Get ready to warp into virtual reality with Ubisoft's Star Trek: Bridge Crew.
Unlike all the other triple-A publishers, Ubisoft are not messing around when it comes to VR. The likes of EA and Activation have dabbled with mini-addon to their Battlefront and Call of Duty franchises, but neither have produced a proper VR game. For Ubisoft, on the other hand, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is their third VR title.
And they seem to be getting to grips with it.
The new Star Trek game follows on from Ubisoft's post-apocalyptic VR eagle simulator, Eagle Flight- where you fly over a ruined Paris – and social VR party game Werewolves Within.
Bridge Crew allows players to take on the role of captain, helmsman, tactical officer and engineer aboard the USS Aegis, a state-of-the-art Starfleet starship. The campaign is set in the Kelvin Star Trek universe, after the events at the end of the first rebooted movie. The ships mission is to explore an area of space known as The Trench and to find a suitable planet to be the Vulcans' new home world.
Red storm Entertainment, the same studio that did Werewolves Within, have meticulously recreated the look and feel of a Star Trek bridge in VR. It looks and sounds incredible. It's truly jaw-dropping. Sitting in the captain's chair for the first time gave me such a cheesy grin.
The game is designed to be played as a co-operative multiplayer game, but you can play it solo, as well, with AI crew-members. Similarly, if you have less than four players, the AI will make up the numbers for you. Playing solo or multiplayer you can take over any positions populated by the AI.
Each crew member has a defined role in the running of the ship. The helmsman flies the ship, the tactical officer fires the weapons and the engineer keeps the ship running, diverting power if necessary, all under the command of the captain.
The solo game is fun, but you are limited as to the difficulty level that you can actually cope with, as you dash about between stations, tweaking the choices of the adequate, but nothing to write home about, AI.
It's when you play with a crew of other players that the game gets interesting. It is important to get the right crew. This is an Internet game and so a bunch of randoms can easily lead to a game with an un-cohesive bunch of idiots all pointing and gesturing, whilst hurling insults at one another and making bad jokes about Klingons.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew is best played with like-minded friends. To make things easier, all Ubisoft games feature VR cross-play. This means that no matter if you have a PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, you can all play together. Which is pretty neat.
As well as the main campaign, there is also the randomly-generated Ongoing Voyages. What's interesting about these is that you can also play them onboard the USS Enterprise from the original ‘60s TV show. Older Star Trek fans will freak out sitting in Kirk's chair looking at all those brightly coloured buttons.
I've got to give a shout out to the game's sound design, especially for the original Enterprise bridge. The background beeping and whirling and the red alert klaxon is stop on. The conversations that the crew have with each other as they go about their duties really immerses you in the game.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew is one of the most polished VR games available right now. If you are a VR fan, you should pick it up. If you are a VR and Star Trek fan, you must pick it up! Make it so!