Also available on PlayStation 2 and Mac OS
For literally my entire life, I've been a massive Star Trek fan, and when I first got into online PC gaming, it was through Star Trek games. One of the two Star Trek games that really got me into competitive multiplayer was a Quake 3 based game called Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force. For pretty much my entire time in middle school and a good chunk of high school, I sank hundreds of hours into this game between the single player, the multiplayer, and the prolific modding community. When GOG added a ton of Star Trek games from the Activision golden age recently, I basically just offered up my credit card to them. While the game's now old enough to buy alcohol in the United States, it's surprising how well it still holds up minus the outdated resolution support.
Elite Force takes place sometime during Voyager's sixth season. Seven of Nine is already part of the crew, and most of the major Delta Quadrant species are either outright mentioned in the single player or at least playable skins in the multiplayer. You play as either Alexander or Alexandria Munro (depending on if you choose a male or female character) and are second-in-command of a special Hazard Team that Tuvok created to handle especially dangerous away missions. As Voyager is voyaging around the Delta Quadrant on its long journey home, a mysterious probe shows up, beats the hell out of the ship, and then transports it to some mysterious sector of space when it explodes. A dampening field pretty much knocks out all of their ship systems (except life support) and auxiliary power. From there, you play through a few dozen linear levels as you investigate where you are, what brought you there, what's keeping you there, and how to get out.
The game definitely shows its age visually, especially where supported resolutions are concerned, but thankfully, the modding community has stepped into alleviate some of that. While it's not perfect and can leave some of the models (most notably weapons) looking just a little wonky, I did find a mod that polishes the textures a bit and forces a pretty decent 1080p resolution. On top of performance mods like that, there are a veritable buttload of map, character, and weapon skin mods for the multiplayer. There are also mods that add an entirely new fan-made single player adventure as well as total conversion mods available.
The official servers are, unfortunately, all down for Elite Force, but there are a still a good number of player-run servers up. Of course, these are filled almost exclusively with bots, and if you're cool playing with bots, you're probably better off just setting up your own custom match offline, but still, it's nice to see that there's an option if you and a friend want to find the same bot-infested server and play together. The multiplayer is mostly your basic deathmatch, team deathmatch, or capture the flag; although there are a couple interesting ones like the one-life gladiator matches and the one-shot-kill disintegration matches. At one point, I was basically unbeatable at Elite Force online. Of course, this point was a solid 15 years ago, but still, the point stands that I was a virgin-tier badass at one point.
The story in the single player is surprisingly solid for a licensed game, and Raven really showed that they knew what they were doing here. I'm not gonna say that this is the best Star Trek game ever made, but it's definitely in the top 3. I'll admit that a lot of my fondness for this game probably is nostalgia, but I absolutely adore it. Even playing the multiplayer by myself with bots is immensely enjoyable for me, and going back through the single player was the best kind of trip down Memory Lane. The single player may only be five or six hours long, but it's a damn fun five or six hours. If you're a fan of late 90s/early 2000s PC shooters, I strongly recommend this game; if you're a fan of Star Trek: Voyager, this game is an absolute must-play. For only $10 on GOG, this game is absolutely worth it.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.