Star Trek The Video Game - Preview

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Release Date: 01/02/2013

Star Trek The Video Game First Look preview at GAME

Boldly Going

The usual movie tie-in game is not one that usually gets gamers excited. The shorter production time and the need to somehow adhere to or replicate the events of the film mean that most tie-in titles fall short of being the game they could be. Fortunately, Star Trek The Video Game is not your usual movie tie-in game.

Set in the same universe as J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot movie, Star Trek TVG tells an all-new story set between the events of that film and this summer's sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness. This original story has been written by BAFTA award-winner Marianne Krawczyk, and the game as a whole has taken more than three years to conceive and develop, with Paramount Pictures working closely with the creative team from the film - including composer Michael Giacchino, who wrote an original score for the game that was recorded by a 100-piece orchestra - to ensure the game remained faithful to the Star Trek franchise. Again, this is not your usual movie tie-in, but a whole new chapter that creates an adventure that will be fresh for Star Trek fans and gamers alike.

The game itself is a third person co-op action adventure, giving you the choice to play as Captain Kirk or Mr Spock, who bear the voices and likenesses of actors Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectively. This is still early on in their friendship, so there's still a bit of tetchy one gunmanship, but this really works for how the game is played. Kirk is a brash man of action, Spock an almost uppity man of logic, so who you choose will affect the way you play the game, with each having different objectives and methods within each mission. It's drop-in/drop-out gameplay, so if you're playing alone your partner will be controlled by AI, but anyone locally or online can join you.

Star Trek The Video Game First Look preview at GAME

These Are The Voyages...

From the time we spent with the game, we took a look at a few different missions from throughout the game, taking place aboard such diverse locations as the decks of the USS Enterprise, a Vulcan Science Station and a planet that has been conquered by the villains of the piece - the Gorn. That's right, the reptilian beasties last scene fighting a shirtless Kirk in the classic episode 'Arena' are back. And like Trek itself, they too have had a thorough redesign, making them more fierce, formidable foes with a master plan that drives the plot of the game.

The first level we experienced saw us at the beginning of the game, with the Enterprise answering a distress call from a Vulcan Space Station, and, with the transporters out and no replies to hails, Kirk and Spock shuttle in for a bit of search and rescue. What followed was fairly typical third-person adventure gameplay, equal parts Mass Effect, Uncharted and the Batman: Arkham games. As you'd expect, the distressed station was very distressed, with collapsing gangways and access hatches informing the running/climbing/jumping movements.

There are also mini-puzzles to solve to help you open doorways and access control panels for information, and so on, some of which can only be solved by working with your partner. The other key tool for solving these, as well as for scanning the area around you, hacking systems, checking vital signs and more is your Tricorder. This classic Trek tool is vital to your success in the game, as the more things you scan, the more points you can earn - this is very much a game where it pays to stop and learn about the people and things around you. Spock can also use the Vulcan mind-meld to get information, with whoever plays as him seeing the thoughts of his subject. Kirk will simply get told this information.

Star Trek The Video Game First Look preview at GAME

Live Long And Prosper

This emphasis on fact-hunting and exploration should delight Trekkers and Trekkies who may have feared this game would lack such an integral part of Starfleet's duty. They'll be just as pleased later in the game when the crew entered a lab on the new Vulcan planet searching for a missing scientist, and discover some zombie-like infected Vulcans. Rather than kill these poisoned innocents, Phasers are set to stun, with the game rewarding you with a Commendation (keeping up the Star Trek lingo) for use of non-lethal force.

It was in this lab we also met the Gorn for the first boss battle, and got to witness their new look for the first time. Standing around eight feet tall, super strong and with vicious claws and a sweeping tail, these beasties start off tough to defeat even with Phasers set to kill, and we're told they only get tougher. It takes working together with your partner and using the environment around you to take him out.

Outside of the normal gameplay, there are some fun other elements to mix it up. We saw our heroes glide through the rocky valleys of the Gorn Planet in winged flightsuits and take a space jump from their shuttle to the Enterprise, avoiding the debris around them as they rocket through space. What we unfortunately didn't see were the space battles, where you get to command the Enterprise in a dogfight against enemy vessels.

With the cast of the movie all reprising their roles as the Enterprise's crew (Simon Pegg's Scotty is a stand-out, arming you with the enhanced weapons he's been working on), there are a lot of cutscenes to help move the plot forward, but fans of the series will likely enjoy this as much as the gameplay itself. That's not to say this is a game just for Trekkers, but, like Arkham Asylum/City and Ghostbusters before it, this is a game that makes full - and respectful - use of its licence to immerse you into that world. It's also playable in 3D across all formats, if you want to be immersed even further.

From what we've seen, Star Trek The Video Game looks to be a solid third person adventure. Admittedly, there are elements that Star Trek fans will get more enjoyment out of than most, but the co-op elements, the two very different characters to play as, and features like space flight ensure that there's enough going on to keep things interesting throughout.

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