To boldly go where a lot of movie tie in games have tried to go before. Created by Digital Extremes and published by Bandai Namco the story is set after the 2009 Star Trek reboot and before the 2013 Star Trek into Darkness movie. You get to choose to play as either Captain James T Kirk or 1st officer Mr Spock, either one will garner you with the same abilities and storyline.
You start off on a desert planet, both waking from unconsciousness, Kirk is dazed and looks up to find Spock walking towards him with a rather unfriendly look on his face, screen fades to black. Rewind to 8 hours earlier with the two shipmates playing chess. A distress call intercepted calls the Enterprise to help a Vulcan solar collector station trying to harness energy from a giant sun. In keeping with Star Trek fashion trouble ensues and leads to a galaxy hopping adventure against the dreaded Gorn.
The presentation of the game is up there with the movies. Co- written by the actual writers of Star Trek into Darkness you immediately get the sense that this is a big budget movie tie in-game, and it shows. The graphics of the environments are excellent and the character models clearly reflect the actors likeness to the tiniest detail. All original bridge crew are back and all voiced by the original cast, any Star Trek fan would be thrilled by the notion of the cast and crew onboard with the game.
The gameplay has you buddy up with either a computer controlled character or you can choose to play with human controlled character in the co-op mode, both a contrasting experience. A 3rd person game you can choose either to play as Kirk or Spock as you traverse various levels of the star trek universe. Taking mainly from the Mass Effect series as far as gameplay goes, the same cover system, the same hacking system and the same fighting system, to a certain extent.
The co-op mode is a godsend in this game as when your partner is controlled by the computer it goes wrong, badly for which reasons I will go into further down. A lot of fun can be had in this game with a friend as you help each other out in fighting and solving puzzles and hacking. I personally had a lot of fun with a friend playing through this game. and it can be a pleasurable experience for both parties.
Sound and music are excellent and capture the universe brilliantly, the music composer Chad Seiter does an excellent job keeping the big screen score alive in the game, clearly showing that he has indeed worked with Michael Giacchino, the original composer of the last two Star Trek movies. The voice acting is very good and you get the playful sense of the characters that you get from the movies.
Unfortunately that is where the good ends…
Now for the bad part of the game, for which it has a lot. As I said before playing this game in co-op is a very fun and clean experience, you still get some troubles through the game but you forget about that due to the laughter had when playing with a friend. Playing without a friend on the other hand is as pleasurable as a neck rub from a sleep deprived vulcan with anger issues, ok where to start.
Having an NPC (Non Playable Character) follow you around can get very annoying as your partner constantly gets stuck behind invisible walls, gets stuck on the corner of walls and sometimes just stands there looking at you with a vacant expression. When in combat your first instinct is to hide behind cover due to the intense laser fire coming from across the room, what does your partner do? Runs in wishing he was Arnold Schwarzenegger and then proceeds to stand there until death, which I might add causes you to reset to your last checkpoint even though you were doing everything correctly. This in a co-op game where you are constantly with a computer controlled character is unforgivable, Your partner has no self-preservation whatsoever.
You also have to wait for your partner to catch up with you at times as a certain game mechanic requires both of you to activate a door, a lift or a hacking device, this in itself can become a chore. Throughout out the campaign your partner will sometimes just plain refuse to fire back at the enemy and let you do all the work. The AI of your partner is a punishment and just simply a pain in the backside
The game is quite a glitch fest also, along with poor animations in various cut scenes. Sometimes whilst in an in-game cut scene your character or you partner will be in full-blown conversation yet be staring at a wall or not even in your vicinity. There is also an animation that sometimes happens when you are attacked by an enemy which knocks you to the floor and requires you to tap the buttons, this a lot of the time leads to you being stuck on the floor with no means of getting up and the only thing left to do is simply restart from your last checkpoint. There are areas in the game that you need to get to by either hacking or jumping. The platforming is quite poor and when jumping across a platform or beam you sometimes catch yourself hitting an invisible wall if not done precisely which usually results in your death.
The controls are not the best yet are playable with a gamepad on the pc, and obviously consoles. I found myself switching to mouse and keyboard after a while though as I found this to be more accurate when it came to hacking and jumping, which is strange for a 3rd person game.
All in all this game will leave you with a sense with what it could have been. Although not quite a full movie tie in-game it is one of the better movie games out there, as most of you know movies to videogames and vice versa almost never translate very well but you can see the potential. Fans of the franchise will forget about its troubles to a certain extent but there are too many to forgive. For all its effort which it had a lot, it was let down by poor game mechanics and AI, the only reason it’s not getting a poor rating from me is simply down to the fun you can have in co-op mode with a friend, that is its saving grace.
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