Have You Played… Star Trek The Videogame?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives and PC miscellany. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

My favourite thing about Star Trek The Videogame [official site] is definitely the name. That’s partly because everything else about it is a whopping bumturd the size of a mountain, but also because of the ridiculous marketing mess it describes.

Relaunching old things anew and then giving them the original name is really stupid. It was stupid only last week when a second Prey game was released and called Prey, despite not having anything at all in common with the original Prey. And it was super-extra stupid when JJ Abrams bloody awful Star Trek film was called Star Trek, despite that being the name of the TV series that started off the whole daft franchise.

So what do you do when you’re naming the game-of-the-film? You can’t just go and call that “Star Trek” too! That would be madness! Best to distinguish it from the film in case anyone bought it from a game shop and then tried to watch it on their TV and got angry – pop a little clever subtle clue into the title, like “The Videogame”. There, perfect. There haven’t been any other Star Trek video games, have there?

Still, better than the game itself, which is a quite astounding mess.


  1. CdrJameson says:

    It was OK for Batman, it should be OK for Captain Kirk: Batman: The Movie : The Game

  2. Ieolus says:

    > JJ Abrams’ bloody awful Star Trek film

    Quoted for truth! Can’t be said enough! Fuck that guy and his shitty remake.

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      I actually didn’t mind the original 2009 reboot movie; the script had its problems, but it was at least fun to look at and the actors all managed to walk the fine line of being respectful of the original portrayals of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc. while still bringing their own personalities to them. It was better than I expected it to be.

      Each subsequent sequel has been increasingly more depressing, though, as it becomes more and more clear that the scripts will never rise above the level of action schlock and Quinto veers further and further away from any version of Mr. Spock that’s recognizable enough to deserve the name. Sigh.

      • Ieolus says:

        It is unacceptable how they erased the entire timeline and every single Star Trek series (except possibly Enterprise) because of it. I hate that damn movie.

        • dylan says:

          Lucky for all, they only split the timeline; they didn’t erase it. And splitting the timeline is something the shows have done many, many times before. Remember when Worf went Sliders mode through all the parallel universes? That’s what these new movies are: we’re spending time in the universe where everything is stupid, sexy, and explosive.

        • April March says:

          Being angry at a Star Trek story because of its time shenanigans is like being angry at a Spiderman story because it has clones.

          • theblazeuk says:

            Perfectly reasonable, then. No one looks back st the clone saga stuff and goes ‘now those were classics’

        • Werthead says:

          They didn’t. The new Star Trek TV show is (according to the producers, anyway) set in the original timeline, although possibly more down to rights issues than any particular desire to stick to the original setting.

      • PikaBot says:

        Baffled by this thread. Star Trek: Beyond is not only better than either of the previous two remakes, it’s also a better movie AND more in keeping with Trekkian themes than any of the TNG films.

        • Marblecake says:

          This guy treks.

          Beyond was great. But I will disagree on the TNG movies, since First Contact was a great character study, and that is very much in keeping with Trek spirit.

          • PikaBot says:

            First Contact had the Picard character study, which was okay, but already done more effectively along the same issues in the series proper. But every single thing else about the movie’s script was absolutely rancid. If Nemesis wasn’t so abjectly terrible in every way, I’d call First Contact the worst TNG film.

            Likewise, the first half of Insurrection is classic Trek stuff, but then they hit the halfway point and it becomes a really terrible action film.

          • nearly says:

            What? No. Beyond was about equal with Into Darkness. They both had major storytelling problems, Into Darkness being that the stakes de-escalated throughout but Beyond had the more grave sin in that it spent so long trying to draw out a fairly predictable surprise twist that they missed out on being able to tell what should have been a fairly compelling story about the two captains being captains. The basic concept was solid but the execution was so flawed that it basically turned what should have been a solid Trek movie into generic action with an attempt at a last minute “hey, look how thoughtful this is!”

            For my money, the 2009 original is the best for not doing anything exceptionally stupid narratively (other than maybe just everything about it that seems perfectly designed to piss off Trekkies) even if it didn’t do anything especially intelligent or thought-provoking.

    • Furiant says:

      I loved it. I grew up on Star Trek reruns in the 70’s and adored the universe and detail. But as I got older each new iteration interested me less, and the originals just made me cringe. It just didn’t age well in many ways. Abrams’ version rekindled my appreciation for the franchise. I thought the latest one (Beyond) was terrible, but not because I was offended at the reboot.

      I guess just don’t get offended at stories changing. It doesn’t compel me to indignation; I don’t think “Blasphemy! Burn them!”. I don’t consider it sacred. It’s just another iteration of a world I find interesting.

    • klops says:

      I’ve never had any interest in Star Trek’s boring world. Then I watched one of the new movies (the latest I think). Multiplying Cpt. Kirk drove there with a motorcycle which had exhaust fumes that became solid and therefore became a bulletproof shield.

      I’m never going to watch any more Star Trek movies.

    • Hammer1649 says:

      Nah, the remakes are fantastic and don’t involve William Shatner at all. But that is, like, your opinion man.

    • bfar says:

      JJ Abrams gave Star Trek the shot in the arm it needed. It had been on a long slide downhill before the reboot.

      • milligna says:

        Yeah and he put the film franchise in a hospice. What a shot in the arm!

  3. noom says:

    Nice to see I’m not the only one that thought that film was utterly awful

  4. Jeremy says:

    As much as this game may be terrible.. it’s possible that this is a call back to the original Star Trek, which was called Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I really can’t defend it though, because the original movie also had a pretty daft title, so copying bad things is bad.

  5. skyturnedred says:

    I quite liked the movie.

    *gets his coat and shouts from the doorway*

    All three of them!

    • Jeremy says:

      I thought the first one was good, and had a reasonably clever device that justified why there was a reboot. The second one touched on some really interesting concepts. What is the correct moral choice in letting a world die vs. interfering and inadvertently becoming a god to the people of that world by saving it? Unfortunately, Abrams just used them as action set pieces and to create a fairly binary “sometimes logic is wrong” scenario to set up Spock at the end of the movie. They also made Khan a pretty boring villain, without any actual nuance. By the time movie 3 came around, it just sort of devolved into action set pieces strung together, and they lifted certain parts of 2 into 3 wholesale, which was weird. That being said, I never have a bad time watching them!

      Also, the only reason any of this is fresh to mind is that I was on a long flight and watched 2 and 3 back to back.

      • Imperialist says:

        See, im a huge Trek nerd. Ive seen every episode of all the shows, and have seen all the movies. Around halfway through Voyager i had come to realize that Star Trek has merit, even in the worst films and episodes (Even Threshold and STV). So i really enjoyed ST 2009 because it was “more Trek” and did a fairly good job weaving its own little basket. STID i thought was ok, mostly dragged down by an absolutely botched attempt at Khan. But, call me crazy, i really liked Beyond because it harkened back to a simpler time, a simpler story, and put a focus on our characters interacting in different circumstances than we normally see them. It felt like a feature-length big-budget episode…which maybe to other series would be damning, but i always felt like that was how a Trek movie should be. Yet ST:TMP was blasted for just that, and its sequel was essentially a big budget episode. ST: The Game fits the same mold, though its somewhat sad that it isnt really canon to the Kelvin Timeline. It had some good moments.

        • Vandelay says:

          Agreed. I thought the first film was very enjoyable on its own merits. I can understand why some dislike it, but if you take it on its own terms you have a good film that sets up some interesting ideas for a series, with some nice twists on an established franchise. STID, unfortunately, ditched most of the interesting elements of this and went for a fairly standard action film. I still enjoyed it while it was on, but found it instantly forgettable when the credits rolled and I left the theatre (reading other’s opinions afterwards has shown massive plot holes too, but I must admit to not being aware of them on my first and only viewing of it.)

          Beyond is a genuinely really good Trek film though. I think it could be easily ranked within the top five films in the franchise. The villain could of been expanded more, but it has some really good character beats and I defy anyone to not have a grin on their face during the surfing to Beastie Boys sequence. Lets be honest, you can really feel the absence of JJ Abrams with this one and it really is for the better.

          • Scurra says:

            “Beyond” is fun because it’s clearly about Brexit but was written and shot well before Brexit was actually a thing… :-)

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          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, I’ve only watched a few of the OG cast movies, but I thought Beyond was a good movie. As you said, it’s basically like a really long TV episode. I wish more movies would go for simpler plots instead of everything trying so hard to be “epic.”

        • Marblecake says:

          Beyond is genuinely good Trek, with a nice focus on exploration of specific themes and ideas throughout the entire flick, and a good helping of fun antics.

          The first two are garbage, though.

    • welverin says:

      I’m with you on the first two, but not the third one.

    • Hammer1649 says:

      I agree with you 1000 percent. In fact, I hope Abrams makes a fourth.

    • DispleasedEskimo says:

      I loved the first two films, haven’t seen the third. But I don’t know anything about Star Trek. I just like them because they make for good, high energy action films.

  6. yonsito says:

    The trailer was alright, though.

  7. titanomaquis says:

    I just want an Elite Force sequel, and with the release of that hypothetical sequel, a way to digitally purchase the first two entries for use on modern Operating Systems.

  8. Zaxwerks says:

    Well I’m a Trekkie and I really liked the reboot, so stick a phaser up your bottom on overload John (wuv u reeeeeeaaly)… well apart from the lens flare overload…

    The only problem with the Star Trek game was that it was a generic cover shooter with a Star Trek film skin applied, so apart from an insubstantial tricorder element tagged on there was nothing in the mechanics that defined it as something specifically “Star Trek”. I found it an enjoyable enough diversion, and it was nice to have a diversion that was Star Trek themed. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it could have been so much more, and was generically forgettable once I’d finished it.

  9. vorador says:

    I think i got it with some bundle since i have it, but don’t remember buying. Every review i read told me it was dreadful so i never picked it up.

    And for the record, i liked the reboot movie. Sure it wasn’t the best, not by a long shot, but we tend to forget just how low the Star Trek franchise has gotten sometimes.

    I mean, tribbles?

    • teije says:

      Yeah, Star Trek started at the cheesy campy bottom so this is a return to the original. Most of the movies have also been meh at best.

      Don’t shoot me, I’m a fan of the best of it – NG and DS9 mostly.

  10. Chromatose says:

    Funny to read back on John’s original review a few years on, particularly “It all smacks of hopelessness. Crap like that just wreaks of a lack of interest from those involved, along with so many other shortcuts.”. And it really does.

    There was an interview PC Gamer did with Steve Sinclair, who directed the game and now heads up Warframe, in which he describes being so excited about working on the project that he wore Vulkan ears to the office for the first week of development. The team at DE apparently had a whole bunch of wild ideas of where they wanted to take the game and JJ Abrams left them mostly unsupervised to do what they wished.
    Then fairly late into development, Abrams supposedly demanded they scrap a whole ton of ideas and refactor the game as a much more traditional 3rd-person action title. Sinclair and Abrams had a massive fight, after which Abrams essentially abandoned the project and DE proceeded to phone in the brief.

    I can’t find the original interview anywhere, and I can’t vouch for the veracity of the way Sinclair told the story, but it’s a pretty entertaining insight into why games development, especially on licensed IP sometimes goes badly askew.

  11. Darth Gangrel says:

    The new Star Trek movies are great and I’m glad we’re getting a new tv series (after the first few seasons of Voyager they quickly got worse), but I seem to be one of those people who enjoy most movies like this. That doesn’t make me better or [insert adjective], just wanted to be a counterweight to the usual “it’s all crap” choir.

    • Hammer1649 says:

      That may not make us better, but it does make us correct ;)

  12. wombat191 says:

    the first movie i found enjoyable even with all the “gee that was a lucky coincidence” that was going on

  13. Neurotic says:

    No, no, no, there’ll be no more talk of the abominable Jar-Jar Trek please. I’m locking this Internet now.

  14. poliovaccine says:

    You say “bumturd” as if there’s any other kind..? Please dont tell me I’ve been so badly misinformed??

  15. marlowespade says:

    Counterpoint: Star Trek Beyond was the best Star Trek film we’ve had since The Undiscovered Country, Chris Pine perfectly evokes the spirit of Captain Kirk, and people over-idealize the original series to the point where anything less than a faithful reproduction is fodder for overreaction.

    I share about 90 percent of your opinions posted here John, but I can’t follow you down that path. Although you’re completely correct in saying that Star Trek: The Videogame is utter garbage.

    • Hammer1649 says:

      I’m just going to agree and reiterate these movies are helped by the fact Shatner is nowhere near them.

  16. ColonelFlanders says:

    Not that I’m complaining because these articles always amuse, but why do the ‘Have You Played’ quite often contain turds that we should definitely not play? Surely there are plenty of gems out there?

    • Hammer1649 says:

      Probably because it is more of a trip down memory lane than an actual recommendation? I am merely guessing, not being sarcastic with you. Sometimes my comments read more jerky than I intend in the morning.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        You mean, before you’ve had your “tea, Earl Grey, hot”.

    • Neurotic says:

      I think it depends how you interpret ‘Have you played…?’ Obviously, it can be read with a tone of enthusiasm and excitement, making them all recommendations of things you should play. But it can also be read in a neutral voice, as a question that implies neither favour nor dissent, but is just a question. I dunno, that’s how I read it anyway.