Review: Star Trek: Tactical Assault (PSP & NDS)

[image title=”stta” size=”thumbnail” id=”467″ align=”right” linkto=”” ]My newest favorite game has to be Star Trek: Tactical Assault for PSP by Bethesda Softworks . Star Trek games in the past have been really hit and miss. Some have been Resonable, but most have been pretty woeful. Bethesda have taken the Star Trek games franchise to a completely new level, ushering in an age where Star Trek games are fast-paced, action-packed, and fun.

Tactical Assault is also available for the Nintendo DS, and each platform has it’s own bonuses. The DS, for example, makes extensive use of the touch screen for sheild placement, weapons controls etc. The Sony PSP, on the other hand, has a widescreen format and slightly sexier graphics (bump mapping, anyone?).

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Tactical Assault is a bit of a misnomer – It’s not that tactical in the traditional sense (i.e not turn-based or isometric). It’s more of a hard-and-fast space sim. Based in the original movie era (what some would term the ‘golden age’ of Star Trek), the game offers plenty of great starships to play with.

In the single player game, you are a young Starfleet captain fresh to his first command – a Federation frigate, destined for quiet border patrols and months on end of nebula scanning. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the Klingons make a surprise attack on the Federation side of the Neutral zone and a major war begins.

You are thrown into brutal battles, rescues and the irritating tedium of trying to attack a cloaked enemy vessel. Battles are crisp and quick, with no boredom risks. But it’s not always the best tactic to run in with guns blazing – sometimes you can use diplomacy to talk your way out of hostile situations.

Each decision made in the single player campaign allows the storyline to branch slightly. A great example is when you are following a mystery ship across the galaxy. You’re hot on his tail, but then your science officer loses the warp trail. If you guess the right system to warp to next, you get an extra little tidbit about who’s behind a spate of surprise attacks. If you warp to the wrong system, you avoid getting your arse kicked by another mystery ship.

During your gameplay, you are rewarded with new commands as the game continues; from the Miranda-class light cruiser (think Khan’s ship in the second trek film), Constitution-class heavy cruiser (the Enterprise from Undiscovered Country) all the way through to the Excelsior-class (erm, think the Excelsior). Each ship has better weapons and sheild capabilities, although manouverability takes a bit of a slide when it comes to the larger vessels.

Once you’ve finished the Federation campaign, you can try your hand at being the bad guys (the Klingon empire), or you can take on your friends in wireless head-to-head skirmishes.

The Graphics of the game (and in this case I’m referring to the PSP version) are pretty stunning for a handheld gaming platform. At some points they’re a little jagged, but that’s purely a limitation of the PSP – no antialiasing to play with here. The initial cut scene is stunning, and brings goosebumps to the skin of die hard Trek fans.

Sounds are also pretty much spot-on. Rousing orchestral music keeps things feeling nicely trekky, and weapons sounds are so good you’d think you’re watching one of the original films.

All in all, I love this game. Fantastic graphics, awesome sound, great gameplay and excellent replayability.


(Press N and P to navigate to next and previous images while viewing gallery)


  • Based on the films of The Original Series. Space is the final frontier, Kirk is in command, and the Klingons are the bad guys. Play through the era that started it all with this classic Star Trek game.
  • Real-time combat involving multiple warships. The true test of a Captain is his ability to act under fire. Every second counts as you attempt to out-maneuver enemy warships and expose their weaknesses while protecting your own.
  • Two full campaign modes. Become a hero of the Federation or a champion of the Klingon Empire in two full-length, independent campaigns.
  • Branching missions with multiple outcomes. You are in command. As the Captain, it is up to you to make the best decisions for your crew. With a multitude of paths to choose from, you will decide the direction and ultimate outcome of your campaign.
  • Head-to-Head wireless multiplayer. Test your skills and tactics against the most challenging opponents you’ll find…your friends.
  • Five playable races. In Skirmish and Multiplayer modes, command ships from the Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Gorn, and Orion fleets. Each fleet has its own combat philosophy, strengths, and weaknesses. Tactics that lead to victory for one race will result in disaster for another.

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