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Gaming Review

'Star Trek: The Game' review (PS3): Generations behind

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Released on Thursday, Apr 25 2013

The latest images for Star Trek: The Game

© Namco Bandai

Spock in 'Star Trek: The Game'.


Release Date: April 23 (North America), April 26 (Europe)
Platforms available on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: Third-person shooter

Star Trek developer Digital Extremes appeared to have taken all of the right steps to swerve the pitfalls of so many licensed video games by telling an original story, while remaining true to the much-revered source material.

Unfortunately, something went terribly wrong along the way, leaving us with a dated-looking offering blighted by some horrific camerawork and half-baked mechanics.

Star Trek weaves a standalone tale set between the events of JJ Abrams's 2009 movie reboot and its forthcoming sequel.

The tale shines the spotlight on the relationship between Kirk and Spock, as the pair attempt to wrestle a doomsday device from the clutches of classic 1960s TV series villains the Gorn.

The latest images for Star Trek: The Game

© Namco Bandai

Kirk and Spock set phasers to stun



Things looked so promising to begin with. There's plenty to build on where Kirk and Spock's often-strained partnership is concerned, and the reptilian Gorn have been given a gritty makeover that ties in well with the universe Abrams is crafting on screen.

Star Trek: The Game is a third-person action-adventure, intended to be played in co-op mode. Kirk and Spock's abilities are designed to complement each other, and the level design has been tailored to reflect this.
    Puzzle segments aside, we have a bog standard third-person shooter on our hands with a cover mechanic that barely functions.
For a game geared towards cooperative mechanics, the split-screen offline mode has been clumsily implemented.

Dividing the playing field down the middle puts the player at a disadvantage by restricting their field of vision.

Levels are generally detailed with a lot of action going on, making them a poor fit for this shrunken display.

The latest images for Star Trek: The Game

© Namco Bandai

Captain Kirk strikes a pose



Awkward camerawork adds to the frustrations of split-screen play. Players will find themselves constantly adjusting their viewpoint to find one that is appropriate for the task at hand, only to find that their efforts are in vain.

The co-op conundrums the game throws at you range from the unimaginative - such as giving your companion a boost to higher ground - to more inventive problem solving.

For instance, early in the game, Spock must use his versatile Tricorder to hack into a series of consoles on an enemy ship so Kirk can blast the away the weak points this exposes.

Problem solving plays more than a cameo part, with hacking mini-games cropping up throughout the game.

These at least encourage the player, or players, to apply some fleeting logic, but are hardly worth getting excited about.


Puzzle segments aside, we have a bog standard third-person shooter on our hands with a cover mechanic that barely functions.

Whether in solo or co-op mode, you'll find yourself fending off different varieties of the less-than-intelligent Gorn using an assortment of uninspired blasters and grenades, with the occasional platforming segment and obligatory boss battle to break things up.

The platforming mechanics function about as well as the cover system, making the original Tomb Raider feel fluid by comparison.
    Star Trek is a title with big problems, from camera issues to ropey cover and platforming mechanics.
We'd love to say it made us nostalgic for the tank-like controls of Lara Croft's first adventure, but it served only to frustrate.

The storyline and voice acting are among the few positives to be found in Star Trek.

Digital Extremes were given access to Paramount Pictures' extensive library of assets, so fans are treated to an authentic offering, if nothing else.

The latest images for Star Trek: The Game

© Namco Bandai

The iconic Starship Enterprise



There are flashes of good scriptwriting here and there. Witty remarks from Kirk are met with dry rebuttals from Spock, and these exchanges have the weight of top-drawer voice acting from Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto behind them.

It's a shame the graphics don't reach the same lofty standards, considering the movie's cast have lent their likenesses.

The game resembles a polished up PlayStation 2 title in terms of sprites, backdrops and animation, almost as if the visuals were developed some time ago and dusted off ahead of release.

Digital Extremes clearly set out to develop a game that is more than a mere licensed cash-in, but Star Trek is a title with big problems, from camera issues to ropey cover and platforming mechanics.

Although the studio set out to please the diehard Trekkies by embracing the source material, they will find far more satisfactory co-op experiences elsewhere.

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