I was so looking forward to Star Trek: The Video Game. I probably shouldn't have been after seeing the words "third-person shooter", but then again, I noticed the obvious influences of games like Mass Effect and Gears of War. Too bad those games had no bearing on the final product. Digital Extremes has crafted one of the worst games of 2013.
For starters, Star Trek: The Video Game is just plain broken. It's buggier than a Florida swamp in midsummer. The arms and legs of Kirk and Spock often clip through objects. During my first playthrough with Kirk I fell through different floors or walls six separate times. I don't recall encountering one--one!--animation in the game that wasn't glitchy.
I had to power down my Xbox 360 five times because the game simply stopped working. A door wouldn't open, or my AI partner wouldn't assist me when I needed him to, or the game would freeze, etc. I could more easily accept these issues if the game were a downloadable title created with a small budget, but it isn't. Digital Extremes wasted a lot of money only to release a piece of junk.
And it's boring. Cover-based, third-person shooter games typically force players to strategize, to choose when to fire from behind cover or run out in the open with guns blazing. Star Trek completely forgoes tradition. I genuinely hated taking cover thanks to the abundance of glitches, but it's not like the game forced me to. I played on normal difficulty and hardly ever had to run away from danger. The utterly stupid, pushover enemy AI deprives the game of anything vaguely resembling a challenge.
A lot of the game can supposedly be snuck through. No thanks. This was not a game created with stealth sequences in mind, and the fact that Digital Extremes even attempted to imply that it is is completely laughable. Their entire marketing scheme was very deceptive, with promises of the game being a "true Star Trek experience". Yeah, because when I think Star Trek, I think cover-based, third-person shooter.
One thing I do think of when I think of Star Trek is ship battles. Star Trek contains one such battle, and it ranks among the worst levels I've ever experienced in any game. It's poorly explained and is nothing more than a shooting gallery that's worse than that deer hunting arcade game you see in every Walmart. It makes any one level from 2006's Star Trek: Legacy, a game in which you actually get to control starships, look like a masterpiece of game design, which is pretty sad considering how mediocre that game is.
The bad ideas don't stop there (they don't ever stop). In one level Kirk and Spock must use transporter guns to help each other traverse their surroundings. It's annoying and awful. The platforming segments are annoying and awful. There's even a swimming level! Unfortunately it's even more annoying and awful. I could keep using the words "annoying" and "awful" to describe Star Trek, but I'm sure I can muster up some synonyms for those words, so I'll move on.
I suppose I'll mention how players can upgrade their weapons and abilities and how that's pretty cool if you're into the most simplistic RPG elements imaginable. Kirk and Spock can use a tricorder to scan their surroundings and collect data or audio logs or other stuff stolen from Mass Effect. You earn credits for whatever you scan (and for hacking a whole lot of damn consoles) and spend those credits on the aforementioned upgrades. It's really unnecessary, and it's really not fun--just like the rest of the game.
But hey, the story is actually pretty good. If you're a fan of Star Trek, like me, you'll probably enjoy it. It really does give Kirk and Spock a reason for working together, and it ties in nicely with J.J. Abrams' 2009 "Star Trek" film. Most of the actors from that film provided pretty decent voiceovers for the game. Chris Pine in particular is pretty solid as he slips more into the William Shatner side of Captain Kirk's persona. It's interesting stuff; shame it doesn't have a better game to back it up.
Now I'm done with this review. Now I don't ever have to play or think about Star Trek: The Video Game ever again. I cannot stress enough how much people should avoid this game. I tried in all those words I typed above, but I'm still not sure I've offered enough. Just…don't play it. Please don't play it.