation or the Klingon Empire, which in turn will give you access to their ships, gear, and bridge officers - and have a direct effect on whether Federation or Klingon NPCs are hostile towards you and your crew. The options to pick from allied faction gear and ships available feels like you're getting slightly short changed, since there aren't as wide a variety of Romulan vessels available as there are for either of the other factions. There are special refits ships available for purchase using in-game currency, and there may be more Romulan ships added in future updates, but for right now, the linear ship progression feels limiting.
Players will have the opportunity to visit iconic locations from the popular Star Trek fiction, reach out to unexplored star systems and make contact with new alien species. With Episode Missions, every moment spent playing Star Trek Online will feel like a new Star Trek episode in which you are the star.
Immerse yourself in the future of the Trek universe as it moves into the 25th century: a time of shifting alliances and new discoveries.
One new feature that does make up for the lack of ship variety is the Singularity Cores, which are items that only be used exclusively in Romulan Warbirds. This new item helps influence your ship's top speed and power levels, but can also give you bonus abilities to use in battle. When piloting a Warbird, you'll see a gauge on your HUD that'll charge up as you deal damage to opposing ships. Once you have at least a partial charge, you can unleash a damaging AOE attack to all enemy ships within range or turn incoming damage into shield health instead, which can be useful for those who are playing solo and want an extra card to play whenever you find yourself a little outgunned.