Star Trek brings Kirk and Spock together in seamless, playful co-op

Star Trek game brings co-op play between Kirk and Spock.

A distress call from New Vulcan. A base littered with dead bodies. Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Spock must team up against a violent breed of aliens in Namco Bandai's new action game based on J.J. Abrams' Star Trek films.

The full cast of the 2009 movie lent their voices to the game, which chronologically takes places between the movie and its planned 2013 sequel. This is the first Star Trek game to feature Kirk and Spock as playable characters, and players must utilize the unique skills of both in co-op mode to successfully combat the alien threat.

Our demo began on the starship Enterprise. Kirk and his crew receive a distress signal from New Vulcan, a planet colonized by the survivors of the original Vulcan, which was destroyed. Repeated calls back to the planet go unanswered, so Kirk and Spock arm up - with a little help from Scotty - and beam down to the planet to investigate.

Spock can use his tricorder to scan entities and objects, assessing enemies for weak points and hacking into locked areas. Both Kirk and Spock are equipped with phasers and can interact with the environment - such as taking cover - in battle as well. The pair work seamlessly together, navigating their environment in flawless tandem. Spock can also use his mind-meld as well as his signature Vulcan neck pinch.

Environments are beautifully rendered, their designs true to the movie's depictions, and nearly every piece is interactive. In the demo Spock and Kirk come upon a broken bridge. Players can either use Spock to flip a switch and extend the bridge, or use Kirk to jump the gap. But when Kirk made the jump he lost his hold on the bridge when a broken pipe slid out of place, leaving Spock to rescue his daredevil companion and flip the switch.

What is truly delightful about the Kirk-Spock co-op is the witty dialogue. As they fight their way through the abandoned Vulcan base, the captain and lieutenant are snarky and playful in their interactions, their banter providing a wonderful addition to already captivating gameplay.

Star Trekuses frame-locking technology to render the game in 3D for split-screen. Frame-locking allows two graphics cards to render simultaneously, allowing one pair of 3D shutter glasses to sync with the screened images at the same time. This will allow players to view a running game on both sides of a split-screen or multiple displays without lag.

While Star Trek will not have online co-op, multiplayer POVs will be displayed in split-screen. A source close to the game told Polygon that developer Digital Extremes is planning support for Sony's Simulview technology. Simulview allows two players in the same room to view separate fullscreen images through individual sets of 3D glasses.

Namco also revealed the game's antagonists: the Gorn race. The Gorn, for those who are not as familiar with the early Star Trek series, appeared in the 1960s episode "Arena." Developer Digital Extremes created an entirely new species of Gorn specifically for the Star Trek game, designing them to blend in with the aesthetics already established by Abrams. The new gorn are nothing like a guy in a poorly-made rubber suit - these Gorn look more like muscular velociraptors with enlongated claws and mouths full of sharp teeth that stretch from ear to ear.

Star Trek, set to release next year, feels like a canon entry in the franchise reboot. Kirk and Spock are true to themselves and each other in this high-energy third-person adventure, creating a true Star Trek experience for series fans and newcomers alike.

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