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Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4617)
Written on  :  Mar 19, 2005

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Star Trek meets Commandos

The Good

-- Unknown part of Star Trek: Special Operations -- Lots of stealth action -- Lots of weapons and gadgets -- Gadgets can be improved

The Bad

-- Gadgets are limited to certain individuals (which makes little sense) -- A lot of timing based puzzles you must do in real-time -- Improvements to gadgets seem to occur at random and undocumented -- Missions gets repetitive after a while

The Bottom Line

Away Team is best described as Star Trek meets Commandos. While it provides quite a bit of challenge in itself, and kept the Star Trek flavor intact, its limitations and lack of innovation make it an average title at best.

You command the crew of USS Incursion, a special operations ship of Federation Starfleet, and you do the jobs when deniability is key... Think Splinter Cell on a larger scale, and you get the idea. The missions start simple, of course, then gets progressively harder, until you get to the mission where one misstep can be the end of the quadrant.

The game is played as isometric view. it is essentially 2D with no "walk-behind" allowed. Each mission has a pretty large field and provides variety of challenges. Often, you must sneak past guards and cameras. While a single member is each, for the whole party it would be difficult. Fortunately, you get two onscreen displays to help you... You get to see the visual cone of one camera / guard, and you get your own sound cones, which shows you how far your footstep sounds are carrying.

The missions are quite chalenging, and have multiple approaches. Do you sneak past the guard when he's not looking and never raise the alarm, or do you just stun the guard, run past and go for the security building to erase the log? Many choices can be made. While most of the time stealth is the better option, it is NOT always the case. Also, there are a few missions where you are NOT allowed to use lethal force.

Even though this game is about stealth, there are plenty of weapons available, from phasers to phaser rifles, from special "sniper" rifles to EMP grenades, from poison hyposprays to concussion grenades, there are plenty of weapons for different uses. And you will need them as you encounter both friends and allies, along with plenty of aliens, even the Borg.

The gameplay is real-time with pause, and thus you can use that to coordinate simultaneous actions simple enough. On the other hand, often you will use one team member at a time just because that person has a certain item YOU need in order to get something else you need.

A typical mission goes like this: assemble the team you need (by noting the requirements of certain gadgets to be present), start the mission, work your way past guards (either avoid or terminate, depending on ROE). When you got to the computer terminal, send in the engineer to hack the terminal and get the data. Once data's completely, mission ends as you get beamed up.

The tension is in avoiding the guards and the camera networks.