Star Trek review – Worst Contact


By Geoffrey Tim on Tuesday, April 30, 2013
"There’s just nothing redeeming about Star Trek"

I have to be honest. I’m a little bit ambivalent when it comes to Star Trek. I’ve enjoyed Gene Rodenberry’s past tales of intergalactic diplomacy, and I even quite liked J.J Abrams’ reboot, but I’m hardly what you’d consider a “Trekkie”. I’m not big on licenced games that try cash in on people’s established love either, so I was expecting this new game based on Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek continuity to not be very good. It has exceeded my expectations…by being far worse than I had ever anticipated.

It starts off well enough. The Starship Enterprise and its crew find itself embroiled in a crisis of galactic proportions when the evil, warmongering reptilian race, the Gorn, steal a ridiculously powerful device that the Vulcans had hoped might find them a new home. The Helios device would enable this race of malfeasant, toothy, space-dinosaurs-with-guns to open up rifts to other worlds, allowing them to ravage and plunder the universe.

startrek-bmuploads2013-02-251636star-trek-vgfeb2013003

They pose a dual threat too, by employing a dastardly technology that allows them to infect humans with some sort of affliction that leaves them as soulless husks under Gorn control. Yep, Space zombies. Naturally its up to our heroes, the rash and reckless Kirk and his more logically-minded foil, the pointy-eared Spock to save everything. Both are voiced by their film counterparts, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectively, who do their best to add a touch of class to the game. They’re both pretty well rendered too, looking very much like their real-life actors….provided they’re standing still and not moving their mouths. Their interplay and banter stands a highlight in a game that’s 10 hours of insipid, depressing lows.

startrek-bmuploads2013-02-251640star-trek-vgfeb2013011

It could have been good. The Star Trek Universe is ripe for the picking to make a game that’s not unlike Mass Effect; a personable leader, a crew of interesting characters and one of the most famous spaceships in the history of media, it could have been a game that followed the Star Trek ethos of diplomacy with combat as a last resort. Instead, what could have been a poor man’s Mass Effect is instead a bland and tiresome 3rd-person cover-shooter, with bits of Uncharted-styled platforming thrown in to break the tedium.

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There’s also a bit of environmental scanning done by using the Tricorder, which functions much like Arkham’s “detective mode”, showing wires leading to terminals that must be hacked through an assortment of terribly dull and repetitive minigames. Joining that is a bare-bones XP and upgrade system, where scanning objects grants XP that can be used on a number of pointless upgrades to combat, weaponry and mindless fiddling.

There’s a further attempt to deviate from the standard run-and-gun gameplay by throwing in other terribly unfun elements, like a level where you’re forced to swim to your objective. Water-based levels are seldom a good idea, but they’re worse when the engine they’re running on just isn’t built for it. More than a few times you’ll find yourself hurtling through space, avoiding debris, and it’ll remind you of those gravity-void section in Dead space – only it’s worse. Basically, everything you’ll do in Star Trek you’ve done before, only in better games.

Star-Trek-game-screenshot

Honestly, it really shouldn’t have been released at all. I encountered a myriad of bugs playing through Star Trek, the first of which manifested itself within 10 minutes of booting the game up. Here’s a brief list of some of the bugs I encountered.

  • My character model completely disappeared, leaving me as little more than a floating,disembodied set of rendered eyeballs and teeth.
  • My gun model completely vanished, making it look like my chosen character, Spock, was giving the invisible man a handjob, while shooting bolts of energy from his elbows.
  • Kirk and Spock, on numerous occasions, moulded in to one Starfleet chimera; a hybridised, four-legged hero – Spirk, or perhaps Kock -  with a left ear, a right ear and the final front ear.
  • At one point, after sneaking behind somebody for a stealth kill, the resultant animation pushed me inside a wall, forcing me to restart 0 making me play more of this game than absolutely necessary. 


(via Gametrailers)

That’s just a small sample, not including more regular glitches like clipping issues, and the headaches caused by the game’s infernally rubbish AI. Enemies will regularly run past you (when they’re not busy falling through floor), or just run in to a wall, stuck in a perpetual moonwalk until you put them out of their reptilian misery with a well-placed phaser shot.

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Ally AI is, somehow, even worse. The game tries to force you, on occasion, to employ stealthy tactics instead of running in and shooting everything – but it’s a feat made nearly impossible by the ally AI which will, without fail, run headfirst into an enemy turret or group of enemies, die, and then writhe in agony on the floor expecting you to revive its sorry self. You’d imagine that playing the game in co-op might alleviate the AI woes, but you’d be very wrong. The game is just far too dull and broken to make playing it with a friend any fun – with most of the co-operative gameplay of that sort that has both of you pressing buttons at the same time.

Star Trek game Kirk and Spock shuttlebay

It’s ugly too. Built using Digital Extreme’s ironically named Evolution engine, the interior of the Enterprise looks good enough; but everything else is a little backwards, with awful textures, and jarring sub-par animation. And while Kirk and Spock may look the part, other crew members like Sulu, Bones and Scotty look like they’re sporting extra chromosomes.

There’s just nothing redeeming about Star Trek. It’s a bug-filled mess, but beyond the glitches the game that lies underneath is just awful. It’s an insult not only to gamers, but to Star Trek Fans. Star Trek deserves a better game. And so do you. This is one game you should Chekov your list.

Star Trek was reviewed by on the 30th of April , 2013 at 3:30 PM on Xbox 360

GAMEPLAY
3.0
Star Trek is a tiresome, downright generic 3rd-person cover shooter, with other gameplay mechanics lifted straight out of other games.
DESIGN
3.0
Stealing bits from better games you've already played and then making them worse, Star Trek's fundamental design is highly illogical, Captain.
VALUE
4.0
You get 10 hours of co-op action that's unfortunately broken and boring - and wears its welcome out long before the credits roll.
TOTAL
3.5
Star Trek is nothing more than an unfinished, licenced cash-in. While it might have production values (so far as voice casting is concerned), everything else is a shambles, with a plodding story that (boldly) goes nowhere.

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.
  • Deon Steyn

    I know of the mind meld Spock does but that video showed a full on body meld

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Dude, seeing your avatar now reminds me… I can’t WAIT for Yahtzee to review this

      • Deon Steyn

        It’s going to be funny as hell

      • Rince da Ref Lvl2

        Dude, this is going to be one flipping funny rant. Though I would be surprised he would waste his time on this piece of dog shit.

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    I couldn’t stop laughing throughout this whole article. In fact I have tears in my eyes. Some of your comments really made me laugh out loud.

    Man, brilliant review for a really bad game. Thumbs up!

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      LOL! Yeah, this was a pleasure to read.

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    3.5 HAHAHAHHAAAAAA

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Hahaha! I recently pissed off Mr Tim. He warned me that he’s going to send me this game, so that I can feel the anguish and pain that he had to go through!

    I’m strangely turned on now… I really want to see if this game is as bad as people are saying…. :o

    • Rince da Ref Lvl2

      Damn, I mean I know Geoff is a Ninja, but would he go so far? We have rules you know!

  • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

    This game works fine for me …. I don’t know what you’re going on about. it’s proper tidy

    • Deon Steyn

      I wonder if that is still his stance. In biblical times he would’ve been stoned by now.

  • Rince da Ref Lvl2

    “Spirk, or perhaps Kock – with a left ear, a right ear and the final front ear.” Geoff, that is PURE class mate!

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      At this point of the article I actually broke down laughing uncontrollably.

      Geoff actually broke me

      • Rince da Ref Lvl2

        Hahaha, me too. I was expecting it to be a harsh assessment, but he managed to make it flipping funny too :)

  • DrKiller

    Angry Joe’s review about this was quite funny! I don’t think he’ll give Star Trek such high score as Lazygamer :)

    • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

      Loved it, especially evil corporation
      “I can’t believe you bought this shit HAHAHAHA”

      • Deon Steyn

        I almost pissed my self.

  • Rince da Ref Lvl2

    Brilliant review. I am surprised you managed to do it without breaking your computer, monitor, keyboard, face…

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      I was actually going to just slam my head into the keyboard for this review; which is about as much effort as the devs have put in.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Wait… why is Chris Pine looking like a young William Shatner?? HAHAHAHAH!!

  • Deon Steyn

    Any word on how big the day one patch is going to be if any?

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      There was a 2mb mandatory patch. This was AFTER the patch.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    To boldly go where no man has gone before… right into Jo’burg’s sewage system…

  • Trevor Davies

    First Alien, now Star Trek, should we be glad they cancelled Star Wars 1313?

  • Sageville

    Dood, awesome read, sad about the game being so kak but the review itself was as brilliant as something that is really really brilliant.

    My fav part:

    “Kirk and Spock, on numerous occasions, moulded in to one Starfleet chimera; a hybridised, four-legged hero – Spirk, or perhaps Kock”

  • Yateen Dayaram

    lol “Chekov your list” I saw what you did there

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