Star Trek: Bridge Crew appeared as one of Ubisoft’s highlights at E3 2016. It was their headlining VR game, and a E3 Press exclusive. Star Trek and video game fans alike eagerly awaited this virtual reality Starfleet Simulator. Finally, after a few delays, Bridge Crew was released for the Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, and HTC Vive on May 30th, 2017.
The game takes place in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek universe, known as the Kelvin Timeline, with Klingons, and Vulcans, and Starfleet dresses, oh my! You are the crew members of the U.S.S Aegis, and are sent out to conduct several missions for Starfleet. There are four unique Bridge positions you can fill.
In Solo mode and in Multiplayer, YOU are in charge. The Captain handles everything from objective selection, to Red Alert. I was definitely nervous when I played my first multiplayer match, because the last position remaining was Captain. However, I had a ton of fun in this position, and I was actually better at giving commands than I anticipated. As Captain, it is your job to guarantee the safety of your crew, and the successfulness of the mission. Definitely a daunting position, but fun and challenging for those who can handle it!
Tactical proves the most important for engagement- offensively and defensively. This position handles scans, disruptions, transporting, and weapons. In multiplayer, it remains essential to have a strong tactical officer; someone who is able to listen to direction but also make their own decisions in times of crisis. Whether you like photon torpedoes, or preparing to Energize, Tactical is a post for those who enjoy a position of action and constant execution.
Helm, while often overlooked and underestimated, remains a fundamental in Starfleet. You’re driving the ship for goodness sake! In this position, it is crucial to monitor the Aegis’ energy output, and to carefully maneuver around obstacles, including anomalies and enemy ships. It is a strong Helmsman that determines a successful mission. If you have the precision and confidence for the job, then this post is for you.
To me, Engineering is the most demanding out of all the crew positions. I can understand why being Captain appears daunting to people, but the real brain space goes to Engineering. At this Bridge post, you must allocate power to the engine, weapons, or shields, and constantly adjust levels accordingly. Additionally, you must head repair crews and monitor the ship’s status. While the Captain makes the decisions, as Engineer, it remains YOUR job to constantly aid the Aegis in it’s power and engineering needs.
Each of these positions feels perfect for their respective purposes. They stay balanced in work, yet are diverse enough to offer a variety of gameplay across the board. Even in the range of missions, the work in each post varies as well. That remains one thing I love about the game- it provides an assortment of fresh gameplay. Furthermore, once you’re familiar with the four positions you can fill, it’s time to execute your Starfleet skills! Star Trek: Bridge Crew has a few different play settings.
Bridge Crew is the future of cooperative multiplayer VR. You and the three other players MUST work together in order to assure the safety and success rate of the U.S.S Aegis. In my playing, while my teammates were a bit silly, they took the game seriously and performed their respective roles efficiently. Helm skillfully maneuvered the Aegis. Tactical brilliantly executed orders and attacked Klingon vessels. Engineering beautifully rerouted energy and repaired the ship in a moments notice. Were were a highly effective crew, and saved six people in the Kobiyashi Maru on our first go.
Overall, within Multiplayer, you have two gameplay options. In Quick Match, you can perform a quick mission with other online players, or continue with your new crew for as long as you please. Additionally, you can select Private Match and team up with your friends and boldly go where no one has gone before!
In Solo mode, you are the Captain of your AI crew. This mode is perfect if you want to explore the stars, but don’t want to go online. However, with solitude comes difficulty. In Multiplayer mode, the other players are competent enough to make choices and voice ideas to the Captain and other members of the crew. In Solo mode, you must direct the other AI crew members into doing what you would like. This gets tricky, because if you’re trying to go under the radar and you tell your AI Helm to head towards a target, it automatically goes full speed. This gets you noticed by other Klingon vessels, and now your mission becomes much harder. There is the option in Solo mode to take control of the other positions and execute actions just the way you like. As a result, you have to hop back and forth between Captain’s seat and the respective crew positions. And on difficult missions, this option becomes (to quote our favorite Vulcan) “Highly Illogical”.
U.S.S ENTERPRISE MODE
Are you looking for a challenge? Let me introduce you to U.S.S Enterprise mode. This nostalgic mode transforms your vessel into the original Enterprise of the 60’s. The Captain’s holographic console transforms to an assortment of perplexing buttons on a chair. The game states that U.S.S Enterprise mode is for Advanced Bridge Crew players, and they are not lying. I’ve played the game a good amount, and even I’m not confident enough to pilot the Enterprise…YET. I do love this nostalgic mode, and I’m excited to see what other updates and nostalgic aspects we can expect in the future (crossing my fingers for a Star Trek: The Next Generation mode!)
I anxiously await to see what the future holds for Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Hopefully, one aspect that will receive an update soon is the Avatar Creator. Currently, this creator appears incredibly limited, and I would appreciate a more detailed Avatar creator. I want to make my Starfleet self look as close to me as possible! Additionally, in future updates and expansions, perhaps we’ll receive more campaign missions or different modes. Maybe even a tie in with Star Trek: Discovery? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
Video game and geek fans alike have always dreamed of the perfect simulator for their specific fandom. Ubisoft successfully achieved that perfection in Star Trek: Bridge Crew. I cannot tell you how many times I still get giddy when I play this game. You truly feel that you are a member of Starfleet, exploring that final frontier. It balances teamwork and decision making in a entertaining yet challenging game. If you ever have a chance to play this game, DO IT. You will not regret it. And who knows what other geek simulators are in production? The future of VR remains bright, with Star Trek: Bridge Crew at the Helm, propelling us into the future.