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As my Patrons and YouTube viewers know, I've been working for the past several months on a lengthy retrospective of Star Trek video games. I currently have 2 preview clips of that lengthy retrospective project available to my Patrons, and I plan to give my Patrons exclusive early access to the entire completed project, while the general public will have each episode released one-at-a-time over the course of multiple weeks. So if you want a preview of that project, or early access when it is finished, you can become a Patron and support my content creation.

As part of that retrospective, I've bought a lot of old Star Trek games to play or re-play. A lot of these games are buggy, or don't run well on modern systems. The Steam version of Starfleet Command, for example, required me to modify an ini file in order to prevent the game from constantly crashing. But of all the old, crappy, or broken Star Trek games I've played, the absolute worst has been Star Trek: Bridge Crew for the PS4/PSVR.

I've been buying and playing old Star Trek games as research for a retrospective.

Bridge Crew is a multiplayer VR game that was released in 2017 by Ubisoft for PSVR and PC. It's a live-service game that uses both the PSN servers and Ubisoft Connect servers to run the multiplayer. I initially skipped this game back in 2017 for a couple reasons. The first is that I didn't have a VR headset. The second is that it was based on the reboot Kelvin-verse films, which simply didn't appeal to me as much as the Prime canon. But I found out recently that the game does actually have DLC that includes Original Series and Next Generation content. Armed now with a friend's PSVR headset and the more appealing prospect of playing VR on the bridge of the Original Enterprise and Enterprise-D, I decided to buy the game and give it a try.

Despite being a 6-year-old game on an obsolete console, Ubisoft and Sony are still charging full price for it, $30. So I assumed that the game must still be fully functional and playable. Or at least, I assumed the single-player would be. In fact, PSN actually lists the game as being a "1 player" game. I had no expectation that the game's multiplayer lobbies would be full of prospective playmates, but I figured that I could at least try out the single-player and see how far I could get.

I was more interested in Bridge Crew after discovering it has TOS and TNG DLC.

After playing through the tutorial and getting through the first 2 story campaign missions, I called it quits for the night. When I came back a couple days later, I found that none of my progress had been saved. The game was prompting me to do the tutorial before starting play, my rank had been reset, all the campaign missions after the first had re-locked, and even my avatar had been reset to a random face. Was there a manual save option in the menus that I had missed?

No, there wasn't. After some online research, I discovered that Ubisoft had recently ended official support for the game and had shut down the servers. Apparently, for the PS4 version of the game, all save progress was stored on the Ubisoft servers. With those servers now offline, game progress could no longer be saved. It's unclear to me whether the online multiplayer still works, as that may go through the PSN instead of Ubisoft's servers. There's nobody in the multiplayer lobbies, but it's unclear if that's because the lobbies go through servers that are offline, or if there simply isn't anybody trying to play the game anymore.

From what I can tell, the PC version does allow for locally saving progress. I'm not sure if the PC multiplayer works. The PC version doesn't have PSN to manage its multiplayer, but it's possible that the multiplayer might go through Steam's servers.

None of my campaign progress is being saved, and I have to start from scratch every time I boot the game up.

This is absolutely ridiculous! And it is one of many examples that shows that Ubisoft doesn't give a shit about the consumers who play their games, nor do they give a shit about preservation of games as art. I get that eventually the servers are going to go offline, and for an entirely multiplayer game, that's an obvious death knell. But for a game that has a single-player component (which Bridge Crew does), it is absolutely inexcusable that closing the multiplayer servers would make the single-player game unplayable.

Demon's Souls is fully playable despite its servers being shut down.

The servers for the original Demon's Souls have been shut down after about 10 years, which is a damn shame. But the original, PS3 version of Demon's Souls is still entirely playable in offline mode. In fact, I think that it's still even possible to get a Platinum trophy on the original Demon's Souls because of the fact that the few trophies that require defeating black phantom invaders or obtaining certain multiplayer items can still be earned by defeating the NPC black phantoms in the game. I could be wrong about that, but I do believe that Demon's Souls is still 100% playable.

If Ubisoft cared at all about its customers, or about the game itself and the hard work of the people who created it, they would have released a final patch to allow for local saving of progress. This should not have been difficult to do, since saving game progress is one of the most basic, fundamental functions of modern video games. But even if that pathetically easy hurdle proved too much for a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate to accomplish, then the very least that they could have done is unlocked all the campaign missions from the start. This would probably be a simple matter of just flipping some 0's to 1's (or vice versa) in a .ini file somewhere in the game's code. There's only 6 or 7 mission in the campaign, so this change is probably literally just changing 6 characters in one single file. This way, even if players can't actually save their progress properly, they could still at least play all the campaign missions.

At the very least Ubisoft could have unlocked all missions.

Or, I don't know, maybe don't design your game to be dependent on a temporary server for such basic functionality as single-player save progress to begin with!!!

But Ubisoft doesn't care. And worse yet, they have the nerve to still sell this game at full price, without any warning or disclaimer that it is outside of official support, or that game progress cannot be saved. If they're even going to bother selling this game at all anymore, it should cost no more than $5. This whole situation is just a massive "fuck you!" to consumers. This is one of the reasons that I don't usually buy Ubisoft products. Well, this and the recurring sexual assault and harassment allegations within the company's management.

I'm considering contacting Sony support to try to get a refund. Sony doesn't have the generous refund policy that Steam has (in which any game can be refunded for any reason as long as the player has less than 1 hour of play time). But Sony's refund policy does say that customers can get refunds for games which are not functional. And I would think that not being able to save my progress should definitely count as "non-functional".

Hopefully, with the increasing popularity and affordability of VR, there will eventually be a spiritual successor to Bridge Crew (if not a direct sequel). And hopefully, it will be published by a company other than Ubisoft.

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Comments (1) -

01/08/2024 06:51:18 #

Hmm, that would explain a lot.
Progress resets every time. But if You have PC steam friend, his progress is saved so He can start missions for You.

Sending friend requests between pc and ps4 version seems not work and get stuck, so You cannot get invited to private room.

But if joining quick match, I could meet my friend in there. Since few people play You can meet that way hmm.

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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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