Star Trek Resurgence Review
Space. The final frontier. These are the games of the franchise: Star Trek. Does Star Trek: Resurgence go where no Star Trek game has gone before? The debut game from Dramatic Labs is a singular adventure story, and a refreshing return to Starfleet.
A Trek In Every Quadrant
I have been immersed in all sorts of Star Trek lately. Episodes of Enterprise, Picard, and Deep Space Nine have been on my TV, and the Stellaris: Star Trek mod on my computer. I have been enjoying the movies, and the soundtracks to those movies. And through all of it I’ve been struck by this thought: it’s weird that for a franchise famous for talking, there are precious few games where you get to her conversations.
Dramatic Labs is a new studio, but it’s made up of game dev veterans. That’s because while there is still a company called Telltale Games, a lot of the important people on the Telltale team 10 years ago formed this new studio. Resurgence is in many ways, a “Telltale” game. In their heyday, Telltale games were themselves throwbacks to the point and click adventure games of the early 90s. They’re not very “systems” oriented- which is to say, there’s not a lot of strategy or messing with stats. Telltale-style games are simply walking from conversation to conversation, and choosing what your character says within a small window of time. Also there are quick time events (ah, the dreaded quick time event).
Where Is the Ambassador?
Star Trek: Resurgence doesn’t shake up that formula. In fact, it’s almost shocking how similar it feels to Telltale Batman and Game of Thrones. There aren’t any gameplay innovations to speak of. If you liked those previous titles, you’re in luck. I’d rank Resurgence with the best of Telltale’s previous titles, games like Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Batman, and Tales of the Borderlands. That last one is especially relevant, seeing as it just got a poorly received sequel made by a different dev team. The Wolf Among Us has a sequel in the works too. But Resurgence just has that Telltale magic.
That’s probably because Star Trek already fits to telltale vibe extremely well. I like the writing in Telltale games, but they are earnest to the point of goofiness. But see, so is Star Trek. It’s actually kind of nice that you aren’t usually offered noxious dialogue choices. There’s no ‘good’ choice or ‘bad’ choice. But there are still important choices to make. In fact, they have some of the nuance that more binary games lack. It’s nice to play as a team of dedicated, passionate professionals trying to do a difficult job together.
That Ship is One Handsome Lady
The old Telltale games had a very particular look, stylized and cartoony. That is not what Resurgence is going for. This is a more realistic Unreal-engine powered game. But the graphics aren’t going to make you gasp. In fact, they feel like they are from a few console generations ago; maybe PS3? But that’s OK, because the design makes the most out of its capabilities. It’s hard to deny how cool it feels to walk across a Starfleet bridge, and to sit in The Chair. It’s cool to actually be under an alien sky and communicating with beings almost twice your height. You ever wish you could live in Star Trek? Resurgence will take you there.
Maybe you’re a Trekkie and you want to know the score. Here’s where Resurgence fits into the story: it is the year 2380. The Dominion War was recently fought. The USS Voyager is still missing. The Romulan sun has not yet gone supernova, and thus Ambassador Spock is not yet in the JJ Abrams movies. You play as two members of the crew of the USS Resolute, a ship that’s seen some action. Everyone on board is still wearing their gray Dominion War uniforms.
Captain on the Bridge
This is an upper decks/lower decks story. You play as the new first officer, a stoic Kobliad with a strong sense of right and wrong. You also play as Carter Diaz, an optimistic petty officer and engineer in the model of Samanthan Rutherford. The story seamlessly hops between the two of them, often giving you choices with one character that later effects the other. With Rydek, you’ll determine the fate of the entire crew and get to facilitate some alien diplomacy. With Diaz you will keep the ship from falling apart, and you will get involved in a cute love triangle.
Of all the possible stories to tell in the wide universe of Star Trek, Resurgence picks a good one. It takes place in the “present” of the story, and while it has some fun with cameos, it doesn’t overdo them. It presents a galaxy in a time of uneasy peace, and a diverse Federation crew. I would certainly recommend Resurgence to anyone who loves Star Trek. If you’re a curious non-Trekkie well, how much can you tolerate quick time events? Because by the ancients there are a lot of them. But this reviewer didn’t mind one bit.
***PC code provided by the publisher for review***
- Tense decision making
- Captures the setting
- Likeable characters!
- Serviceable graphics
- Some people just hate quicktime events