Review: Star Trek: Bridge Crew (PSVR)

Review: Star Trek: Bridge Crew (PSVR)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Optional (1)
  • Move Recommended (2)
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Title: Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (4.45 GB)
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Red Storm Entertainment
Original MSRP: $49.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Full disclosure, I’m a big Star Trek fan. I’ve watched every episode of every series at least once, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is one of my personal top movies.

When I first heard about Star Trek: Bridge Crew at the launch of PlayStation VR I knew that I would pick it up. I only hoped that the game would be good, and I was cautiously optimistic.

Then the day finally came. With my download code in-hand I excitedly awaited the download completion.

Would this game be everything this fanboy had hoped for, or was the promise of experiencing the life as a bridge officer too good to be true? Judging by my ear-to-ear grin, this game did not disappoint.

Gameplay:
In Star Trek: Bridge Crew, you play as a bridge officer of the U.S.S. Aegis or The Original Series (TOS) Enterprise, but more on that later. The crew is represented on the bridge by the Captain, Navigator, Tactical, and Engineer positions. In single player, you play as the Captain, but you can take over any of the roles at will. In multiplayer, you can pick any role.

The game does an amazing job fully immersing you in the environment. I was completely taken aback by what surrounded me. This was an experience I had always fantasized about, but something that was never possible until VR. My first moments in the game were jaw dropping.

Now after you’re done gawking at the bridge and locale, it’s time to complete missions. The first tutorial is a simulation – super meta, right? But not just any simulation, the Kobayashi freaking Maru. Unfortunately you can’t rig the simulation like Kirk.

While this is the quintessential “no win scenario”, there are many ways to finish it and it’s up to the captain to decide how to approach this. I won’t get into too many details, but I’ll just say I at least made it out alive.

The single player campaign has five main missions in addition to the Kobayashi Maru tutorial and challenge and you can get through this content in four to five hours.

… you’re going to need to coordinate with the other players or the AI …
What really makes the game shine is the set of ongoing missions. These are procedurally generated, so expect a lot of replayability. It’s great to see this, because without it this game would lack value. This ensures that it’s always there and ready for you to pop on with a friend or three.

Now when it comes to performing your functions as bridge crew, things can get interesting. You’ve got your respective console in front of you and everything is laid out quite well.

Each Move controller is mapped to one of your character’s hands. Movement accuracy is on-point and everything works as you expect it. The gameplay is such that you’re going to need to coordinate with the other players or the AI to achieve any single task.

You also have the option of playing in The Original Series Enterprise. This is truly the game’s hardcore mode. Everything is recreated exactly from the TV show, including the use of 100% mechanical switches and buttons without labels.

This adds another layer of challenge, as you’ve got to memorize where everything is, and discover most of it by trial and error. For me, it only amounted to a novelty, as I didn’t find myself wanting to play this way much. Nonetheless I’m very happy they added it. (EDITOR’S NOTE: You can bring up a virtual overlay that labels each of the switches and only you can see it.)

This leads to one of my few criticisms of the game. I really wish they added more Starships. I would LOVE to experience The Next Generation Enterprise, and this should have been a no-brainer add. If Ubisoft is smart, they will come out with DLC featuring this type of content. Even so, I really wish it was in the base game.

Visuals:
The game looks awesome. They did a good job making the environment convincing and detailed. Sitting in this virtual world I felt totally convinced of my surroundings and had no problem being completely immersed.

There is some weirdness here and there with the controller tracking and your character’s wrists can sometimes bend in unnatural ways. I can also say that they clearly didn’t design some of these consoles for fat guys like me, since many of my controls were cutting into my… well… let’s just say Scotty wouldn’t be too pleased. In all seriousness, some height and body type adjustments would have been a welcome addition.

… one of the most immersive VR titles I’ve played to date …
Audio:
The game does a great job with sound effects and music. All effects are true to their inspiration and only add to the immersion. The ambient sounds, especially on TOS Enterprise, are extremely satisfying.

Online/Multiplayer:
Multiplayer is where the game shines. The PlayStation Nation crew put together a game and it was the most fun I’ve had online in a LONG time. Each one of us was completely immersed into his respective role and you could tell we had smiles on our face every time.

We worked well as a team, and respected the chain of command. Even if orders weren’t coming as quickly as needed sometimes. And that’s what truly makes this game special, online is truly cooperative.

This game would make one hell of a team-building activity, because by the end of each mission you will be proud if your group’s accomplishments. Everything is well balanced and structured.

Conclusion:
This game has provided me with an experience I had yearned for as long as I’ve been a fan of Star Trek. This is one of the most immersive VR titles I’ve played to date. Enough to make this fanboy nerd-shriek.

The gameplay truly exemplifies the idealism of the franchise. Cooperation for the greater good. So join me, won’t you? While we go where no man has gone before…

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Sam Jividen

Sam Jividen

Musical guy, went to college for it. Now like many musicians I’m working at a tech startup.

My first gaming memories harken from the NES. While I had a Genisis later, I always found myself going back to the NES to play Super Mario 3 or Mega Man 2. These days I’m usually gaming on my PS4 or PC.

Some day I’ll be Honey Boo-Boo famous.

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