Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Reviewed by: Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Star Trek was a title I went into with very little hope of it being good, because it is a dreaded “movie tie-in” to Star Trek Into Darkness. However, what I was hoping for something akin to Beenox’s 2012 tie-in to “The Amazing Spider-Man”, a video-game that, while not perfect, delivered an entertaining distraction and a relevant continuation of the film’s storyline. Unfortunately, this was not what I got, as Star Trek feels like a half-baked, badly-built and horribly-written excuse for a video game, and in the next several hundred words, I will tell you why:
From the beginning mission on Helios-1, a Vulcan space station orbiting a sun exceedingly closely, you will have very little connection to the characters in-game – Kirk is a stereotypical macho-man, who is both dismissive of his crewmates and is chauvanistic towards another Vulcan character, T’mar – an important scientist in the Helios-1 Project. Spock is expectedly dull and emotionless, and although he does make interesting observations throughout the title, there is only so much a character with repressed emotions can contribute to a stale and lifeless cast.
A lot of the movies’ actors play bit-part roles in the title, such as Simon Pegg as Scotty, Anton Yelchin as Chekov and Karl Urban as Bones, but their inclusion is largely superficial, as they often have very small parts to play and ultimately contribute very little to the title’s narrative. Other than that, the title has a very predictable storyline, an experiment gone wrong results in invasion from a previously undiscovered militant species known as the Gorn, who steal a doomsday device which you as the player must now retrieve. The story will not keep you immersed in the title, and unfortunately gets stale and predictable very quickly.
The gameplay, unfortunately, does not keep you much more immersed in the title than the story does, as it just is not very good. The title plays like a simple cover-based Action/Adventure game with light platforming elements. While this might sound like a basis for a strong title, Star Trek doesn’t do it justice and, as with the storyline, it gets stale very quickly. The main reason for this is it does many things in a very average or below-average fashion. Shooting is inaccurate, and shots will often exceed the boundaries of your crosshairs, which frustrated me to a massive extent. Platforming and taking cover are simple elements which are clunky in practice, and on your first few attempts, you will notice a delay before Kirk or Spock take cover and may jump in the wrong direction from ledges.
The AI is woeful at times, and often enemies forget to attack you, run into cover pieces or get stuck under flights of stairs or similar objects. Alternately, friendly AI occasionally gets stuck against obstacles and cannot get to where you are dying to heal you. Both of these occurrences are frustrating and happen all too often. For each locked door, hackable turret and intricate puzzle in the game, there is a mini-game – Most of these are quite simple and get boring after a while, but these can mostly be delegated to your AI Companion (if you’re playing alone). Ultimately, the title amounts to about 12 hours of gameplay, which I will never get back – although if you manage to enjoy it, this is not bad for a movie tie-in.
Graphically the title looks surprisingly good – when everything is dead still. The character models represent their respective actor/actress equivalents quite well, and the environments look quite detailed and well built. However, the animations are an absolute eyesore; Actions from characters look inorganic and unnatural, movements look jerky and the alien movement looks more abnormal than extraterrestrial. However, the graphical performance, along with the sound, is probably the best aspect of this title – even if that is not saying much.
Audibly, the title is fairly well-done. Characters are voice acted by their film actor, weapons sound futuristic and authentic to their origins and footsteps and other sound effects are satisfactory for their roles. There is nothing really stand-out about the sound, as the characters are limited by some poor writing, and there’s only so much good sound effects can do. The soundtrack is not something that really stood out for me, although I definitely can confirm it doesn’t detract from the experience.
The title has a co-op multiplayer aspect, which basically replaces your AI teammate. This does present a pleasant alternative to playing with a dense AI teammate, but it doesn’t add much to the title. Other than that, there is very little replay value other than achievements or trophies, as there are no collectibles and the campaign is very linear.
Star Trek had the potential and the basic framework to emulate Mass Effect in terms of gameplay. However, some glitchy and clunky gameplay, a boring and unrelatable pair of protagonists and an incredibly linear storyline prevent it from being anything of the sort of calibre that Mass Effect achieved.
A decent graphical performance, which is pulled down by some horrible animations and an acceptable, but not outstanding sound performance go some way to redeeming the title, and while there is technically nothing wrong with the title’s multiplayer, it adds nothing to the game, which underperforms in most other aspects. Star Trek will most certainly not live long, nor prosper in my memory, and it cements my status as a fan of Star Wars.
Lasting Appeal: 2.5/10