Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a brilliant VR experience for well-established Trekkie fans, but how about newcomers? If, like me, you’re not a major fan of the series but wish to know whether it might still be good to jump into, have a read of my following thoughts and see what you think.
Whilst I’m personally not a follower of Star Trek, I am a big fan of Virtual Reality. In my opinion, Star Trek: Bridge Crew implements VR in a natural and intuitive manner, giving players the chance to command their own starship. There are two main modes: a single-player mode driven by computer controlled A.I. or online multiplayer matches, played out alongside the help of anybody willing to participate. Bridge Crew has been built to support cross-network multiplayer and allows players on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR to all work together. It’s rare to see a console manufacturer such as Sony open up their system for use with other platforms, but it’s brilliant that they have and I’d like to see it more often.
Commanding a starship requires four roles: Captain, Helmsman, Tactical or Engineer – each of these feature their own set of specific objectives.
As ‘Captain’ your job is to order around your entire crew and, generally, make sure you don’t reach a grisly demise in space. The ‘Helmsman’ is in charge of navigation, whereas ‘Tactical’ control weapons and shields and ‘Engineer’ handles the ship’s power. If you’re playing with the A.I. then you can freely choose to control any of the operators available: simply look at whichever position you want to take over and click the corresponding button. The same can be said for multiplayer matches that start without a full team as you hop in between the empty crew spaces to get the relevant jobs done; fend off enemies, explore space and kickass, or at least in my case, attempt to!
Before a match starts you’re placed within a lobby and can interact with other players; if you have Oculus Touch, HTC Vive or PSVR Move controllers then you can even use hand gestures in-game. I was incredibly impressed by the level of immersion I felt when I played with friends (or strangers) and upon my first interaction with a player I actually forgot I was sitting in my living room wearing a VR headset.
Unless you’re already a big Star Trek fan, then learning about the controls is likely to become an issue for you. You really need to be invested within its source material in order to fully commit yourself and whilst there is an informative training mode to teach you about each aspect of the game, it presents an awful lot of information to digest for a newcomer.
Start Trek: Bridge Crew is sure to impress any Star Trek fan and the game’s cross-network play between Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR players is a brilliant move by Ubisoft. However, for newcomers there’s a lot of information to digest and this may initially turn people off. My suggestion? Find a close group of friends and embark on the journey together.