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Sphere of Influence Review

Captain's Blog Stardate 91446.35

Sphere of Influence is the latest episode from Cryptic and I feel that it's only necessary to review it, especially since it's leading into Season 8. I must start by saying that while this episode is fun it's not some of Cryptic's best work. Don't take that the wrong way. This mission is still very impressive and obviously took a lot of time and effort to create these environments which I appreciate.

I must warn you, if you haven't played Sphere of Influence yet, this post contains spoilers so you may want to stop reading now.

Still reading? Good. One of the first people you get to meet is Worf and I couldn't be more thrilled that Michael Dorn reprised his role as Worf and do the voice over work. Worf is one of my favorite characters so it was nice to see him back and in action as well as being able to team up with him.

Skip ahead to activating and entering the gate. Those damn arrogant Romulans got me stranded in some alien ship... how dare they! It's a good thing Worf came along to give everyone orders otherwise I'd never find my way out of there. Alright there was just a hint of sarcasm there but it was more towards Cryptic than Worf. I think Cryptic needs to figure out a good way to make your character act more like the leader that he/she should be rather than taking orders from everyone including your bridge officers... but that's a discussion for another time.

Anyway let's get back on topic. This unknown alien structure that you're in was pretty easy. Fight a few drones, save a few people, then go into this giant room. Now this giant room was cool. You could actually get 2 accolades here. If you fall off the edge you get one accolade, and the other comes from accessing every console. At each platform you can take 2 paths, blue is always correct and the other color just takes you to another platform then you have to go back. Go to each platform, access every console, get yourself an accolade and some purple swarmer hanger pets.

This area was pretty cool and I liked how each platform was connected to another planet. Eventually you end up on the bridge of the Obelisk which apparently you know the access codes for and are able to read/use the equipment so that you can steal it. Doesn't make sense to me but that's how it has always been in Star Trek. At least you get a pretty carrier out of it. I really like the look of that ship.

I have on issue with the ending. Why are all the flagships from all 3 factions warping in? It was amazing in Boldly They Rode when the Enterprise warped in to help out, but I feel they are starting to overdo it. This wasn't a huge battle that required every flagship and didn't have the magnitude that Boldly They Rode had. Besides, shouldn't these flagships be out on some kind of important assignment instead of waiting for us to get into trouble? I don't know, maybe I'm just nitpicking now.

In the comments let me know what you thought of this mission and if you have any opinions about the Obelisk Carrier.

Written by Attilio on November 03, 2013 at 09:57 pm


Chris (Member) said...
November 04, 2013 at 09:14 am

I also was a little bugged at how often your captain/admiral is subordinate to others in the episode.
Certainly, I can understand the game play aspect requires something like that.

However, they don't even seem to try. For example; the animation when the gate fails and the ceiling is falling, and our line is, "What do we do now?!?"

How about something like, "Worf, looks like the gate is our only option." or "Worf, you look pretty strong, can you move that boulder so we can escape?"

"What do we do now" was terrible, even worse then something like, "We need to get out of here before the chamber clapses..."

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the mission and the enemy they brought back; while I enjoyed having Michael Dorn in the episode (and in the game over all) he seemed a bit stiff. Still, Worf was much better then Tasha Yar!

I like the ship and am enjoying flying it. (Even thouhg I am surrounded by them in STFs)

I hope they continue the same high quality and detailed environments in Season 8

Reply to Chris
Attilio (Owner) replied...
November 05, 2013 at 07:53 am

Exactly! Those dialoges would've been great. Hopefully one day they'll figure it out.

Reply to Attilio
kenminick (Member) said...
November 04, 2013 at 07:42 pm

Yes, "What do we do now?" was bad. But not as bad as the dismissive Captain Shon's, "make it quick." I'm not a fan of his.

I didn't have a problem with the flagships coming to my aid though. I always liked in TNG that even though Enterprise is the flagship, she was out doing missions like any other ship would. Plus, with gateways opening everywhere and the potential disaster level, I'm thinking you want to send your big guns in.

Reply to kenminick
Attilio (Owner) replied...
November 05, 2013 at 07:52 am

I think they write Shon like that since he's Andorian so they write his character similar to Shran from Star Trek Ent.

That's a fair point. I'd just like to see other ships and Captains be part of the story as well. STO is full of NPCs that we've met along the way so it'd be nice to see them again.

Reply to Attilio
Wonvertu (Member) said...
November 05, 2013 at 03:47 pm

This ship is relatively decent. Make a heck of a tank if you set it up right, but it feels like a strange mix of cruiser and science vessel.

I've quipped that it looked like a whale in space. Maybe it's what a Gekli turns into when it dies?

Reply to Wonvertu
tc10b (Member) said...
November 06, 2013 at 07:29 am

Anyone else notice that the trailer explains practically the whole story of the episode in almost the same level of detail without you having to play it?

The story was a little off, it almost felt pointless my character even being there at all. Perhaps it would have been better to have "assumed the role" of Ambassador Worf and played actually as him, with the appropriate VO, it would have been slightly more immersive from that perspective.

It could have ended with Worf giving a report or debriefing to your character and might have flowed better.
After all, it can be done with ships so why not ground characters.

Also, why does Shon's VO keep changing? He sounds very different for some reason.

Reply to tc10b
Nyxadrill1962 (Member) said...
November 07, 2013 at 10:49 am

I have to agree with you Attilio on the ending. Its almost an anti-climax. The last battle should have been as hair raising as the ending space battle in "Boldy they Rode". Even now I still find my backside being roasted in that battle when I re-run it :)

It would have been more of an accomplishment if that had been harder.

I too found Mr Dorns voice overs a little "stiff" but... it was still good to hear him :)

And as already mentioned it was WAY better than Denise Crosbys VO's. I still cringe every time I hear her VO on entering Tau Dewa and I hear her say "ancient beings" as if she reading a story to a 5 year old *shudders*

Reply to Nyxadrill1962
Camden (Guest) said...
November 10, 2013 at 01:18 pm

I cannot wait till Season 8 comes out. A space adventure zone that's great. What would knock season 8 out of the ball park is if there was two STFs that depended on each other A ground one and a Space one say you are on the ground you need a certain target taken out but only some one in space can do it. So the guys in the space STF go in and take it out yes it would cause a lot of lag for those with low FPS but that would make an amazing STF. And with the dialogue I wish they would hire writters that wrote scripts in the shows that would truly give STO more of a Star Trek feel.

Reply to Camden

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