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     " Shattered Universe is a classic example of building a game exclusively because you've got the license... "

      Title: Star Trek: Shattered Universe by TDK Mediactive

      Format: Xbox Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Our Ape Masters

      The Hype: It's been a long time since we got a good Star Trek game. For our money it's been since the PS1's "Invasion" that anything's been worth paying attention to, which is a shame given the immense possibilities the Trek universe offers. And, coincidentally, speaking of Invasion, the game this review is for, "Shattered Universe", is also a small fighter oriented space shooter. Will lightning strike twice? I'd tell you but, if you look at my goatee, you'll note I'm the evil Our Ape Masters and so won't tell you now.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: It's funny that the comparison we made in the Hype is to a PS1 game, because if you remove a bit of the textures in Shattered Universe, that's exactly what you have. Unpolished, underdeveloped, and uninspired, the graphics really are anything but impressive. With lighting effects and shading reminiscent of a whole system ago, only a few mediocre modernizations save this title from being a complete graphical loss. 2 out of 5

      Playability: So I'm not a huge Trekkie, I admit it, but I have always enjoyed watching the show and don't think I've missed an episode of any series. And since I'm guessing you have at least a passing knowledge of the show(s), I'm just gonna shortcut and tell you that the gameplay is based on two capital ships, the Excelsior and the Enterprise, get sucked into a rift and end up in the "Mirror, Mirror" alternate universe. You are a combat pilot on the Excelsior, flying annoying little fighters in a world of giant starships, who inexplicably gets put into the front line of every battle the Excelsior chooses to fight.
           So, not surprisingly, when I got this game initially and asked the question "why" as much as I did I figured it couldn't be a good sign for average-joe-gamer. Why does this game revolve around a fighter-esque plane rather than a real starship? Why choose to set it back in the days of "classic" Trek when you are incredibly limited by the technology and options? And why are these epic carriers behind me doing absolutely nothing while I bust my ass to conquer the universe? Unfortunately, there are no answers to any of those questions.
          But all that wouldn't matter terribly if the gameplay was solid and engaging…which, unfortunately, it isn't. Obviously designed with little thought and no real effort the play in Shattered Universe is as trite, pointless, and random as any flying shooter can ever be. With each mission as pointless as the one before it, Shattered will repeatedly shove you out into a swarm of dogfights that are plagued with bad AI, a wholly unremarkable combat philosophy, and lackluster controls.
          Further complicating matters are the horrible and formulaic mission designs. Start out flying through nav points (didn't we get enough of this back in Wing Commander's day?), then engage in pointless and repetitive dog fight, then retrieve object, then, at the last possible minute, receive a random objective that will take a couple of times just to figure out or get right and, if you die, do it all over again. It is as unengaging as gaming gets and will leave a void inside you wondering where all the possibilities in Star Trek went. 1 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Kinda cool in design the Excelsior is sucked into a wormhole into the Mirror, Mirror world and now have to fight their way out. It's mostly classic Trek, and an interesting premise, and is enhanced by actor reprisals for the voices, cool cinematic flybys, and a generally sound Star Trek ambiance. But placing you as an essentially nameless fighter pilot who is repeatedly called on to perform tasks for no identifiable reason gets old fast. Yeah, you get to watch some of the finer points of a Trek story as though you were there, but as little more than a red shirt you'll have to wonder why you're shoved into the fray over and over again while the big boys sit on their hands and do little to help you. 3.75 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: With little to offer for replayability and no multiplayer I can't imagine there'll be much of a reason to pick it up again once you're done. The 19 missions may give it some longevity for the mid-line player, but for me it was just a bunch of doldrums wrapped up in a mass-media package. 1.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Ranging from bad to mediocre, and rarely ascending any higher than that, Shattered Universe is a classic example of building a game exclusively because you've got the license to, and not because you have any kind of premise in mind. Dull, mindless, and unremarkable in almost every way, Shattered Universe does little to rekindle a property that's been hurting for a good game.

      The Good: Great Star Trek feel and a return of series actors.

      The Bad: Totally uninspired play that in no way engages.

      The Overall Ugly: I'm not angry I played it but I don't ever want to again.

      What it's Worth: Rental if you're a hard core Trekkie (but then, if you are, you probably resent me calling you a Trekkie in the first place. Don't you, Trekkie?).

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