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Star Trek Resurgence - title

In a Nutshell


  • Plot about solving diplomatic, scientific, and engineering problems
  • Plenty of techno-babble!
  • Phasers are used as tools as often as they are used as weapons
  • Different decisions lead to alternate scenes
  • Dialogue choices are mostly seamless
  • References to obscure Star Trek lore


  • Frequent technical issues
  • Dialogue and subtitles cut in and out
  • Player choices rarely drive the plot
  • Can't skip cutscenes
  • No chapter select
  • Trophy details spoil the story

Overall Impression : C
Emphasizes characters and story over phaser fights.

Star Trek Resurgence - cover

Dramatic Labs, Bruner House

PC (via Epic Store),
PlayStation 4 < (via retail disc or PSN digital download),
XBox One | S | X (via retail disc or XBox Live digital download).
(< indicates platform I played for review)


Original release date:
23 May 2023

sci-fi point-and-click adventure

single player

Play time:
10 hours

ESRB Rating: T (for Teen) for:
Blood, Use of Alcohol, Violence

Official site:

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.

Techno babble

There are a few action setpieces and some puzzle-like challenges that each have unique mechanics and rules associated with them. Some of them are only used once in the entire game, but most are repeated at least once (usually with some minor variation). Some of these setpieces will be shooting galleries with phasers, but as many (if not more) will involve pulling out a tricorder. And even in the instances in which the player has to pull out a phaser, about half of those use the phaser as a tool instead of as a weapon.

Many of the problems the player will have to solve are diplomatic, scientific, or engineering problems.

Without the need to base the entire game around shooting things with phasers, Resurgence is able to build much of its story and gameplay around diplomatic, scientific, and engineering problems. Sadly, it does kind of devolve into the same "bad guys with doomsday weapons" trope that has dominated so much of official Star Trek media since the end of Enterprise. So there are fist fights and phaser shootouts in the back half of the story. But even so, there is still a focus on investigation and engineering, rather than simply punching or shooting the bad guys into submission.

Some of the most dramatic scenes in the game involve a group of characters sitting around a conference table to debate the next course of action. Or they'll be sitting around a faulty piece of equipment, trying to determine what is wrong with it. Or we'll be recalibrating the transporter to beam an away team through interference.

Many key scenes take place around a conference table.

As such, the game is loaded with Star Trek's trademark "techno-babble". Terms like "tetrametric radiation", t"bioforming", "deuridium", and many more are thrown around left and right, and used appropriately.

In general, I think that the writing is pretty solid and faithful to the spirit of Star Trek (specifically The Next Generation). As a piece of Star Trek apocrypha, it's pretty good. In fact, it shames much of what CBS and Paramount have put out over the past 20 years.

Telltale strengths and limitations

So I think Resurgence holds up very well as a piece of Star Trek media. But how is it as a game? Well, as I said before, it strictly follows the formula for "Choose Your Own Adventure" games that was laid down by the likes of Telltale, Quantic Dreams, and Supermassive Games -- for better or for worse. Some people love it; some people hate it. If you think those companies' games are boring and barely qualify as "video games", then there is nothing in this product that is going to change your mind. You might be better served to just watch a Let's Play.

But if you enjoyed the likes of Telltale's The Walking Dead, or Heavy Rain, or Until Dawn, and you're a Trekkie, then Resurgence is certainly up to par with those games. At least, it is on a design level. Remember, there are all the aforementioned technical problems. In fact, I really liked the way that the optional responses would pop up while the characters are still talking, so that the player can read the options and make a decision without the scene having to come to a complete stop while the player reads and deliberates between the options. The way this usually works is that another character will ask a question or say something that warrants a response, and then the dialogue options will appear. But instead of stopping and waiting for the player to choose, the other characters will continue to talk. Sometimes they just ramble or re-iterate the question. Other times they provide additional context or suggestions that could influence the player's decisions.

In either case, the writing is good enough that all this dialogue feels mostly seamless and natural (when it isn't glitching out). I especially like the handful of emergency situations in which multiple characters are suggesting alternate courses of action, and they continue to argue or talk over each other while the timer for me to make a decision is slowly counting down. It really does give the impression of having to make a tough decision in a high-pressure situation.

There are a handful of action setpieces to vary up the gameplay a little bit.

On the other end of the spectrum, the core problem with these sorts of games is the lack of agency that they provide to the player. The bulk of the story involves things just happening to the player, and the player needing to react to them in one of a handful of heavily-scripted ways. Even if the player character is making important decisions, it's rarely ever the result of the player's decisions or actions.

Unfortunately, the very linear nature of the game's design means that all the "puzzles" using a tricorder mostly comes down to pixel-hunting for the one or 2 things that the developers want you to scan, scanning them, and then moving onto a cutscene in which the player character explains the results of the scan. There's not much room here for the player to have to figure things out for ourselves. The player is never the one coming up with the solution to a problem. At best, we're selecting from 2 or 3 optional solutions proposed by supporting characters. The player never gets to make deductive leaps that move the story forward. Even if you think you know the answer to a particular problem, you still have to sit and wait for the characters to come up with that answer on their own.

Even then, the game never seems to trust the player enough to even pick the right answer to a particular problem. The solution is usually given and explained in a non-interactive dialogue sequence, and the player simply gets to make a less-consequential decision on how to implement that solution. So I was disappointed that Resurgence never gave me the opportunity to feel like a clever Starfleet officer having a "eureka!" moment. The character gets to have the eureka independent of me or my choices, and my decisions feel more superficial.

I rarely (if ever) felt like my choices were driving the plot.

There are some decisions that the player can make that have significant ripple consequences throughout the rest of the game. Most have to do with how you treat other characters. To Resurgence's credit, there are quite a few alternate scenes that are based on the player's choices. Sometimes, it's as simple as an exchange of dialogue being different. Other times, it can lead to a whole different conversation (possibly between different characters and in different locations), or an extra little gameplay setpiece that I didn't see when I made the alternate choice. Granted, most of these changes are still usually minor or superficial, but it does go a little above and beyond what other games of this kind usually do, which is to simply change the immediate response to the player's choice, and then move on as if there was no choice to begin with.

For example of both the best and worst of what I'm talking about, one of the biggest decisions in the game involves having to chose between saving a group of aliens in danger, including a high-ranking official, or you can protect a crew-mate (and potential friend). If you save the crew-mate, all of the aliens die. If you prioritize saving the aliens, then the crew-mate suffers a permanently-disfiguring injury, and may resent you for the rest of the game. This leads to a cosmetic difference in the crew-mate's appearance, and some minor alternate scenes if the crew-mate is injured. But regardless of which choice you make, the aliens you may or may not have saved are never mentioned again. This is despite the fact that the high-ranking official could have been a very important advisor (or potential antagonist) in future scenes.

While the player isn't given much control over the plot, we do have a fair amount of control over the story. Several characters' archs do depend on player decisions, as does some of the overall tone of the story itself. The player can play the character's more or less idealistically, or you can play like a cynical, career-minded hard-ass. Regardless, the actual plot is almost entirely outside of the player's hands. Again, I don't want to hold this against the developers too much because it's not really realistic to expect a small studio making their first game to be able to successfully realize a more ambitious narrative approach. But if this game does well, and they get more money, more time, and additional talented writers and programmers, then maybe a sequel could feature a more ambitious and branching plot?

A game for us old-school Trekkies

Aside from the glaring technical issues, the production quality of Resurgence is very on and off. Animation and motion capture is rough, and characters frequently have robotic-looking walk animations, especially when it comes to their stiff arms. Facial animations can be similarly stiff, and character expressions lack any subtlety. These sorts of things are mostly to be expected from an independent studio making their first game. Again, this isn't Telltale or Supermassive Games we're talking about.

The vocal performances and characters are one of Resurgence's relative strengths..

The voice acting, however, is much more respectable. Some of the dialogue is awkward is repetitive, but this owes largely to the need to edit different scenes together based on player decisions. The actor playing Spock, Piotr Michael, does an admirable job of replicating Leonard Nimoy's voice and cadence, but he's noticeably not Leonard Nimoy. I also think that the voice actor for Tylas, Amanda Céline Miller, is a strong stand-out, and Tylas was probably my favorite character in the entire game.

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of diversity in the cast, especially considering the recurring motif of the Federation's diversity being one of its strengths. I'm not just talking about too many characters being white men (because the cast actually is diverse in that regard); rather, I felt there wasn't as much diversity in alien species. Yes, the main character is an alien, and has a medical condition analogous to space-diabetes, and requires regular medical infusions to keep her alive. But other than that, we have a Bolian on the bridge, a Vulcan chief engineer, and an un-joined Trill technician. The helmsman is also Bajoran, but he has hardly any screen time. And there's also a random crewman with purple skin seen in a hallway.

They're all recognizeable Star Trek species, but they're also mostly just variations of "human with a small prosthetic on their face" or some body paint. Being a video game, rather than a weekly, syndicated TV show being produced on tight schedules and a limited budget, Resurgence has a lot more creative liberty to feature more exotic alien species. I've long wanted to see a Horta depicted in Starfleet. We could have also seen a Gorn, or a Tholian, a Caitian, an Edosian, Aurelian, or a Tamarian, or maybe even a Gallamite. Or heck, maybe even a Jem'Hadar? There's not even a Klingon or Ferengi.

I would like to have seen more exotic alien species depicted.

Whatever. This is a minor nitpick.

As a piece of Star Trek media, I like Star Trek: Resurgence a lot, and I think a lot of other old-school Trekkies like myself will like it too. But as a game, it has a lot of problems. Most of those problems are technical, so there's a possibility that they will be ironed-out by post-release patches, but there's no guarantee of that. Resurgence is one of -- if not the -- most "Star Trek" game I've ever played (even if it's not necessarily my favorite). So I whole-heartedly recommend it to like-minded Trekkies looking for a good new Star Trek story, or to anyone who just really digs these Telltale-style narrative games. For those who aren't that into Trek, or who want more "game", I don't think you're going to find a lot to like here.

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