Unfortunately the majority of movie games are cursed and considering
the budget of some of Hollywood's biggest and baddest
blockbusters, it's quite perplexing why they don't get a AAA
company to create their game titles. Imagine if Naughty Dog
worked on an Indiana Jones game or Eidos on Star
Wars. Not only would the gameplay be perfect (one would hope) but it would
probably be one of the best games of the year. Unfortunately this is
rarely the case and with Star Trek Into Darkness being released
on the 9th of May in Australia, the video game has just come out.
The feedback for this game by critics and some gamers has been mixed
with the majority of reviews quite negative and most reviews glaring
on the negativities of the title. Bad gameplay cannot be forgiven
but what if you can look pass all this?
I've been playing games for over 30 years now and I've been writing
reviews for 10 of those. I've seen my fair share of duds in the
industry, especially when it comes to movie games. Its been a legacy
of failure. So what is the verdict for Star Trek the Video Game?
It's buggy, the graphics are dated and the AI does strange things at
times and the repetitive use of the tricorder does become annoying.
However when you push all this aside, there is actually an engaging
game to be found in all that mess, especially with the
characterisation and the story.
game itself takes place between the two movies and allows the gamer
to control either Kirk or Spock in this third person shooter. Both
characters have their own pros and cons with Kirk being my favourite.
Although I love Spock's Vulcan abilities like the mind meld. The story is co-written BAFTA award winner and
God of War writer, Marianne Krawczyk and focuses on
the deadly Gorn who have stolen a device called the Helios. This
device is required by the remaining Vulcan to help re-build a new
home world. It's up
to the crew of the Enterprise, more particularly Kirk and Spock to
save the galaxy again and to minimise the "death" of the remaining
The game also has the blessing of Paramount
Pictures which assists in immersing the player into the story as the
cast from the movies such as Chris pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
and Simon Pegg have lent their images and voices to the characters.
This seriously helps with the flawed gameplay. Besides, hearing the
banter between Kirk and Spock is priceless. Even though the story is
heavily action orientated, it definitely feels like a Star Trek
story and does pay homage to the previous film.
terms of gameplay, one can easily see where the developers have
snagged their ideas such as Uncharted, Batman, Mass Effect and
Dead Space. The
majority of the game requires the player to get from point A to B
and then perform a set number of tasks and of course engage the
enemy. Your trusty tricorder which mimics Batman's detective vision
and Dead Space for direction is heavily used throughout the game.
This is needed to hack terminals and doors.
you are connected to the internet, you can even share your
single-player game which means another player can jump in while you
are playing. This can be turned off and playing with another person
definitely makes things a little more interesting. However the
repetitive nature of hacking of doors and terminals does get a
little annoying but fortunately if you are playing solo, you can
force your virtual buddy to assist.
This brings another issue to the fold. The unfortunate aspect of the
gameplay is that your AI buddy does some very weird things at times
which sometimes requires you to restart the level. They get stuck or
sometimes don't do what their told. Enemy AI is equally annoying,
depending on your difficulty level as at times, they are oblivious
to your presence which sometimes does work in your favour. In
relation to your AI buddy, there are a number of objectives that
must be completed in unison to proceed through the game. Another
issue with the gameplay is the stealth mechanics and due to the
inconsistency of the cover mechanics, especially with the controls,
being Sam Fisher is a very difficult task.
Ironically combat works well in the game and when the cover
mechanics are working, it does assist the player. Although it's not as fluid as something like
War but sometimes it does the job and there's plenty of variety in terms of
places that you visit with a really cool outdoor space area. Even
though the game commences slowly, it does work well with the overall
plot of the game and gives some additional back-story to the Gorn
and the Vulcans. As you progress, so do your skills and thanks to
experience points, you can upgrade your skills such as electronics,
combat and energy. Overall, it's a real shame that there was not
more Q&A in this game as it had the basis for a decent game.
Graphically, Star Trek the Video game does look dated on the
PlayStation with some lacklustre textures and environments. Level
design also feels all too familiar as you progress through this
almost like a first generation PlayStation 3 game, especially with
the buggy movement mechanics of characters with Spock (or Kirk) getting stuck
on more than one occasion. This required me to restart the level.
However the game does and look like a Star Trek game, especially
with the cast of the movies and the musical score by Michael Giacchino. I love the one-liners from Kirk and the clever rhetoric
of Spock. One issue with the voice acting is that some lines are
repetitive (a word used too often in this review) which does get a
tad annoying plus the Kung Fu movie lip syncing. Oh... the game
also has 3D.
Star Trek the Video Game is plagued with Tribbles (aka bugs) that
unfortunately accompanies you throughout your adventure. However
even with these bugs, I still managed to enjoy myself in this game
with the only odd occasion of controller rage. The title definitely
need some additional Q&A or even a bigger budget because this game
had the basis of being a truly phenomenal game, especially if you
love Star Trek. The ability to play co-op (even split-screen)
definitely increases the enjoyment factor and does prevent your AI
buddy from becoming a pain.
With classic re-imagined 60's villains, great banter between Kirk and Spock plus
a story that's actually interesting, the game is unfortunately let
down by dated graphics and glitchy gaming mechanics. Nonetheless,
I still somehow managed to enjoy this game at times, even with the
bugs but once again bad gameplay really cannot be forgiven... so close yet so far!