Star Trek Resurgence - title

Dramatic Labs is a relatively small, independent studio releasing their first game. As such, I want to give them some slack when it comes to the technical aspects of the game. That being said, the technical problems here aren't just superficial things like a choppy framerate or texture pop-in; they are things that have a big impact on the story, and which are impossible to ignore.

Even in the opening chapters (which I would expect to be the most polished part of the game), the dialogue frequently glitches out. It will replay the first line of a character's dialogue, and then skip the last line of their dialogue. At first, this was only a minor inconvenience because I was able to read the subtitles. But a few minutes later, the subtitles started disappearing as well, making it impossible for me to know for sure what was supposed to have been said. In a game that is supposed to be one long, interactive cutscene that requires the player to respond to dialogue, these problems with the playback of dialogue and subtitles is a big deal.

Furthermore, I suffered from a hard crash to the PS4's dashboard, and another soft lock when the game got stuck in tricorder mode and wouldn't accept any scan inputs. The tricorder soft lock happened at the same place in both of my playthroughs of the game, while trying to scan a miner's locker room for traces of DNA. If I walked to a certain corner of the kitchenette and pulled up the tricorder, the game wouldn't let me put the tricorder away or scan anything. In both cases, I had to exit to the game's main menu, reload the level, and then avoid that corner of the kitchenette in order to proceed.

Most of the game is responding to dialogue, so it's a big problem that some of the dialogue gets skipped.

These crashes and soft locks are particularly annoying because in both cases, they forced me to have to redo a large chunk of lengthy chapters of the game. And with no way to skip non-interactive sequences or dialogue, these replays really dragged. I don't necessarily mind having to sit through cutscenes and dialogue if I'm doing an alternate playthrough of the game, and hopefully seeing different scenes and experiencing different dialogue, but when I'm replaying the same section of a single playthrough and replicating the choices that I made verbatim, it's pretty annoying.

Also, this isn't really a "technical issue", per se, but the developers didn't bother to hide the PSN trophy information, and many of those trophies provide fairly explicit story spoilers. I also think they accidentally swapped the icons for a couple of pairs of trophies. Heck, even the save files (on PS4) aren't given useful labels. They all just say "Save Data". So if you wanted to backup and reload a save to find out what changes, you'll have to know the date and time of the relevant save because the filename won't help you.

Trophies spoil the story, and the save files all have the same name.

So let's get this out of the way right up front: if you want to play Star Trek Resurgence, you'll have to put up with a lot of technical problems and, let's call them "beginner's mistakes".

Playing with tricorders instead of phasers

But even though Dramatic Labs and co-developer Bruner House are not very experienced with creating games, they definitely do seem to know their Star Trek. If you can look past the glaring technical problems (most of which will hopefully be fixed with post-release patches down the line), Resurgence is a solid piece of Star Trek writing.

This "Telltale formula" is a very good fit for Star Trek, and I'm surprised that it's taken this long for someone to make a Star Trek game like this. Heck, I'm surprised that Telltale themselves never got the license to make a Star Trek game, since they seem to be huge nerds, and Trek seems like it would be right up their alley.

Tricorders might get more screen time than phasers.

A lot of Trek games fall into the trap of trying to adapt Trek into an action-heavy game genre. We've got examples like Elite Forces being a first-person shooter, Armada being a real-time strategy StarCraft clone, Invasion being a dogfighting Colony Wars clone, and so forth. These games usually prioritize phasers and photon torpedoes as the primary way that the player interacts with the play space. Resurgence, however, largely eschews phasers in exchange for pulling out a tricorder.

The Telltale formula (which is probably closest to old-school point-and-click adventures of LucasArts fame) allows the story and characters to take center-stage without having to try to force the majority of player interactions into the rigid boxes of a particular ludic genre. Resurgence is a "Choose Your Own Adventure" game, driven mostly by dialogue. It's basically one long, interactive cutscene that stops every minute or so to ask the player to chose 1 of 3 options for a response to a question.

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