Whenever there's a big budget film on the horizon, you can be pretty sure there will be a supporting video game. It makes sense from a marketing perspective, but over the years these games haven't exactly garnered the best of reputations. It seemed as though this might not be the case with the latest Star Trek game. After all, not only does it features full likenesses from the film's cast and a unique story, it also has a competent developer behind it.
Choosing to stay within the same universe, but not mimic the story in Star Trek: Into Darkness, Star Trek: The Video Game sees Kirk, Spock and their crew tackle The Gorn, as they're looking to take advantage of some Vulcan technology.
What started off as a routine distress call from a Vulcan space station quickly turns into something much more severe, as it turns out that the Vulcans have created a piece of technology called the Helios device that can create Rips. If in the wrong hands, it means that ships can effectively appear unannounced from anywhere.
Throughout the story, you'll visit many different locations as Kirk and Spock attempt to thwart the Gorn. If anything, the narrative is the strongest element of the game. It closely follows what you would expect from its big screen counterparts without ever feeling disconnected. Each of the core crew members is faithfully represented and they each have their parts to play. Even the more mundane of objectives feel like they serve a purpose in the greater scheme of things, something which is a rarity.
Almost every other part of the game suffers from a lack of development. To say that the core gameplay functionality is bland would be an understatement. Whether you choose to play as Kirk or Spock, you'll find that the whole experience feels very wooden. The different elements might not look too bad, but when it comes to how everything moulds together, it's just not up to modern-day standards.
Given the fluid experiences we've been treated to in recent years, it's disappointing to play through a game that feels so canned. If you want to do a roll or go into cover, it all feels so staged - nothing feels natural or fluid. And that's not even venturing into other elements such as platforming or the attempted space combat, where the experience hits a new low.
When delving into the actual combat, there also isn't much joy to be had. Enemies exhibit rather poor AI, often seeming rather unaware of their surroundings. The same can also be said for your partner, should you choose not to play with someone you know. In fact, playing with someone else you know might be the only way to perhaps gloss over everything this game does in a sub-par way.
It's a shame there aren't many more positive things to talk about with Star Trek: The Video Game. The developers clearly tried, introducing things like an upgrade system based around performing certain actions. However, even this doesn't seem that necessary and in some cases it's more of a hindrance. It's clear that some of them assumed you'd be playing with a real person, because why would you bother unlocking an ability that overcharges your companions weapons when they struggle to even hit anything? It's just a waste of time, you're better off just shooting them yourself.
Visually, Star Trek: The Video Game is pretty decent. All of the characters do clearly resemble their on-screen counterparts and the inclusion of their voices adds to the authenticity. It also features a pumping score that's befitting of the franchise. However, there isn't much more to praise in this department. Many of the visual effects are poor and the animations just aren't up the standards that we've come to expect.
When it comes to replay value, there's very little. You can play through the game on a higher difficulty and try to collect all of the information via your tricorder, but that's about it. Unfortunately, Star Trek: The Video Game isn't an experience that keeps on giving.
Star Trek: The Video Game turns out to be another dismal entry into the film/video game sub-genre and it's one that fans of the Star Trek and gaming would do well to avoid. Despite the pedigree of Digital Extremes behind it, there isn't much to recommend aside from the story. The gameplay mechanics are very dated and everything about the experience seems as watered down as possible. There are small glimpses of what might have been here and there, but that's just not good enough.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
|» The story flows well.|
|» It features full likenesses|
|» The score feels right at home.|
|» Gameplay is pretty shoddy.|
|» Nothing seems all that natural.|
|» Very little replay value.|