Star Trek: The Video Game has a lot of star power behind it. It’s written by Marianne Krawczyk, of God of War fame, with help from film writers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. The entire cast of the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films are providing the voice acting, with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto headlining the adventure. Most of the initial screenshots and trailers look fantastic. Yet despite all that goodness, I have no faith in Star Trek: The Video Game whatsoever. All the hype Namco Bandai is trying to generate sounds too good to be true.
The main reason I’m concerned about Star Trek: The Video Game is that I’ve been at two events so far at which Namco Bandai has shown the game, but not allowed people to play. At the 2012 Namco Bandai Global Gamers Day event, press was only allowed to watch a demonstration in which members of Digital Extreme played through what appeared to be a scripted scenario. At E3 2012, attendees were only shown a video of supposed gameplay. At neither event, people were able to see for themselves how Star Trek played. Considering the buzz, a little more content and transparency would have been appreciated.
Yes, a hands on demo was later offered at a Namco Bandai event in February 2013. Journalists essentially had the opportunity to go through the mission showcased at the 2012 Global Gamers Day event, with Gorn replacing the placeholder enemies from the original demo. While it is good that some people have had a chance to play, I wonder about the validity of that preview. Conditions were optimal. People were playing with other human beings and going through a linear demo prepared by Digital Extremes. Not to mention it was a demo based upon an earlier demo and not showcasing new footage or material.
Now, as I just mentioned, I’m concerned because people who did get to participate in the Star Trek: The Video Game demo last month were playing with other people. This is a cooperative game where there will always be a Kirk and a Spock in play. If only one person is available, the computer controls the other character. One has to wonder how competent the AI will be. I’ve played very few games where I could actually trust an AI controlled partner. Perhaps the only recent example is Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. That was an escort mission game, so shoddy AI would be understandable and adequate actions applauded. It seems Star Trek is going to be a game where objectives and missions can’t be completed unless both the Kirk and Spock characters are at the top of their game. It seems understandable to wonder if Digital Extremes is up to creating AI that can be relied upon if no friend is available to assist.
Then there’s the developer. It has a mixed reputation. Digital Extremes has given us both good and bad games. It did great work on The Darkness II, the PS3 port of BioShock and Unreal Championship, but it also worked on Dark Sector, the quality of which was debateable, and Warpath was just plain bad. It’s been a while since the company worked on a big name project and it isn’t like they have a stable of AAA games with only incredible games to garner consumer’s faith.
I’m also wondering how exactly the story will go. As a Star Trek fan, I really love the character development found in the shows and movies and the tales that have been told. While the writers involved have all more than proven themselves, none of the trailers thus far have shown any of the drama or humor found in the source material. It seems like it’s all just focusing on the action and shooting, not highlighting the exploration elements or story. Considering Star Trek: The Video Game is up against the epic that is Mass Effect, you’d think Namco Bandai and Digital Extreme would want to have at least one trailer highlighting story development and character interaction.
What I’ve seen so far from Digital Extremes and Namco Bandai hasn’t really alleviated any of my concerns. I think consumers should wait and hope for a Star Trek: The Video Game demo, or at the very least until other people take a chance, grab the game and start uploading footage of their experiences to YouTube. We’re all still hurting from Aliens: Colonial Marines and given how many fantastic games are coming out in Spring 2013, it seems smarter to wait for first impressions on this particular title before taking the $60 leap of faith.
Site [Star Trek: The Video Game]