Resurgence’ Is a Wonderful Movie Bogged Down by a Terrible Game
in his heart, Star Trek: Resurrection a love letter to one of the greatest science fiction franchises of all time. The set pieces, cameos, incredible writing, depth of story – they all speak to the five-person team at Drama Labs of the love of the series. While the passion is there, evident in every lovingly sculpted character model, space scene, and regulation hall, Dramatic Lab missed the mark with the most important element: gameplay. Simply put, Star Trek: Resurrection struggling to be fun.
That is not to say that Trek star fans will not appreciate and even enjoy the story at the heart of the Resurrection. Its 15-20 hour journey is full of heart. The writing is clever, the characters are believable and diverse, and the story does a great job of setting up loyalties and conflicts. I often found myself wrapped up in the story, which follows Jara Rydek, the newly appointed first officer of the Society of Christian Brothers determined as she congratulated the crew, and Carter Diaz, a very pleasant and talented engineer on the lower decks.
As Carter, you interact with much more of the team. He has been a staple of the research vessel for many years, staying on board after a disastrous incident that still takes a toll on the crew. He fixes teleporters, researches unknown alien artifacts, and often comes up with last minute workarounds to save the day. Jara is much more diplomatic, mostly involved in discussion and negotiation, although she steers all parties away from home and often gets herself into trouble. The character models are lovingly crafted for the main cast, even if their facial animations are lacking. Characters may have five different surnames, so it is quite easy to recognize when someone has a “suspicious” face and should be questioned. Despite this, Jara and Carter’s interactions with their surroundings are still enjoyable, although I couldn’t tell if Carter was ever surprised or looked that way.
Their story is perfectly woven together, allowing the players to see how their actions on the bridge can affect the nameless support units on the ship. The story deals with moral gray areas (even if some are a bit on the nose) and easily balances what the players’ instincts are with how a real Starfleet captain would respond in dire situations. The pressure to conform to Starfleet regulations depends on the bridge officers you choose to align with, some sticklers for regulations and others genocidal maniacs. I often found myself waiting for the story, wondering how it would turn out, really excited to pick up my controller again just to see how I could manage my crew – and the many citizens of the Federation – put out of harm’s way.
Except, as the game progresses, those simple mini-game interactions start to blend into tedium. They consist of one of the triggers of your controller at the appropriate time, spinning a joystick, or trying to center a reticle. Sometimes they work well into the story, but most of them are just a means to an end. I regularly felt like a who Resurrection My hand was held when it wasn’t needed, only to throw me into a sink or swim situation with no explanation – not that I came at a moment when my quickness mattered. Failure to select an option usually resulted in a pause, or immediate death and restart. Despite this, some moments work well, but that’s the case in less than half of your contacts. For the rest, their tedium is incomprehensible.
As Carter, yes a lot of essential interactive moments. At first, these are purposeful and thought out, but as the game progressed, I couldn’t help but feel that – rather than expanding the basis of the interactions – Drama Labs decided the controls to mud. Instead of making meaningful adjustments, they arbitrarily chose fog movement, making interacting with the world a complete slog. The many encounters were so tedious that they took the joy out of the story and I found myself frustrated that I even had to play the game, like all the interaction was a chore. When the actual playing action is the least attractive part of a video gameyou know you have a problem.
This lack of fun doesn’t apply to every interactive moment, but it affects enough of them that it makes being in the world – a place where interaction is necessary – very little. The combat is less exciting, although it does speed up the story. Unfortunately, you’ll encounter the same basic mini-games as many times as you can solve them with your eyes closed. Even using the iconic Tricorder to find information becomes frustrating.
Sometimes, these interactions are simple – you turn on your little device, scan the thing, talk about the thing with the rest of your remote team, and move on. But in other periods of investigation, the interactions that can be scanned arbitrarily are revealed. You’ll be examining a screen, sure you’ve completed the grid sweep and uncovered nothing, only to discover that there are suddenly – and inexplicably – bits of information that you just did your tri-order. lost. It’s frustrating and annoying at worst.
These monotonous round-the-clock information-gathering sessions are required to make the best decisions and move the story forward, so there’s no way around them but to wander into every room, Tricorder trilling incessantly as you seek whatever point of reaction will bring the tedious detective work to an end. . That brings me to another complaint – the sound design is either complete garbage, or plagued by one of the worst sound bugs I’ve seen in a long time.
Despite the incredible story and writing, there is a dialogue bug that will leave you scrambling. Lines are often cut off halfway through or skipped entirely. I was thankful I turned subtitles on, otherwise I would have had to make some decisions blindly, without any context. Even worse were the decisions Resurrection which was done to me during the more extensive narrative crises. Although the writing is tight, some of the more dramatic moments lacked intensity as I desperately wanted to get my bearings and find out exactly what had happened, and what decision I had to make. It’s a shame because Resurrection telling a story so tight that the missing information feels like it could sway your decision.
That’s not the only place Resurrection struggling with sound. Although the game starts off on a strong note as far as sound design goes, it quickly begins to slip. As mentioned, the audio cuts out regularly, so subtitles are essential (although they don’t always reflect the story your choices created). The lack of ambient sound takes away from many of the scenes, leaving them hollow and flat. Combine that with the lack of shading in exterior locations, and you have a lot of cinematic moments that look as empty as they sound. This is exacerbated by some inexplorable alien planets consisting of narrow canyons and sparse scrub. It makes you wonder why such vast, bland areas were created when they lend nothing to the story and only show sparse environments.
It’s a shame. The story does an incredible job of setting up epic space battles and dramatic confrontations with enemies, but the execution of these encounters feels flat and smooth. There were multiple cinematic moments in the space that reminded me of early 3D art made in the 90s – over-processed and over-literal – coming together to create a lively smorgasbord of no substance. These set pieces could actually be great if the time wasted on long, useless “exploration” areas were redirected into them instead.
For many, the most egregious sin is the dramatic frame rate drops that hit without fail during high-octane cinematics. The judder and skip took the joy out of these epic space battles and turned them into replicas of offensive and confusing scenes. Resurrection‘s finale, I should have been on the edge of my seat, instead I was focused on the half-rendered allies and the miraculous way my starship could “teleport” from one edge of the screen to the other .
Star Trek: Resurrection does a great job of letting you ride shotgun in an episode of its mother series. The story is lovingly crafted and sure to appease any fan Trek star. Additionally, the solid writing doesn’t rely too much on players with a background in the franchise, but there are enough callbacks that die-hard fans will no doubt enjoy some of the moments, characters or lore they prefer to see. Beyond its story, however, Resurrection has nothing to offer. Its minigames are bland, the ambitious art is poorly executed, its level design is almost non-existent, and the sound design leaves a lot to be desired. Layer upon abundance of minute spoiling bugs, and Star Trek: Resurrection a disappointing first outing for the new studio.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Dramatic Labs provided us with a review copy.
Despite its tight writing and obvious love for the franchise, Dramatic Labs doesn’t miss the mark with Star Trek: Resurgence. An experience that promises to be a mountain of bugs, lack of polish, and tedious interactive moments.
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