Friday, November 6, 2009

Star Trek DAC Review

If there was ever a case made for 3D videogames, Star Trek: D-A-C did it for me yesterday when I visited the Paramount Pictures lot in Los Angeles. There, Paramount Digital Entertainment showed off its top-down $10 shooter on a sweet NVIDIA 3D Vision-equipped PC. Romulan ships were relentlessly shooting at my Starfleet vessel, and I of course fired back while artfully navigating around the bullets. All of this appeared as if it were happening two inches off the screen, thus combining two of life’s most geeky things: 3D graphics and Star Trek. Truly a match made in nerd heaven.

The PlayStation Network version isn't in 3D, but does support Trophies and the same great overhead shooting action that we saw in the XBLA version back in May. They’re also $10 with no hardware strings attached. Even better, if you bought the original Star Trek: D-A-C for XBLA when the film hit theaters in May, all of the improvements made since then will be updated through a free download.

Besides the new Survival game type, this downloadable Star Trek game boldly goes where the previous hadn’t gone before by adding more, more, more. Listening to reviews and fan feedback, Paramount has added two new playable spaceships and three additional pick-up items. The Missile Cruiser and Support Frigate join the Bomber, Fighter and Flagship, all with different handling characteristics. Similarly, there are now a total of eight pick-ups, four unique to the Romulan race and another set of four exclusive to the Starfleet class.

Continuing with the more, more, more, mantra, there’s a new, much-needed map for Assault mode, seeing how the game was heavily criticized in initial reviews for having just one. The game also addresses previous limitations by adding variable AI and adjustable match settings, so you can change the difficulty as well as amount of kills or time it takes to win a game.

The all-new Survival game type is a single-player only affair, but there’s still Team Deathmatch, Conquest (takeover/defend four control points) and Assault (one team is on offense, the other on defense). They support online co-op and a twelve-player online multiplayer, six per team.

Final Thoughts
I could definitely see the potential of 3D videogames if Star Trek: D-A-C is what a simple $10 looks like jumping off the screen. Of course, if it means putting together a 3D-compatible PC from scratch, most players won’t be able to see these benefits when the game releases on November 12th. They'll have to appreciate Star Trek D-A-C solely on the improvements it has made since last May. That is, until Sony comes out with its 3D televisions scheduled for next year, at which point gamers will proclaim “Beam Me Up” when it comes to affordable 3D games like this.