One of the best outcomes of the present generation of console is probably the arrival of VR devices.
Although the market keeps struggling and rumours sometimes report the system to be on the verge of collapse, it is indeed a fact that there are very good products out there that keep attracting new users.
Other companies have tried to succeed in the VR business in the past (read this old article here), but they never really made it for many different reasons. Today, despite the struggle, time seems just about right, at least for the PS4.
Unlike ToAks, I don’t use my VR visor often: as a matter of fact, it’s not really due to the chronical lack of time, rather the fact that I often play together with my son (he’s 13 years old now), so wearing the helmet would enhance my player vision while severely hampering his one.
Nonetheless, the VR experience the PS4 is capable of offering nowadays is getting better by the minute, so I had two choices: either join the experience or get fired by the Guru (not!).
So here I am, writing my second article (get my first one here) about a VR game: it’s nothing short and action-packed like Mortal Blitz or incredibly complex and compelling like the masterpiece of Capcom’s Resident Evil 7 (details here), but I guess for the time being it will do. Ladies and Gentlemen, please meet Ubisoft’s Star Trek Bridge Crew.
As the name implies, the game puts you inside a Federation Ship (the USS NX-1787 Aegis) that closely resembles the glorious Enterprise, usually on the Captain’s Chair, at least when you are playing the solo campaign. The multiplayer sessions will let you choose other positions as well, namely Helm, Tactical and Engineer.
This article will deal with the solo part of the game, so let’s just delve into it at once….
The story behind the campaign takes you through the most iconic places and situations of Star Trek universe, like the outer rims of the Trench, to rescue ships in danger while trying to survive an overwhelming Klingon attack.
The mechanics, albeit pretty straight-forward (you basically need to navigate different menus to give orders to the crew), are not very easy to master, since in the most dangerous situations you will need to quickly think and decide the best course of action to take and which orders to give first.
What will your next action be? Will you engage combat with the enemy, raise your shields or order to repair the ship’s subsystems? Every action will have consequences: raising the shields will protect you but will prevent usage of teleport system (people will die out there); engaging combat will deny enemy attacks, but will let you vulnerable if multiple Klingon vessels are at charge at the same time; rerouting power to propulsion system repairs will give you a chance to flee, but shields will lower down ..
Bridge Crew is an experience thought for a party of four, therefore during the solo campaign your crewmates’ actions will be ruled by the game AI. Actually, the AI won’t do nothing at all, if not directed by your avatar, and that’s why when things get rowdy it won’t be very simple to always stay on top of the situation. At any given moment, though, it is possible to “take over” the AI and physically move in a different position. This mechanics won’t solve your problems in a combat situation (only the Captain can give “crew wide” orders or directly address another crew member), but it will give you the chance to get acquainted with the different skills you need to learn in order to pull out your best performance during a cooperative multiplayer session.
From a graphical standpoint the game is indeed fascinating: sitting on the Captain’s chair of a Federations starship is truly a dream come true for many of us.
The sense of presence is rather good, even though the general landscape of Outer Space is quite dull: I mean, the Outer Space is void by definition, but even when you are close to things (human o alien artefacts, asteroids fields or little planets), proportions seem to be a little off-scale. Despite all that, targeting and destroying a Klingon ship is always rewarding, regardless of the relevant ship proportions.
In the end, I must say that playing this game is a lot of fun, and the VR experience is up to the expectations. Nonetheless, it’s not a game for everyone: for long sessions, there won’t be nothing to do besides navigating in an empty space then, all of the sudden, Klingons will unleash Hell and there will be even too much to do in a very little time span. Sadly, I had no chance to try the multiplayer campaign out, which I believe it must be much more rewarding than the solo one. For this reason, I decided to give the game an 8: after all, it still is one of the few full-fledged VR games out there, and it deserves some good support.
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