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Game Review

You can find many different kinds of cool in video games today. For instance, you've got your basic fun cool. With some of the new VR titles, you can experience virtual cool. And if you add some fanboy delights into the mix, games can even venture into the realm of nerd cool.

And the new game Star Trek: Bridge Crew has got all three varieties covered … with a few caveats.

This new PS4, Oculus Rift and Vive game lets you slip into your preferred VR headset and join other online players on the bridge of a well-rendered Federation starship: the high-tech USS Aegis and the old-school, blinking-colored-lights-and-push-a-button Enterprise itself.

Both VR ships are fun and detailed, with interesting control layouts and extra crewmen at their stations adorned in iconic Star Treky garb. I mean, it doesn't feel like you're on the set of the latest movie or anything (and you do wish you could hop out of your chair to take a full starship tour), but it's still more than enough to tickle any Trekkie fanboy or fangirl's fancy.

The Final Frontier

The initial objective simply involves figuring out what each ship's sets of buttons, switches and touchscreens do. And gamers do so as either the captain, the chief engineer, the helmsman or the tactical officer.

All four of those roles have to work together to effectively pilot their starship, to seek out new life and civilizations. The engineer must charge up the warp coils and decide how much power should go to the engines versus the shields, for instance, before the helmsman can steer to the next destination and the tactical officer can arm and aim the photon torpedoes. The captain, meanwhile, is sorta the orchestra maestro who makes sure each player is hitting his or her notes in the right order.

From there, it's a matter of figuring out the best course to follow for the assigned missions. Just how do you avoid those explosive, magnetized mines or that toxic space anomaly while attempting to rescue a stranded crew or sneak up and scan a potential enemy Klingon vessel?

There's a bit of space-conflict phaser zapping and torpedo blasting mixed into the action. And an occasional red shirt on the bridge might be sent flying, along with the requisite spritz of control-panel sparks. But apart from those occasional moments of cinematic drama, there's nothing too dire here.

When everything works—when the crewmates click, make their adjustments, know their jobs, anticipate potential surprises and deal effectively with those inevitable final-frontier problems—this game is, frankly, a warp-drive joy.

But there's the rub: It's often tough to make things work like they ought to.

Fun or Frustration?

In single player mode, for instance, the action can be interesting, but gameplay tends to be drier and more complicated. Since there's no verbal interaction between crewmates in this mode, the captain's orders can only be doled out through a series of awkward command screens. And the AI-controlled crew members tend to be anything but subtle in their actions. Juggling various systems is doable, but far more failure-prone.

On the other hand, working with a live multiplayer crew online—the very experience that Star Trek: Bridge Crew is designed for—can sometimes feel like you're riding around in a clown car full of degenerate pie-throwers. The players you randomly meet can sometimes equate "having fun" with being the one who can crack the best off-color Vulcan jokes or spew the rawest obscenities when they fumble a given task.

Then there are the glitches that sometimes pop up during gameplay itself. Voice-command cutouts and intermittent controller freezes can be frustrating while you're trying to escape a fleet of Klingon Warbirds. ("Captain, internet latency is crippling our ability to attack!")

All of that said, if you and a chosen group of trusted friends were to connect online in a Private Match, thus keeping the clown-car crew at bay, things could change considerably for the better.

Of course, all those pals will need to have their own VR setups, and that's still a relatively rare thing in today's gaming world. But if you have friends with the right stuff, this is one of those super-cool VR titles that, while not requiring a full five-year mission, could punch the warp-drive button on a great afternoon of trekking together.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

E10+

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

PlayStation 4, PC

Publisher

Ubisoft

Released

May 30, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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