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Review

Star Trek The Video Game Review

  • Game release: April 23, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Star Trek The Video Game is a mess of bugs, glitches, and thoroughly uninspiring shooting.

'

The thing about Star Trek is that it has never really been about the action. Character drama and a continuing quest for knowledge have always been the show's raison d'etre over phaser blasts and exploding spaceships. Well, at least they were until J.J. Abrams got his hands on the property. And it's Abrams' action-packed, lens-flare-infused take on the Star Trek universe that forms the basis of Star Trek The Video Game, a homogeneous and vapid third-person shooter that reduces the inimitable Kirk and Spock to the role of gun-toting foot soldiers. Frankly, they deserve better.

It's not that the idea of a co-op cover-based shooter is inherently a bad one for Star Trek--even if it is a tad unimaginative--but the execution is dire. The plot sees the Federation under attack from the Gorn, a reptilian race featured in the original Star Trek series. They've been given a modern makeover here, turning from campy, rubber-masked creatures into a bunch of generic snarling monsters. They've somehow mustered the brainpower to open rips in space, and it's your job to journey from New Vulcan to the Gorn homeworld to stop them.

That involves being led through starbases, across dusty planets, and along the corridors of the Enterprise, hunkering down behind some conveniently placed cover, and shooting the living hell out of bad guys. There's little of that famed Federation diplomacy at work here: if it moves, you better shoot it. Then you move to the next room and shoot some more. This quickly grows tiresome. Aside from the jarring sight--even for the series reboot--of Kirk and Spock blasting monsters in the face with a phaser-powered shotgun, the shooting isn't that exciting.

The weapons all feel a little weedy, despite some nice "pew pew" sounds, and the Gorn suffer from some terrible AI and glitches. They often get stuck behind walls and fail to notice you shooting their compatriots, even when you're standing right next to them. Character animations are woefully bad, making it look like you're controlling some weird animatronics action figure, while your attempts to take cover often fail to register, leaving you at the mercy of the Gorn's laser fire.

Context-sensitive attempts to open doors or press buttons sometimes fail to activate, terrible signposting and waypoints often leave you with no clue where to go, and at times, your AI co-op partner disappears or gets stuck running into a wall. If that happens before you reach one of the tired co-op actions, such as prying a door open or giving your partner a leg up, then you've no choice but to restart from the last checkpoint. It's simply maddening. These co-op issues are resolved when playing with a buddy online, but despite a recent patch, matchmaking is still flaky, with connections often dropping out.

Some attempt has been made to expand on the corridor-based shooting, but the ideas are a poor mishmash of those from other games. For instance, you can try to complete each level using stealth by tagging bad guys with your tricorder and sneaking around them or by performing a silent takedown. Unfortunately, thanks to the inconsistent AI, the dodgy cover mechanic, and your flaky AI partner, trying to do so is far more trouble than it's worth.

Then there are the climbing sections that borrow heavily from the Uncharted series, offering up glinting sections of walls for you to awkwardly lurch your way along and platforms for you to leap across. The controls just aren't cut out for such endeavours, though, with the sloppy jumping making it difficult to complete these sections. There's also a slow space battle where you take control of the Enterprise's phaser turret, as well as hard-to-control underwater sections, and a level reminiscent of Portal where you're given a teleportation gun and must move your partner past obstacles.

None of these scenarios are particularly fun, and because they're poorly executed, they feel like an afterthought, rather than an integral part of the experience. The rudimentary experience-point system fares a little better, allowing you to upgrade some of your basic abilities, such as the strength of your shields and the power of your phaser. You can even hack turrets so they fire on the enemy, and jam weapons remotely. They are neat touches, but you're never pushed to use these abilities, either by the narrative or by the shooting itself, which remains very much a rote process throughout.

Star Trek's saving grace is the characters, who not only bear the likenesses of the film stars who play them, but have their voices too. Of particular note is Simon Pegg's Scotty, whose thick Scottish accent and penchant for panicking never fail to amuse. There's also some neat back-and-forth between the cold, logical Spock and the charming Kirk as they exchange quips between shots. Kirk even manages a cheeky chat-up line or two along the way.

Still, these are but small wins for a game that never does the licence justice; it's a by-the-numbers shooter that just so happens to have the Star Trek name attached to it. Its numerous bugs and linear missions make it frustrating to play, and the story never grabs you like a good sci-fi adventure should. Even the most devoted of Star Trek fans will be hard pressed to find something to like in Star Trek The Video Game: there are simply too many glaring problems.

'
The Good
Good voice acting from the film cast
The Bad
Dull shooting mechanics
Bugs and glitches frequently interfere with gameplay
Terrible enemy and co-op AI
Full of borrowed ideas that aren't up to scratch
By-the-numbers story
3.5
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Discussion

487 comments
fieryphoenix68
fieryphoenix68

I just recently finished playing through this post-patched PC game with a friend and have written a review. We both think the game is underrated and enjoyed our foray into the Star Trek universe. Keep in mind that most of the reviews you encounter about Star Trek: The Video Game were written just after the game was released before the developer had a chance to come up with a patch. So keep that in mind when reading about countless bugs and reviewers saying they were unable to finish the game in co-op mode.


If you really like the new Star Trek movies and the main cast then this game is offering you something no other game can. The main cast have lent their likeness and voices to the game.You get to play as either Kirk or Spock and go on an epic mission doing amazing things in the pursuit of reptilian aliens who pose a great threat to the universe! 


Some of the highlights for me were watching Spock through the scope of my Star Fleet Phaser rifle and picking off the enemies around him as he went to activate a bridge. Swimming through subterranean waterways together. Flying through the air wearing wingsuits and being thrown into an arena initially weaponless and then be forced to fight Spock in hand-to-hand combat! Though there are only several weapons they are pretty cool. 


Having said all that I can't wholeheartedly recommend the game for two reasons. The first is that it is a polarizing game. Many enjoy it, many don't. The second is because it still has bugs though they didn't end up spoiling the game for my friend and I. Below are two of the bigger ones..


* In the first encounter with the Gorn if Kirk was the first one to go up the ladder the player will suddenly find himself at the bottom of the ladder looking up and unable to play and Spock fights the Gorn alone. If Spock goes up the ladder first the game continues on normally.


* We found that if you go through three checkpoints on the Gorn mothership  toward the end of the game and resume play on another day the game takes you back to the start of the mothership incursion completely ignoring those completed checkpoints. So give yourself a leisurely two hours to complete this part of the mission in one go.


If you are an easy-going, fairly uncritical gamer that doesn't mind playing linear games and you like Star Trek consider trying it out. It's only $14.99 at Steam at the moment.


Andrew Burgon

Project Fellowship


downcore
downcore

Stay away from this boring game! and play your ME again

adrian07ch
adrian07ch

Imagine a Mass Effect 1 style RPG in this universe. But we won't see this, because it's cheaper and less time consuming to throw a crappy shooter to the fans, at the same price.

Steakface
Steakface

This is why Gamespot is such a joke. This game is criticized for using "borrowed" ideas and gets a freakin 3, yet you throw 7s, 8s and 9s at every QTE-infested sequel and shooter who's publishers pay you to advertise here despite being practically carbon copies. Shameful, disgraceful journalism.

mandosn
mandosn

I played a while and I liked a lot. This review is not fair. There are no bugs that I could notice altough the caracters are a little clumsy. The game is similar to Mass Effect, but I find that good. The missions are interesting and the storyline is linear, but that's ok too. The game is good. Could be better, but not as bad as the reviews makes it.

Pepeseb
Pepeseb

It saddens me a franchise as good as Star Trek is taken down with I would say "limited resources" in great hopes for in many ways further profits.

In the meantime, I watched some player demo, I read reviews, and total I litterally and subjectively did not buy it.

There is a saying that in my opinion would stick well with franchises big screen to games.

"You need to spend to receive" and that is true again litterally and subjectively. It is true because movie franchise already transported and moved the viewer; therefore, I do not want to play a Star Trek with phasers all time out phasering everything that moves nor becoming passive long period of times and too often.

The co-op mechanics, yes why not. I would be willing to swallow this but aside from bugs in game, the co-op only grows tiresome very, very quickly and you want to avoid heavy repetition!

I hope game companies will figure that out someday. Although and meanwhile, we wait for a Star Trek game to come out...

Bytesnap
Bytesnap

Ever since Klingon Academy I've been waiting for a Star Trek game which can be described as "Good". After 13 years, the wait continues...

VintAge68
VintAge68

Judging by his "by-the-numbers" reviews I will never understand how Mr. Walton became a Senior Staff Writer on GS, honestly. But I guess true Star Trek fans --including me-- will like the game nevertheless.

theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

Star Trek won the ''Derivative'' emblem for being a Mass Effect clone in 99% of the time. As a new people also cloned the old USS Enterprise for a new SR1 Normandy, ST staff felt entitled to re-cloning back it as a marketer strategy or by pure act of revenge by right. Startrek deserves much more than a buggy co-op game i think, and a better and original gameplay.

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

I'm gonna buy this based purely on spite.

A bad space-based shooter is a good space-based shooter almost automatically given they dont' do those anymore!

XCyberForceX
XCyberForceX

LOL!  Nice ending to the review..  Crash and burn!  LOL.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

He may have pointy ears...but it is still Syler.


mahasktiman
mahasktiman

Games based on movies are just MEH....

lowkey254
lowkey254

Any game that looks like it should be a Digital Download game should never cost $60 bucks.

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

Will we ever get a good Star Trek game?

wildamnesia
wildamnesia

My expectations were lower than this so I'm surprised ((raises left eyebrow))

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

"The game doesn't do the Star Trek Licence justice"

Well, it has something in common with the J.J. Abrams Movies then

MysteryJ0ker
MysteryJ0ker

Blasphemy! Everyone knows movie-to-game releases never are bad!

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Oh Noes a movie franchise game that sux, who didnt see that coming.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@Steakface The game didn't get low score just because of that; It was buggy and so boring. I'm no hater, I played the game before I comment.

wavelength121
wavelength121

@Steakface Ah yes, so shameful, so disgraceful! Cry moar. It's just a game review website, and there is always a review to explain their reasoning. Every game is different; one game with quick-time events can be decent, another not. Shocking concept, I'm aware. Now wipe away the tears and tilt your head back a little farther so we can all see up your nose you arrogant SOB.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@mandosn It's a very bad joke to compare Mass Effect to a boring, repetitive, buggy game like this.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

@VintAge68 Really true star-trek fans will like the game. I think you'll find true star trek fans prefer games that do the licence justice and frankly they haven't been doing the licence justice since the reboot, star trek used to be a hell of a lot more than shooting aliens in face with phasers that have been remoddled to look more generically gun-like. Add in the bugs and I can't see any true star trek fan enjoying this garbage.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

@Justforvisit BAM!

I gotta say, I never got into Star Trek. None of the series. Didn't enjoy them, there was something I didn't like about them.

Sat down with a friend and watched the 2009 Star Trek film, for the first time, the other week. I now look at the Star Trek series in a far more favourable light!

robo37
robo37

@mandosn

"a boring, repetitive, buggy game" well now you say that the comparison sounds about right.

VintAge68
VintAge68

Misusing the license is the usual argument against all movie-based video games, I guess.
Unforgivably gun-like looking phasers being used to stun and then temporarily take out some bad aliens... hmm.
Well, I am a Star Trek fan since my childhood but a video game 1:1 based on the original TV series could at best be a comedy today, I reckon.

externalpower
externalpower

@Shanks_D_Chop @Justforvisit  JJ Abrams took everything Gene Roddenberry created and flushed it down the toilet. Decades of storytelling erased in favor of a ridiculous story full of plot holes and characters who are a parody of who they were. It was a good sci-fi movie but it wasn't Star trek.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@robo37 @mandosn Just because Mass Effect  is better than every game you love doesn't mean you have to bitch about it. :P

wavelength121
wavelength121

@VintAge68 Nobody said they wanted a 1:1 copy of the original series; that's in YOUR head. Standard fanboy excuse for crappy licensed games like this is to demean the source material. Now THAT is pathetic.

wavelength121
wavelength121

@Shanks_D_Chop @externalpower @Justforvisit And yet you just complimented it in he previous paragraph. That makes sense. No matter; if you didn't like Star Trek to begin with that says quite a bit about you, that series is timeless and cultural. What have you done with your life lately?

Star Trek The Video Game More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Star Trek The Video Game is an action adventure co-op game casting players as Kirk and Spock where gamers must face-off against the villainous Gorn where their battles will take them to familiar locations, like the bridge, transporter room, and the engine room.
    5.2
    Average User RatingOut of 281 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Star Trek The Video Game
    Developed by:
    Digital Extremes
    Published by:
    Namco Bandai Games, Namco Bandai Games America
    Genres:
    3D, Open-World, Adventure, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Animated Blood, Language, Violence