Star Trek: The Video Game

Susan: The Science Museum was a highly appropriate venue to hold a preview event for the upcoming Star Trek video game, even more so since to get to the actual event you had to walk through a space travel exhibit as well as some metal walkways straight from sci-fi. Myself and Duncan were excited about this – a game that sits between the two JJ Abrams films, retains the look, feel and love of the series and one that actually looks really fun? Lieutenant Suhura and Ensign Dunkov reporting for duty! We both watched a presentation showing the gameplay and snippets of storyline before getting the opportunity to greedily grab controllers. There was the opportunity to play as either Kirk or Spock and with the two constantly together, there was a lot of hilarious and typical banter while they adventured, in keeping with the spirit of the original series and continuing from the reboot film. The enemies in this game are the Gorn – not the hilarious, rock-wielding kind but a new, sleeker, gun-carrying vicious type with an ulterior motive and a strong dislike of our heroes. There is plenty to keep fans new and old here, from the aforementioned character chatter to the Enterprise being open for exploring. It feels like a labour of love, for sure.

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Duncan: I’m a massive Trekkie, so I was pumped to warp in and give this game a shot. The moment I sat down and was presented with the choice, Spock or Kirk, you’re damn right I was going to jump right into the Captain’s boots! I’d heard beforehand that Kirk’s gameplay focussed much more around the run-and-zap aspect of Star Trek, which I was absolutely all for, and in that department it did not disappoint. The weapons in the game really felt the way they always looked they would in Star Trek, Kirk’s Phaser especially, which is something no previous Star Trek game has really ever been able to deliver. The developers even made sure to have both a ‘stun’ and a ‘kill’ function on the weapons, that is a really authentic touch for me and other hardcore Star Trek fans.

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Susan: Playing as Spock in one particular demo level wasn’t a great deal different from playing as Kirk. In the demonstration, Spock was shown creeping around to Vulcan pinch enemies, a much more stealthy approach to gameplay. However, in this level there was no sneaking – the environment was falling apart and there were strange, hovering alien things attacking which meant there was no time to do anything except shoot. Spock’s weapon’s ‘stun’ function gave him the opportunity to turn the attacking creature into a floating ally. Useful! Also useful is the presence of the Tricorder, which acts as both a marker pointing you in the direction of your current objective as well as a hacking device or scanner. In one particular level, you had to use the Tricorder to switch on the fire suppression system and save a couple of burning crew members – the problem was locating the damn thing. Crispy fried Ensign, anyone?

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Duncan: The gameplay itself was quite varied, although we were limited to set levels to play through. The game was a well-paced mix of cover-based shooting, puzzle-platforming style sections, and exploration. Only once did I ever find myself stuck on a certain puzzle in a room, but the two people on either side of me also got stuck on it so I didn’t feel too defeated. The platforming, while frustrating at times, was very well put together and did capture the hectic, frenzied feeling of clambering across debris that occur frequently in the Star Trek universe.

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Susan: It was pretty hectic and frenzied, definitely. There was a constant feeling of movement, time pressure and space peril. In the first section we played, there was a chain of events: Prepare for shuttle evacuation! Go get that crew! Hey, we can’t leave behind our friends on the other side of the space station! Oh wait, you can’t go that way, you have to go around the outside! Watch out for the burning solar flare energy thingies of death! You get the idea. Neither of us minded though because it was a lot of fun to run between cover, working together with your partner to pause and shoot the space station’s ring mechanism to stop it from spinning so that you could proceed.

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Duncan: If I were to say one downside to the experience I had with the game, it would be the lack of story displayed. There was very bold talk prior to playing that Star Trek: The Game’s narrative was written by some of the same writers as the two movies that came before and after the game’s plot, but very little of it was told. I know the main enemy, and I am aware of the tension between a few of the key characters, but that’s as much as was displayed. Star Trek, at its core, was always written around a strong plot revolving around a central issue in our society at the time. Though it’s up for debate how true this still holds with JJ Abrams’ reboot, I was hoping to see more of this idea explored in the video game. I can’t say for sure it’s not there, in fact I truly hope it is, but at this time I can’t vouch for it either way.

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Susan: However, we both left in agreement – we are excited about Star Trek: The Game. It plays like Star Trek, and most importantly, it feels like Star Trek. We only played the game for a limited time, but Duncan says with his hand on his heart and communicator that this is the best Star Trek game he has ever played. I haven’t had the pleasure of playing any other Star Trek game, but this is certainly a good place to start and only hypes me up for the movie more – this, after all, is a story that takes place after the first film and before the second so isn’t quite a movie tie-in game but is an original adventure in the universe I have grown to love. That’s the Shatner’s honest truth.






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