Star Trek fans rejoice, there’s a VR game that’s coming in the fall that literally places you in the role of a commanding officer on board a starship. During E3 2016, we managed to get a demo of Star Trek: Bridge Crew, which is coming to the three big VR platforms this fall – so that’s the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and the Playstation VR. What makes this immersive experience different from most others we’ve checked out at the show, is that it’s a co-op game that requires players to work hand-in-hand with one another to complete a mission.
Now, our particular demo was running on the Oculus Rift, where 4 players collaborate in this VR bridge of sorts on a brand new Federation starship. Each player holds a particular role, and in our case, that’s the tactical officer. Essentially, our role is to scan for lifeforms aboard ships, raising the shields, and firing weapons. If you’ve always wondered what it’d be like to be in that seat aboard the bridge, this game replicates what it’s like to the teeth.
Using the Rift, we’re instantly thrown into our seated position on the bridge – while our comrades are seated nearby in their respective ones. The tracking is pretty spot on, as the game reacts to our spatial movements while in our seat. In front of us, we’re given the usual set of bridge controls, which in our specific role, is a HUD with buttons for scanning, raising shields, and firing the weapons. Interacting with the instrument panel is done via our virtual hands, controlled by the Rift Touch controls, wherein the triggers on the underside act like we’re bending our index finger to press a button on the panel that’s in front of us.
For the uninitiated, such as ourselves playing this for the first time, the tutorial at the beginning helps to get us acquainted with the control scheme and our duties on board the bridge. Even though our services weren’t required from the get-go, mainly because the engineer and person at the helm were used primarily guide the USS Aegis to our destination, it was just pretty neat to observe and see our fellow space mates near us.
During our rescue mission, a Klingon bird of prey suddenly appeared, and finally, our services were needed to raise the shields and start firing our lasers and photon torpedoes. By this time, it really made us feel like we were right there thick in the action, seeing that the Rift’s smooth performance provides that first person perspective to what’s happening.
Ultimately, we managed to complete our mission by rescuing passengers aboard these stranded space crafts, but failed to destroy the bird of preys that showed up. After enduring some serious punishment, with our shields well below 25%, we booked it and warped into light speed to get us away from the situation.
This cooperative gameplay is really interesting, since there are few VR experiences that have a cooperative element in them. Of course, the feasibility of doing this at home with friends is pretty much slim – given that you’ll need those Rifts and rigs positioned in close proximity to one another during local gameplay.
It is, however, going to be interesting to see if the developer will be able to achieve the same level of gameplay online. From what we can gather so far, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is more of a simulator than an action-oriented game. It’s faithful to what the movies and television shows depicts, so hardcore fanatics will absolutely gobble it up.
What do you think of Star Trek: Bridge Crew? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and be sure to stay tuned to more E3 2016 coverage!