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Resurgence Has a Fascinating Star Trek Story To Tell

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Star Trek: Resurgence‘s lead writer and cinematic director told me in February 2022 that they wanted the game, which is the debut from Dramatic Labs, to be akin to a playable Star Trek movie. Having had the chance to play some of a not-final build of the game ahead of its release later this month, I’d say that they’ve succeeded. In March 2021, some of Dramatic Labs’ developers walked me through a few scenes from Star Trek: Resurgence, revealing core gameplay that will be familiar to anyone who played game releases by Telltale Games, where many of the developers previously worked.

However, getting to play this complete, if not quite finished, build of Star Trek: Resurgence¬†from the game’s start drove home the cinematic touches that help contextualize the game’s conversation-focused gameplay. Star Trek: Resurgence opens with moments of Starship-induced awe and a sweeping score that feels lifted straight from a Star Trek film. There are nods to Star Trek’s classic television era there as well. The game’s hero ship, the USS Resolute, feels like a blend of the Enterprise-D and the USS Voyager, with its carpeted bridge and alcoved stations, and a chapter title appears in a blue font in an upper corner as each new scene begins, much as episode titles did during the Star Trek: The Next Generation era.

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(Photo: Dramatic Labs)

The cinematic feel fuels the narrative as well. Before the Resolute can even leave space dock, catastrophe strikes, with one of the game’s two player-controlled characters, Petty Officer Carter Diaz, outside on the ship’s hull. Meanwhile, the second player character, Resolute‘s brand new First Officer, Cmdr. Jara Rydek finds herself unexpectedly in command at that moment with live on the line before she’s even found her quarters.

It’s a high-stakes introduction, wasting no time in setting a tone, but the focus on cinematic storytelling has if its odd moments too. I haven’t had time to play too far into Star Trek: Resolute, but what I have played is a very linear experience, even compared to its Telltale Games forebears. There’s less room for exploration and more focus on tense set pieces where dialogue choices are on a timer, or players have to perform actions like working the ship’s systems by quickly moving the analog sticks and pressing the correct buttons. The game’s commitment to cinematic staging extends to preventing players from turning the camera in the wrong direction while walking, always facing forward, which fits the game’s purpose well enough but goes against everything years of playing 3D games have ingrained into my muscle memory.

But for those who love Star Trek and are amenable to this linear storytelling-focused experience, Star Trek: Resurgence offers some interesting new perspectives. Through Diaz, players see Starfleet through the eyes of a non-commissioned officer, whose experience is markedly different from those who went through Starfleet Academy. Conversely, Rydek is a Starfleet officer on the rise but finds herself in the unenviable position of taking orders from a captain whose judgment has had his judgment compromised by a recent disaster (see the prequel comic for more on that) and what it may mean for his career and legacy. The game drives home these vastly different experiences through the different types of conversations these characters have and the choices that players are pressured to make in the heat of the moment.

When is the Star Trek: Resurgence release date?

Playing this preview build left me torn between two desires, one to play Star Trek: Resurgence in its entirety because I was into the Star Trek experience it offers, and another to hold off until the fully polished version of the game releases on May 23rd (though the version I played seemed solid, beside transitions between some scenes being a tad jarring). Based on what I have played, it seems like the folks at Dramatic Labs have created a compelling and nuanced Star Trek story for Star Trek: Resurgence players, as long as they’re into narrative gameplay.

Star Trek: Resurgence debuts on May 23d. It will be available on the Epic Games Store for PC and on current and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

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