With the second Star Trek film since the reboot due to hit the cinema circuit in just under a month (in South Africa), hot properties usually get a video game to accompany the release – and Star Trek in no different. To go with the Into Darkness film (which launches today in the US), Namco Bandai Games released the game, simply titled Star Trek to go with it. But is it worth playing?
What we like about it
Star Trek has always been one of those franchises that you can rely on for some great action and a gazillion cool intergalactic toys. The game is set within the current Star Trek universe, but the events in the title takes place between the two current films.
It’s always great to see that the actual actors have signed up for their likeness and voices to be used in the titles, as it just makes the game is bit more believable. From Spock, Scotty and Kirk, all the main actors from the film can be seen in the title – with varying degrees of accurateness.
As players progress through the missions, they will gain XP points, which can then be used to upgrade a number of things (such as weapons and abilities) throughout the title. While it’s not absolutely compulsory to do so, it does make things slightly easier.
Whether players opt for Kirk or Spock, each one will have their own abilities, as Spock often makes use of Star Trek staples the Vulcan nerve pinch and mind meld, while Kirk takes a more direct, shooter approach.
The game also features the ability for players to drop-in and out of the gameplay, which allows two players to complete the same game as co-op partners. It does make the missions a bit easier, and it’s always fun to play with a friend.
But as exciting as that might seem, not everything in the title has been designed for the better.
What we don’t like about it
As cool as Star Trek might be, there are a number of elements that just brings down the overall gaming experience. The graphics are incredibly below par, and developer Digital Extremes could have done a much better job at convincing the audience of the authentication of the franchise.
The graphics seem almost dated, with screen-tearing and glitches ruining the fluidity of what could have been a good game. Graphics are the first thing that gamers notice, and if there look like they have been lifted out of a game from 2009, it doesn’t bode well for anybody.
While the fact that players can assume the role of either Spock or Captain Kirk is pretty cool, there is actually no difference in the gameplay. It’s very disappointing, as there is no replay value – both characters’ campaigns are identical. The only difference in character are the weapons they use, and some special moves.
The gameplay also leave a lot to be desired, as it doesn’t run as smooth as it should. A number of very cheap deaths will await players, as the characters sometimes just don’t move as expected, or objects will get in the way of a clean getaway.
And while the film’s actors agreed to have their voices cast in the game, it feels forced and unnatural. There are many instances where players will realise that the actors are reading from a script – which ruins the experience.
Star Trek has to be one of the most disappointing titles of the year so far, and while the title had a lot of potential, the nagging glitches, poor graphics and sloppy gameplay drags it down.
The title would have been fantastic if Digital Extremes adopted a RPG-like Mass Effect approach, where players fully embodied the role of Kirk or Spock, and had fight their way through a free-roam universe.
But with all of that said and done, there might still be some Star Trek fans out there that will pit some enjoyment out of the title. It’s not all horrible, but if you like sub-standard graphics and clunky controls, then this is right up your alley.
Our score: 5/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor