Eric Kelly On May 17, 2013 at 11:30 am

Star Trek The Video Game Fighting Gorn PreviewIt seems odd that a game based on the Star Trek reboot that has nothing to do with the movie that inspired it, was released years later, and had its release back to coincide with the sequel film. Star Trek by Namco Bandai Games most certainly boldly goes in a direction that one could expect in a game with such a development cycle would.

Star Trek, unlike the movie its name is based on, is an entirely self contained adventure in space which also separates it from the upcoming film, Into Darkness. The USS Enterprise is at a space station that is working on a device to help restore The Vulcan’s home planet by fixing up a new one. Things go wrong when the over ambitious Starfleet officer Daniels unleashed a space rip (think wormhole) that contains a hostile lizard race called the Gorn. They then snatch the device and plan to use it to conquer the known universe. Now it’s up to Kirk or Spock to save the day. The game let’s you pick between the two to get through the game. There really isn’t much of a difference between the two, as the story plays out in much the same way. The only real difference is that each character has slightly different abilities for the phaser upgrades. These upgrades can be purchased with experience points earned by performing various actions in the game. The game can be played co-op or solo with an AI partner.

Gameplay consists mostly of third person shooter segments, with a space battle and some free fall gliding/rocketeering parts for a bit of variety. There are also climbing and minor platforming segments. You can pick up secondary weapons like stun and plasma grenades to use on the opposition. The Gorn can also infect friendlies and they will turn on you. They must be subdued non-lethally if you want the extra experience though. These chances for bonus experience points are called Commendations, where the game will give you optional objectives where you can choose to go stealth, do non-lethal takedowns of friendlies, or find alternate routes of entry through a level. Unfortunately, the stealth parts of the game are very difficult to do largely because of the game’s myriad of issues. While none of these glitches and bugs are game breaking, they make the game less enjoyable and less immersive. Things like grabbing onto invisible ledges, falling off of platforms due to the physics suddenly going crazy, and being unable to interact with objects forcing checkpoint restarts are just a few of the bugs. More odious is the terrible AI scripting. Many times through the game, players will often find themselves restarting checkpoints because your AI partner decided it was a good idea to run out in the open at get shot. Or run after an enemy far from your position for no reason, or just taking off for no reason. You can order them to hold positions, but it does little to mitigate the issues and it doesn’t always work. Also, the cover based mechanics are a bit wonky at times, and it’s confusing as to when the game wants you to hold down a button as opposed to just tapping it. Other things involving dialogue script screw-ups, but those are just goofy and benign.

Other facets of gameplay include using your tri-corder to scan the environment in a manner similar to games Arkham Asylum, Assassin’s Creed, and Metroid Prime. Scanned objects not only award extra XP but also get a data file entry that can be viewed in the game’s lexicon. Machines and doors among other objects can also be hacked for bonus experience. Some of these things have mostly inoffensive mini-games to achieve success, some of which are a little hard to do as they aren’t explained well. The actors from the film for the Enterprise crew reprise their roles to lend to the game’s voice talent, so that’s nice. The music is recycled from the first reboot film though.

In conclusion, this is a game that, while not having many original ideas, at least puts them together in such a way that makes sense given the nature of the franchise. Or, at least it should have. The various bugs and glitches seek to diminish enjoyment. Hopefully a patch is forthcoming. Outside of that, it’s a perfect rental game, though you could do better.

Gameplay

Third person shooting game that has a few different gameplay switch-ups.

Graphics

Polished models look great with the up-scaling.

Sound

Nice soundtrack, but it’s recycled material from the Star Trek film reboot series, Voice talent from film cast is present.

Overall

A licensed movie tie-in game which is an average shooter plagued by a litany of issues.