Reviewed: December 8, 2009
Released: November 12, 2009
Star Trek has a very poor history in the video game world. Publishers keep trying every few years though. I suppose it's only fitting that with the new “reboot” of the Star Trek franchise with J.J. Abrams movie, we also get the same treatment in videogames. Star Trek D-A-C (Deathmatch, Assault, Conquest) is a top down spaceship shooter that pits the Federation and Romulan fleets in all-out battles for control of areas in space.
There are three ways to play Star Trek D-A-C. “Versus” is an all-out online multiplayer battle for up to 12 players. “Co-op” is a team-based battle with up to 6 players battling against A.I. Opponents. “Solo” is a single-player mode that simulates the versus mode but with A.I. Only. There are three game modes (team deathmatch, assault, and conquest) which can be played in the above ways. Survival can only be played in solo mode.
Star Trek D-A-C features five ship classes: fighter, bomber, flagship, support frigate, and missile cruiser. Both Romulan Empire and the Federation have their own variations on these classes of ships. Functionally, both sides' ships are the same, but each side has different special pickups that will give them a unique edge in combat.
The “Fighter” class ships is agile with an attack that can fire in any direction. Their attack can be upgraded during gameplay to earn spread shots and missiles. The “Bomber” class is small and fast that lays explosive charges in its wake. When the Bomber upgrades during gameplay, it's mines become more powerful with maximum explosive fragmentation. The “Flagship” is big and powerful and slower. They have photon torpedos and auto-firing phasers.
Their weapons become more powerful with upgrades. The “Support Frigates” are a science vesels of medium speed and shields. It helps supply shield and energy boosts to teammates. The “Missile Cruiser” is a heavy gunship that shoots charged projectivles in any direction. It's missiles gain in strength when upgraded. Players can eject in an escape pod when the shields have been depleted. Players have to avoid danger for 5 seconds to respawn faster. Each ships weapon upgrade has 5 weapon strength levels. There are also special pickups that give you a unique edge in combat. You can slow time down with a Temporal Shift, get an A.I wingman, fire a quantum torpedo amongst other things.
Team Deathmatch is the standard “us vs them” team battle with the first team to 50 kills wins. Assault is an area capture game, but the twist is you must do them in number order, and when you capture the first 3, you then have to destroy area 4. Conquest is a base capture game and Survival is basically wave after wave of shooting until you die.
Top-down shooters have been around since I was a kid playing Omega Race and Asteroids in the arcade. Of course what sets this game apart is the Star Trek franchise. Of recent shooters I can only really compare it to Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek wins that battle hands down. Star Trek D-A-C is far more robust in ships, upgrades, and play fields than other top-down shooters I've played. The added benefit of Star Trek eye candy only makes the game better.
The Star Trek D-A-C graphics are surprisingly good. These types of downloadable games have a bit of a stigma attached to them in that people generally don't expect the graphics of a full retail game. However Star Trek D-A-C delivers a nice package with the menus showing a nice animation of the Enterprise in warp. The game maps are interesting in detail and background scenery with planets and space junk floating around. Star Trek D-A-C delivers some nice ship renderings, though at times it can be difficult to identify where you should be shooting in the heat of battle due to the amount of on-screen chaos.
Star Trek D-A-C of course uses the authentic Star Trek movie music and Ben Burtt sound effects. Unfortunately there is absolutely no voice actor present. It would have been nice to have Majel Barrett Roddenberry's voice doing your ship alerts when your shields were low. But I suppose that would have meant more money out of the developers pockets.
The real question remains, is Star Trek D-A-C worth your money? If you have a few hours to kill and like Star Trek, then yes it can provide a quick diversion. There are online multiplayer games to be had, moreso on weekends, but ultimately there isn't really much to this game beyond a few quick rounds of Robotron style shooting.
I really enjoyed the Star Trek movie and the D-A-C game was a nice promotional tie-in to the movie, but in the end that's exactly what it feels like. It was kind of fun when the movie was fresh in my memory and gave me a few geek moments playing with Trek spaceships. But in the end, this is a game that will likely sit on my PS3 hard drive... forgotten until I need the disc space for something else.