Sadly, the more you play Star Trek, the more you realise that honouring the franchise and working in a few smart ideas still isn’t going to be enough. As a shooter it’s dull and uninspired. The Gorn aren’t exactly on the level of Gears’ Locusts, let alone Halo’s covenant, and make tedious, predictable opponents.
The level design is frequently unimaginative, repeatedly abusing old tropes, for instance tracking down and hacking three power consoles, that have no place in a modern action game. Some areas are so devoid of interest that you get lost wandering from one generic section to the next, and a whole section on a Federation space station drags on long after any interest you might initially have had has waned.
Then there are the gameplay issues. It’s a co-op game that you can play with a CPU-controlled partner, and if you’re playing solo that partner has a tendency to run into the fire of turrets, heal you without killing whatever floored you first, or occasionally run into a corner or a barrier until directly ordered to do something else (and even this doesn’t always work). You can order them around manually, but where’s the fun in that?
Sometimes the objectives are painfully difficult to see or comprehend, and the less we say about the space combat and hover-cycle action sequences, the better. Clearly it’s better played as a duo, but not to the extent that we could recommend you buy it.
Lastly, we come to the graphics. Up close, the familiar Star Trek characters don’t look great, suffering from the kind of plastic skin and animatronic faces you would have hoped we’d seen the end of. The Gorn look even worse – primitive and poorly modelled, with body parts that occasionally appear to poke through where they shouldn’t. The environments aren’t exactly packed with lush detail, and it all looks very dated, like an early Xbox 360 game from way back in 2006.
The net result? A game that isn’t devoid of good ideas, but built by a team that lacked the budget or the technical skill to make the most of them. There are moments where Star Trek: The Video Game shines, and where you can spot elements that might one day form the basis of a brilliant Star Trek game – though, frankly, we’d be happy with a reskinned Mass Effect. Overall, though, this is yet another licensed game disappointment, not quite on the Aliens: Colonial Marines scale of fiasco, but still falling short of the mark.
Star Trek: The Video Game does its best to capture the spirit of the Star Trek of the JJ Abrams movies, but for every good idea or smart decision there’s a technical or gameplay issue that cripples the game. Some good dialogue, voiced by the original cast, is wasted by the poor graphics and animation, the Uncharted-style action simply isn’t well-executed, while poor co-op AI spoils the single-player experience. Trekkers might still get something from it, but with so many great action games around, why waste your time?