Star Trek: Resurgence

At the end of my review of Lord of the Rings: Gollum, I wrote:

…my next video-game review will about a game based on a widely-known IP, with antique graphics, and even more glitches than Gollum. I loved every minute of it.

Given my fondness for Telltale-style games, and my oft-unrequited love of Star Trek, it probably wasn’t too hard to guess that I was talking about a Telltale-type Star Trek game: Star Trek: Resurgence.

ST:R was developed by Dramatic Labs, a company started by former employees at Telltale. The game fits the classic Telltale framework: It’s a story-telling adventure game, whose outcome is determined by the choices you make while playing the game. As with Telltale’s Batman games, gameplay alternates between story sequences in which you must decide how your character responds to the story, with occasional “mini-game” puzzles and Quicktime events (QTEs) along the way.

The graphic rendering is about the same level as that of earlier Telltale efforts from a decade ago. I didn’t mind. I was in familiar territory here: I didn’t expect the photorealism of a Blizzard cutscene. In fact, during some of the sequences set in space, the game makes better use of a 3D environment than I’d ever seen a game like this before. (They’ve been exceeded since then, but I’ll save that for a future review.)

The game alternates between two characters: Jara Rydeck, the new First Officer of the Federation starship USS Resolute; and Carter Diaz, a low-level engineer on that same ship. For the most part, the characters do not interact with each other, and you control their narratives more-or-less independently. The Resolute is a science vessel, but it’s been ordered to participate in a complex negotiation between two alien races. To supply diplomatic expertise, Mr. Spock comes on board the ship to lend a hand. (I don’t see this as a spoiler, since every ad for the game shows a picture of him.)

You gradually become aware that the situation is not what it first appears to be, escalating (because this is Star Trek, after all) into a menace that threatens the entire galaxy.

I like the quality of the story. You have to make some tough choices right from the start, choosing which of the characters around you to impress and whom to disappoint. I’ve only played through the game once, but this game has the feel of the Telltale Batman games: You can greatly change how the game plays and how the story ends based on your decisions.

There were a couple of disappointments for me. The first was that one or two of the QTEs were challenging for this aging video-game player. It was nothing I couldn’t handle, but it was annoying to have to replay the same phaser battle until I figured out which buttons to press.

The other annoyance was how glitchy the game was. I learned to accept the occasional crashes, especially since they didn’t rewind the progress I made in any given story sequence. It’s likely that these bugs have been patched since I played the game on my PS5, but I have not yet replayed the game to find out.

As a Trekker, Trekkie, Telltaler, and Telltalie, I give Star Trek: Resurgence four Vulcan salutes. Live long and prosper!

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