Star Trek: The Video Game set between the 2009 film and the upcoming new one the story here has also been written with input from the Transformers duo.
Although it isn’t quite as absurd as the film it still revolves around an unlikely super weapon that the Vulcans have created for reasons never adequately explained – and which the reptilian Gorn have stolen in order to take over the universe.
Not only are the original writers on board but so too are almost the entire voice cast of the first film. They put on a good effort too, struggling with a highly erratic script that shifts from genuinely witty to Z-grade video game cliché from one sentence to the next.
We suspect Namco Bandai want everyone to compare this game to Mass effect, and it’s true that it does have a similar style of cover-based combat and some mild puzzle-solving and exploration elements. But there’s no character interaction beyond occasionally being able to sidle up to someone and have them recite a single line of dialogue.
Rather than Mass effect the contrived co-op action and bland third person shooting had us thinking more of Resident evil 5 and 6, except with sci-fi instead of horror and considerably worse graphics. Some of the backdrops are okay but the low resolution textures make the game look like a high res Nintendo 64 game.
Although the cover system often doesn’t seem to work, with enemies regularly managing to shoot right through obstacles to get at you, the gunplay itself is blandly competent. But the Gorn are uninteresting enemies, with little in the way of artificial intelligence, and despite the sci-fi setting the guns you get to use are unimaginative and underpowered.
You do have the option of stunning most opponents but we soon tired of the extra effort, as there’s little tangible reward for playing nice. Co-op can enliven even the worst of games though, and to be fair it’s also responsible for the best bits in Star Trek too.
That’s despite the game not having true drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, so that even when playing offline you still have to start a chapter from scratch if someone else joins in.
Most of the co-op tasks are asininely simple, such as two-player puzzle mini-games to unlock doors or tandem button-bashing to unlock doors. But there are a few flashes of inspiration such as a disappointingly brief section where you get to use a teleport gun to move each other about.
Oh, and least I forget there’s also an award-winningly awful section where you’re piloting the enterprise in what may be the most poorly explained mini-game sequence ever.
You’re controlling some sort of turret on top of the saucer section, except there’s a weird bullet time effect as well, and shields that you have to flip on manually and only last a few seconds.
It’s quite awful but unlike the rest of the third person action at least we didn’t notice too many bugs. On the standard levels the game gives every impression that it needed at least another couple of months in dry dock, with glitchy animation, screen tearing, and obvious object clipping.
Cut scenes often don’t seem to trigger properly and the game has the most hatefully useless computer-controlled partner since epic Mickey 2. We were going to say your computer ally was stupid but more often than not what he’ll do is simply run off in the opposite direction or not follow you, but actually that’s perfectly sensible behaviour and we advise any human player to do the same.
- Resembles the film.
- The faces look good.
- Entertaining Kirk/Spock banter.
- Co-op is always fun.
- Poor graphics.
- Bland, generic gun-play.
- Lots of bugs.
- Incredibly poor artificial intelligence.
- Sluggish overall controls.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether this is a Star Trek game or not, or whether it feels like the new films, the old ones, or just army of Two with a different hat on. What matters is whether it’s a good game or not and we’re afraid that the game only affirms to the latter.
We give the title a Rating: 6 out of 10 overall in our full review of the game.