Saturday, 22 December 2012

Game On!


It's all happening at the moment isn't it? Posters, trailers, stills, rumours and now the announcement that Star Trek The Video Game will launch on April 23rd 2013. 

For those who can't wait that long to be a part of the experience, pre-ordering commenced on Friday 21st December 2012.

Produced by Namco Bandai Games it has been announced that customers pre-ordering will receive the "Elite Officer Pack" which includes a series of tasty extras:

  • Brawler Pack - Kirk's leather jacket costume and Spock in Starfleet Academy garb
  • Academy Pack - Kirk and Spock in Dress Uniform plus an Academy phaser
  • Kobayashi Maru Pack - Kirk and Spock in Kobayashi Maru simulator uniforms
  • Stealth Pack - Kirk and Spock in stealth uniforms with a Starfleet Type IV stealth sniper rifle and extra ammunition
  • Kelvin Pack - Kirk and Spock in USS Kelvin uniforms plus a USS Kelvin phaser

If you pre-order Star Trek at Amazon in the UK before April 26th 2013 you'll be eligible to receive the Elite Officer Pack. Currently the game is priced at £39.99 for XBox 360 and PS3 while PC owners can save a bit of cash and pre-order for £32.99.Ko

Pretty interesting huh?  Worth a pre-order?  Probably is if you're going to be buying it anyway. Thing is for me, I'm a bit of a film/TV tie-in skeptic.  History is not kind in these situations and I welcome you to check out Knight Rider, Dukes of Hazzard, Harry Potter, Transformers...etc etc as evidence (I'm not including non-Michael Bay Transfomers as they were fairly decent). Apparently this game has already won awards at E3 however the official game website seems devoid of any mention of awards except in relation to JJ Abrams leading me to think this may be an error on the part of startrek.com.

So let's have a look at the official trailer for the game and see if there's much we can glean from 57 seconds of action:


What is it with the JJ Abrams universe and jumping off stuff?!  In the first film it's skydiving onto Nero's drill and in the second it's Spock jumping off a building PLUS someone zooming through a spacefield.  I do hope this isn't going to be a recurring theme of the alternate Trek universe.

OK, There's Kirk and Spock as the main playable characters but the graphics really don't instill me with ANY confidence that this is going to be top-quality in line with Call of Duty, Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto V which will be out by the time it debuts. In fact it looks like a pretty standard third person shooter with possible attempts at Tomb Raider-style climbing pieces.  There's no shots aboard the Enterprise  and in fact there are only two shots of the ship within the trailer - right at the beginning and briefly at about 47 seconds in.  

There appear to be only a couple of distinctive sets here - an icy alien world, some form of space vessel (and maybe more than one). There's also a nice shot of some kind of fleet moving through a wrecked environment.

 It all looks a bit "samey" which is why I've had top rely more on the range of screen shots from the game's website.  They seem to show external space battles, scenes on the Enterprise and the characters moving through the alien worlds that are part of the game.  The only piece of dialogue within the trailer indicates that this is set after the first film at least with mention of "New Vulcan" which could also indicate that a certain Spock Prime could be included as we know this is where he ended up to live out his days. What we can confirm is that the 2009/2013 movie crew (Kirk, Spock etc) are all lending their voices to this new game.

Frankly this is even more cryptic a trailer than the one for Star Trek Into Darkness.  I would think that the ship goes to New Vulcan to sort out some kind of invasion/attack/mystery which leads to you playing as Kirk or Sock to save the Vulcans and the day from what has now (as of January 2013) been revealed as the Gorn - one of the best and most fondly remembered Trek enemies ever!

Tragically the gameplay looks pretty basic but it's a rare opportunity to actually play as the Trek characters in a modern style of game - while I won't talk about them here, my The Life of Trek series will touch on my previous experiences with Star Trek PC games over the years as I look at how the show and I have become entwined over the years.

In conclusion the trailer does give us Trek, explosions and indication of more by providing less and then forcing you take a look at the game site for some snippets of information.  At the moment it is lacking in content and the page on startrek.com was significantly better even if it was just to let us know about the preordering situation.

I will more than likely be purchasing this title as long as the build-up continues to prove that a lot of work has been done to make it look more fluid and less blocky than this brief trailer suggests. Good luck to Bandai Namco and Paramount, I hope the hype and the "awards" indicate that this is going to break the mould of tie-ins and provide us with some excellent and lengthy game-playing.  Please don't make it JUST a shooter with a bit of ledge-hanging if you're listening.  Put some thought into it so we have something more to do than point, click, run and fire. Trek fans will want a game that makes them THINK.

Overall - the jury is definitely out.