Monday, September 22, 2014


Sore Thumbs

5/1/2013

trek2‘STAR TREK’ (T)

*1/2

Namco Bandai Games

Xbox 360

“Star Trek” is a game that not-so-boldly goes where too many licensed games have gone before. Its two-player co-op, third-person shooter gameplay is as derivative as it is generic. Exploring strange new worlds with iconic characters like Kirk and Spock should’ve been a blast, but with their unimaginative design and last-gen graphics, the worlds you explore feel neither strange nor new. And though voiced by the actors from the 2009 film and its imminent sequel, the Enterprise’s heroic captain and Vulcan first officer deliver some of the worst banter you’re liable to hear between two co-op characters. With such high production values gone so horribly wrong, “Star Trek” appears to have suffered the fate of so many other movie tie-in games before it. Clearly, it was rushed through development at warp speed to ensure that it would be sitting on store shelves by the time “Star Trek into Darkness” hits theaters this summer.

DM Art Center

Unnecessarily bridging the gap between the two J.J. Abrams films, the plot of the video game has the crew of the Enterprise establishing a new colony for Vulcans in the wake of their home planet’s destruction. But before they can even tell the colonists to “live long and prosper,” a race of bipedal lizard creatures known as the Gorn shows up to spoil everything. Playing as Kirk, you’re encouraged to deal with this threat with aggressive action. As Spock, you’re pointed in the direction of cautious stealth. However, both characters essentially play the same way, and for the most part, their cooperative actions are limited to boosting each other up to ledges and prying open far, far too many doors. Meanwhile, the Gorn prove to be less-than-competent adversaries, often failing to notice their phaser-stunned allies collapsing in front of them. With a little extra development time, these bugs could’ve been fixed, but circumstances being what they are, this game was so doomed, it may as well have been beamed down to stores in a red shirt.

 

legobox‘LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER: THE CHASE BEGINS’ (E10+)

**1/2

Nintendo

Nintendo 3DS

The more LEGOs you have, the more impressive a world you can build with them, and in terms of raw technical power, the 3DS simply doesn’t have very many LEGOs. Consequently, the vast open world of Wii U’s “LEGO City Undercover” is highly fragmented in this handheld prequel, with small segments of the city separated by long load times. Like its predecessor, “The Chase Begins” pokes fun at cop movie clichés, but most of the witty voice acting has had to be replaced with text, which is less taxing on the hardware and considerably less charming for the player.

 

godboxGOD MODE (M)

***

Atlus

Xbox Live Arcade

“Welcome to Hades — that’s hell in a toga!” the narrator of “God Mode” promptly informs you, immediately setting the irreverent tone of what is essentially just one big underworld-set Horde Mode. Waves and waves of monsters attack your four-player co-op team, and your job, and that of your companions, is simply to wipe them out. In keeping with its bargain bin price, the game doesn’t offer a great deal of content, but since arena battles frequently throw in unexpected twists like friendly fire or infinite ammo, the action is varied enough to keep things interesting. CV

Botanical Garden