Star Trek: The Video Game (PS3) Review
Title: Star Trek: The Video Game
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games/Paramount Pictures Interactive
Developer: Digital Extremes
Genre: Action Adventure/Third-Person Shooter
Rated: T for Teen
Star Trek: The Video Game was a game I was pretty excited about when I previewed it at E3. I love the Star Trek franchise, and a new action game where you could play as Captain Kirk and Commander Spock for the first time in basically two decades (since the Star Trek CD-ROM games with the original cast) was an exciting prospect. Based on statements from the developers, I really believed this would not be your typical rushed movie-licensed title. So here are the results, with Star Trek: The Video Game, a new game based on the current movie franchise from Paramount Pictures set between the last movie in 2009 and Star Trek: Into Darkness currently in theaters. The movie boasts an all-star voice cast featuring the entire main live-action movie cast reprising their roles, original music from movie composer Michael Giacchino, and a story developed by the movie screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. So almost two years after my first E3 preview of the game, how did this thing turn out?
Star Trek: The Video Game features an original story set between the two movies directed by J.J. Abrams. Kirk is now captain of the Enterprise and Spock is his first officer. The crew answers a distress call for a space station for New Vulcan. The lead scientists of the mission, Surok and T’Mar have developed a McGuffin called the HELIOS device which has immense power. It’s basically this game’s version of the Genesis device, so its storytelling very much in the spirit of the franchise. The device has been stolen from a malevolent race of reptilian aliens called the Gorn, originally seen in the classic original Star Trek series episode “Arena.” The Gorn’s intentions with the device are less than peaceful, so the Enterprise has to get it back.
Star Trek as a game had a lot potential which it unfortunately does not live up to. Despite my hopes that this would not be a rushed movie-licensed game, it definitely appears that way on the surface. The game is consistently very buggy, glitch, and full of problems. The game clearly lacks an extra layer of polish it sorely needed. Frequently throughout points of the game, I encountered problems such as climbing and scaling objects that aren’t even there. Enemies do the same. Textures and graphics consistently cut out and turn pixilated and blocky. And worst of all is the second player AI. If you play the single-player campaign, you play as either Kirk or Spock, with the other being your AI partner. The computer AI for your partner is extremely rough. Constantly throughout the game my partner is getting shot at killed, not listening to me when I tell him to move, or generally just messing up all my missions. While playing either as Kirk or Spock is cool, neither really offer much in the way of a varied gameplay experience. Now that’s much of a big deal in itself.
The basic third person, cover shooter gameplay actually works pretty well for the most part. Once the battles get going and you are fighting the Gorn, they are pretty fun. Getting to use phasers and Starfleet weaponry is a lot of fun. The Tricorder is basically your all purpose device throughout the game, and I think it’s one of the coolest aspects how you can use it to scan areas, equipment, species, and various flora and fauna. The rest of the gameplay is exceedingly troublesome. Climbing and jumping is extremely rough and sometimes downright unresponsive. It’s maddening trying to get to that certain ledge. And again, there was a sequence during the game where I latched on to an object in midair. Also, I witnessed sniper Gorn creatures doing the exact same thing. From the start of the game, a rushed sequence that looks like it was meant to let you test out the gameplay and maybe have a quick tutorial by giving you a peak toward a later part of the story through the end, this is game is a rough, herky-jerky experience. The game does have drop-in/drop-out two-player co-op gameplay. After trying it out, it works pretty well for the most part. The only issue is that some of the checkpoint restarts are cruel at times.
The graphics and environments for the most part look pretty good. We get to see and explore a lot more of the Entperise which I really like. So we see more of the officers’ quarters, engineering, the corridors, the turbo lift shafts, and the shuttle bay area. The Enterprise is nicely represented throughout the game. The various alien worlds, New Vulcan and the Gorn homeworld also both look very good. This is marred however by some glitches which cause the textures to crap out. Character models and graphics look good for the most part. Facial animations leave something to be desired. The game looks like it was rushed to the shelves before it was finished regrettably. The redesigned Gorn do look really cool and they all have weapons of their own you can pick up and use.
The game does feature an all-star voice cast. The main crew of the Enterprise from the new movies all return in their respective roles here, including Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock. The script and voice acting are all well done and work very well within the spirit of the new movies. The interplay with the crew and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) over the Comms during the missions were probably my favorite parts. Giacchino, the composer for the last two movies, also made new music for the game which sounds great. The new movie theme and pieces he created specifically for the game sound awesome and suitably epic. But what I especially like the most about the game is that the game gives you more of a sense of the developing friendship and camaraderie between Kirk and Spock. Near the beginning you see a humorous scene of the two playing Tri-Dimensional chess. It’s the type of scene I almost wish made it into Star Trek Into Darkness since it fits right in.
Besides the shooter gameplay, there are some sequences where you essentially get to do combat on the Enterprise. The sequences are a bit of a letdown since you only really man the guns. In addition, the sequences are so rough and chaotic it was hard to even pickup on if what I was doing was even working. Throughout the game you encounter various puzzles when you use your Tricorder to hack various devices. The idea is interesting enough, but some of the puzzles had such maddeningly unresponsive controls that it inspires one to literally maim your controller and console. When you know how to solve a puzzle it shouldn’t take twenty minutes to solve because the device isn’t listening to your analog stick commands.
Besides one or two player, the game lacks little in terms of replay value. There are some additional, hidden collectible items you can find. Scanning certain items will yield more XP points which can be used to upgrade your weapons and equipment.
– Solid original story in line with the new movies.
– Good voice acting featuring the new movie cast and a great soundtrack featuring Michael Giacchino’s awesome themes.
– Some nice environments and you get to explore a lot more of the Enterprise.
– The game is filled with problems, glitches, and bugs.
– The graphics consistently crap out and look unpolished. Facial animations look rough as well.
– Second player AI works terribly.
– The game plays very rough. Puzzles and climbing sequences are frequently problematic and clunky.
Overall, the game had some good potential, and it’s not the worst movie-licensed game I’ve ever played. But it doesn’t live up to that initial promise and excitement of the demo I first saw in 2011. If you love the new Star Trek movies, this probably works best as a rental title rather than a full buy.
|Graphics||7.5||Some good environments and graphics, especially for the interior of the Enterprise. Unfortunately the game suffers from frequent graphical glitches and texture loss.|
|Gameplay||5.0||Co-op works well and the shooter gameplay is generally good. The exploration and climbing parts are extremely rough and problematic though, and the player two computer AI is really bad.|
|Sound||9.0||The game features a great soundtrack composed by Michael Giacchino plus the movie cast all reprising their roles. One-liners and interplay with the movie cast is a lot of fun.|
|Lasting Appeal||5.0||The game doesn't offer a lot in terms of replay value since the Kirk and Spock campaigns are both basically the same. There is not much else besides some other collectibles and hidden items to find.|
|Fun Factor||6.0||The game shows a lot of potential in almost delivering a quality Star Trek action/adventure, the rough execution just constantly hampers it.|
|Overall||6.5 [ Average ] legend|