Star Trek video games have always been confused, erring more on the side of action game shlock than the deep political nature of traditional Trek episodes. Finally, after numerous failed Trek games, Star Trek: Resurgence aims to bring the feeling of the series’ ethical dilemmas and hard sci-fi to modern gamers.
Created by Telltale veterans at Dramatic Labs, Resurgence is a narrative adventure in the same vein as The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us. Designed as a multiple choice episode of the series, Resurgence’s Telltale design is a perfect fit for Gene Rodenberry’s iconic sci-fi show.
Resurgence’s story puts you in the role of multiple Starfleet personnel on board the USS Resolute, a science vessel tasked with resolving a conflict between the Hotari and the Alydians. It’s a conflict straight out of The Next Generation, and Resurgence wears that era’s influence with pride.
From the opening seconds of Resurgence’s short-but-sweet campaign, you’re sweeped off your feet by TNG’s style of curved-UI panels and lavish plush hallways of cutting-edge Starfleet vessels. From the toylike boxy shuttle-crafts to the sparkles of a Federation transporter, nearly everything is fully authentic.
Resurgence is a game of two halves. One half puts you in the role of the Resolute’s new First Officer, Jara Rydek. In these sections, you’re the badass First Officer you’d expect from the TNG era. Between engaging in deep political disputes, you’ll be scanning anomalies, engaging in action set-pieces and phaser fuels and solving life-and-death bridge conditions.
However, Resurgence also takes kudos from the beloved animation show Lower Decks with your time as Resolute Engineer Carter Diaz. While Diaz also has his fair amount of action-packed scenes, his engineering work allows you to get down and dirty with the intricate details of how every Trek tool works
Diaz’ engineering gig moves between fixing transporter pads, stripping Shuttle Nacelles and yanking isolinear chips around clunky-looking panels. It’s in these sections that Dramatic Labs’ attention to detail really shines, countering some of the game’s rougher visual defects. The sheer density of panels, switches and buttons is not only impressive, but slavishly accurate to the source material in a way that Trekkies everywhere will appreciate.
As far as gameplay goes, Star Trek: Resurgence is quite basic. While The Walking Dead is now over a decade old, its successful format is clearly still the blueprint for Dramatic Labs’ CG Trekisode At its core, it’s a rudimentary point-and-click game with light puzzles and dialogue choices, but there is at least some heavy variety here.
As you investigate the Hotari and Alydian conflict, you’ll scan anomalies with your tricoder, fly through ion storms and stabilize transporter pattern data. Each mechanic is as simple as possible, but they offer enough to make sure you’re never bored.
While Resurgence does offer a fair amount of gameplay variety, its story takes center stage. As expected, the conflict you’re sent to resolve is far from simple, and there are more powers in play than what first appears.
Fans of the best Trek episodes will need multiple pairs of hands to count the Trek tropes and cliches here, but they play well to the story in a way that other games set in the franchise don’t. There are dashes of The Cloud Minders and Symbiosis here as well as a heavy dose of Power Play.
It’s easy to see where slices of past Trek episodes slot into Resurgence’s story, but with a franchise that’s been almost constant since 1966, that’s to be expected. Resurgence’s narrative isn’t mind-blowing by any means, but it is pure unadulterated Trek with heart, something that is sadly a unique force for Star Trek video games.
There are myriad issues with Resurgence’s gameplay and technical makeup. Its facial animations are dodgy, the camera breaks in tight spaces and the controls could be tighter in a lot of places, but it detracts from the experience less than you’d expect.
The only real issue is that Star Trek: Resurgence is a game made almost entirely for Trek fans. It’s absolutely dripping in fan service that actually matters. While it certainly does name-drop and bring in characters to make the fans swoon, every second of Resurgence lets Trek fans engage in an activity they’ve dreamed of for decades. However, there is a worry that those unfamiliar with the franchise won’t get the same glee that fans — aka, me — drool over.
Star Trek: Resurgence is rough around the edges, but its carefully crafted digital episode is always given the limelight. Its gameplay systems could do with some fine-tuning, but as a budget release from a new studio, Resurgence is a beautiful and authentic Trek game that fans have been craving for far too long, and we’re craving more.
If you’re a Star Trek fan, you owe it to yourself to give Resurgence a shot. It’s not the hallway shooter experience you’d expect after poor showings like Star Trek 2013 or Elite Force; it’s everything people love about the series in one succinct package.
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