In Nvidia’s meeting room, Ubisoft Red Storm had its own private area. In it, there were four booths, and each one had an Oculus Rift. This small space would act as the bridge of the U.S.S. Aegis. I and three other players would have to work together to operate the advanced spaceship and complete objectives. This was my first taste of Star Trek: Bridge Crew.
Man Your Stations
Unlike some Rift demos, this game used Oculus Touch controllers, and rightfully so. To get the full experience, you’ll have to use your “fingers” to manipulate actions on the virtual screen. For example, by pressing the trigger on the controllers, I could “tap” the screen.
In my case, I was assigned to the Engineering station (you can call me Geordi), so I had to manage the ship’s power, energizing transports onto the ship, and most importantly, charging up the warp drive. Other players took on the Helm and Tactical stations while one of the game’s developers took on the role of the Captain. After a few minutes of getting adjusted to the controls, we began a short demo.
Defend And Retrieve
We set a course for a dying star to rescue people who are stranded in space near an abandoned station. I had to work together with my crewmates to fly close enough to each group of stragglers, target their ship, and bring them aboard.
From my position on the bridge, I didn’t have a direct view of what was in front of the ship, even with the large window to gaze out of. However, I could lean over to my left side to get a better view, or I could press the Y button on the Oculus Touch controller for an exterior view. Needless to say, the visuals of outer space (the dying star and the abandoned station, specifically) were quite a sight to see. Even though I had to rescue people from outer space, I had to take the time to admire the view.
However, the seemingly routine rescue mission hit a snag. A Klingon ship landed in the area and was preparing to fire its weapons on the Aegis. Now we were in a race against time and danger. The star could blow up at any minute, and I had to manage the ship’s power in order to keep our phasers, shields and engine within their operational limits; this is not to mention the fact that I had to transport the stranded people on board.
I rescued two groups of six people, and we were on our way to the last group when the Klingon ship arrived. As it opened fire, I brought up a holographic display of the ship on my screen. With this display, I could inform the captain of the shield’s current health. I gave additional powers to our shield to fortify our defense while the helmsman sped to the last group.
Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough. Even with extra power to the shields, the Klingons were getting close to destroying our ship. We had no choice but to leave the last group and warp out before we were stranded in the system as well.
Where No VR Game Has Gone Before
Still, we didn’t escape empty-handed. Because of teamwork, we rescued 12 survivors. If our tactical officer had more time to get acquainted with the weapons system, the Klingon ship wouldn’t stand a chance.
I hadn't played a VR multiplayer game before, but Star Trek: Bridge Crew proved that the feature could work. It was exciting to work together with other real-life players in order to operate such as large ship. Because we didn’t have to move too much to operate in our stations, it wasn’t a nauseating experience.
Even though the demo required the full crew, you don't have to play the entire game with four players. In addition to a main campaign, the final version will also include an “Ongoing Missions” mode, which is a series of procedurally-generated missions for single or multiplayer sessions.
Based on the screenshots, some might say the graphics of the characters aren’t of the highest quality, but the visuals--especially of the characters--wasn’t the main attraction. It was the overall feeling of joining Starfleet and actually taking part in a mission. It’s every Star Trek fan’s dream come true. We’ve all seen it on TV, but the magic of virtual reality allows you to take the place of your favorite characters and live out your own adventures in space.
|Name||Star Trek: Bridge Crew|
|Developer||Red Storm Entertainment|
|Platforms||Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR|
|Release Date||Oculus Rift, HTC Vive: Fall PlayStation VR: At launch|