Is this the game Star Trek fans wants, or just another hurried film tie-in? Find out in our review.
Published on Apr 26, 2013
In the grand schemes of things reviewing a videogame is not the hardest job in the world, but by forcing our way through Star Trek it certainly felt like it.
If that hasn’t painted a picture for you, let’s put it this way: Star Trek is a bad game.
Unfortunately it’s not so bad that it inadvertently becomes funny, it’s just incredibly, painfully, woefully dull. It’s the kind of dull that forces a resigned shake of the head, a quiet sigh or an emphatic roll of the eyes.
And, of course, if you like Star Trek you’ll probably get just a smidgen more entertainment value out of this game than your average gamer.
But by that virtue if you also like endless corridors, phoned-in voice acting, unrestricted bugs and the various other ills that often plague a film tie-in then you’ll likely get more out of Star Trek than your average (and sane) gamer.
At its most fundamental Star Trek is, if nothing else, a passable third-person shooter. Its mechanics are solid enough, albeit lacking the weight and punch of the likes of Gears Of War or Uncharted.
But the numerous bugs and AI issues put a blockade on any of the enjoyment you might’ve had. Dying because your AI partner struggled to get past a pair of barrels, for example, is just frustrating.
Star Trek's Co-op Gameplay
And speaking of AI, it’s likely worth pointing out that this is intended as a co-op game. You’ll pick either Kirk or Spock, and a friend will pick the opposite.
But what this really amounts to is a series of blocked doors that you can only force open with the assistance of a partner (read: spam Square over and over until the animation stops).
There’s little difference between the two characters, too: early previews suggested Spock would be a stealthier equivalent to Kirk, but for some inexplicable reason that was dropped in favour of equal footing.
There are just as many stealth sections as combat sections, and while they are optional it’s hard to overlook just how abysmal they are. Inexplicable detection – and just as often the opposite, complete ignorance – means stealth is a hit-or-miss affair.
If you’re playing in single-player then ‘luckily’ you won’t need to worry too much about your AI partner during these sections. Not because he’s particularly skilled in the arts of stealth, but that your enemies simply won’t see him.
Even when he races through the level – past any patrolling enemies – just to catch up with you.
The Cast Of Star Trek Into Darkness
It’s probably worth noting that the one quality that is included in Star Trek is its voice acting: during the cut-scenes the same voices you’ll hear in the film sound as you might expect them to, and that’s brilliant for fans of the latest Star Trek films.
But this quality is only present in the cut-scenes. At every other point it seems the voice acting – or worse still, the dialogue – has been phoned in, hurriedly put together as a level’s design has been finalised.
It’s often painful to hear these Hollywood voices bark comments without any real context – as though asking if we’re injured really needs any context.
Brilliantly, when playing as Spock, if you issue a move command for Kirk you’ll utter ‘I will follow your orders, Captain’. Except, you know, Spock gave the order.
This is the kind of problems that are inherent throughout Star Trek. As much passion as there might have been for the universe, that same love and care doesn't seem to have gone into making a game worthy of the name.
Star Trek Is Buggy
The amount of bugs you’ll encounter throughout is beyond acceptable and while many of them won’t spoil the game for you – such as using a ladder with your entire body glitching through the metal – others will require a checkpoint reset thanks to some hidden trigger not properly activating.
And even the things that do work – like the numerous hacking mini-games – are never explained, leaving you to fumble around the controller until you discover the solution yourself.
Which would be fine, if the hacking mini-games didn’t take too long, were even slightly entertaining and didn't appear with far too much regularity.
Yet these are just the problems of the game; we’ve spoken little of its repetitive, corridor-driven gameplay.
Star Trek has you follow a string of different corridors and even when it decides to break from these traditions it doesn’t do much to make up for it.
The zero gravity sections, for example, provide an initial intriguing element, until you realise the camera isn’t built for such a shift in dynamic and your character struggles to manipulate the new terrain without the odd glitch or two.
Is The Star Trek Game For You?
This is about as average a game can get and that is sadly the most positive thing we can say about Star Trek. Coupled with its myriad flaws and problems, Star Trek is a hard game to recommend.
It’s just so mind numbingly average that even when it isn’t breaking it’s not doing much to entertain.
There’s a bit of Mass Effect here, Uncharted and Dead Space, but as you might expect they're only lesser versions of their respective parts.
Maybe you’re surprised by this, or maybe even disappointed – but sadly this is not the Star Trek game fans wanted, and it is not a third-person shooter that gamers will get any value from.
Version tested: PS3
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Star Trek is a bargain bin purchase for fans of the franchise and little else. It's average in every sense of the word, but even that is marred by a number of flaws and bugs.