" ...the whole thing gives you the passing impression that it was a game that some small developer was already working on before Paramount co-opted it and re-skinned it for their new movie. "
Title: Star Trek: DAC by Paramount Digital
Format: XBLA Shooter
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: Oh, the video game tie-in. You know it's going to happen every time a flick with geek appeal hits the market, but now-a-days you don't know if it's going to be a solid title or a soulless attempt to cash in on your fandom. More often than not, it's the latter. But you never know for sure until you try, right? Or unless you read this review, of course.
What This Monkey Thought...
So, I won't bore you with a pointless dissertation on the background of the game, or the franchise. You already know it. What you don't know...or, at least, not yet...is that this game has absolutely nothing to do with Stark Trek.
Oh, it seems to on the surface. It's housed within a Trekkie wrapper and nestled deep inside a crunchy Federation vs. Romulan shell, but once you bite into it you realize that all of that was just the picture on the menu. Inside is an absolutely generic, and seriously underdeveloped, shooter that would never have flown without the marketing tie-in.
DAC is basically 2D battle game that is reminiscent of every other 2D battle game you've ever seen. You fly around a small map (on a screen that is inexplicably zoomed in on your individual ship) gathering power-ups and having brief two or three second engagements with any enemies you meet until one of you dies.
There are three modes, Team Deathmatch, Assault, and Conquest. Assault is basically a control point game, as is Conquest--though in Conquest the attacking team must capture the points in order on route towards the defender's base. In effect, all of these modes are really just deathmatching, and all use the same 3 ship types represented in the game: fighters, which are small and fast, bombers, which poop out timed explosives, and flagships, which use a right thumbstick aimed directional attack.
Nothing about it, including the ships' weapons or environments, are even remotely Star Trek related, nor do the game types feel "Trek" at all. Instead the whole thing gives you the passing impression that it was a game that some small developer was already working on before Paramount co-opted it and re-skinned it for their new movie.
I say "passing" because the feeling will only last a few hours. After that you'll grow bored enough with under-developed mechanics, lack of dynamic gameplay, similarity in the ship design, and limited map selection that you'll stop give up on it entirely.