Hopefully, I have no takers.
Star Trek: The Video Game is not much different from some of addictive Sci-Fi drivel you watched in your youth, when you thought it might be cool to sneak into the living room around 3 o’clock in the morning when your parents were too busy…snoring. And, whattya know? There’s actually as many likely mistakes in this Trek Universe as some of that sloppy late-night cinema.
Yes. You watched because you enjoyed the artistic horror of Troll 2. You enjoyed the senseless, purely cosmetic galaxies of damn near nothingness in Plan 9 From Outer Space. You enjoyed the clueless (in this case gun-toting) lizards in Destroy All Monsters who, somehow, have the admirably amazing ability to gravitate into a mid-air treadmill. You enjoyed the constant yo-bro piggy-back leaps over every steep cliff in The Barbarians, with the pry handling of a thousand blockade doors. The impetuous sound editing of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.
I really wish I was talking about the b-movie classics, The Crawling Eye‘s or the Attack of the Crab Monsters’. No, I’m afraid, pals, that those reflections were in reference to Bandai Namco’s new Star Trek video game.
After all, you would enjoy.. the torture of it all.
If for no other reason, I’d stay away from this Trek for the constant, countless deciphering of squiggly lines for “protocol”. If.. seriously.. if it’s in your utmost desire to purchase an intergalactic game — you’d do a helluva lot better dropping that $60 a couple used copies of the Mass Effect trilogy, or the Dead Space trilogy. Or any other trilogy for that matter, since this Star Trek is clearly little more than a rip-off of those titles anyway (and still bleeds of the graphics the original M.E. had back in 2007 — eek!). The game does play better in the later stages when it decides to go all “Tomb Raider” (1996) on that ass, as either the hunter or the huntee. You know, fighting the higher Gorn up through tumultuous caverns, poisonous swamps, blandly pixelated glitches… and the such.
Don’t forget the vent crawlspaces, either. Got to have the vent crawlspaces.
Look, you either pick Dr. Spock or Capt. Kirk… invite a friend to play alongside you split-screen or on a Live network (good luck), and run around jagged, like a cross between a Silverback Gorilla and that guy from Nintendo’s Pitfall! Hell, this XBOX 360/PS3 game reminded me of an 8-bitter. The controls are completely unresponsive. Again, good luck trying to “Pitfall!” yourself through many of the game’s tougher leaps when that left stick of yours no longer wants to be your best friend. In fact, your controller is often your only friend — considering (in my case) Captain Kirk would rather stand in front of you and shutter around in circles than help you gun down some asshole aliens. (Ironically, my Kirk protected me best in the game’s final stage..)
Oh, and your Kirk or Spock friend will constantly get in your way. We’re such good pals that we got stuck together in vents; we were unable to enter elevators together; he refused — yes REFUSED!! — to help a dude pry open a door; hell, if not standing directly in front of our door or elevator, he’d find something else better to do when it came time to exit the stage. Hard to blame him.
Star Trek: The Video Game is what Mass Effect would look like if a toddler had the final say.
You can run around forever and never tire. Yet the second you hit that water? Fughetaboutit. Cutscenes will often — ever so unceremoniously — happen in the middle of a battle, with your opponent left either dead or nonexistent. Even our initial encounter with the “Unknown Monster” lead to the foe actually waiting ever-so-patiently for my Spock to revive a fallen Kirk.
Surprisingly, there are some gaming positives, albeit minor ones. Being able to deactivate barriers while your enemies are behind them is pretty cool. The once-in-a-blue-moon orbital strikes from the U.S.S. Enterprise is pretty awesome, too. Even the space flight missions are a nice change of pace from the typical running-and-gunning, despite how brief or frustrating it can get to steer through the cosmic slop. This is Star Trek, after all, ya know? Your ray-guns will also get “more John Blaze than that” the more you play, with the “Arc Driver,” a Mjolnir-like lightning blaster, as one of the few highlights. Healing and energy stations are a nice touch; though your character will hardly ever identify the items that pop out of treasure boxes…right at his feet.
I can’t blame people for getting exciting about this game. We, as consumers, tend to always get excited whenever our favorite pop culture properties come out with something new. Hell — if there was a new line of Thor underwear, I’d be the second person in line. Star Trek: The Video Game looked incredibly awesome at E3 and some unlucky people were able to witness at least a full 20-minutes of the game. Sometimes I feel like just being at E3 makes everything there look 100x better (but that’s neither here nor there). This game doesn’t bridge the original J.J. Abrams tale with the new Into Darkness like it promises; no, more like, it bridges some of the worst Nintendo games into your melted brain.
And I really enjoyed the banter between Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in this game. I really, really did. Well — until about the last level when some cliches get repeated, but still. Those actors showed they were good team players by doing the vocal work. In fact, just about the entire cast is present to do their thing. Just a shame their likenesses are butchered by the visuals on screen. And the gaming mechanics, and the endless glitches, and the repeated, drawn out levels, and the fact there’s no melee. NO MELEE! What!!?! Uh-huh. You’ve got to stun your Gorn (cause, besides a few drones, what else is there?) first before you take them down with the press of a button. Thankfully, Michael Giacchino’s score is just about the only element that helps the game feel like the movie.
Aliens: Colonial Wars, you now have another major IP buddy to join you at the bottom of the bargain bin. Even Kirk himself realizes Trek’s awful stench towards the seeming, final destination: “God! Please — I hope we’re almost there; I can’t take much more of this smell.”
Every step of the way, brother. Every step of the way.