Namco Bandai’s New Star Trek Game – First Impressions

Present among the varied stands of MCM Expo‘s Games Expo area is what may just prove to be Namco Bandai‘s next biggest crossover title – Star Trek.

Developed by Canadian developer Digital Extremes and produced in conjunction with two of the reboot series writers, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci, the new game takes place between 2009’s movie and the forthcoming sequel Star Trek Into Darkness and features much of the excitement and thrills of its cinematic counterparts.

Showcasing a focus on co-operative gaming, Star Trek is an original experience that begins with the arrival of Captain Kirk and Spock on the colonial world of New Vulcan. Playing as either character yields different results, with Kirk being predictably more brash and action-orientated whilst Spock remains as logical and methodical as ever. 

The action elements potentially outweigh the other bits of the game, and while this might be interpreted as a weakness, Star Trek redeems itself by focusing on a co-operative approach to problem-solving. All puzzles are presented as scenarios that both Kirk and Spock can solve using their own skills.

Yet it is not just problem-solving that Star Trek promises its players.

Reintroducing a streamlined version of fan-favourite aliens the Gorn, the demo of the game presents a series of conflicts highlighted by continual in-character banter and story progression that challenges the players to adapt. Large sections of the demo’s latter half are taken up by an impressive scuffle between the main characters and several waves of Gorn warriors. In this battle, the unique abilities of each phaser used are matched by inventive use of the tricorder and Kirk and Spock’s ability to adapt to the use of alien weapons. Digital Extremes staff were keen to stress that this will be a big part of the game’s progression.

The ability to make use of surroundings and enemy artefacts underpins the game’s demo, presenting a desire on behalf of the staff to engage players with the game’s world. This experience, when coupled with the broader choice of playable characters, will hopefully give rise to the possibilty of Star Trek making the same kind of impact as pioneering titles of the action genre; games such as Rare’s GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 in 1997 and Bungie’s Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox in 2001.

Concluding the demo with a cinematic event exemplary of Kirk’s explosive capacity for resolving scenarios, Namco Bandai and Digital Extremes appear to have seriously considered the best way to provide a game both true to the broad appeal of the franchise without compromising the high-octane action of the recent movie.

Available in 2013 for Playstation3, Xbox 360 and PC, this new game promises to be an exciting new chapter for Star Trek fans and gamers, old and new alike.

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