Andy Naylor reviews the Star Trek Into Darkness tie-in video game Star Trek….
Star Trek the game is a co-op action adventure where you can play as either Kirk or Spock while the crew of the USS Enterprise battle the vicious Gorn as they try to save New Vulcan. It is set between the 2009 Star Trek film and the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness movie.
Star Trek games have a history of being quite poor. There is the odd notable exception, the Armada series for example, but generally they just never seem to be very good. When the demo video for this new one was released I was quite excited – it looked like a Star Trek version of Mass Effect, which let me tell you, is an exciting prospect. Even at the Star Trek Destination London convention I saw nothing to extinguish my hopes for the Star Trek game. Then, sadly, I played it.
It’s just not very good. The first thing you notice is that it looks terrible. Compare the characters and environments to Mass Effect or any well-made FPS and it just looks poor. There’s no excuse for it. It’s been in production long enough that it shouldn’t resemble something that’s barely above PS2 graphics. One example is when you enter the Vulcan science base, there’s a fire and smoke. Only it doesn’t look like smoke, it looks like a lake on the ceiling.
It is not even saved by the gameplay. It’s clunky and awkward without any hint of smoothness. That takes away the fun of playing games. As gamers we want a fun, exciting and addictive experience, and with Star Trek I just felt mildly annoyed throughout it. Simple tasks were frustrating and cumbersome; I couldn’t even muster the energy to hate it because, quite simply, it’s not worth the effort. There’s too many big areas within the game that the user should be able explore and find items that are simply empty. Whole rooms with little or nothing in them. I genuinely am puzzled as to why the effort was made to create them.
What I did like about it was the pace; it feels like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. Despite the empty rooms of infinite nothingness, the story does not let up. Boom, boom, boom! The story just rockets onwards dragging you along for the ride, and there’s no let up. It had the feel of the 2009 movie, and I loved the reimagined Gorn. Much more of a real threat than the ponderous villains from Star Trek: The Original Series. Also, the cast lend their voices and likeness’ to the game, so on that front some effort has gone into tying it up to the forthcoming Star Trek Into Darkness film. However, I found very little difference between using Kirk and Spock. Yes, Spock uses his tricorder, but you can just command him to do it as Kirk. Occasionally the characters split up, but nowhere near enough for you to be bothered to play through the game twice as each man.
The Star Trek game just has the stench of cheap movie tie in hanging around it. The quality of it is not very good, the enjoyment levels from it are minimal, and I’m a Star Trek fan saying that. You’re better off buying the Mass Effect trilogy and enjoying a set of games put together with a bit more care and effort. Don’t be fooled by how pretty the videos look for it. Don’t be fooled that they got William Shatner to advertise it with the Gorn. Don’t, for the love of god, spend more than £10 on this cynical and disappointing movie tie in.
Andy Naylor – Follow me on Twitter