E3 2011: Star Trek preview – finally, videogame proof that Kirk and Spock are badasses

Another interesting mechanic is the tricorder. Part Metroid Prime-analyzing tool, part environmental interaction device, this item can be used to, say, scan lifeforms (a number of dead shirts were evidently poisoned), open locked doors or create cover by activating Federation technology. With the rest of the crew’s wherabouts unknown, Kirk and Spock receive a distress call from the ship’s shuttle bay, where they walk into an ambush from an unknown alien foe.

Aside from their changes in perspective, each character has different abilities that are most noticeable in combat. Being a Vulcan, Spock has higher levels of strength, can mindmeld with enemies, use a particle cannon and can neutralize enemies with stasis, among others. Kirk, of course, is a lateral thinker, and has more access to advanced technology and weaponry, including a special Captain’s issue phaser that can be upgraded to, say, vaporize its target.

These details and character flourishes lend the game a Naughty Dog-level authenticity and personality, and even with phasers blasting, firefights carry the same dynamic and cinematic sensibilities. (When they’re ambushed Kirk runs for cover towards the screen, allowing the player to target as he blindly shoots behind, to name one example.)

After trading shots for a few minutes, Kirk is poisoned, leaving Spock little choice but to take him to medbay. Now Kirk’s screen washed out in a grayish-yellow haze as he slowly succumbs to the toxin. Despite his weakening vision and aim, he needs to fend off any pursuers before time runs out.

The demo’s climax happens inside medbay itself. A sequence similar to Dead Space Extraction has Spock using the medical laser to get rid of parasites in Kirk’s leg, while Kirk again has to defend their position as his Spock works to save his life. We were assured there are plenty more cooperative contrasts like this one throughout the game.

For a title that seemingly came out of nowhere, Star Trek already has a surprising amount of polish. The attention to detail is high and DE seems to be doing everything in their power to create a cohesive new chapter in Abrams’ Trek universe. This one will stay high on our list of anticipated games as we move towards its Summer 2012 release.

Jun 16, 2011