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Sam does the easy thing—standing by while the three men are shot, one by one. The final man scurries up the wall in vain before rifle fire drags him back down to the ground. I wonder aloud if the game has anything to say about the real-life atrocities that—as we sit on plush couches playing videogames on Ubisoft’s massive HDTV—are happening in the real Congo, thousands of miles away. The ongoing war there has caused the greatest number of casualties in any conflict since World War II. Gerighty’s defenses kick in.

Does Davis see parallels with Mad Doc’s last game, Empire Earth II? “Legacy really isn’t an RTS,” he responds. “The battles take waaaay more time than a skirmish between similar RTS unit counts. Each of these starships is designed to take a pounding, repair, escape, and dive back in. ” But don’t rule resource management entirely out, either; it just occurs between missions, based on command points earned in battle. “Ships are treated like characters in the game,” With over 60 ships and four playable races, Legacy lets you witness the building of the Federation Starfleet and impact its evolution.

The camera zooms in— we can see the man’s red eyes pleading with Sam not to shoot. We can hear his gagged, desperate yelps. Sam pulls the trigger. It’s disturbing. It’s creepy. It definitely pushes buttons. By playing to the strength of gaming—the audience’s ability to play a part in the story—the scene sidesteps the usual pitfalls of bad scriptwriting and voice acting. It just gives you the real, raw moment. This is something the series tried before, with less success, in Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow.

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Computer Gaming World (July)

by Kenneth

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