Star Trek Online: Beyond the Nexus
One of the major selling points of Star Trek Online is that it features voice acting from artists who appeared in the various TV shows and feature films. From Star Trek: The Original Series, Leonard Nimoy and Walter Koenig reprised their iconic roles, bringing Spock and Chekov to the game. Michael Dorn and Denise Crosby beamed in from The Next Generation, adding the voices of Worf, Tasha Yar and Empress Sela to several featured episodes. Chase Masterson and Aron Eisenberg came to us from Deep Space Nine to reprise their roles as Leeta and Nog. From Voyager, we have the talents of Tim Russ, Robert Picardo, Jeri Ryan, Ethan Phillips, Garrett Wang, Robert Duncan McNeill, Kim Rhodes, and Lisa LoCicero. Kipleigh Brown and Matt Winston from Enterprise recently joined the roster. The legacy of James Doohan was represented by his son Chris, reprising his father’s role as Scotty. And Zachary Quinto and Joseph Gatt from the Kelvin Timeline Star Trek film franchise have joined the ranks of esteemed Trek alumni in the game.
More recently we saw J. G. Hertzler reprise his iconic role as General Martok; a much beloved character among Star Trek devotees. However, this week we saw a milestone in STO as LeVar Burton returned as Geordi La Forge in the latest featured episode “Beyond the Nexus”. I must say I was surprised that Cryptic had managed to facilitate such an appearance, considering it has been discretely pointed out in the past that the cost of certain hiring certain actors is prohibitive. But, not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I duly logged into STO today to check out the new featured episode and see if Cryptic’s writers had managed to create a vehicle suitable for Star Trek favourite Geordi La Forge. I was intrigued by the concept of revisiting the Nexus that feature in the film Star Trek: Generations. On paper there’s a lot of narrative scope with such a violent, destructive temporal energy ribbon.
Sadly, “Beyond the Nexus” proved to be a squandered opportunity. The story is somewhat formulaic and distinctly average. During the mission, Captain Geordi La Forge and of course yourself investigate two starfleet ships that went missing while studying the infamous energy ribbon, the Nexus. It's discovered that both ship's crews have been taken over by a powerful psionic entity called Khaj'Buur, who has been imprisoned in the Nexus for unknown reasons. The story then becomes a rather linear adventure in which you have to rescue the crew and then defeat Khaj'Buur. Once this is done he surrenders and is imprisoned pending further enquiry. It is mentioned in the mission's conclusion that Khaj'Buur's wish to leave the Nexus is highly unusual, considering the realm surrounds you with the things that make you the happiest.
There are some positive aspects to “Beyond the Nexus”. Part of the story takes part on a Galaxy Class vessel, so traversing the ships interior and engine room is a big plus for fans of ST:TNG. As these assets are now in the game it was inevitable that Cryptic would make them available for purchase in the C-Store. Geordi also sports a Type 3 Phaser Rifle which is pleasing to see if you are a lore buff and like things canonical. The weekly rewards are not too shabby either with a three-item gear set on offer. And with regard to the story, although it is rather perfunctory, it does have a few subtle embellishments. The rogue holoprogram written by Ensign Barclay is a nice touch and raised a wry smile. As for Khaj'Buur, I suspect that he’ll feature in later episodes and his back story will be expanded upon. It is also likely that Captain Geordi La Forge has a larger role to play, in next years expansion.