Posted: June 8, 2014
Star Trek is not the bad game, but when set against the grand universe of Star Trek, even JJ Abrahms reboot, it feels quite... underwhelming, where you realize that while the game looks right, and got all the details right, the game mechanics feels like it was cribbed from several other games... as if the game wasn't sure what exactly it wanted to be, and ended up being "jack of all trades, master of none".
At its heart, Star Trek is a "buddy shooter" where you control either Kirk or Spock (the AI controls the other, or you can have a multiplayer buddy join you and play as the other). Set between the reboot and "Into Darkness", Kirk and the Enterprise received a distress call from a space station. They investigate... and found the station under attack by... something. Rescue soon turned into all out combat, and soon, the Enterprise crew is in another fight to save the universe... as we know it.
While I did say it's a buddy shooter, the game starts out as a sort of cover runner, as you attempt to run from cover to cover, evading threats, and only later, when you encounter "turned" individuals that you will engage in combat, presumably non-lethal (using stun on your phaser) and takedowns without alarming the enemy, making it feel more like Splinter Cell / Metal Gear Solid (and you can "scan" their status using the tricorder), as well as use tricorder to activate various things.
At certain consoles, you can play a minigame to "hack", such as "match the frequency", "hit the target and not the wall", and so on, or you can forgo the bonus points by letting your buddy do the work. The points can be traded for improvements to your tricorder and/or phaser. And you will often have to hack the security cameras, turrets, mines, locks, and so on. Various objectives include finding the console to hack, using tricorders to locate the power conduits to the panel.
When the combat gets heavy, you hide behind various cover, either crouched or standing, and you duck out to shoot. You can do blind fire too. There's even grenades (two types: stun, or plasma). You always have your phaser pistol, and you can pick up a long gun later, or drop it for any other long gun, and you will have a variety to choose from, but they're still the basic archetypes: assault rifle, sniper rifle, shotgun, SMG, grenade launcher, and so on. Though most weapons also have alternate firing modes. As a shooter, this is quite good, and you are usually given secondary objectives, such as "do not raise alarm" or "do not kill turned crewman/stun only" for a bit of extra challenge.
The problem is the game seem to switch genres at a whim.
A certain segment had the player do Mario like routines... jumping up to ledges, then another ledge up, then side to side, and sometimes the ledges actually move, or is on a timer!
Then there's the personal flying segments. There are MULTIPLE spacesuit flying segments (yes, just like in "Into Darkness") and while on the ground, there's even a couple wingsuit flying segments. The idea is you dodge any debris or ledges or rock spires or whatnot. However, you don't control the path. This is basically railshooter sequence... without any shooting. You basically have to memorize the pattern (dodge left here, up there...) and dying about 8 times gets old really fast.
Then there's the "swimming" segment where you had to explore underwater cave... and periodically surface for air. Again, gets old really quick, esp. when there's no key to just "surface", as you struggle with the controls.
There is one puzzle where one must play with a Portal-esque transporter gun, as you teleport your buddy to a remote platform and he then beam you through. Trick is finding the platforms (and deal with any threats in the meanwhile)
There is ONE space battle sequence, where you basically play anti-air defense... keep shooting at enemy fighters and incoming torpedoes. And periodically, hit "tactical scan" to launch torpedo salvo to kill everything at once.
The boss fights are interesting, though if you fail you aren't really given much of a hint on how you *should* have proceeded. One boss spawns "drones" infinitely stun one, then hack it with tricorder to make it fight for you instead, repeat as needed
and it gets really really annoying unless you know how to deal with it.
The end game turned into teleporter hunt (which teleporter will take me where I want to go? Try one at a time...) and arena fight (kill this miniboss without accidentally falling off the edge of the arena).
There's even a person-to-person martial arts fight (punch and block only, no kicking) segment.
All in all, the game has excellent production values, but seems to have no idea what it wants to be, so it ended up being everything: cover shooter, stealth, platformer, rail flyer, turret gunner, arena punch fight, arena gunfight, swim, minigames, and master of none.
So why the "I recommend this game"? There's a caveat. Only if you find it cheap, like $5 or $7.50. It's worth that much, but not $15 or $20. Even better if you can find a buddy to play with you.