Review: Star Trek (X360)
The videogame tie-in to J.J. Abrams theatrical reboot of Star Trek is like a broken phaser. It fails to stun, only kill.
Star Trek brings the likenesses of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto for their roles as James T. Kirk and Spock as they come alive as their virtual, player-controllable selves in this action-adventure shooter. The game fills the gap between Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
You can choose to play the game as the more action-oriented, reckless Kirk or the more stealthy, logical Spock. Both character sound great with all the voice-acting, but neither of them actually looks great. Their facial expressions and movements appear dated and doesn’t get your hopes up for good lip-syncing.
Gameplay melds stealth, shooting and adventuring together. Your objectives are handed out to you as the original story plays out. The interiors you run around in most of the game look good as you creep up to the enemy to stun them, open fire at hostiles or jumping Uncharted style across beams over electrified water. Other aspects include the mandatory helping of an injured teammate and a horrendous rail-shooting space battle as you fend of enemies who want to see the USS Enterprise in pieces.
On foot, you lug your Tricorder device (practically a hacking-scanner, like “Smart Vision” from Deus Ex: human Revolution) around to hack or override door panels or power terminals through a bunch of infuriating mini-games that provided no prior instruction of operation for your first time. Hacking does however, open locked doors and turn turrets against their masters, and there’s the option to get your AI partner to do all the hacking.
The console versions of game allows for local co-op, though you could do everything alone. This involves telling your partner to open doors with you or giving you a boost into an open vent and what to do and where to go, because letting them roam on their own usually involves their incapacitation or death, like Spock being shoved off a bridge by a speeding Gorn. An incapacitated partner also means you’d still have to do everything on your own and rushing to revive your comrade before the enemy pummels you to death while vulnerable.
The enemy AI isn’t much brighter than your AI partner, some capable of standing still to accept your tasty shots of death. But as members of the Star Fleet diplomacy, players are advised only to stun, not kill, working with the standard issue phaser, so fighting with the Gorn alongside infected allies will make thing difficult, but it something you have to press on with if you want a Commendation and more experience points, also obtainable by scanning and hacking everything in sight with your Tricorder.
Upgrades with accumulated experience points reward players with a more advanced Tricorder capable of healing and hacking better and a better phaser gun. Upgrades do nothing for the third-party weapons you pick up, though, and both individuals have different upgrades, so it’s double the work if you’re playing alone and want a competent, shield-boosting partner.
Star Trek (the game) doesn’t have the polish like the shimmering Hollywood sets you see in the new Star Trek movies. It strives to shine, but it’s been marred by poor AI and a handful of frustrating gameplay. Effort has been made to keep everything authentic to the franchise, including the likenesses and voices of the entire bridge of the Enterprise, which may please diehard fans, but that won’t help it along much further if you want a high-quality action-adventure shooter game.
- True-to-franchise look and feel through graphics and voice-acting.
- Average character models make Kirk and team look like robots.
- Playing stealthily is flimsy, and shooting the helpless AI enemies isn’t very fun.
- Frustrating bits of gameplay that will make you want to toss your tricorder.
Star Trek is a action-adventure shooter by Namco Bandai Games for the Xbox 360 as well as the PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.