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Star Trek: Shattered Universe Xbox

Published by Global Star Software
Developed by Starsphere
Released - Out Now
Price : £19.99

Whilst Star Wars fans have had many great games over the years the same cannot be said for Star Trek fans. Most of the Star Trek games have been poor and the good ones have been few and far between. Can Star Trek: Shattered universe be one of those rare Star Trek gems? The road to release for Star Trek: Shattered Universe has not been a smooth one and after several changes of publisher the game has finally appeared a few years later than anticipated. This doesn't matter though as long as the game is a good one but for a game based on the original Star Trek, it's rather disappointing to only see a couple of characters in the game.

Star Trek: Shattered Universe is a game set in the original Star Trek universe or to be precise an alternate original Star Trek. The game begins with Captain Sulu rushing to help his former comrade Commander Chekov whose ship is in a critical situation. Before Sulu's USS Excelsior is close enough to beam Chekov and his crew aboard something happens and the USS Excelsior and it's crew are 'transposed into a dangerous mirror universe'. In this 'mirror universe' the Federation is an evil empire and Sulu is accused by Chekov of being a traitor. Chekov is ready to destroy you and your immediate task is to cripple Chekov's USS Enterprise and to destroy the fighters that are heading your way. Of course this isn't using the Excelsior (as in this alternate universe all your weapons have been sabotaged) and you'll have to take charge of a rather weak fighter craft to achieve this objective. Captain Sulu has reasoned that in order to escape this alternate universe you'll have to reach the Janus Ultima Vortex and your journey to this location is played out across 19 different missions.

Initial impressions of the game seem good especially as the story looks quite promising and there is plenty of scope for a space combat game set in the Star Trek universe to be enjoyable. Unfortunately though the game has big problems. One of these problems becomes self-evident from the moment you begin the first mission. The targeting system is a real pig to use to the point where it might as well not have been included. There is an enemy lock-on feature but it doesn't seem to work (and no Scotty isn't there to fix it sadly). You'll not only have to watch your own back but you'll also have to protect the USS Excelsior, which does seem strange as you're in a small fighter craft and the USS Excelsior is a huge galaxy class craft. Although the game has three difficulty settings even on the easiest settings some missions just seem way too difficult and this is going to cause frustration.

In fact for a game that is arcade in nature the missions can be rather tedious. The second mission is one that readily springs to mind as being one that's an exercise in tedium. First of all you blast a few asteroids to collect their resources then you have to take out a couple of Klingon Birds of Prey then it's back to collecting resources and then it's time to take out a few more Klingon Birds of Prey etc., Even if the game had a targeting system that actually worked, this would still be boring. To make matters worse the AI is uneven and in some missions your opponents are half-asleep whilst in others they are frighteningly accurate. This makes for either an uninteresting or frustrating time and it gives the game an unbalanced feel to it. It's also rather unfortunate that some missions spring surprise objectives on you (often ridiculously difficult surprises) that more often than not will you see you failing a mission and having to do the whole thing again. When faced with the task of attacking large spacecraft it's possible to remain just out of their firing range whilst still being able to attack, which is just plain silly.

Graphically the game isn't anything special either and certainly doesn't do the Xbox any justice. The various spacecraft are recognisable but they have a rather basic look about them. The spacecraft all seem to move much too slowly and it doesn't feel like you're involved in a space battle. Still being positive about it the HUD is well set out and you can assess how much damage you and your enemy have taken. The control system isn't too bad but again it doesn't feel as good as it could do and as we've already mentioned, the enemy targeting system is useless.

There is nothing in Star Trek: Shattered Universe that should cause deaf gamers any problems. As the game begins text appears on the screen asking you to press the X button if you'd like subtitles. This is an unusual way of enabling subtitles but it's good to see nevertheless. During missions Sulu's commands appear in the top centre of the screen. This is not an ideal location for the text to be honest, the lower or central area of the screen would have been preferable, but it's still possible to read all the communications from Sulu, which is more than you can say for most games in this genre.

Star Trek: Shattered Universe, unfortunately, is another Star Trek game that simply doesn't live up to expectations. The game has many problems which ultimately make a game that will be overlooked despite its low price. Patient Star Trek fans may decide to stick with it and put up with the aforementioned problems but most will probably tire of the mission structure and the uneven AI long before they are close to finishing the game. The crazy thing is the aforementioned problems could have been easily resolved. Had the targeting system actually worked and the mission structure been more logical and less frustrating then Trekkies would have a title to enjoy. Only the most dedicated, and forgiving, Star Trek enthusiasts should give the game a go.

Overall Game Rating: 4.2/10
Star Trek: Shattered Universe could have been so much more but unfortunately there are just too many problems in too many areas of the game.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No real problems but the position of Sulu's messages during a mission could have been better.