Star Trek Preview with Kirk and Spock

The all-new Star Trek game has certainly turned some heads since the teaser was released during Sony’s E3 2011 conference. It’s the first game to put players directly in control of Kirk and Spock during their in-canon experience. During our time at E3 we got a chance to see the game in action – and have put together a set of impressions to help readers get a sense of what to expect from the title.

Set after the events of the 2009 Star Trek film, the game will take the two main protagonists on an intense co-op adventure against enemies currently unknown – that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? While nothing was revealed about the enemies, we do know that we’ll be encountering a “legendary alien race bent on conquering the galaxy.” Star Trek is set to take players on a 12-hour adventure in late 2012 – to coincide with the actual film release of Star Trek 2.

The game will be formed around a co-op experience, in which you and a friend team up as Kirk and Spock. If you’re going solo, there will be a capable AI ready to take the reigns of whoever you don’t want to play as. Throughout the campaign, players will be journeying through space: avoiding explosives, hijacking enemy ships and swimming through subterranean waterways. In short, the game is looking to provide a variety of settings – to keep things from getting stale.

Graphically, the game seems to hold its own against most others, including Mass Effect. Star Trek appears to have drawn inspiration from BioWare’s space trilogy – in terms of how the navigation, combat, and cover systems work. During one of the demo missions, Kirk and Spock jumped through space to reboard the captured Enterprise, spurring a satisfying fast-paced scene in which the two avoided deadly mines. It was an intense start to the game, finishing with Spock landing neatly aboard the Enterprise and Kirk crumpling into a pile of boxes – some things never change.

Star Trek's Kirk and Spock in combat on the EnterpriseRegaining control of the Enterprise is no easy task.

As Kirk and Spock traversed the ship, stereotypical fallen redshirts provided background story information (when scanned with the classic tricorder). The device can also be used to open doors and scan various objects throughout the game. Each player was armed with a phaser – which can be set to stun or, of course, kill. Whether you keep using the phaser or not, each kill you rack up contributes to a leveling system where, the higher your ranking, the more special moves you can use with each weapon. Depending on which character you are, you’ll either be getting cowboy-esque danger moves or cold, calculated, attacks (we’ll let you guess which character has which).

One thing the game certainly does well is punch through scripted events. At one point, a large explosion caused Kirk to wildly fire behind his back as he dove behind cover – with Spock firing from afar. While all the movements were pre-planned, players had full control over the aiming and shooting, helping to give an edge – when a full combat sequence starts. Likewise, Kirk got an eyeful of neurotoxin, causing another true co-op moment as Spock helped him limp his way to the med-bay (as both fired their way through an onslaught of enemies). As Kirk provided fire cover from the bed, Spock solved a puzzle on the med-screen to eliminate the virus in his friend’s body. This kind of highly cinematic, and diversified, co-op experiences haven’t really been around since the old back-to-back sequences in Army of Two and are pulled-off gracefully by developer, Digital Extreme.

If you want to experience some of the action yourself, we’ve got the E3 2011 trailer to tide you over:

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With a 12 hour campaign and no word on multiplayer, it’s looking like Star Trek will, until we hear otherwise, be great for Trekkies and non-fans alike, who want to kill time with a buddy. With a year to go in development, the game is looking pretty polished and it’ll be interesting to see how much appeal the game ultimately has for non-Trekkies. Star Trek will feature other members of the Enterprise and from the Star Trek universe, though only Kirk and Spock will be playable. From the words of Digital Extreme themselves, “Star Trek is a good experience to see Kirk and Spock bud together over the course of the game, as you kick ass along the way.”

What do you think about the new Star Trek game? Does the co-op focus appeal to you?

Star Trek will be released in 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.