Despite the Star Trek franchise being considered very unpopular these days by the wider populous of the western world, I remain a fan. However, I remain a fan of the universe it’s set in, not so much of the TV shows. Taking that to mind, I was looking forward to a good new incarnation of the Star Trek world in the form of a game and basing it within the re-imagined Kirk era of the latest film made it seem like a perfect setting. It’s a shame then that I was a little disappointed with what I found at it’s small booth at Gamescom.
As far as I could tell, the level shown – and I believe the whole game itself – is set after the events of the 2009 J.J. Abrams film where Vulcan has been destroyed and the Vulcan’s themselves are on the brink of extinction. Starting with a discussion on the Enterprise’s bridge between the Kirk and his crew, we then moved onto seeing the transporter room which was just a short walk through the corridors of the ship – it was here we were treated to another cut-scene.
It was during these scenes that I couldn’t help but notice how shiny everything is – from the equipment they used to the clothes they wore. I know that the future is meant to be clean, but it seems even face polish will become a must have. That’s not to say the faces are terrible, far from it in fact, they look real enough and are definitely on a par with other major titles, even if it looks as though they have all undergone a series of rather large botox injections.
Finally, Kirk and Spock – now the best of friends – hit the ground of New Vulcan to investigate a research facility that’s gone strangely quiet. This is where we got our first look at how Star Trek’s co-op system worked as one presenter played as Kirk, and the other as Spock. Spock did all the scanning in traditional Trek style, while Kirk looked around making silly comments – standard then. After some time searching the area and moving though the facility, the unlikely duo get into a fire-fight where bursts of typically sci-fi coloured energies fly between combatants. Kirk takes most of the fire, while Spock undertook a flanking maneuver and ends the fight by using his famous Vulcan Grip to take down an enemy at close range. Then, using a mind meld with one of the downed enemies, Spock begins to find out what’s going on at the facility. Honestly, I couldn’t tell if this mind meld was some kind of mini game or was instead just a nice visual of flying down a neural pathway.
This mix of action and exploration, coupled with Kirk and Spock’s back and forth dialogue, carried on for a while – along with fighting various enemies, including a giant lizard-man-thing which looked surprisingly like a villain from Spiderman – although was actually the infamous Gorn. This ended in a crescendo of fighting where Kirk called down a torpedo strike, but to no avail. It then all wrapped up on a tantalising cliffhanger with foes encroaching upon Kirk and Spock.
What I got from the presentation was that this was simply another 3rd person action game, its only advantage being its setting and some rather lovely graphics – which can also be viewed in 3D if you’re that way inclined. Another possible asset is the relationship between Kirk and Spock, but from what I saw the writers had turned this into somewhat of a gimmick with Kirk often doing utterly stupid things or being unreasonably attacked in such a way that Spock had to ‘clean up’ after him. While this is largely fine, it’s Kirk and Spock after all, it did made Kirk seem utterly incompetent.
It should be remembered that as this was a presentation, the actual demo was tailored to show gameplay that’d please the majority of viewers, so anything could happen before the game releases. That being said, this was not the game I was personally hoping, it definitely looks like a good action game for those interested – and it’s sure to widen the appeal of Star Trek if it manages to pull gameplay off well – but for me it seems like Star Trek has succumb to the temptation of the shooter genre.