I am a die-hard unapologetic lover of all things Star Trek related. The source material however has never led to great achievements in the realm of gaming where the Star Wars franchise seems to perpetually excel. The last Trek game on current gen hardware was Star Trek: Legacy, an extremely glitchy and muddled mess; the only redeeming factor was including real voice acting from all 5 captains. When I picked up the new game, I never imagined in a million light years that I would be desperately missing Legacy.
Let’s start with Star Trek’s most blatant problem: it’s a shoddily executed cover based shooter. The pacing of the episodes certainly lends itself better to any other genre of gaming, and this repetitive slog had me wishing I were playing the RTS space battles of Legacy (or anything else) again. I never thought I’d see Kirk and Spock trudging through generic levels like a poor man’s Marcus and Dom, much less interspersed with arduous platforming sections that make Damnation look like Tomb Raider in comparison. The jumping mechanic is so poorly realized that I often got lost on the lengthy journey by not attempting leaps that seemed impossible to make at first glance.
The main characters are also completely interchangeable. Besides Kirk brandishing a “Captain’s Phaser” and Spock wielding a “Vulcan Repeater” there is absolutely no difference between the playable trekkers sans aesthetics. If you are going to give us a choice of two characters at least make them perform a little differently, especially since the relationship between Kirk and Spock is one of the driving plotlines of all of the films and the original series.
Star Trek was always about helping your fellow man (or alien); the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, ect. Apparently, the many all need to be repeatedly shot point blank in the face because other then a few random tricorder readings that’s basically all you accomplish. Sure, you are encouraged to set phasers to stun and then knock out your enemies, but when you can just dispatch them safely from behind cover with zero penalty then what is exactly the point besides painfully shoehorning some of the familiar trappings of the series?
Fortunately the current cast members perform all the voice acting, unfortunately this is actually a negative because the actors seem like they could care less about the actual acting. To say that Zoe Saldana’s performance was laborious could be misconstrued as a complement. Pine and Quinto are barely above average, and (big surprise) Simon Pegg is the only one who seems to even care about being there at all. How often do you get an entire original cast to perform in a video game? Like everything else on display the voice acting is truly a squandered and sloppy opportunity.
The Gorn play the generic bad guys here, you’ll remember them as the lizard like creatures Kirk rolled a boulder onto at Vasquez Rocks, the same location featured in numerous other Hollywood productions like Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and Paul. If you can’t tell how bored I was with the game please refer to my previous sentence where I write about a famous rock formation instead of explaining in more detail how disappointing the experience actually was.
Unfortunately for fans it seems the Star Trek franchise is still waiting patiently to get the Batman: Arkham Asylum treatment. I’m confident that a developer who truly understands Star Trek could make an excellent game that is both exciting to play and faithful to the canon. Currently what we are left with is this stinking pile of half assed ideas that are executed with the grace of a wet fart in a windowless room. I tried, but even my extreme fandom couldn’t find a way to reprogram the simulator to make the game bearable. Kobiashi Maru indeed.