Fight with Honor in Our Star Trek Online Of Signs and Portents Review
A mystery is afoot in Star Trek Online as Season 12 kicks off with the new Of Signs and Portents featured episode. The player is once again tasked to help the Lukari as they seek answers to the reasons behind the devastating protomatter bomb that destroyed an entire race. However, the player is not venturing out into the icy depths of space alone as the free mmo is giving the player an ally in the form of a Klingon warrior known to Star Trek fans. Will answers be found? Will there be deadly fights? (With a Klingon next to you, you bet!) Find out in our Star Trek Online Of Signs and Portents review.
Let's begin our Star Trek Online Of Signs and Portents review with the basics. This featured episode follows the events of Echoes of Light (which review you can read here) where the players found a Federation space station from the original series era next to a distant planet. The planet was now lifeless as someone detonated a protomatter bomb, wiping out an entire intelligent species. The culprit turns out to be the Tzenkethi, a race of reptilians who are aggressive and fight without honor. The player is tasked with helping the Lukari, the newly discovered race that is just beginning their exploration of space, and a Klingon escort search for more signs of protomatter and why it is being used.
The STO Of Signs and Portents episode begins with the player traveling to the system where scans are to be made and to meet up with the Klingons and Lukari, which leads to the episode's first great feature. The Klingon commander is none other than General Rodek, who began life as Kurn, Worf's brother. Tony Todd (of Candyman fame) reprises his role of Kurn/Rodek, which is a treat. One of the best things about Star Trek Online (which you can play for free here) is that a great emphasis is placed upon bringing actors from the franchise to reprise their characters within the mmorpg. The Lukari have a new ship, which is under the command of Captain Kuumaarke, the NPC that the player has befriended in previous episodes. Some scans are taken that show the use of protomatter on several moons surrounding a planet. Something special is realized about the planet, but I won't reveal those details here in our STO Of Signs and Portents review. However, I think the discovery will have repercussions down the road. After those initial scans, the player warps out to check on another system.
In the new system, the player comes across the debris from a large space battle. It is quickly deduced that the destroyed ships are from the nearby planet and that their technology lags about a hundred years behind the current level. Some proof of Tzenkethi involvement is found in the form of wreckage. The alien planet has been destroyed by a protomatter bomb, and the aliens who were outclassed only managed to destroy a single Tzenkethi ship. The player does comes across a damaged alien ship, the sole survivor of the genocide, which is followed by the player lending aid and rescuing some lifepods. The Klingons, Lukari, and player agree that the Tzenkethi have a lot to answer for and that the reasons behind their construction of the protomatter bombs have to be discovered. Fortunately, sensors pick up a protomatter explosion in an adjacent system, so the player and his allies warp there immediately.
Once in the new system, the player discovers that a protomatter bomb has been exploded on a nearby moon and that there are Tzenkethi lifesigns on the adjacent planet. As the player approaches the planet, Tzenkethi ships appear and warn the player off. This approach does not work and a quick space battle takes place. Once the Tzenkethi ships are destroyed, the player beams down to the planet surface to locate the protomatter bomb. The Tzenkethi make a great entrance as they suddenly appear on top of a cliff and jump down to engage the player's away team. The player then fights his way through several groups of Tzenkethi to reach the cave holding their protomatter bomb. Captain Kuumaarke works to disable the bomb, but the player and Rodek have to protect here in the meantime. A pretty sizable battle erupts as waves of Tzenkethi pop up and engage the player. Eventually the bomb is disabled and more Tzenkethi ships appear, necessitating the player to beam back up. One final space battle ensues, which ends with the defeated Tzenkethi battleship fleeing as their captain vows revenge.
Let's turn our Star Trek Online Of Signs and Portents review to the components of the episode itself. First, I really like how the storyline picks up right where the last episode left off. There is some basic exploration and scanning to begin the episode, but it quickly shifts into horror over another alien world being destroyed and then followed by lots of action. The voice acting in this episode is superb. It's tremendous to hear Tony Todd reprising his role, and he plays the part of a Klingon warrior with gusto. Likewise, the actress playing Captain Kuumaarke of the Lukari is equally strong. Her character still displays a tremendous amount of starry-eyed enthusiasm and wonder over space exploration. As for the overall story found in the STO Of Signs and Portents episode, it's well written and plays rather quickly. The graphics for the alien world that the player beams down are great. The planet's palette or white and off-reds look amazing with the game's revamped visuals. As for the Tzenkethi, they are pretty interesting. I love how their culture comes out as they talk about walking "the path of violence." In ground combat, they are powerful melee combatants and have an attack (or ability) where they drag you up to them. They also have an interesting ability in space combat. They will mark an area with a red circle and launch a swarm of missiles to that location, causing tremendous damage. It's actually quite cool to see in action (but it's not cool to be blown up by them!).
So what's the final verdict in our Star Trek Online Of Signs and Portents review? I have to give this a thumbs-up. The storyline is well written, and there are some interesting tidbits revealed that I think will have a major impact later on. (Plus, the name of the episode is Of Signs and Portents!) I always enjoy uncovering more lore in this mmo. The Tzenkethi are an interesting foe, and they are pretty unique in appearance and in combat. I think that they'll make great enemies for quite some time to come. Of course, I have to once again point out the quality of the voice acting and Tony Todd reprising his role. The mission can be played in an hour or so, which makes it great for replayability purposes. Overall, Season 12: Reckoning is off to a strong start.