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Star Trek The Video Game Hands-On Preview

Star Trek has been in development for over three years and with a following like the ‘Trekkies’, we had high expectations when entering into a hands-on event for the title and we were not disappointed.

Greeted by Uhura models, we moved into the ‘in future’ exhibition within the Science Museum in London and immediately we knew this was going to good. Thunderous bass shook our bones from a heroic soundtrack, images from the title scattered multiple surfaces and a plethora of gaming setups were ready and waiting for us to jump on and do what we do best. Everything about the setup made us feel like we were in a spaceship soaring past the stars.

This isn’t the first time that Star Trek has offered a hands-on preview of the game, but it’s the first time we’ve had the chance to really get our teeth into the title and straight from the get go, we could tell that a lot of time and effort had gone into it. Set after the events of the 2009 film and during/in between the events of the 2013 film, you choose who you want to play as, being offered either Captain Kirk or Spock. Whichever character you don’t choose will be in the hands of either your co-op partner or the AI. It’s quite important to note here that this isn’t primarily a Star Trek game; it’s a co-op game with the theme of Star Trek interlaced within it meaning that not only can Trekkies enjoy it, but gamers too.

We chose Spock and started in the Enterprise’s cockpit and began interacting with the different characters there such as Kirk, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov. Usually we’d expect either a badly voice acted version of the character, or a rip from a film but it didn’t take long to realise that these were all original recording voiced by the actors from the 2009 Star Trek film such as Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana.

We then tried to sit in the captain’s chair but Kirk told us not to get comfy - here is where the banter started and throughout our hands-on with the game, banter was thrown back and forth between Kirk and Spock just as you would expect from the characters; Spock throws out intelligent and emotionless quips whilst Kirk has sarcastic and comical retorts. It’s small things like this that really made the experience real for us during our short playtime.

The co-op aspects of the game began to be thrown at us thick and fast when we had to start working as a team, such as Spock having to navigate around moving platforms and deactivate them for a short period with the Tricorder (a hand-held device used for interacting your surroundings) whilst Kirk shot out the lock on the platform, deactivating them completely. Whilst the AI is sufficient in these situations, nothing beats a good ol’ real-life partner to play with. We were slightly saddened to hear that there was to be no split-screen available in this title but it didn’t get us down for too long.

During the sequence above, we had quite a drastic issue with our AI partner in which Kirk would just run on the spot for a while, until we managed to push him around enough to knock some sense into him. This happened two or three times until the final time we pushed him around and he just floated off into the depths of space. We couldn’t see anybody else having an issue with this though so reported it to the developer, reloaded the scene and continued.

We then discovered the main enemy in Star Trek and were pleasantly surprised when a Gorn warrior jumped out at us. For those of you who don’t know, the Gorn was only shown in one iconic episode of the TV series called ‘The Arena’ where Captain Kirk has a hand-to-hand duel. These villains have been reimagined and recreated for this game and now, instead of just the one lonesome Gorn, we see an entire race of them including different genders, classes and builds. This wasn’t where the nostalgia ended though as we got to explore entire areas from the 2009 film in huge detail and new areas we’d never seen on TV or the big screen! The environments such as the Enterprise were crafted with direct correlation to the blueprints that the film’s Enterprise was made from, so you can expect to see all the familiar sites such as the cargo bay and engine room in loads of detail.

We thought that was the end of the nostalgic value, but yet, there was more when we realised the arsenal we got to play with. All in all, there are about 25 different weapons - each with two modes of fire - including signature firearms for both Kirk and Spock.

The soundtrack in Star Trek is also a custom compilation created with Michael Giacchino, the composer of the 2009 and 2013 films, to create two hours of new music for the game. Exactly like the environment and the voice acting, this is just another small detail which adds plus points to this game.

Going into the event, we hadn’t really seen a lot about the game as we wanted to get our impressions fully from what we saw there, and although we had high expectations, we also thought it might have been another ‘movie game spin-off’, but luckily it didn’t really fall into that category. Leaving the event, we had a few concerns that this could turn out to be another run of the mill co-op game but only time will tell. Live long and prosper.

Kaostic | 3rd March, 2013

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