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First Impressions: Star Trek (2012)

Posted on Wednesday, July 6 @ 10:43:20 Eastern by
True to form, Star Trek was a temporal anomaly at E3 2011. Paramount didn't have a booth in the gigantic West Hall nor its fraternal twin South Hall, but among the claustrophobic meeting rooms cordoned off by gray wall segments in a space hardly larger than the media lounge. I just happened to stumble upon the cubicle labeled Paramount while I was searching for Atlus and saw a mishmash zigzag of a line forming near the door. The word “skeptical” flashed behind my head as I waited for the my group to be called, but after an intense twenty-minute demonstration of what was only pre-alpha hands-off gameplay, the only word I could muster was “serendipity”.

Star Trek fans have been usually met with video game adaptations that couldn't even pass their Star Fleet entrance exams, so to quote Nero from the trailer from the 2009 Star Trek movie: “I've been waiting for this day my whole life... This day of reckoning.” Okay, I can sense some eyes rolling into the back of their sockets, but really, if there ever was any merit to judging a book by its cover, the graphics for Star Trek already have the polish of, dare I say, Mass Effect 2. If that doesn't set your phasers to stun, I don't know what will.


It may also come as a surprise that Big Robot Interactive intends Star Trek to be a cooperative game through and through, with one player as the passionate, obstinate Captain James Tiberius Kirk and the other as the perspicacious, unflappable Spock. The first moments of the gameplay showed the pair rocketing toward an infected ship in space faster than the freefalling speed on Earth, as they dodge debris and bite-sized meteorites, and it's not until they are planted on the ship's floor that their different personalities come through.

Sure, they walk and talk like they should, making verbal jabs at each other whenever possible, but it's their nuances in their gameplay that shines. Where Kirk has abilities that match his aggressive, run-and-gun approach, Spock takes a more methodical, tactical approach. He's not beyond setting his phaser to vaporize if push comes to shove, but his knack for efficiency will make it a last resort. During one scene where Kirk gets infected with a toxin, Spock must shoulder him through the ship's corridors and levels to the sick bay before it claims his life, all while Kirk limps about with his trigger finger ready to fire.

Suffice it to say, both players - or one player and the friendly AI - must work together to survive through the campaign, which will be at least 12 hours long for one playthrough, with enough separate content with the other character to replay it over once more. All of the set pieces, the interiors and exteriors of the ships, are authentic and sometimes never-before-seen artwork locked deep in the Paramount vaults. Better yet, Star Trek will serve as a bridge to the yet untitled Star Trek 2 movie. Boldly go where no gamer has gone before when Star Trek arrives Summer 2012.


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