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Star Trek Bridge Crew

Star Trek Bridge Crew, from Ubisoft, has fulfilled one of my childhood dreams – to fly a starship.

Taking control of the USS Aegis, a starship from the Kelvin timeline (the alternative universe from the JJ Abrams films) in one of 4 roles – Captain, Helm, Tactical and Engineering. The amazing thing for me is that it is a VR game and it makes you feel as though you are there on the  bridge of the ship. The graphics are not the greatest but the design of the graphics and sounds create an experience like no other.

 

 

There are a few options to play. To start with you should go through the tutorial and I would recommend practising the controls in the solo mode. In this mode you have to play as the captain and can take control of the other three stations as required.

 

The other, and far more entertaining mode is playing this multiplayer. What is great is that the multiplayer allows cross play across the different VR platforms. Even if you have PlayStation VR, Vive, or Oculus Rift (as I have) you can all play together and it works pretty well.

 

 

There are two different options you can either play a 6 part storyline which does not take too long to play through, coming in about 4 hours in total, or you can play continuing missions. These missions are dynamically created, but do start to feel a little similar. They are generally shorter as well than the story missions and can sometimes bug out. In one case we were trying to draw closer to a freighter to rescue its passengers but the freighter would drop to 53km and then jump back to 54km. It was a frustrating waste of time. In another mission we were stuck in warp drive until a player dropped out, saying they had been experiencing it all day, and suddenly it was fine.

 

However, when it works well the dynamic missions do extend the life of the game and are incredibly fun. I have had a number of extremely good missions and everyone so far has had a good laugh. My favourite funny moment is seeing the Rift Touch Controllers go haywire when I place them down and my arms look broken. I am playing the game using an Xbox One controller but it is fully playable, and better, when using touch controllers. One word of advice though, if you are using touch controllers you do need a little bit of space around you. I am using the controller because the arm of my chair is a little too high and stops me pressing a few buttons on the console.

 

The motion control system is great because you can really see the reactions of the players when they point at things or raise their hands in exasperation. A nice touch to see is when another player is talking you can see their mouth actually moving, this really pushes the in game immersion.

 

So far I’ve played as captain in solo mode only and have mostly played as helmsman of the USS Aegis. I did play a game as engineering but I have to say so far this is my least favourite of the positions. Sometimes you do not get to do very much unless the ship is taking a lot of damage or unless the tactical guy gives up his intrusions and transports. I have yet to play tactical but hope to fire off some phasers and photon torpedoes soon.

 

One excellent addition is that you can man the bridge of the original USS Enterprise. For me this was incredibly nostalgic but it is very difficult. I admit to giving up on that one after too short a time because the controls are much harder than on the USS Aegis.

 

 

Is it worth a buy? For me it was £39.99 and within a few days I have put in a lot of hours. It is the main reason I am behind editing the podcast! Is there enough content to justify the price? I would have to say no, because the main campaign is so short and the dynamic missions do get repetitive. However the multiplayer interaction does make up for that. Is it easy to get into? Yes, the way you are matched with random people does make it an easier prospect than a game such as Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator

 

I would certainly recommend this game for any Star Trek fans who have access to VR. It is for me a good showcase of what VR games could be and the power of that platform. For non Star Trek fans I would still recommend it. I have played with a few people who were not big fans at all and they were really enjoying the game but you may want to check out some of the videos and see if it is your thing. At the end of the day it is a button simulator but a damn fine one at that.

 

It does require an expensive set up, especially if you and three friends all want to play it. Currently the cheapest way into this is through the PlayStation VR route but that will still set you back an eye watering £700+

 

Star Trek Bridge Crew is an excellent game though, I worry that future missions and bridges will be marketed as purchasable DLC but I hope there will be plenty of content added in free updates.  I feel with the imminent launch of Discovery this would be a great time to patch in some new content. However if they bring in the Borg* then Ubisoft can shut up and take my money!

 

*’Q Who’ / ’Best Of Both Worlds’ Borg

 

In summary:

Great VR multiplayer game that requires cooperation from the crew. Visuals are good and these are compliments by some excellent sound design. Music is a little lacking but does not detract from the overall experience.

 

I give this 8 Wobbly Waving Arms out of 10.

 

“Helm, plot a course for the Toth system and engage warp when ready.”

 

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