Review – Star Trek: Resurgence
Like a lot of us, I grew up with Star Trek and its films, but it was still a little bit before my time. It wasn’t until Star Trek the Next Generation that I feel Star Trek found its true balance and identity. TNG was the port that all future Star Trek ships sailed from, including Star Trek: Resurgence.
Handling a beloved IP can be hit or miss. Is the studio capitalizing on the brand, or do they have a love of it? Hogwarts Legacy is a recent title that I love to use when discussing the care and love that developers can pour into an IP. You have a solidly good RPG if you aren’t into the Harry Potter subculture, but for those of us that are, we experience a masterpiece. Although Star Trek: Resurgence will never be confused for a masterpiece, it made my heart proud to see that Dramatic Labs put that same level of care and love for this universe, into it.
Headed by Kevin Bruner, better known for founding Telltale, Star Trek: Resurgence follows in that Adventure genre and that won’t be for everyone. This is probably the biggest takeaway you can get out of this review: expect a game that is meant to be more Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us, than Mass Effect. Billed as an interactive narrative experience, your game is your interactions with its characters and the choices you make.
Star Trek: Resurgence is at its absolute best when it leans into these adventure vibes. Playing as First Officer, Commander Jara Rydek, your decisions have weight and the outcomes have consequences. Whether you are diplomatic, and your concern is only for peace and order, or your concern is always that of your crew, your choices will endear you to some while creating conflict with others. Often forced to make tough decisions, you choose the commander’s demeanor and stand by your choices. The one thing you will walk away from Star Trek: Resurgence with is an understanding of just how impossibly against you the odds can be, when the galaxy is on the line.
Which makes it all the more frustrating that it is at its absolute worst when it abandons this. Rather than doubling down as titles like Life is Strange and Firewatch do, they create a literal split to introduce frustrating minigames as a way to expand on the genre instead. Half of your time in Star Trek: Resurgence will be spent playing the young, carefree engineer, Diaz Carter. Playing as Diaz isn’t a mistake in itself, as it allows you to experience less catastrophic choices and delivers a more human (pun not not-intended) experience. The hope is maneuvering through asteroid fields or walking along the outer haul using your phaser, creates a more Star Trek feel, which in a way it does. They lack any sort of weight that their decision-based gameplay carries so well.
Abandoning unique art styles that these games usually incorporate results in, justly or unjustly, its graphics being compared to more advanced titles. Unfortunately, there is just no comparison. Choosing not to dive into the world’s story, putting a focus on clunky minigame controls, and choosing a more realistic art style, Star Trek: Resurgence feels more like I am playing a legacy game I loved. Audio and visual glitches are a constant presence. All this, verbal lines being repeated, walking through doors that don’t open, rough edges and flat modeling, Resurgence just feels like a PS3/Xbox360 title.
But it isn’t all lost. Second to when Star Trek: Resurgence hits on all its adventure beats, is its score and audio queues. Every beep, every boop, every phaser, transport, comm, even every door, feels like I am on a Starfleet ship. Classic Star Trek music is constantly on in the background, abrasively setting the tone for each discussion or confrontation.
Star Trek: Resurgence absolutely shines when it shines. In many ways, it is the Star Trek game I always wanted; an outstanding Star Trek story, walking the halls of a starship with its crew, enjoying new races, and exploring the outskirts of space. But because of everything that doesn’t fall into those categories, it feels this voyage was ten years too late.
Unable to match current game standards that carry the same realistic style. Feels very dated.
Weakness of clunky adventure controls are revealed when asked to be the main mechanic.
From its orchestra, to actors, to legacy beeps and boops; you are in Star Trek. You are on the Resolute.
Fun Factor: 7.5
Shines when at its best, but is unwilling to trust in and commit to this.
Final Verdict: 7.0
Star Trek: Resurgence is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Star Trek: Resurgence was provided by the publisher.