E3 2012: Star Trek Preview – Attack of the Gorn
Written Tuesday, June 12, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Ever since Shatner and Nimoy forever made Kirk and Spock indelibly iconic, Star Trek has always, forever been associated with the duo's conflict between romancing green women and rushing in with a phaser or alternatively, a quick Vulcan nerve pinch and unfaltering logic. And so it goes with Digital Extremes' Star Trek, which takes the JJ Abrams movies as its inspiration and crafts a co-op story around Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock.
Set between the 2009 Star Trek movie reboot and its upcoming sequel due to release in 2013, Star Trek the game sees Kirk and Spock seeking new life and new civilisations, going boldly where no man has gone before on the USS Enterprise, which in our demo (presented in stereoscopic 3D) sees them visiting the planet of New Vulcan. If you've seen the 2009 Star Trek movie, you'll know why it's New Vulcan, and not just plain old Vulcan.
Starting with Kirk hanging out on the bridge of the Enterprise, with a crew consisting of likenesses faithful to the movie, a distress signal from New Vulcan sees Kirk and Spock heading to see Scotty (voice and likeness provided by Simon Pegg, as you'd expect) to get beamed down to the planet's surface. Talking through their plan of action in the ship's elevator, Spock suggests a more prudent approach. “More prudent, but not as much fun,” Kirk quips, as the pair tool up with phasers. On the planet's surface, the new colony is eerily quiet, suggesting something is clearly amiss.
Following a trail towards a sealed facility, Spock uses his tricorder to scan a dead Vulcan settler they stumble upon, detecting mysterious toxins in the corpse's bloodstream. The duo set their phasers to stun, before they work together to breach the front door requiring Spock tunes and Kirk filters the frequency to hack into the entrance's control panel. Star Trek offers asymmetric co-operative play centred around the duo's teamwork and camaraderie, so each character assumes a different perspective with their own unique gameplay experience. Door hacking is a minor example of this.
Once inside the facility, it's immediately apparent that the Vulcan colony is under the hostile influence of the toxin coursing through their blood, transforming the natives into violent phaser-toting maniacs. Taking cover, Kirk provides some suppressing fire against the possessed Vulcans, taking a few down with some stun shots. Spock meanwhile flanks one entrenched enemy at the back of the room, and applies the good old Vulcan nerve pinch to incapacitate him. It's Vulcan mind-meld time next, as Spock delves into the brainpan of the unconscious infected Vulcan to learn more about the indoctrinated colony.
Exiting the first part of the facility, the pair encounter a bridge that's seemingly out of action. Ever the brazen 'think first, ask questions later' guy, Kirk goes to jump the huge gap to the other side, only to come unstuck, leaving him dangling precariously from a pole that's out of reach. Thankfully, Spock uses a little logic and deploys the bridge using a nearby console and Kirk's able to climb to safety. Moving on together to the next part of the facility, the duo encounter yet more dead bodies in puddles of green goo: more evidence of the mind-controlling toxin that's taken over the Vulcans.
Clambering through to the ventilation shafts, Kirk climbs up and out of a hatch back to the surface, pulling Spock through to where the demo's true antagonist is revealed. It's a Gorn, Star Trek's hostile malevolent reptilian race, who've been revamped especially for the game, and now boast a more than passing resemblance to Resistance's Chimera alien race. Digital Extremes has created a whole species of Gorn especially for the game, and this first one is a big fella, charging and clawing at both Kirk and Spock with startling aggression.
While Kirk keeps the Gorn occupied with some phaser fire, Spock takes the opportunity to scan the beast with his tricorder, revealing its mid-section as a weak spot. Both target the newly revealed vulnerable area of the Gorn, killing it quickly. Problem solved, right? Wrong. Killing the Gorn has only prompted a whole fleet of Gorn to arrive in their dropships, deploying an army of smaller Gorn units wielding plasma rifles. More cover shooter action is in order, but Kirk and Spock find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, and Scotty's far too slow in assembling a support team to help out.
Kirk leaps to one of the vessels while Spock follows, but jumps straight into the clutches of one of the Gorn. Kirk shoots it, loosening its grip and Spock boots it off the edge of the ship. One down, dozens more to go, the duo find themselves pinned down by the ship's legion of resident Gorn, shooting from behind cover. Hell bent on destroying Kirk and Spock by any means necessary, one of the Gorn ships turns its laser cannon on them, singling out Kirk who looks into the charging beam like a deer in headlights. Spock quickly reacts, shoving Kirk out of the way, before they both make a swift descent back to ground level as the vessel crashes.
Back on the ground, the Gorn mount an all-out attack, and despite seizing a Gorn plasma rifle (“Scotty's gonna love this thing” Kirk notes), the numbers still prove too much for two guys to handle. There's only one thing for it. Kirk orders the Enterprise to hit the fleet with an orbital strike, calling in photon torpedoes that decimate most of the invading Gorn ships, leaving only a few easily dispatched stragglers. Mission accomplished.
A barnstorming demo, our first look at Star Trek the game is an encouraging one, with all of the movies' voice talent and likenesses accounted for, and the same dynamic between the deadpan, resolutely logical Mr. Spock and always brash Captain Kirk (voiced by Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine respectively) present and correct. Visually, it looks superb and the audio is particularly exceptional, with all of the iconic sound effects making it into the game intact. It's the co-operative gameplay, set-pieces and faithful rendition of the Star Trek universe that should win the game fans though, whether those fans love Star Trek or simply love third-person shooters. Beam us up, Scotty.
Star Trek is set to energise in 2013. Engage.