Capsule Review: Star Trek: Resurgence

A narrative adventure set in the Star Trek universe with compelling characters and decisions to make along with some flaws in story and gameplay.

Created by veterans of Telltale Games, Resurgence applies the interactive storytelling formula to the Star Trek universe. The most important gameplay is making dialog choices, though there are also walking-around-and-investigating, shuttle-piloting, cover-based shooting, and stealth segments plus QTEs and a few different minigames. The story takes place about a year after Star Trek: Nemesis and has you alternately control two officers on the USS Resolute: Jara Rydek, the new first officer, and Carter Diaz, a junior engineer. The plot has the Resolute sent on a diplomatic mission that ends up being much more complicated than it initially appears.

I am supremely biased and this game succeeded in making me feel like a Starfleet officer, so I’m willing to forgive a lot. But if I’m being honest, both gameplay and story had some flaws and a non-biased rating here probably caps out at three stars. (The game also apparently launched with serious technical/performance problems; I played the PS4 version on a PS5 after the first major bugfix patch and ran into only minor glitches and a single softlock that forced me to restart a chapter.)

Starting with the gameplay: The dialog choices are on a time limit, though thankfully you can pause the game in the middle of a choice if you want to take more time to think about it, though while paused the options aren’t visible. Also, the options do the thing where they only show you a short summary instead of the actual words you’d be saying, and this occasionally misled me but didn’t cause any major frustration.

The QTEs were fine; I found they enhanced the tension and the immersion without being too disruptive. I think the only ones I failed were intended to be impossible for story reasons. I also enjoyed most of the minigames, but there were a couple where I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing and just fumbled around until I succeeded, which took me out of the story. The combat and stealth segments were terrible; the engine just doesn’t provide a good experience for either kind of gameplay and they were sufficiently awkward and frustrating that they always took me out of the game rather than enhancing the immersion. They’re pass/fail anyway, so I’d argue they should have been implemented via QTEs instead (with maybe an option to just make them straight-up cutscenes).

As for the story, which is the main attraction in a game like this: the foundation is excellent, especially for Star Trek fans. You get to know several of the Resolute’s crew members and they’re an intriguing and mostly-likable bunch who could clearly support an ongoing series, and the state they’re in after their previous mission (as depicted in the prequel comic) creates a lot of opportunity for drama and interesting choices for the player to make. Characters have plausible relationships and differing perspectives, making them feel like people with depth who are worth interacting with and paying attention to. (Perhaps the most intriguing backstory is actually that of the other junior engineer Nili, who shows a viewpoint on Trill culture we’ve never seen in canon but which makes perfect sense in context and which has real-feeling ramifications for her arc during the game.) There’s also a feedback system that tells you how the supporting characters feel about your decisions which adds some extra depth, though there are a few points where it seems clear that a character is reacting in an unrealistic and over-the-top way in order to create drama.


The early events of the game also set up two themes that provide tension for many early choices: first, whether a first officer’s duty is to their captain or to their crew, and second, the Federation’s responsibility around (and occasional complicity in) colonialism affecting other cultures. Soon, though, plot twists completely derail both of these themes and replace them with a conflict with greater scope and stakes but far less nuance. This, plus the fact that for various reasons a number of characters whose relationships you may have been developing and following with great interest can suddenly become unavailable at various points in the game can make several of the plot- and character-arcs feel like they end suddenly and without closure. Add in the fact that several significant questions (including the ultimate fates of multiple major characters) go completely unresolved and I found the ending unsatisfying.


Overall, while the game certainly has some flaws I had a good time with it and I’m very happy it exists. I’d love to see more Trek games like this (the format is a great fit for what’s special about Trek) and will keep an eye on Dramatic Labs. The low point was the kludged-in “traditional gameplay” combat/stealth sequences; the high points were the character/relationship work, the interesting choices, and the lovingly-built backdrop of the Trek universe.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished a complete playthrough. I didn’t go back to see the outcomes of other choices because I liked the versions of the characters that I’d created and wasn’t interested in undermining them.

Docprof's Rating:

Four Stars: Great. Not only did I finish the game, I probably played through the whole thing again and/or completed any optional objectives. It's an easy recommendation for any genre fan.

You can get it or learn more here.