Ah yes, more weird nose and ear...thingies
Deep Space Nine has been one of the more disputed shows in the Star Trek series. Some think that the constant political battles and internal struggles are interesting, while others think it's too close to real life. But regardless if you're fan or foe, you'll find a good third-person shooter in the form of The Fallen.
The story starts out with a distress call from another ship (doesn't it always?). The Defiant, the only mobile part of DS9, goes to investigate. After an away team is beamed on board, another ship de-cloaks and starts attacking the Defiant (doesn't it always?). From these humble beginnings, the plot unfolds with lots of turns through prophecies, temples, and some really bad guys called the Pah-Wraiths.
The game uses the Unreal engine, which turns out to be a good decision. Fast animation, complex models and cool looking levels are all made possible by the incredible engine. But you also have to give lots of credit to the artists. The various game environments, from the underground mining facilities to the wreck of a Starfleet Starship to Deep Space 9 itself, are beautifully modeled, right down to the burn marks and debris.
The Fallen lets you play as one of three characters - Sisko, Kira or Worf. Each has specific missions and sees the story unfold through a unique perspective. This adds replay value, since you'll want to play as all three to get the full picture.
The characters themselves look okay, though their faces are overly angular. Most of the character animations are pretty good, with plenty of jumping, grabbing, strafing and whatnot. There is only one major exception. The game advertises a lip-synching ability where the character's mouths move to match their speech. The resulting lip movement is odd and makes the rest of their body look like a mannequin. Oh well.
You'll probably recognize similarities between The Fallen and the third-person game that started it all, Tomb Raider. Indeed, The Fallen takes place in a third person view, and just like Lara, you run, jump, hang, target, strafe, push buttons, and solve puzzles.
However, the controls are more similar to a first-person shooter like Unreal Tournament. The default controls aim with the mouse and strafe with the keyboard. Surprisingly, the combination works really well for this game. This is probably in part because of the aiming reticule. You can now tell where you're aiming, and since you can lock on to enemies, you can run circles around the bad guys.
The coolest feature in the game is the tricorder. Have you ever wondered why Star Trek people always look at the little thingamabob whenever they go anywhere? Well, now you have an idea. When you take out your tricorder, you're able to locate the important things in the area, including medical supplies, enemies and important buttons. Centering the tricorder on a particular object gives plenty of info. For example, if you see a forcefield and can locate the generator that's making it, you can find out how to shoot your phaser through it (pitiful starfleet technology).
The weapons are a little less impressive than in other Star Trek games. They don't look bad, but they ain't gonna wow anyone. Your weapons include the normal phaser, disruptors and gravatic mines (okay, I don't know what they are either, but they make a big boom). There really isn't much strategy to using weapons - just shoot at enemies with the gun that still has ammo in it. Hehe.
The music is downright cool, sounding straight from some of the more dramatic Star Trek episodes. The music changes depending on what you're doing, so don't expect a firefight to sound like you're just exploring, or vice versa.
The other sounds are fairly standard, with phaser blasts, enemy yelps and screams, explosions, and all sorts of star trek beeps and boops. The voices, however, are sometimes questionable. Characters like Sisko, O'Brien and Kira don't sound anything like their TV counterparts, while Dax and Worf sound pretty close. The actual voice acting is at least competent, and the actors generally don't sound like they're reading from the script for the first time.
So the Star Trek series has created another above-average game. If you're a DS9 fan, this is a good one. Heck - even if you're new to the series, the game can be entertaining.