When it was announced that and expansion pack would be coming out for my favorite first person shooter, I was overjoyed and ecstatic. I wish I could have stayed that way while playing the game. I believe that I am spoiled a bit when it comes to expansion packs. I don’t feel that anyone can top Blizzard in that respect. Ever since I played Brood War for the first time, there has been no expansion pack that could live up to my expectations. That stands true after playing the EL: EXP, but I was able to have some fun with the game.
EL: EXP is best suited as a free download, for the main fact there isn’t much added to the game. Sure, now you can hear Jeri Ryan’s real voice, and not some stand in actor, in the new voice pack, but that is the only new part of the voices. When playing the expansion pack, you get the same annoying dribble you got in the full game. To set things strait, you get one new mode, some new holodeck missions, and some new modes of play in multiplayer.
The Virtual Voyager mode was touted as a way for you to interact with over half of the decks on the starship Voyager. Unfortunately, it seems that everyone has locked their door, and all you end up doing is running around hallways like John Bobbitt looking for that “special piece” you seemed to have lost. Realistically, you get to find nine “special pieces” known as action figures and when you find them all, guess what happens? Absolutely nothing. So then you decide to take a little trip to the holodeck and test out some of the new missions.
You get to choose from a Klingon compound that isn’t really any fun to play, a Captain Proton mission take from Lt. Tom Paris’ make believe 1950s character, a freakish garden setting, and a shooting range. Are these any fun to really play? No, the main game is so much more exciting, and longer. These missions just trail on and make you wonder why exactly you are doing this when you could be clipping your toe nails, or watching a Charlie Sheen movie.
Then you move into the multiplayer modes, and you realize that people don’t really play Elite Force for the multiplayer mode. Sure I have logged a couple of all-nighters with the original game’s Capture the Flag mode, but I don’t play Elite Force for multiplayer, and that is where it seems Raven spent most of it’s time. The new modes of play are fun, but they are just reincarnations of other modes from other games, and you can find the little differences that might make them new to you in a way, but they are more of the same.
Graphics and sound wise, the Quake III Arena Engine is still as beautiful as ever, and brings the surroundings of Voyager to life extraordinarily. The sound is top notch, for being recycled from the first game. This further proves the point that this game is more of the same. I think it would have been wise to release this add-on pack much like Westwood did for Nox, as a free download for the people who actually purchased the original game.
I really liked Elite Force, and I enjoyed what there was to the Expansion Pack, but I can’t really recommend it for anyone more than the die hard Star Trek fan with a system to run the game. It lets you experience you wildest dreams of walking and interacting with the crew of a starship, but in the end, you feel as though there should be more to the experience. Only pick this one up if you fall into the hardcore ST Fan, or super diehard first person shooter groups, for everyone else, the game will come off as a disappointment.