(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 1.5 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 0.5 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 4 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 1.5 Stars
- Bottom Line
- Skip It
- Street Date:
- April 23rd, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Mike Flacy
- Review Date:1
- April 27th, 2013
- Game Release Year:
- Namco Bandai Games
- Digital Extremes
Looking to cash in on the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, publisher Namco Bandai Games and developer Digital Extremes teamed up to produce a Star Trek game that's designed to bridge the story gap between 2009's Star Trek and the new film. Basically, the Enterprise and crew have an encounter with the Gorn that have appeared from a rip in space near New Vulcan. The two sides clash over a Federation device called the Helios and end up in a battle for power. All of these events take place prior to the opening scene in Star Trek: Into Darkness where the Enterprise is visiting planet Nibiru.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Sort of a hybrid between a platformer and a third-person, cover based shooter similar to the Uncharted series, Star Trek puts the player in control of Captain Kirk or Commander Spock. Players can choose which character to play, but cannot switch between the two characters when within a level. However, players can call in a co-op partner, either offline or online, to play the other character. Otherwise, the opposing character is controlled by A.I. Players have a choice of blasting their way through levels with a variety of standard weapons like a machine gun, shotgun or sniper rifle or simply attempting a more humane offense with phasers set to stun. You can receive a commendation for working through levels for using stun, but it's simply not as fun.
Sadly, the A.I. is incredibly stupid, both friendly and unfriendly characters. During combat, my partner would continuously avoid cover and stay far behind the player's character. More often than not, you can race through levels and the game will have to reload your A.I. controlled partner as if it was keeping up the whole time. Fortunately, enemies are just as moronic and don't really offer much of a challenge to anyone that's played a third-person shooter before. My favorite example of their stupidity happened when a batch of Gorn enemies completely forgot they were battling Kirk and stood around waiting to be taken out. Glitches like that are just one example why Star Trek: The Game feels more like an effort to cash in on a franchise than make a fantastic game.
Many of the movement mechanics simply seem broken. There were multiple points in the game were I took cover on the wrong side of a barrier due to funky controls. The co-op puzzles that broke up the action weren't much better, but they were fairly basic button mashing events that didn't require a bit of thought to traverse. If anything, it felt like a waste of time. The one high point in the game was a sequence in which Spock and Kirk beamed themselves around to various platforms using handheld transporters, but that was still linear by design.
Actions within the game allow the player to build up experience points to unlock upgrades for weapons and equipment. It's a fairly straightforward system that helps the character traverse levels more quickly. The Tricorder, for instance, can reveal enemy locations and provide a mapping tool to reach the next objective.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Easily the most distracting aspect of the visuals, lip-syncing is laughably poor in Star Trek. Words simply aren't synced up to the mouths of the characters that are speaking, thus the cutscenes look absolutely ridiculous. In addition, the developer skimped on the facial animations of all other characters in the game beyond the main cast. Beyond that, character animations are quite stiff and there's an insane amount of clipping issues with wandering around the environment.
Camera angles can be a pain to manage, particularly in co-op. There are certain points in the game where you can swing the camera around to the point where you are staring through the body of Spock or Kirk. However, there's not much to look at on alien ships. While the Enterprise looks fairly polished, the remainder of the levels start to get extremely repetitive and bland. You will notice level textures are reused over and over around two to three hours into the game. Sadly, all the lens flare in the world can't hide the poor design choices. Level design is also extremely linear; much of the action takes place in a series of corridors.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This may be the only praiseworthy point of the game. All the characters within the game are voiced by their on-screen counterparts; Chris Pine is Kirk, Zachery Quinto is Spock, Simon Pegg is Scotty and so on. Spock's voice works particularly well, only because his monotone, emotionless delivery works with the silted line delivery. It's as if all the lines were recorded separately and the audio designers simply pieced them together as if no one would notice the difference. Beyond the voice work, the music matches the new franchise and the sound effects are fairly on point with devices and weapons in the Star Wars universe.
There's no adversarial mulitplayer component within Star Trek, only co-op play with an offline or online partner. However, the game does not support player drop-in in the middle of a level. If an online player leaves before the end of a level, your progress is simply halted and reset to the most recent checkpoint. With more advanced co-op systems in place in other games, this seems like a huge step back in regards to functionality. To complete the game, you are looking at about 8 to 10 hours of gameplay.
The biggest problem of this game is that it's simply not entertaining, even to a diehard Trekkie. The presentation is dull, the visuals are horrific and the gameplay feels broken and tedious most of the time. There's really no amount of money that you should spend on this game on any platform. Avoid it at all costs and hope the next developer takes the Star Trek universe more seriously.
- Dolby Digital 5.1
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