Star Trek D-A-C

It's no major surprise to see a Star Trek game released in a year when the latest Trek movie is proving to be a massive commerical success, though few would have anticipated the method used to deliver the game. Rather than a full-fat, disc-based adventure, featuring all your favourite locations from the film, Star Trek DAC is a Playstation Store release centered around multiplayer dogfights, with not a single appearence from the cast. Looking down on the action like a Q (you know, the hyper-intelligent beings from the Q continuum, that other, rather complicated, plane of existence) might do, you control either a Starfleet ship, or a Romulan vessel, and take part in deathmatches, assaults and more. Sounding interesting, but likely to be pap? Though the latter was highly likely, the finished product is actually remarkably enjoyable and a welcome arrival on the Store.

Star Trek

Firstly, remove all expectations of a plot, a single-player campaign and any feeling of progression. Star Trek DAC is all about multiplayer scraps, as evidenced by the ordering of the menus, starting, as they do, with multiplayer at the top, and solo options below. The single-player options are essentially the same modes as the multiplayer, but populated entirely by artificial intelligence. That said, on higher difficulties, the computer-controlled ships will provide serious resistance, and in multiplayer scraps, the AI ships happily make up the numbers to provide interstellar dogfights that become quite tense and exciting. While there's not a huge amount to get impressed by in a standard deathmatch, the Conquest and Assault modes are highly entertaining, and work brilliantly with a good number of players involved. In Conquest, each team fights for control of two central bases; control of both locations depletes the shield from the enemy base, giving players a chance to hurtle towards their objective to gain victory. Of course, the opponent has the choice to either defend fiercely, but also has the option to leave the base unguarded while re-taking control of the middleground to not only raise the shield on their own base, but to mount a counter attack while the focus of the first team is elsewhere. The tactical element isn't astoundingly taxing, but it provides a nice balance to the game and keeps proceedings interesting.

Star Trek

Perhaps the most enjoyable element of each battle though are the ships you can choose. On the Federation side of things, players can pick from five classes, including classic capital ship, the Enterprise, and other vessels such as support frigates, bombers and fighters. Each ship has unique strengths and weaknesses (for example, the Enterprise is slow to manoeuvre in close combat, but well armed and very robust, while the nimble fighters can take less of a pounding but still pack a major punch, and can hurtle around the battlefield). No ship is particularly weak once you get the hang of using it and, if anything, it's the capital ship that feels underpowered as it sluggishly turns to fire its main weapons. The controls for the fighter utilize the intuitive "point the stick where you wish to shoot" seen in superb store titles like Super Stardust HD, but the capital ship involves a cursor on the screen which you move with the right stick, allowing you to shoot on that precise location. While that might seem handy, it leaves the targeting feeling clumsy and slow compared to the fighters and bombers, which may be disappointing to fans of the classic Enterprise.

Star Trek

The main success though is that players can achieve victory no matter which class of ship they have chosen. Putting aside the likely inconsistencies with the Star Trek universe, Star Trek DAC is a worthy multiplayer shooter that gamers should find enjoyable, if only for a short time. It looks quite pretty, with lasers firing, bombs exploding, asteroids shattering and multiple ships cruising across the screen, all with no noticeable slowdown, and the sound effects are all quite pleasing, with chunky bomber noises and suitably sci-fi-friendly lasers. It would have been nice if things got a bit more frantic, particularly with the bonus pickup "fire everything", which could have been accompanied by far more spectacular sound effects for improved atmosphere, but there's nothing else major to criticise. The music will be familiar to those that have seen the latest film, taking some of the best elements and blending them with the action nicely. Combined, these features result in a game that is worth the asking price on the store, especially if you have friends buying the same game. It's not a Star Trek masterpiece filled with trivia and interesting story elements to find, but it is a highly entertaining shooter with very useful multiplayer features.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Paramount

Developer:

Bad Robot

Players:

1

Online:

1-12

Release:

2009-11-12

Trophies:

12

Review summary

Gameplay:

Great fun in multiplayer matches - solid stuff

Graphics:

Shiny and pretty but ultimately simple

Sound:

Entertaining effects, including great explosions

Lastability:

Good fun for a few days entertainment

7.6

Volcanic

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