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

If the rest of Star Trek is as stellar as the game’s E3 demo, it could go down in history as one of the finest licensed games ever made. Merging ideas and gameplay concepts from Gears of War 3, Uncharted, Metroid Prime and even a smidge of Dead Space, it isn’t simply mimicking the film like so many movie games do – it’s looking to complement and enhance the film.

What we’re trying to say is, we’re pretty damn excited about Star Trek.

Not to use a cliché, but Trek is clearly a labor of love. The developers at Digital Extremes wanted to do a game based on JJ Abrams’ reimagining of Gene Roddenberry’s classic series, but not with approach usually used in licensed games. The result is a stand-alone co-op adventure with Kirk and Spock (yes, the likenesses of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are present and accounted for) with as much flair and personality as Trek’s recent reboot.

It’s not connected in any way to the storyline of either the recent Trek film or its upcoming sequel, though Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman are collaborating with God of War writer Marianne Krawczyk on the game’s script. Digital Extremes is also working closely with Abrams’ Bad Robot company to make sure it maintains the proper feel and tone — they’re taking their responsibility with the already-established “new” canon very seriously. The game even has the film’s iconic lens flare.

The demo gameplay we saw began with Kirk and Spock (each displayed on their own screen to more effectively illustrate screen-to-screen differences in co-op) coming back from an away mission by shuttle. The Enterprise isn’t responding to hails, and with a minefield of depth charges surrounding the starship, the shuttle can’t dock safely. The solution is a space jump using life support propulsion units.

The Zero-G jump will be familiar to anyone who’s seen Abrams film, taking after the drilling platform jump scene, mechanically it looks like Isaac’s breakneck freefall towards the tail end of Dead Space 2. The sequence lasts for a few minutes, with both players dodging a minefield surrounding the Enterprise before they hit the ship’s deck.

Here’s the game’s first real taste of the minute differences that playing as Kirk or Spock bring: when the duo lands, Kirk goes sliding off-screen, while Spock slowly comes to a stop. The personality of each character has been tailored to the gameplay experience for both players—Kirk is more headstrong while Spock has a slower, methodical approach. The banter between the two, an important aspect of capturing the dynamic between Kirk and Spock, is also thankfully intact.

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