There is both something wrong and something very interesting in the very concept of premium gacha, especially on a license of this caliber, for which the Star Trek: Legends review it can bring out various food for thought. The structure of the gacha RPGIt is useless to deny it, it is by definition opaque: it is a type of game that relies on the compulsive drive to collect, if not precisely on the perverse charm of gambling that makes it dangerously prone to gambling addiction. It is a refined mechanism that has proven to work all too well, so much so that the mobile market is now flooded with games of this type, often linked to brands and licenses of the highest caliber, as in this case. The basic idea is build a dream team of your favorite characters, to be obtained with a good dose of randomness that dominates the "summoning" system of the fighters, divided into different tiers of rarities and in which the low success rates in finding the most coveted prizes push, by design itself , towards micro-transactions.
But what would happen if the paywall were completely removed from this mechanism, or if the in-app purchases? This question is answered by Star Trek: Legends, which proposes a turn-based RPG with rather classic gacha elements in the structure, but removing the fundamental cog of the purchase with real money, being distributed through Apple Arcade. Basically, the whole progression system is based simply on what is possible to achieve by playing, thus representing a 'honest interpretation of the usual concept, without prejudice to the grinding and the constant advancement of statistics and amount of characters available as fundamental elements. The result is strange, because if on the one hand the game finally gets rid of the deceptive traps that push towards purchases, on the other it is as if the forcing of a structure all set on a progression as an end in itself becomes even more evident. extremely linear, even if in this case the Star Trek license is able to introduce some narrative elements of some interest.
The initial premise is very simple and serves to give a pretext to the rain of Star Trek characters that we see once the game starts, coming from different series and eras. This excuse is provided by the Nexus, a sort of hole in space / time that fuses together different dimensions and timelines, thus allowing a Captain Kirk of the first generation to coexist with a Picard or other characters from different series (classic series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery and Picard), allowing a mixture of temporal paradoxes otherwise hardly justifiable even in a reference system with rather bland logical limits such as Star Trek. Driving the U.S.S. Artemis, a new Federation ship designed specifically to withstand the terrible stresses of the Nexus, we find ourselves exploring various areas of this kind of space fault, discovering new worlds and facing battles.
The real trekkie will probably have a bad time simplification excessive to which the universe in question is subjected, because Star Trek: Legends is composed exclusively of turn-based battles structured in progressive waves, as happens classically in gacha RPGs, interrupted by some narrative sequence with satisfactorily written dialogues translated into Spanish. The sense of discovery is limited to the vision of some beautiful alien landscape but we are far from the basic idea of the classic Star Trek, which focuses more on the romance of space adventure, the encounter with the new and the wonder of discovery rather than to the simple constant battle with everything that stands in front of us.
Beyond this fundamental inconsistency, however, the reference series provides a solid foundation for one narration more interesting than what is often found in games of this genre. The fragmented nature of the action does not allow for the construction of great science fiction epics, but the writing is still of a good standard and the dialogues often interesting and even hilarious, thanks to a certain self-irony that filters through the characters from series that emerged in very different historical periods. In short, the unfolding of events does not present great twists or an enveloping narrative, but it also goes on willingly to see the exchanges between the historical members of the crew, validly supporting the mechanism of the game. The compromise adopted to stage everything is also good, with a slightly cartoonish graphic style that convincingly incorporates the typical characteristics of the characters and settings of Star Trek.
Going where no mobile game has gone before, Star Trek: Legends offers us the strange spectacle of a gacha RPG without micro-transactions, but this latest frontier convinces up to a certain point. The elimination of all the most perverse traps of the compulsive gacha significantly calms the pace of the game, which transports us from one world to another discovering new characters without too many obsessions, but its rather basic structure makes the excessive linearity of this gameplay, with its scarce RPG-style insights. The good thing is that Star Trek provides plenty of material for interesting dialogue, in a fragmentary but enjoyable narrative, even if we are quite far from an optimal exploitation of such a license (at a sidereal distance from the Interplay titles, so to speak). Fans can still turn a blind eye, taking it as a light interpretation of the famous franchise.
- A gacha RPG without micro-transactions is already great news
- Star Trek retains its charm and the characters drive the game
- Good dialogues, which also demonstrate a certain self-irony
- Extremely linear structure
- The free-to-play influence remains in the fragmented rhythm and in the progression system as an end in itself