Surprising no-one (considering its low subscriber rate), Star Trek: Online has gone “freemium”. It’s the now-common deal: you can pay the $15 a month (or a $200 once-off lifetime fee) and be unrestricted, or pay nothing and have a slightly smaller inventory, limited mailbox, lower priority in the login queues, and so on. You can find the full feature matrix here.

What is surprising, Star Trek: Online isn’t bad at all. In fact, depending on how much you like the space battle system, you might find it rather good. Every player gets their own ship, which can be customized and upgraded, and a handful of bridge officers that unlock various abilities during space combat and who accompany you down to planets during away missions. You can feel the creaky Champions Online engine under the hood, but it’s been sufficiently upgraded to give it some extra zip and visual quality. Some ships, species and nice-to-haves require real money to get, but the base experience you get for free is double what you can expect from most other MMOs that have gone freemium.

The client is a 4GB download, with an additional 400MB of patches at the time of writing. You can get the client from the official website.