Check out this VR video game review.
Fans of the long-running hit series Star Trek received a gift in early June when Star Trek: Bridge Crew hit the console and PC marketplace. Owners of Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive units can indulge in their Trekkie fantasies, running one of four stations on the bridge of a virtual starship.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew allows four players, no matter the system, to meet in virtual reality for a mission on a Starfleet vessel. Players can play across technology boundaries on the USS Aegis, and even on the original USS Enterprise from the 1960's television series.
Players meet in a virtual ready room on the Aegis, and the player who chooses the role of Captain picks a mission. There are six story missions, including the prologue, and a series of what the game calls Continuing Voyages, that spawn random missions for the crews to undertake.
The players then choose their roles. They assume the mantle of Captain, Tactical, Helm, or Engineer. The Captain controls the objectives, and has information that they can choose to share or withhold, and directs the actions of their crew. The Helm flies the ship, and sets courses for travel in both impulse and warp drive. Tactical controls the weapons, as well as the scanners. Engineers send repair crews out into the ship, and control the power supply for each of the stations on the ship.
Testing this one out on PS4's PSVR, the move controller works surprisingly well. The game can also be controlled with the Dualshock 4 controller, but was not tested for this review with that control method. The camera and headset track well, and the ship interior is beautiful.
Over the course of several missions, I interacted with both Vive and Oculus users, and none of us knew what technology we were using, headset-wise, until I asked. Everyone had solid control, and one did indeed feel like they were pushing buttons, moving levers, and interacting in a real place during the game.
The missions for the story tend to go from too easy to very difficult over the course of the story, but the difficulty curve isn't too bad. I didn't fail a mission until the final story mission, which took three tries to win. The continuing missions, random missions meant to extend gameplay, vary in difficulty. These can range from rescue missions, search and destroy missions, scientific journeys, or a random mission where one never knows what the game is going to throw at them.
Yes, you can play with computer-controlled people on the bridge, but I found myself bored to tears with this method of gameplay, and took over each station as I needed to, when things got stressful. But, one can choose to just Captain in these moments, choosing targets, and ordering around your virtual crew.
A highlight of the game, and indeed its most challenging mode, is the ability to take a spot on the bridge of the original USS Enterprise from the 1960's. This ship is massively different from the Aegis, and uses buttons and switches, as opposed to sliding virtual displays around.
The challenge is mostly in the controls, from this author's experience, but is not unfair by any stretch of the imagination. The game provides a helpful overlay if you want to use it, and I found it 100 percent necessary as I tried to fill in for Captain Kirk in a continuing mission.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a ton of fun for an old Star Trek fan. I can see it being enjoyable for fans of the series, but having limited appeal for people who are not fans, or very casual fans. The replay factor is going to be linked to finding skilled people who want to meet up and have fun.