First Looks// Star Trek

Posted 17 Jun 2012 15:24 by
The last video game that was based on the Star Trek franchise was Star Trek Online. This is a game that languished in development hell until it was rescued and released to the point where it is now a mildly successful free-to-play MMO.

So, when Namco Bandai invited me to see the a demo of a Star Trek game, I was more than a little puzzled. The question I kept on asking was, “what Star Trek game?”. The answer was laid before us in the crowd filled halls of E3 2012.

Namco Bandai has acquired the rights to the rebooted Star Trek universe as “imaged” by J.J. Abrams. Digital Extremes, the makers of the Darkness II, have been roped in to create a game that is set between the events that occur from the first Star Trek film to its sequel that will be released in 2013.

It's a third person action adventure that boasts the likenesses and voice talent of the film's actors. It also has what the developer describes as an “asymmetric co-op mode of play”, with one player taking on the role of Kirk, while the other is Spock.

Kirk is the more aggressive of the pair, taking extreme risks in order to get the job done, at any cost. Spock takes a more measured approach and also has the ability to scan objects as well as use the Vulcan powers he inherited from his father.

The demo runs through a mission set on New Vulcan. The original home world of Vulcan was destroyed in the first Star Trek film and New Vulcan was established by the survivors of that tragedy. All contact was lost from the new colony and Kirk has been ordered to investigate what has happened.

Both Kirk and Spock are beamed down to the planet, and they soon get attacked by infected Vulcans. As the action unfolds it's clear the two characters compliment one another in terms of abilities. Putting it simply, one takes the role of a 'tank' while the other acts as support, that being Kirk and Spock respectively.

Spock can also unlock doors and hack into computer terminals. This is done by matching wave forms with an underlying pattern. If this seems in any way familiar, it's because this same hacking system appeared in the XBLA game, Hydrophobia.

Eventually the pair encounter a reptilian alien called the Gorn. These first appeared in the original TV series, where Kirk had to engage in hand to hand combat with one. The re-imaged Gorn are particularly more ferocious looking than the original, who looked somewhat like a green version of Barney. These critters are more akin the velociraptors from Jurassic Park, only they are toting phaser weapons. So it's probably safe to say there are somewhat 'clever'.

With the demo being shown described as an alpha build, it's hard to comment on its presentation fairly. While still the game does and excellent job of replicating J.J. Abrams' vision. Things go a little south when it's moving however, as the animation is very stiff, with both and Kirk and Spock walking as if they desperately need to relieve themselves. But this game is in alpha, so some slack must be given to it in this regard.

The sound however appears to be more developed. The voice acting is convincing as are the spot effects. The score is also suitably stirring from what little was played.

The game, which happens to support 3D, will be released on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC sometime in the first quarter of 2013.

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