Star Trek 1

Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise and his Commander Spock find themselves up against the terror of the Gorn! The Vulcans created a technical marvel that could form a rogue planet into a New Vulcan. Much like the Genesis project from Wrath of Khan, this world shaping equipment can also do the opposite and devastate worlds. Kirk and his crew must stop the Gorn and retrieve the Helios machine before it is weaponized and used against an unsuspecting galaxy.

 

Don’t expect the dream story-line that many people were hoping for. Kirk and Spock are given a goal and they are expected to run through death and devastation to reach it. The plot is so basic that it entered one ear and went out the other. It however graces us with entertaining interactions between Kirk and Spock, and sparse snippets of the Enterprise Crew. The main reason to focus on anything that is spewed during the journey lies in the hands of the iconic characters. If you were looking for the well-paced action of the movie, you are going to have to keep scanning for the next game.

 

I’m not going to even kid myself and pretend that Star Trek isn’t a poor man’s Mass Effect. Actually, that’s incorrect, one of these titles is significantly cheaper and of a higher quality than the other. Star Trek is a generic corridor shooter with a ton of ideas that don’t pan out too well. A talent tree exists with a range of team-oriented skills, but the only two that really matter are the Tricorder and stealth modules. Everything is unnecessary, you can just as easily slide through the game without even realizing the rest existed. It’s clear that Star Trek had high aspirations with multiple genre combinations, but they all dissolved into a mess of PEW PEW and shoddy mechanics.

 

The Tricorder is as true to the show as possible, it can scan any and everything in the path of our space-faring adventurers. Get used to seeing a blue grid, because the Tricorder is overused as a collection and puzzle device. Need to hack an item, use the Tricorder, need to interact with something, Tricorder, need to find an objective, Tricorder, need to ressurrect a buddy… you guessed it, Tricorder. It can do everything in the series, but it feels like a crutch in a video game.

Star Trek 2

In a galaxy full of genius technology, every single instrument of operation breaks and needs a manual fix. The Tricorder acts as a repairing tool that initiates absurdly boring hacking mini-games. A variation of snake, match the image, and the cooperative balance puzzle make an appearance constantly during the campaign. I never thought I would loathe interacting with a door in any form, but Star Trek made it possible.

 

Let’s talk about how awful this title plays technically. My immediate decision once I took control of Kirk was to attempt to jump, and it turned out to be the stiffest, slowest, and most robotic animation I’d ever seen. I figured that it was only in the game for show, but I was sadly mistaken. Star Trek tears a page out of the Uncharted handbook as gracefully as a drunken elephant walking a tightrope. Kirk and Spock lack any sort of dexterity when it comes to leaping chasms, so expect them to fall quite often. It doesn’t matter if you time it correctly either, as the buggy nature of title will make sure that Kirk and Spock fall to their doom.

 

Which brings me to another sorry truth about Star Trek – It’s a bug-filled mess. The A.I. is so stupid that it will run past Kirk, or completely forget about the battle and marvel at his beauty. You know that fantastic Tricorder you need so much? It stops functioning at the end of missions, or the U.I. will disappear and it’s impossible to interact with the level. The rag doll is absolutely ridiculous but funny in a way, and enemies will climb on walls that don’t exist.. That’s not even the full tally, but I don’t have the time to talk about everything. Oh, and there is a space battle that is pure chaos and barely explains how to play it. Here is a tip, turn off your shields or it is impossible to fire any weapons from the Enterprise, you’re welcome!

 

I’ll admit that the Enterprise crew – for the most part- share their real world counterparts looks. Kirk looks like Chris Pine, Spock looks like Zachary Quinto, and Scotty looks… like Simon Pegg with a warped head. Likenesses aside, the vistas of each location are underwhelming and murky. If anything the only real standout visuals are the pre-rendered cut-scenes, and the on-rails space drop sequences.

 

Overall, if you’re a fan or just want to find a way to get into the series, this is game is going to have the opposite effect.  Fans will hate it for all the inaccuracies of even the new films, and the people that don’t like Star Trek will dislike it even more. It would be illogical to take on this scrappy mish-mash of genres. Star Trek the Video Game receives a D from Geek Citadel. If this is the journey to the Final Frontier, I’ll make sure to boldly go home.

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Don't Starve 1

Don’t Starve is actually less about starving, and more about surviving the harsh world laid before you. You do spend a ton of time scrounging for food, but exploring and preparing for combat is a must. You take on the role of a character that is left to die on an island filled with monstrous creatures. The first night is all about building a campfire and assuring that when the lights go out, something in the dark will not gobble you up. After that, it’s all about building your character to take on the world.

 

Crafting is the most important part of Don’t Starve. Building your first weapon to take on the perilous creatures is impossible without engineering a Science or Alchemy Machine. This is where the meat of the creation lies, these wondrous machines can create prototypes of structures, newer weapons, and even farms for sustainability. Every prototype allows a specific set of items to create it, and this usually requires our unsuspecting survivalist to face off against the wild.

 

Unlike a great many other “survival” titles, Don’t Starve rewards you for remaining cautious. Your character only has one life to live; this life extends by discovering randomly placed touchstones. If your character dies, he can return to the stone, thus breaking it in half and rendering it useless. One more trip to the Grim Reaper and the game ends, and it is off to the experience tally screen. The longer the unwilling protagonist survives the better the chance at earning a new character. All progression and items disappear, but you unlock a new avatar with a varied skill-set and different dialogue options.

 

Cultivate, decimate, or explore to discover the beautiful artwork of Don’t Starve. A crisp painting reminiscent of an Edgar Allen Poe story mixed with the unusual characterizations of Tim Burton. The simple act of picking fruit from a bush is incredibly well animated, and the outlandish creatures look like bizarre drawings come to life. The sound design is quirky and memorable as each character releases a musical tone when they speak or the distinct sounds of anger when a monster feels threatened.

 

The world is tailor-made by the player from the get go. You choose how much danger you’ll encounter in the menus, or if you even want to be bothered at all. My only gripe lies in the backpack system. The characters can’t wear a backpack and equip armor at the same time, which convolutes the inventory system unnecessarily. Despite that one flaw, this is a true  survivor sandbox that promotes exploration and experimentation. Don’t Starve receives an A- from Geek Citadel. Food may not always be in constant supply, but you will never be starved of amusement.

*These titles were given to us by the Publisher to review.