Also On: PS3, PC
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Digital Extremes
Players: 1-2 (co-op)
Star Trek fans have been waiting with bated breath to be beamed into their favorite console or PC to, use the pun lightly, be engaged once more. On the heels of the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness film comes the video game, and while not based on the upcoming movie, it’s more of a side story that features the cast and crew of the new film series. What’s more, you are not getting a generic Kirk, Spock and the gang like you saw in games like Men In Black or Bad Boys before it, but you are getting likenesses and voice work of all the players from the rebooted movies including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and even Simon Pegg as Scotty.
In this new and original story you are battling against the Gorn, who are re-imagined for this game and infect their foes with venom that can poison, cause hallucinations and even kill. It is up to the crew of the Starship Enterprise to take them out before they decimate populations and ravage planets. You are provided of course with the same 23rd Century technology and weapons to help take on the Gorn. You take on the role of either Kirk or Spock, but the entire game is set with a co-op flavor even if you are playing alone. With all this production value, decades of history to pull from, and the developers of Bioshock 2 and The Darkness 2, this should finally be a Star Trek game that gamers will finally not only be happy about, but flock to…right?
Unfortunately, while this Star Trek game had all the potential to be a Trekkie’s dream, in the end the game is a complete nightmare. I’m not sure if it is because the developers were rushed to get the game to shelves in time to coexist with the new film, or they ran out of money, or just gave up to work on something else, this game feels like it was released before it was actually completed. It’s a shame too since if it had a few months more of tweaking and development time, it could have been so much more than the fans were given. As is the game is an incomplete, rushed, and buggy mess that is not only remotely enjoyable, but barely playable.
This is unfortunate as upon booting up the game I was honestly riveted about the quality of game I was about to experience. I witnessed the voice acting talent, the great musical score, and the visual recreation of the characters which were not half bad, albeit a bit dated in the facial animation department, but I had definitely seen far worse. My brain was even able to forget the opening scene that not only controlled poorly, but abruptly cut from scene to scene like a badly edited film. After the prologue ended the game seemed to jump up in production value as it unfolded the story to come while being told by all the actors and players of the Star Trek reboot. As I was beamed to my first destination I thought, this isn’t so bad, that is until roughly 20 minutes in and I started to see them…bugs…and I’m not talking Starship Troopers here, I’m talking the ugly blemishes of the video game world. They reared their ugly head in such moments like using cover spots that didn’t provide cover and you took damage anyway, characters continuing to walk or run after I had let go of the analog stick, players being stuck in walls or environments yet still able to help me or get to the next destination by just disappearing and showing up where they needed to be, and even trigger events that don’t happen when you trigger them, and much much more. These are just a few samples of instances, that while not game killing, are pure examples of testers not doing their job before releasing it and ruining what could have been a great experience.
Bugs aside, Star Trek just doesn’t play very well either. The majority of the game plays like an Army of Two/Gears of War clone and does very little to expand on those games, but even worse takes nothing from them to build as a solid game play experience. The phaser fighting is poor and repetitive, the cover system doesn’t really work, and the player control is loose and clumsy, especially in the Uncharted style levels. The only aspect of game play that works is the scanning, and for the looting fans out there, you will do a lot of scanning of the world, enemies and environments to try to get that 100 percent achievement.
With that said, I will give the game props for switching the level design and game play styles up from chapter to chapter, which at least keeps the game from feeling stale. Besides the firefights against the Gorn, you will hijack enemy battleships, jumping in zero G onto moving spaceships, and even swim though subterranean waterways. Each level looks unique and the level designs aren’t half bad and dare I say quite imaginative and does the series proud. On the other hand, the game is so painfully short at under the 4 hour mark that you barely have time to feel a sense of boredom either. What’s worse is the game is centered around the game’s co-op feature that can be played online or off, but doesn’t really move the idea anywhere other than taking the single play experience and increasing it to a tag along adventure. There is very little co-op’ing to do other than prying doors open or lifting to higher levels, or the ever so exciting simultaneous button pressing to open a door.
Overall, other than maybe a rental or picking up one day in a bargain bin, there is very little I can say to recommend this mediocre attempt with a big budget license. Again, I can’t imagine how the game would have fared with a few more months of work, and possibly coming out with the new film’s Blu -ray release instead. As is, not only is Star Trek a disappointment for the fans, but to release this unpolished and buggy mess makes gamers want to beam out of this game and into another. The developers would have been better off doing the fans a favor by delivering a Vulcan nerve pinch and put them out of their misery. At least they still have a kick ass film to look forward to, right? As for their video game hopes and aspirations, this game’s result will make fans want to scream “Khan!”