Fight for Honor in Our Star Trek Online Brushfire Review

By Jeff Francis
Star Trek Online Brushfire review

Season 13.5 for Star Trek Online has kicked off with a number of new features, but the main component that stoked my interest is the new featured episode - Brushfire. The continuing story arc for the online rpg has focused on a good bit of exploration, but there have been quite a few entanglements with the Tzenkethi. The new STO Brushfire episode takes a breather from the current narrative to focus on some Klingon politics, and by politics, I mean lots of fighting and bloodshed. Will the player's character be drinking bloodwine and hearing songs sang about their victories when the action concludes? Find out in our Star Trek Online Brushfire review.

Star Trek Online prisoners

Let's begin our Star Trek Online Brushfire review with the basics of the episode. Starfleet Intelligence learns that Martok, who was the former leader of the Klingon Empire, is actually alive and being held in a secret prison. The prison is owned by the Son'a and is located in the Briar Patch region of space. General Rodek is leading a rescue mission, and the player is tasked to join in the endeavor and free Martok. First of all, I have to say that I love the developers digging deeper into the lore of Star Trek. The Son'a and the Briar Patch featured in Star Trek: Insurrection (the movie where the Enterprise destroyed the enemy ships by essentially farting on them). The fact that Star Trek Online (which you can play for free here) uses so much of their franchise fills my geek heart with absolute glee.

One thing I have to point out in this Star Trek Online Brushfire review is that the mission starts off with a bang and never really lets up. The player first travels to the Briar Patch and meets up with General Rodek and his ship. After a few bits of conversation, the two ships move towards the prison facility but must overcome several groups of Son'a patrols. Space combat in the free mmo is always fun, so I enjoyed how the STO Brushfire episode kicked off. An interesting wrinkle is that pockets of metreon gas are sprinkled throughout the area and can be detonated. Any ship within four kilometers of the exploding gas will take a lot of damage. It was pretty fun getting some of the Son'a ships close enough to the gas so I could blow it up. (I must point out that it's not so fun to be caught next to one, as I found out later in the episode.) Once the initial patrols are dealt with, the player has the option to fly close enough to the prison to shuttle down or take on a huge relief force checking on the missing patrols. I chose the latter, and a huge space battle broke out. The Son'a ships pack some nifty moves in battle, and the constant launching of fighters from their capital ships can wear you down.

Star Trek Online Martok

Once the player gets close enough to the prison, General Rodek tells the player his plan, which entails him bluffing his way into the prison while the player (and the player's away team) act as prisoners. The prison is actually run by House Torg of the Klingon Empire to hold their enemies, and Rodek condemns them for denying their enemies a noble death in battle. Now let's turn our STO Brushfire review to the meat of the mission: the prison break! The player beams down to the prison and accompanies Rodek through the facility as he checks you in. This was by far my favorite part of the mission. Instead of blasting your way in, it was quite refreshing to see my away team dressed in prison garb and shuffling along behind Rodek while the Klingon guards taunted them mercilessly. It was something different from what I expected and executed phenomenally well. The little cutscenes just helped to increase the immersion, and the entire sequence was highly entertaining. I love it when story and plot help push the action along. As for the prison escape plan, the player realizes it's going to be more difficult as the Tzenkethi show up to claim Martok. They really hate him as he killed so many of their kind in battle.

After the player gets into the cell area of the prison, they find Martok and release him. There's another nice cutscene, and then all hell breaks loose as the player has to fight his way out. There are some really great bits during the escape attempt. Martok asks the player to release a friend of his, who just happens to turn out to be a Jem'Hadar. There are a ton of fights as the player defeats several groups of Klingons and Tzenkethi, as well as planting bombs in various locations. One of the really great touches is that the player overrides the security system, and there are a few scenes of the automatic weapons firing on the Klingon guards. Glorious. As a final gift, Martok has the player open up all the cells so that the prisoners can take it to their captors.

Star Trek Online Tzenkethi

Once upon the roof of the facility, the player gets engaged in an epic brawl as enemy forces have to be held off for three minutes until help arrives. This part of the Star Trek Online Brushfire episode featured hordes of enemies but was not overwhelming in that it was fiendishly difficult. I was sure my phaser was going to melt with how much I was firing it. Once the battle is over, the player goes to bring down the shield so that the group can transport out when a Tzenkethi captain shows up. There's another great cutscene and then one last battle to defeat him.

Now our STO Brushfire review turns to the conclusion of the episode. Once the player reaches their ship, a huge enemy fleet of Son'a and Tzenkethi ships show up. This last space battle is truly monstrous, and I admit my ship got blown up a few times. I loved the challenge of the fight, even though those Son'a fighters were damn pesky. There are some cutscenes that occur in the fight, but I won't divulge their contents. I will say that the cutscene featuring Martok was one of the best ones I've encountered in the mmorpg in all the years I've been playing it. There's also an unexpected cameo that brought a smile to my face. Once the battle ends, Martok and Rodek head off to Klingon space while the player reports back to the Alliance.

So, what's the verdict in our Star Trek Online Brushfire review? I have to say that this is one of the best episodes that the game has released. The prison break plot was a welcome change of pace, and the execution of it was simply superb. There was a ton of action, but it was spaced out so as to not be overwhelming. But it was the little story things that really helped make this episode great. The chatter of the Klingon guards as the player shuffles through the prison, the scenes between Martok and Rodek, the playful flirting between Martok and his wife during a space battle, and more. Small touches of story and character can really elevate an mmo quest, and this was the case here. I have to also point out the superb voice acting by Tony Todd and J.G. Hertzler as they reprised their characters of Rodek and Martok. Usually, we get one cutscene in a mission that is powerfully done, but we get several of those in Brushfire. Overall, I have to give this featured episode an A+.


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