A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Star Trek's mission is to "boldly go" where no one has gone before, to explore, and to keep peace. The game, despite the amount of combat in it including player versus player combat, still espouses this mission. Players are saving humanity from the Borg, rescuing survivors, and rushing vaccines to devastated planets.
Positive Role Models
The game has a military/naval hierachy as does the TV/Movie series on which it is based, and the Admirals are who players will interact with in game. The iconic character, Spock (spoken by Leonard Nimoy) is in game to guide and congratulate players on missions accomplished. An irritatingly condescending emergency medical hologram also provides assistance.
Ease of Play
Even for frequent players of MMORPGs, there is a bit of a learning curve as players get used to this game's particular User Interface and the nuances of combat. There are two types of combat, space as well as ground. Most in-game missions have both parts.
Violence & Scariness
Based on the Star Trek franchise, players will shoot phasers, fight enemies, and destroy space ships in order to advance. There is no blood, but players and computer-controlled characters will stagger back when hit and lay face down when defeated. Bodies disappear after a few seconds. In space combat, players fire phasers and torpedoes and ships explode.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In the character creation, players can customize and over-exagerrate the female bustline, but costumes are conservative and cover most flesh. At most, female charactrs can wear mini-skirts like what was seen in the first generation Star Trek shows. There is some suggestive language in game mission text such as "I'll be your guide to . . . pleasures of the body" and "the pleasure goddess of Rixx."
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This is a teen-rated game and most players are adult. There is a default language filter, but with open chat, players can expect to see stronger words like "hell" and "damn" come through.
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Products & Purchases
The game developer has partnerships to offer players special in-game items if they purchase 3rd party products, but this is offered on the website rather than within the game.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
As present in the movies, in spaceports in the game, players will see references to drinks such as "Romulan Ale" and "Klingon Blood Wine"
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Trek Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) based on the popular Star Trek franchise. Kids will boldly go where no one has gone before, to explore star systems, examine space anomalies, and fight alien species, with a rather heavy emphasis on the combat. Parents also need to know that this game requires purchasing the software as well as a monthly subscription to play. This also isn't a game that a kid can stop playing, say in the middle of combat to have dinner, without consequences to their character or advancement. The game has open chat that can be filtered.
Is It Any Good?
Kids with an interest in Star Trek will find Star Trek Online compelling as they are instantly thrown into the action in the tutorial. In space combat, players direct their ships and are also controlling their weapons and shields, directing power to where it needs to go. As captain, players also direct their bridge officers and make use of their skills in engineering, tactics or science. They decide to boost phaser power or use powerful tractor beams to hold their enemies. Viscerally, it feels like you are living in the Star Trek universe. It is fun to command an "Away Team" which in the beginning, is filled up with red-shirt wearing "Security Officers" just like the original Star Trek.
There is a bit of a learning curve as there are two distinctly different combat systems to learn. Players can customize their uniforms and ships, and even determine what their alien race looks like and what skills they have, or you can pick a standard Star Trek race. Graphics and environments are beautifully rendered, and missions and events are accompanied by voice-overs. In key scenes and events, they are acted by Leonard Nimoy of "Spock" fame. Zachary Quinto (the young Spock) guides and lead players through the tutorial and missions as the Emergency Medical Hologram. Sounds of lasers and explosions are realistically rendered in combat that can be frenetic at times and which helps with the sense of immersion. This Star Trek Online game is more about war and similar to the later Voyager series than the exploration of the earlier Original and Next Generation series, but anyone even slightly familiar with the Star Trek franchise will enjoy exploring this game world.
Online interaction: Because the game has open chat and player versus player gameplay, kids may encounter negative experiences, but the game is structured to bring players together in open missions where they will work together to accomplish these missions, providing rewards commensurate with the effort each player puts in. The game also provides a default language filter and tools to report and ignore other players.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.