It is common for big summer movies to have their own videogames, usually loosely following the storyline of the film, with maybe a few new perspectives thrown in. The new Star Trek film has a videogame, however Paramount has taken a different approach with "Star Trek DAC," which is a budget-priced arcade shooter ‘inspired’ by the Star Trek feature film. Find out if you should take a shot at DAC up in our review below.
Star Trek DAC was a bit of a surprise actually. TrekMovie.com first reported it back in back in March when we found a promotional flyer in and advance look at the contests for the April Blu-ray release of Star Trek TOS Season One. The initial question many people had was ‘what is it?’ and the second was ‘What the heck does DAC stand for?’ We now know that the game is a top-down multiplayer space shooter which could be thought of as ‘Asteroids on steroids’. As for the name, it still hasn’t officially been announced what DAC stands for but after playing the game it most likely stands for the three modes of game play: Deathmatch (Team), Assault and Conquest. All of these modes are focused around team gameplay, one side playing as the Federation and the other is the Romulan Empire.
Teamdeath match is where there are two teams and both teams fight each other till either team achieves fifty kills. Assault mode forces one side to defend their strategic points while the other attempts to capture them, once a point is captured the defending team cannot recapture that point. Finally conquest mode gives both teams a main team strategic point as well as two neutral points, the objective in this match is to capture the two neutral points and then proceed to capture your opponents main point.
In the game you have three sets of ships you can choose from: Fighter, Bomber and Flagship. The fighter ship gives players a quick maneuverable ship which has low hit points. Its only weapon is a phaser cannon. The bomber has slightly better hit points but has no main guns, the ships entire arsenal relies on dropping bombs which explode a few seconds after their release. Finally the flagship has the most amount of hit points. The flagships resemble the Enterprise and Narada from the Star Trek movie. The flagship has an aiming icon which can be moved around which fires a burst weapon. the flagship also has a close range phaser cannon which can hit ships that come in close proximity to the flagship. Athough more powerful, the flagship is certainly the hardest too use. Each ship has strengths and weeknesses and the game is designed in a ‘rock, paper, scissors’ way so that no one ship type totally dominates.
Throughout the game there are power ups which can increase the power of your weapons or help restore any lost shield or hull points. There are also other items that you can pickup which can cloak your ship, give you a onetime use torpedo attack, a shield which protects you from any damage and many more.
The game has a pretty short learning curve to get into it and after just a few rounds learning the controls you can be very dangerous in multiplayer combat. However, there are deeper levels with a lot of strategy. If a player goes into a fight with the sole purpose of trying to be the lone hero and kill everyone, they’ll most likely die after taking down one ship. However, if you get a good team together then you can really turn the tides of battle. It would have been nice if there were more differences between the factions. as the there is really nothing much to differentiate the Federation or the Romulans. While this keeps the game balanced, it also loses another possible layer of strategy.
Star Trek DAC is not suppose to be a full length game, but is something that can be played (online or offline) for just a few minutes, but you can play so long as to lose track of time. While this title is not something that is going to rival the big release games such as Gears of War or Call of Duty, it is a lot of fun and is reminiscent of classics such as Asteroids and Galaga. While the Star Trek movie has been advertised as “not your father’s Star Trek”, this game, ironically, feels like old school games that came out in the 80’s. Although this game allows you to quickly jump in and fight, that is really all there is to it. If you are looking for any kind of story, this is not the game for you. And with a limited number of ships and maps (in the absence of additional download add-ons), there isn’t a lot of replay-ability for the game in the long term. Although there is no story related to the Star Trek movie, the game does feature music
from Michael Giacchino’s score, along with sound effects from the film, both of which truly enhance the ‘Star Trek-ness’ of the experience.
Star Trek DAC is a small little game that really packs a punch, while it doesn’t have an emphasis on story it really comes through with the simplicity of combat. This is a game that both casual and hardcore gamers can play while having a lot of fun. The game is currently available for the Xbox360 through Xbox Live for 800 Microsoft points. That makes the game cost $10. Compared to other games, it doesn’t feel like you are getting a lot and a more reasonable price might have been $5. You can decide for yourself as there is a playable demo you can play for free. DAC is expected to be released for the PC and PS3 in July.
Star Trek DAC Trailer
[also at YouTube]
What is next for Star Trek video games?
So sure, Star Trek DAC is fun, and it does not pretend to be a full featured video game tie-in, but it still leaves fans who want a richer story-based Star Trek gaming experience wanting. After releasing a handful of titles in 2006 & 2007, it appears that Bethesda Softworks no longer has the Star Trek gaming license. Now that the new Star Trek movie is a big success, maybe we will see renewed interest in Star Trek gaming and we can get some new games (beyond the upcoming Star Trek Online MMORPG).