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Star Trek: The Video Game

26 April 2013
PC, Xbox 360, PS3
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Star Trek: The Video Game

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Star Trek: The Video Game (2013)
Bridging the gap between J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and its sequel due later this year, Digital Extremes’ Star Trek is a doting virtual facsimile of the rebooted space opera, but doesn’t aspire to offer anything beyond its prime directive of achieving admirable imitation.

It’s strongest asset is the cast: utilising the film’s ensemble and focusing on the jocular witticism-fuelled chemistry between Kirk and Spock, enabling players to assume the role of either the tempestuous Starfleet captain or his pragmatic Vulcan companion. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto return to the roles with unexpected aplomb, lending a surprising degree of conviction to a needlessly convoluted videogame-y story surrounding the reemergence of the Gorn – the classic villain criminally reinterpreted as snarling, scaly-skinned cannon fodder. But it’s the solid banter between the central pairing that elevates much of the campaign, often proving enough to compensate for its clunky mechanics and routine structure.

Beyond a promising opening act, Star Trek devolves into a relentless cover-based shooter, with action sequences punctuated by repetitive hacking puzzles and cumbersome stretches of platforming. There are flashes of genuine ingenuity that pay homage to the sci-fi series’ synonymous traits, but these are often left floundering due to a lack of essential gameplay substance – taking control of the Enterprise during a dogfight is a confounding mess of controls and objectives.

What separates Star Trek from the litany of poor licensed tie-ins is its unwavering commitment to authenticity. Its efforts to emulate Abrams’ kinetic directional approach (lens flare!) and sparky dialogue proves to be its overwhelming saving grace. But this is a game. If a similar dedication was given to ironing out the gameplay kinks and expanding on its nascent potential, then Star Trek could have passed as more than just a well-groomed tribute act to a bigger, more accomplished performer.

Reviewed by Bryan Murray

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