J.J. Abrams reinvigorated the Star Trek movie franchise in 2009 with his updated take on the classic sci-fi saga, and with a sequel coming in a few weeks the question then became if the same could be done for the video game version. The answer is an astounding…”meh.” The Star Trek game features decent acting, acceptable combat, and enough Star Trek nostalgia to make it passable. The issue becomes the game’s inability to stray from the generic third person standards it apes, and the lack of vision to try anything new to…ahem….”boldly go” where no third person shooter has gone before.
The gameplay of Star Trek is a mix of Mass Effect and Uncharted. The shooting has a slightly Mass Effect feel to it and I generally had few complaints there as the act of firing and aiming was never too horrible. Outside the shooting, however, the game has some wonky sections. Randomly thrown in ledge traversal (and issues with grabbing said ledges) along with environments that are sometimes hard to navigate due to clutter and poor level design present the majority of the issues with the gameplay itself. There are a few puzzles thrown in, none too complicated, that you’ll find easy overall. Hacking mini games really pull the game down though, as they rarely present a challenge (once you learn how to actually do them) and there are quite a lot of them throughout the 11 hours or so.
The two biggest downfalls of the game are bugs and innovation (or lack thereof). So often I’d run into an issue where a co-op action wouldn’t work right so I’d have to re-load a checkpoint (which thankfully aren’t too bad) or walk into a room and see multiple enemies just standing in one spot until I fired a shot. The game just does not do anything new. It apes systems from a host of other (better) games including a boring upgrade system that doesn’t really matter, cover mechanics that are wonky at best, and gameplay objectives that rarely amount to more than “go there, do this, grab that.”
So what did this game actually do well? In this situation I wouldn’t necessarily say “well” I’d say “well enough.” The game has a decent little story that doesn’t get too convoluted, it has some solid acting (along with some terrible acting. Typically I found Chris Pine to be solid, but everyone else varied.), it looks (most of the time) good to very good, and it throws in a lot of references to the source material that Trek fans will find interesting. The issue is it’s just not all that exciting to play. It didn’t pain me to play it and I had some enjoyable moments but I found myself generally getting bored after an hour or so.
Overall Star Trek does not live up to the hype surrounding the series or the movies. The game takes the third person shooter genre, throws the standard tropes in a barrel and just picks a few mechanics out of it without much success in their implementation. It has some cool stuff for Trek fans, including some collectibles to find, but outside of that it’s just average every way you look at it. You shouldn’t get frustrated playing the game, and you might actually have a bit of fun, but you may begin to wonder why you aren’t just watching the series or movies instead. To sum up with a terrible Star Trek reference, buying this game would simply be “illogical.”
Star Trek Gameplay