Star Trek: Resurgence is a new narrative adventure game developed by Dramatic Labs and published by Bruner House. It was released on May 23, 2023, for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC exclusively on Epic Games Store. The game is set in the Star Trek universe, 23 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis and plays in episodes. There is branching dialogue, quick time events and having to make quick decisions when faced with danger, all with full voice acting within a great Star Trek story.
Dramatic Labs is made up of a team of former Telltale Games developers and as such, the gameplay has a heavy focus on dialogue and storytelling. I have been playing some Star Trek Online recently and love the space combat in that game which is the best representation of Star Trek ship combat I have played, but the main story is diluted within the size and scope of it being an MMORPG. Star Trek: Resurgence has much less combat, but the story is very engaging with some interactive sequences that were quite thrilling at times.
You play as First Officer Jara Rydell (Krizia Bajos) and Petty Officer Carter Diaz (Josh Keaton) – two Starfleet officers who are assigned to the USS Resolute, a new starship on its maiden voyage under the command of Captain Zachary Solano (Jim Meskimen). The voice acting for all characters is outstanding and believable, but it’s especially cool when you meet key recognisable characters from the Star Trek universe. One is Ambassador Spock who is voiced impeccably by Piotr Michael and is very close to the voice of the legendary Leonard Nimoy, and the other I won’t spoil as it was a cool surprise. No doubt hardcore Trek fans can put two and two together.
The game’s graphics are impressive once you get over the initial frustrations. There is only a small number of resolution options, and while 1920×1080 is one of the standards available, my resolution of 2560×1440 was not available or any higher than 1600×1200. It is rare these days for games not to support the higher resolutions, so I can see this as being a turn off for some. The environments are beautifully rendered with great explosions and space sequences were fantastic.
Character movement was initially slow-moving, we interact with a variety of characters on the Resolute as the character relationships are established. We can sprint, but sometimes I found this was disabled when in diplomatic circumstances. When we are in control of Rydell or Diaz, the dialogue choices we make affect relationships with key characters and how they treat you further into the story. We also need to solve puzzles and the game features some action sequences where life threatening decisions need to be decided quickly, where other times you will need to complete tasks at your pace.
On the flip side, some tasks can be quite menial and unnecessary, like moving our hands over a screen to get to a button. It was far more important about what happened after pressing the button, like taking control of an object, as opposed to pressing the button itself. I can understand if this was a VR game but for a standard point-and-click interface with mouse/keyboard or controller, these interactions could have been somewhat refined. Using our phaser in combat, scanning with the tricorder, controlling tractor beams and a heap of other operations was great fun though.
The game’s story is well-written and engaging and if there weren’t so many chapter title screens breaking up the pace, I would have been so enthralled. The overarching story features a number of interesting and believable characters and we, as either Rydell or Diaz, are given a number of difficult choices to make. At first, I wanted to do everything asked of me of the captain and be a good soldier, but early on when needing to make a decision to save a life or the lives of many, I went against the captain’s orders. While it upset the captain that I defied his orders in front of the crew, it was the right call, and you must live with the decisions you make.
Later we are thrust into making decisions that decide how two factions see each other, and how they view the Federation’s interactions which could start a war. At times it’s quite stressful because we have limited time to make the decisions. Other times, a character will continue to say sentences as the timer reduces, which can sometimes give you that little bit more information to help weigh up the options. I haven’t played a second playthrough to see how much effect certain key decisions made to the overall story, but I certainly both annoyed and impressed various other crew members. You can track the various crew member relations and the last interaction you had with them in the options menu.
My only real complaint about the game is with character animations where each character would randomly arch an eyebrow in conversations where that expression wasn’t expected, making The Rock proud. They would be mid-sentence and a slight shift of their head would arch an eyebrow. Sometimes the raised eyebrow would alternate mid-sentence and while it got a chuckle the first couple of times, really broke the immersion for me. Another aspect worth mentioning is the follow camera gets too close sometimes in confined spaces and you end of fighting the camera to get a better angle. It’s not often but noticeable when it happens, and one combat sequence got a bit fiddly but not insurmountable.
Overall, Star Trek: Resurgence does a great job of capturing the spirit of Star Trek and is the best single player Star Trek game for me in recent years. I’m not the biggest Trek fan but there’s a certain cosmic and exploratory feel to Trek movies, shows and games and this encapsulates that feeling well. I do love me a Telltale-style episodic game and this has that thrill of exploration, intensity at decision making, and great storytelling, backed up by excellent voice acting.