Riding the warp trail of the smash hit J.J. Abrams movie comes Star Trek D-A-C, a top-down space shooter for Xbox Live Arcade.
Lacking the time to create a full-fledged movie tie-in for the new Star Trek film, Naked Sky Entertainment instead decided to create a quick and dirty online shooter set in the Star Trek universe, much like Auran did when they created the Live Arcade version of Battlestar Galactica. D-A-C stands for the game's three modes - Deathmatch, Assault, and Conquest - each of which is playable either offline using artificially intelligent bots or online with real human beings of varying levels of intelligence.
Is Star Trek D-A-C enough to keep fans entertained long after the movie credits have finished rolling, or is it a Star Trek game in name alone?
Loved Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad: While the straight player-versus-player gameplay in Star Trek D-A-C is relatively bland, things get a bit spicier in the title's slightly more involved modes, Conquest and Assault. Capturing and defending points can be a great deal of fun, adding a bit of strategy and depth to an otherwise shallow experience, provided you can find enough players online to get a match going.
Hated There Isn't Much Here: Star Trek D-A-C doesn't have a whole lot of substance to it. It features two factions - Romulans and Federation - each with three ships to choose from. Bombers, fighters, and flagships handle exactly the same for both sides, and without any sort of story or plot there's really no reason to chose one faction over another aside from personal preference. A handful of maps are shared between each of the game's three modes, and while they certainly are lovely to look at, the lovely soon fades when the overall lack of variety sets in.
An Overall Lack Of Star Trek: I debated whether or not to list the abuse of the Star Trek licence in the hated column, ultimately determining that in this day and age, fans have a right to expect more when a beloved licence is attached to a video game. Slapping the Star Trek name on a generic shooter might have passed the muster back in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, but not today. The game comes across as a generic space shooter with Star Trek trappings tacked on in order to make a quick buck. Whether or not this was the developer's intention is a moot point; it's how the game feels.
Take away the licence and Star Trek D-A-C presents gamers with an ultimately forgettable top-down space shooter, good for a couple of hours worth of entertainment before it begins to wear thin. Figure in the licence and now you have a bland space shooter that seems to be attempting to hide its obvious shortcomings behind a Star Trek movie poster. It's quite reminiscent of Auran's Xbox Live Arcade game Battlestar Galactica, though that game might have had a better chance of standing on its own two feet once the licence crutch was kicked out from under it.
I understand that Naked Sky Entertainment didn't have time to create a full-fledged tie-in with the new movie, but that's no reason to deliver a sub-par game with only the loosest of connections to the forty-three year-old science fiction franchise.
Star Trek D-A-C! was developed by Naked Sky Entertainment in conjunction with Bad Robot Interactive and published by Paramount Digital Entertainment for Xbox Live Arcade. Coming soon for PC and PlayStation Network. Released on May 13th. Retails for 800 Microsoft Points ($10). Played multiple rounds of each of the three game modes both online and offline in single player mode.
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