There have been some decent Star Trek games for consoles and we have also had an MMO, so does this movie tie-in have a good chance to join the list? It is time to boldly go where no man has gone before.
I have been a fan of the sci-fi series since Deep Space 9 and Voyager, however the latest JJ Abrams’ reboot of the films have made me like Star Trek and the franchise even more. With the next movie now in cinemas I thought I would get my hands on the latest video game, but sadly this was not going to be an experience I was going to enjoy.
The game kicks off by choosing between Captain Kirk (Chris Pines) or Spock (Zachary Quinto) and if you are playing co-op then your friend will choose which the remaining character. The co-op experience allows you to drop in and drop out of the game at any time whilst playing online, and to be honest, playing online in co-op is the best way to go for this game instead of relying on the game’s AI companion.
Carrying on from the 2009 film, the adventure continues for the Enterprise crew, but this adventure is nothing to be happy about. The game does have that Star Trek feel to it, which has been helped by the vocal talents of the film’s own actors and beeping sounds on the bridge of the Enterprise. Sadly this is when all similarities end because there is the actual gameplay to deal with.
The gameplay starts off great and really pulls you in from the start, but then things get rather appalling. You have a device called the Tricorder, a handheld scanning device that can reveal hidden pathways, activate panels, and uncover all sorts of plot devices to move the story forward. This device is used a lot throughout the game and can slow the pace of the game down. One puzzle you come across has you moving a dial to match the sound waves to unlock a door, with each player having their own dial to turn. Also be prepared to ask your partner to help you pry open a lot of doors, and by prying opening doors I mean by bashing the X button a lot.
The combat is very repetitive and can become boring very quickly. Covering and shooting whilst running along very long corridors can start to annoy you. The graphics are not up to par with other AAA games and the character models are out of place, especially with the lip syncing when Spock talks. There are also some bugs in this game (that’s not including the Gorn), where the co-op AI can get stuck in the corner or won’t move forwards after you call them; I had to restart one checkpoint just to get past this bug until another bug showed up. The buggier the game gets, the more tedious the experience.
The cover system is the worst I have seen in a game. When I wanted to move to another cover area my character would get stuck and could not move, making me an easy target for the enemy AI and I was killed in no time. “I can’t take any more of this captain” is what I hear from Scotty, well that is defiantly right. I could only get though half of the game because of the bugs and the overall gameplay was that bad. If there is time left I might just come back to this game or leave it in the pile of shame.
The younger kids will be easily pleased with this game, but for me it was something else. Having been a fan of the series for a while now I thought this game will be a reliable experience, but sadly that was not to be expected. There is no replay value to this game and once the credits start rolling you think to yourself “Why did I go through all of that?”
I give my heart out to Digital Extremes for having their shot at the Star Trek games, but this one is not the best game they have released. It feels like the game was rushed out to meet the release of the Summer film and let fans carry on with the Star Trek experience at home. I had high hopes for this game, however not even JJ Abrams could save this game’s faults. It is sad to see Namco Bandai go this low with this title. Putting the game’s weakness aside there are some nice points about it, with the soundtrack and voice acting, but the game’s bugs make them so less entertaining to a point of heading into a silent black hole. I will not be setting the Phasers to Stun with this title. More like “Beam me out of here Scotty!”