“Space is the last frontier. This is the voyage of the starship Enterprise. These words are very familiar to every fan of the universe of the science fiction franchise “Star Trek”, created by the cult screenwriter Eugene Roddenberry. The first episode of the television series Star Trek: The Original Series was released on September 8, 1966, and since then the Trek universe has expanded in all directions.
Feature films, comics, cartoons and, of course, video games. Today we will talk about one of them – the large-scale strategy Star Trek: Infinite from the studio Nimble Giant Entertainment and publisher Paradox Interactive.
This is not a spaceship simulator. You won’t have to give orders to the crew, lead the Enterprise into battle against Romulan warbirds, or have trouble dealing with tribbles. You don’t even have to get acquainted with Q, because inside Star Trek: Infinite is not a chamber story of a specific person, but a galactic scale inherent in the subgenre of 4X games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate).
Infinite is a grand strategy game set in the Star Trek universe. This is an analogue of Stellaris from Paradox. And while there’s combat and plenty of exploration, you’ll mostly have to deal with the minutiae of running one of the four main factions – the Space Federation, the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Empire, and the Cardassian Union. Unfortunately, they won’t let you play as Borg, at least not at release.
What is the game about?
What are “paradox strategies” all about? In this case, let Paradox Interactive be just a publisher. Of course, about hours of training, dozens of starts from scratch, curses and the joy of the fact that at least a little, after about eight hours, you began to understand the game.
Star Trek: Infinite is fully in this tradition. Dozens of menus and submenus, control of a lot of data, huge scale and no mercy for beginners. You have to lead the chosen civilization to dominance in the galaxy, expand the territory through any type of expansion (not only war), develop planets, extract resources, build space bases and a military armada, and everything in that spirit.
If you’ve played Stellaris before, you should have a good idea of what’s in store for you in Star Trek: Infinite.
There is a Federation – a union of free planets united by a common idea of equality and justice. It includes not only people, but also representatives of other civilizations. For example, the Vulcans, where the public’s favorite Spock is from.
The main planet is Earth. During the game you will see familiar characters from the “golden era” of the franchise more than once – Captain Picard, Will Riker, Beverly Crusher and other favorite heroes. Their creed is pioneering research and commitment to peace.
Then there are the Klingons, a warrior race focused on honor and glory, who respect tradition even when creating new worlds.
Romulans are cunning and often duplicitous, but they make excellent diplomats and spies.
And then there are the Kardashians, who built a social media empire in California and focused on modeling. No, sorry, I got a little mixed up. We’re talking about the Cardassians. These people love to subjugate others for the sake of entertainment and profit.
As soon as you choose your faction, you immediately go to your sector of the galaxy, which is on the brink of a big war. Star Trek: Infinite takes place in the 24th century AD, during the period of the Star Trek: Voyager, Enterprise, Picard, The Next Generation and First Contact series.
At the beginning of the game we get from the ship to the ball – no one is going to babysit you. Here you have, instead of one planet, an armful of it, several sectors, not always friendly neighbors and a solid piece of unexplored space. Play as you wish. Literally.
You will have to control everything from the exploration of new systems, the construction of starbases, shipyards, research and mining facilities, to the creation of governments, trade routes and embassies. It’s up to you to decide what the newly colonized planet will produce first. Fortunately, some tasks can (and SHOULD!) be given under the control of artificial intelligence, otherwise you risk taking a very, very long time to complete even one time cycle.
It is clear that your territory must be protected by fleets of warships. But in order to obtain new knowledge and technologies, it is imperative to create research vessels. If suddenly these ships discover a planet suitable for settlement, then the need for the construction of colonial ships immediately arises. And you will have to manage these people, assigning them jobs and even moving them to other worlds, if the need arises.
There will not be enough resources for everything at once, so, having completed training and at least a little understanding of the mechanics, decide in advance which way you would prefer to lead your and not only your people to a bright communist future.
And the more you immerse yourself in Star Trek Infinite, the more obvious it becomes – this game is simply huge. We add diplomacy and trade to the development treasury. These are separate mechanics that you will also have to understand perfectly in order to feel like a fish in water. Relations with other factions must be maintained constantly, otherwise the most innocent issue can escalate into an all-out war.
Developing your faction in the game takes a long time, even if you play on speed. Just be prepared for it.
And during the process, random events will occur that require attention. You can uncover a conspiracy that threatens war between two factions, and have the option to choose a side or remain neutral. You may encounter a completely new type of creature and help or hinder their progress to the stars. You’ll have to deal with pandemics, uprisings, and space anomalies, all at the same time. Infinite throws things at you at such a fast pace that you’ll come to appreciate the quiet moments where the galaxy just goes silent for a few minutes and allows you to think and catch your breath.
A tactical pause allows you to queue up teams and quietly monitor the state of your empire. Considering how much you need to control at the same time, your main gameplay will be built around this very pause.
If you miss the event too quickly, you can make a fatal mistake and everything you have achieved will be ruined. Other factions will invariably be more advanced than you because it takes so much time to research and build new fleets.
But sooner or later (who am I kidding – of course, it’s late!) you will understand this game and learn to quickly react to important events. At this moment, all your enemies will understand: the galaxy will belong to you!
Star Trek: Infinite is a classic example of the expression “Strategy by Paradox.” If you don’t have patience, if you’re a fan of RTS, mammoth rush and other things, then the game is definitely not for you. To get a taste of Infinite, you’ll need many hours of immersion. In addition, such games do not shine with graphics and special effects, since their task is not to show new technologies, but to make (namely make!) you forget what time of day it is and the season in general. What? Is it already winter outside? But I just figured out how to play it!