The last episode for the STO Featured Series co-starring the Romulans and Remans wrapped up recently, and I had a few thoughts that I felt like sharing. The general gist is “they got some stuff right, and some stuff…not so much”.
Let’s look at the positives. It felt like a final episode in an arc. The principals all showed up, including your character. The fight in orbit was all right, but the ground portion took up the bulk of this episode; being able to call down security forces from your ship to engage the Romulans as you progressed was a great touch, and having attacks from your ship in orbit was solid gold (however, see below). The final confrontation with the Tal Shiar had a nice trek feel as it concluded, giving a feeling of solemnity for a moment before pushing right to the next phase of the episode.
The final fight in space was a humdinger, too; a Scimitar-class ship with the thalaron weapons you’d expect, complete with combat cloaking. It was a rougher fight than most space battles, which made it fun; seeing those long green lines indicating power-up by the ship was a good indicator to use evasive maneuvers as you’d imagine you should-to get the heck out of the way of that thing’s firing arc. The end left the player with some questions (to be answered someday, undoubtedly), and the epilogue showed that while the battle was over for the Remans, they’re not out of the woods entirely yet. I was satisfied with the Reman boff as the “limited” reward, and while I haven’t messed with the cloaked tractor mines yet, I think they’ll be worth experimenting with.
But there were parts that seemed a bit dodgier to me. The catwalks on the ground map are clearly designed by the same kind of folks who brought us “Rage of the Wookiees” in SWG; when you try to jump over the rails, you find yourself hitting an invisible wall. It’s obvious that the purpose is to make sure you don’t go off the rails in completing mission objectives, but to say that it was irritating doesn’t begin to cover it. It’s not like it was a pathing issue-they evade that entirely by having your bridge crew stay on the ship. (For the record-I don’t mind this. There’s more to a ship than the bridge crew, and it’s hardly the only time in Trek lore that a captain has been on his own.) I am not a fan of invisible walls-and that takes a notch off of the episode a bit
The appearance of Sela was also iffy to me; the head of the Romulan Empire coming in now? It was a bit last minute, it seemed. Why would the Empress of the Empire come to personally deal with a situation in a ship? That’s not her job! The Romulans aren’t like the Klingons who are battle-obsessed with glory (the only reason why I could handle Gowron helping lead the Klingon fleet in a DS9 episode or two-and he wasn’t that good at it). This doesn’t kill anything for me on that front, though, only because of the foreshadowing in the previous episode: there was clearly travel through a…let’s call it a gate to prevent too obvious spoilers, which had one end on the ship that Sela was on. The leadership characters both Fed and KDF seem to think that Sela was being kidnapped; I’m not so sure. And the prospect of a followup at some point is the only reason why it’s not a complete “WTF?” moment.
Finally, there’s the trophy. Why Obisek would reward the captain with THAT particular trophy when he had absolutely nothing to do with that particular episode from which it was derived is beyond me. Hell, I’m not even sure how he even KNEW about that particular event. (And who knows what happens if you didn’t ever do that minor event-it’s easy to miss if you just go to the waypoints and don’t explore in that particular mission.) Here I’m expecting something that was…well, Reman in nature, and instead…this. It’s not a bad trophy, but it felt like it didn’t belong when it came to representing the episode or the Remans in general. I’d have gone with a miniature model of the Vault or something like that. Ah well; at least it’s something.
The Romulan series as a whole was a pretty satisfying one, even with the missteps (in my opinion). It brought us shuttles, it brought us new melee weapons, and a few unique items not seen previously in the game. Taken as a whole, I’d call the “Cloaked Intentions” series a success. For that matter, the entire “feature episode” program has been a success in my eyes. It’s a pity that we won’t be seeing more (likely) until after Season 4 hits (and little indication that this is going to happen soon), but with the Foundry possibly hitting by month’s end (at last), there could be some quality content coming from players. (And the other kind, too, honestly, but let’s keep the optimism going.)