From Trekkies to Dead Space fans, Star Trek's gaming reboot will appeal to a wide audience of gamers.
After Steve Butts put a figurative gun to my head, I took my marching orders and headed to see Digital Extreme's third-person shooter take on J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot. I walked in thinking I'd be disappointed. By the end of the presentation, however, I was taken aback by how excited I was for a game based on a movie license I couldn't care less about.
Digital Extremes, the developer behind BioShock 2 (one of them) and the upcoming Darkness sequel, have designed Star Trek to be a co-op experience from the start. In the game, one player takes on the role of Kirk and the other plays as Spock. Each character has his own personality, animations, gadgets, abilities and role to fill. Fans of Abrams's film will be happy to hear the game retains the film's playful dialog and comedic moments. After a jetpack-propelled trip through space, Kirk botches the landing and crashes into a pile of crates. Spock, on the other hand, lands on his feet with style.
The dueling personalities of the two come to life in the game's setpieces, as well as cutscenes and dialog. One scene in the demo found Spock carrying a poisoned Kirk to a medical bay. Once positioned, Spock performs a Trauma Center-esque mini-game, while Kirk guns down incoming enemies through a drugged, hazy filter. The demo was filled with moments like this, where the lines between cutscene and gameplay were seamlessly blended in a way that recalled Dead Space 2 and Uncharted's most memorable scenes.
By working with Bad Robot and others involved with Abrams's reboot, Digital Extremes have been able to make a remarkably faithful recreation of the 2009 reboot. The game's levels are crafted with set blueprints in mind, Spock's suit is detailed down to his uncomfortably visible ass-crack, and the characters come to life thanks to God of War writer Marianne Krawczyk. Fans will also be happy to hear the game will include deployable shields, Federation rifles, hydro-chargers and, of course, a gratuitous amount of lens flare. Running on a beefed-up Unreal 3 engine [EDIT: Actually, it's running on Digital Extreme's own Evolution Engine which also powers The Darkness 2] and executed with no HUD clutter, the gadgets and weapons of the game look spectacular in action.
The demo shown was made for E3, so the events shown are not reflective of the final game's story. What we do know is that the story will take place between the Star Trek reboot and its upcoming sequel. Even for an early presentation, Digital Extreme's Star Trek is impressive enough to get a non-Trekkie excited for its 2012 release.