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Star Trek: The Video Game Review (X360)

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Star Trek: The Video Game Review (X360)
Namco Bandai
Star Trek: The Video Game, based on J.J. Abrams' take on the "Star Trek" universe, is a messy mishmash of poorly executed ideas borrowed from other games with a heavy dose of glitches tossed in for good measure. There are moments when it is genuinely interesting, but then you're thrown into an extended combat sequence and everything falls apart. Even the biggest Trek fan won't find much enjoyment here. Our full review has all of the details.
Game Details

  • Publisher: Namco Bandai
  • Developer: Digital Extremes
  • ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
  • Genre: Shooter
  • Pros: Pretty awesome when you're not in combat ...
  • Cons: ... but you're in combat an awful lot; very glitchy; combat is boring

The story here takes place after the 2009 "Star Trek" film and features the reptilian Gorn aliens attacking New Vulcan and stealing a powerful new technology, so you have to chase them down and get it back. Stretch that out for about 10 hours, and that is Star Trek: The Video Game.


Namco Bandai
The story actually isn't too bad, really, but the gameplay is where Star Trek falls apart. There are flashes of brilliance here and there, though, that make the final product even more disappointing. First, the good. When you're not in combat, such as when you're walking around on the Enterprise between missions, or solving puzzles or something, the game is kind of awesome. It is very distinctly "Star Trek" in these moments. Likewise, I love the Metroid Prime-style "use your tricorder to scan everything" element in the gameplay. These are things that have always set "Star Trek" apart from other sci-fi properties, and they work just as well here.

Unfortunately, pretty much everything else you do in the game falls into the "bad" pile. Star Trek: The Video Game is a third-person-shooter that uses a cover system similar to Gears of War or Mass Effect mixed with a bit of platforming ripped straight from Uncharted (climb on the bright yellow painted stuff!). Honestly, the main reason why I wanted to play it in the first place was that it looked quite a lot like Mass Effect set in the Star Trek universe (which sounds awesome, right?), but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The idea is the same - you hide behind cover and pop out to shoot enemies - but it just doesn't play very well. The enemy A.I. is completely braindead and mostly just stands around waiting for you to shoot them. The actual shooting is also incredibly bland and uninspired with wonky hit detection and mostly lame weapons.

You spend a lot of time in combat, which can be disappointing until you remember that this is based on Abrams' "Star Trek", which is much more action-oriented than the rest of the series. You couldn't imagine Shatner and Nimoy's Kirk and Spock getting in this many shootouts, but Pine and Quinto's take on the same characters seem right at home. Your first instinct as a Trek fan is definitely to go "Why are they in combat so much? This isn't "Star Trek!"", but it does at least make sense in Abrams' universe.

Easily the worst part of the gameplay, other than it is mostly just boring and unremarkable, is that it is extremely glitchy. The game is actually co-op, where a human player on Xbox Live can play alongside you or the A.I. takes control of the other character (Kirk and Spock play exactly the same, so don't worry about fighting over who gets who), but the A.I. is just plain bad here (a human player obviously solves a lot of these problems, but good luck finding anyone to play with). A.I. characters get stuck on everything in the environment and refuse to follow orders when you point at something with your tricorder and tell them to go there / pick up / activate / etc.. Very early on in my playthrough where you meet up with an NPC that follows you around, Spock and the NPC got stuck in the doorway to a turbolift and they both did that "the legs are moving but they aren't going anywhere" thing for about 30 seconds until Spock magically teleported into the turbolift and the NPC casually walked in like nothing happened. Real-time cutscenes are also very glitchy as the characters shuffle for position and bump into each other or do weird things like 360-degree spins for no reason to get in the right spot for the scene (if they don't just magically pop into the frame right before your eyes). It is just plain weird. The game is a mess.

Graphics & Sound

The presentation is sort of okay, maybe. The main crew of the Enterprise actually look decent and look like the actors from the movie. The Enterprise also looks really, really good. The planets and alien ships you explore, however, are generally very brown and ugly. If you look closely at the clothing on characters you'll also notice awful low-res textures that really stand out compared to their (usually) nicely detailed faces. The Gorn are also just absolutely terrible looking with simple and blocky models and low-res skin textures. Seriously, the Gorn look like the raptors from Turok 1 on the N64. The animation for all characters is pretty stiff and bad all around.

The sound is a little better, with Pine and Quinto lending their voices and the music actually being quite good. The sound effects are also fine and just what you'd expect from "Star Trek".

Bottom Line

Namco Bandai
Star Trek: The Video Game is a bland and uninspired third-person-shooter further sunk by being absurdly glitchy. The presentation also leaves a lot to be desired as it is just incredibly inconsistent. The Enterprise and crew (their faces, at least) look good, but everything else is shockingly unfinished looking. The bottom line is that it is clear that this game was rushed to make it out before "Star Trek: Into Darkness" hit theaters, which is never, ever a good recipe for success. Skip it.

Star Trek Legacy is still the best Trek game on Xbox 360.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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