Ubisoft has another new VR game. This time, it’s all about space communists exploring the cosmos because they live in a post-scarcity society where all their material needs are met.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew is out now on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR for $50. As the name suggests, it has you working as a member of a crew on a Federation starship from the beloved sci-fi television and film series. And since Ubisoft built this game for virtual reality, Bridge Crew puts you right into the action in front of a simulated touchscreen panel that you control with VR motion inputs like Oculus Touch or the Vive wands. But the key Bridge Crew feature is that it is a cooperative multiplayer game first where you and up to three friends or strangers (it has matchmaking) must face down various challenges through communication and teamwork.
And it is far more dull as a single-player experience.
As a multiplayer game, Bridge Crew is a great time. It’s fun to see who among your crew will take to which of the four available jobs: captain, tactical, helm, and engineering. Each requires a different set of skills. Take captain, which is all about identifying priority objectives and communicating that to your teammates.
Here’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story scribe Gary Whitta (who spoke at our GamesBeat Summit last month) coming up a bit short as the leader of his crew on a Twitch livestream:
But you can, of course, also play the game by yourself — and that’s something I don’t recommend. Everything about Bridge Crew is identical in the single-player mode, except you issue commands to A.I. squadmates or take over those stations manually. That makes the game feel a lot more lifeless than roleplaying or shouting out-of-character insults at a live helmsman or engineering officer.
It’s not unplayable, and our computer-controlled crew members are all capable. It’s just that the act of piloting the ship close to an objective to scan it, getting into battles, or trying to beam stranded Federation officers aboard your vessel doesn’t come across as a band of cohorts exploring the galaxy. Instead, you get the sensation that you are posing mannequins around while playing Star Trek in your garage.
Bridge Crew still has a strong core, and it is a no-brainer, must-have VR game for anyone who has friends that also have a Rift, Vive, or PSVR. But don’t go out and pick up Bridge Crew expecting this to serve as your immersive window into Star Trek-themed metaverse.