During the E3 convention last week, I had the opportunity check out the gameplay for the Star Trek game, Namco Bandai’s first-person shooter that’s a tie-in to JJ Abrams’ reboot of the popular sci-fi franchise. The events of action take place sometime in between Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film and the upcoming sequel. Abrams himself worked with the Namco Bandai team to insure the storyline remains in canon with the continuity of the series, and the full cast is on board to voice their characters, including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.
One of the unique distinctions of this game is it’s the first in the franchise to allow you to play as both Captain Kirk and Spock simultaneously, via split-screen or networked play. In fact, the demo shown to me relied heavily on Kirk/Spock cooperative play, as the Enterprise is called down to a settlement on New Vulcan (as the old Vulcan was destroyed by Romulus in the previous film) to respond to a distress signal.
Once on the planet surface, they discover a few dead Vulcans, and a few who surprisingly begin firing upon Kirk and Spock. After a brief melee, Spock puts the mind meld on one of the Vulcans to discover his consciousness has been overtaken by an alien species. They wander around in the below-ground access ports looking for clues as to who the invaders are. Once back above ground they discover that species is the Gorn, the lizard-like hostiles previously encountered in the 1960s Star Trek episode, Arena, except unlike in that episode, the Gorn aren’t men in cheap rubber suits and masks, but full on Dino-humanoids, standing nearly twice as tall as humans (see image of the Gorn from the game just below).
Kirk and Spock engage in a firefight with the tyrannosauric Gorn across the recent ruins of an abandoned New Vulcan hall and spacecraft landing port. A Gorn battle barge lands with reinforcements, and Kirk and Spock make their way onboard, dispatch the crew and hijack the ship. Another fully manned (or rather, Gorned) barge soars in from the starboard side and fires upon the hijacked barge, sending it spiraling down toward the New Vulcan canyon below.
Gameplay is slightly different depending on which character you play, and I was pleased at how distinctly they incorporated each character’s personality into the experience. When they encounter a broken bridge, Kirk impetuously leaps across the chasm, and has to grab the edge of the other side to narrowly avoid falling to his death, while Spock meticulously searches for the bridge’s control panel to extend it. Their witty banter throughout is wonderfully in-character as well. Graphics are on par with the consoles they’re intended for.
Star Trek will be available for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC consoles early 2013.
Below are images from the E3 convention of the Star Trek game booth, including the booth babes.
All photographs from E3 by Andrew Sorcini for Geeks Of Doom.