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Star Trek: Resurgence Review

Totally Trek, with all the telltale signs

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Telltale Games have adapted many big franchises over the years, except for one that seems perfect for an interactive story with their style. Star Trek is the ideal candidate because it revolves around ethics, diplomacy, and logic. It raises thought-provoking questions and has characters making tough decisions, which is brilliant for a dialogue-driven adventure where choices “matter.” But while the resurrected Telltale Games sink their teeth into Bigby Wolf’s long-awaited sequel, the developers at Dramatic Labs have stepped up to create something in the Star Trek universe with similar DNA. Star Trek: Resurgence is not episodic and has more traditional gameplay than the usual Telltale offering, but its similarities are otherwise uncanny. The game is mostly a talking simulator, with quick-time events and minor choices. While not faultless or genre-defining, it demonstrates that Star Trek has plenty to offer this type of experience.

Star Trek: Resurgence

Resurgence has players assuming the role of two protagonists, from both ends of the Starfleet command hierarchy. The highest ranking protagonist is Jara Rydek, the new first officer on the U.S.S. Resolute, a Federation Starship built for science research. She is filling the XO role after her predecessor died during an experimental warp-core test. She must tread a fine line between following a Captain, who wants to salvage his flailing career, and doing what is right for the mission and crew. She’s in a position to make critical decisions, and needs the crew’s support, but to them she is unproven.

Carter Diaz is the other protagonist, and he is a low-ranking engineer who has been serving on the Resolute for a while. He’s under the command of a Vulcan who is not built to give compliments. Carter works in the trenches and fixes things, so he does not have to make decisions on behalf of the ship or Federation. But, he is often in the thick of action, being part of away missions or saving the ship from certain destruction.

Both protagonists are extremely likable and would be a good fit for any Star Trek TV series or movie. Jara is strong and determined, but able to act empathetically. She is also a Kobliad, which means she needs regular life-saving infusions, although this only gives her time to chat to the medical officer about the Captain’s behavior. Carter is plucky, able to see the positive in situations and keen to follow orders. He also has an awesome engineering partner, Nili, who follows him just about everywhere. Both leads have decent character arcs, and there is great satisfaction with how the narrative unfolds, particularly with Jara. While they work towards the same goal in leapfrog fashion, the two rarely directly converse, which is a missed opportunity.

Star Trek: Resurgence

The Resolute’s initial objective is to help negotiate peace between two species that have found themselves at loggerheads. The Hotari and Alydians were once cooperating to extract valuable crystals from mines, but several Hotari started an uprising. With the help of the Federation’s iconic ambassador, Spock, Jara and the top brass try their best to encourage cooperation. But it becomes clear rather quickly that the two are not interested in going back to how things were. Even worse, the Resolute is being targeted by a covert dampening field that prevents them from leaving, and the source is neither Hotari nor Alydian.

A mysterious third species is acting behind the scenes for their own nefarious reasons. They can mind-control others, allowing them to usurp high-ranking positions and act without resistance. This background species is technologically superior and it takes some investigative work to discover who they are and what they want. After that, the Resolute will travel to a quarantined system and meet a god-like being in an effort to stop them. The narrative setup is excellent and similar to many Star Trek episodes, starting with something important but relatively innocuous and then moving onto an unexpected space adventure with galactic repercussions.

Resurgence is primarily a talking simulator and the setup is similar to Telltale’s games. Three dialogue choices pop up regularly, giving players a generous timer to respond. You can speak empathetically, logically, aggressively, defiantly, diplomatically, inquisitively or anywhere in between. Some responses affect the immediate conversation while others feed into later chats. While jokes are rare and the game plays it too seriously, the dialogue is usually interesting and succinct. Through all this talking, you build rapport with others. It is hard to stay friends with everybody when they have different opinions. Do you speak on behalf of an alien species or follow the advice from a tactical officer? Should you warn the Federation or abide by the Captain’s request for secrecy? The dialogue raises many thought-provoking scenarios, perfectly suited to the franchise and the genre.

Star Trek: Resurgence

Choice and consequence plays a small but important role across the ten-hour adventure. Since the narrative is linear, the choices are often superficial. You can decide to act heroically which leaves your character with a scar. Sending a team to investigate a threat will result in some extra dialogue. And depending on how you interact with that powerful being, it might assist during the 11th hour. While it usually provides a good illusion of choice, the game could have implemented more shockingly bad decisions that ended in disaster. The best story changes involve Jara and her bridge crew. She can put her trust into one, and this affects what happens to the others: one might resign and another could become hostile. This feels significant because of their personalities, even though it is a basic character swap.

Although you primarily chat and make decisions, there are significant gameplay elements. The genre-typical quick-time events are here, but they are not hard and only annoying when they abruptly appear. Like in Telltale’s games, it interrupts a long cutscene to let you press a single button to make sure you’re still awake. When you do take control of Carter or Jara, you will move them around small environments in third-person mode and can investigate points of interest. This is also when you might use the iconic tricorder to x-ray objects and find hidden items, and it works well enough to have been used more. There are stealth sequences where you crouch behind obstacles and crawl between loose patrols, but it is fairly rudimentary and rare. Interestingly, you can freely pilot a shuttle a few times to navigate through asteroid fields, and this is almost fun.

Star Trek: Resurgence

There is workmanlike combat too, where you take cover and pop-up to fire the phaser. These sequences usually allow players to switch cover positions and target explosive barrels. Some enemies are priority targets that will damage allies who are performing a task, and the player can only take three hits before they have to restart the sequence. The action is not great compared to a modern third-person shooter, and it often goes longer than it should, but these small pieces of combat are typically better than having another chain of QTEs.

Resurgence looks a bit dated visually, although it has some appealing qualities. It is quite colorful and sharp, with good space backdrops. It switches between scenes quickly, to make it easy to keep playing. Character faces and lip-syncing animations are not bad. Voice work is probably the standout best feature here, with great performances by Krizia Bajos (Jara Rydek), Mark Rolston (Portal 63), and Stephanie Sheh (Nili Edsilar). Full-body animations are less convincing, with stiff movements that might remind players of Telltale’s previous works, and unfortunately there were some framerate drops.

Star Trek: Resurgence

Dramatic Labs have boldly gone where Telltale Games have not gone before to create a fun interactive adventure for an iconic franchise. Thanks to a captivating story and good characters, Resurgence feels like a long episode of Star Trek, with thought-provoking moments and galactic consequences (albeit with mostly superficial choices). Whether you want to be a senior member of staff or a lowly engineer, you will experience the highs and lows of serving on a Federation starship. The gameplay is not a case of setting phasers to fun, but there are some okay interactions. Star Trek: Resurgence is not the best Star Trek game, nor is it the best interactive-story, but it is an engaging combination nonetheless.

Our ratings for Star Trek: Resurgence on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Colorful and sharp, with decent faces and lip-syncing. Voice work is good. Some animations and other presentation qualities leave a bit to be desired.
Some choices do alter future scenes, but more were needed. QTEs are usually boring and the shooting is only tolerable. The tricorder and shuttle should have featured more.
Single Player
The story feels exactly like a Star Trek episode, with some interesting characters and decent dialogue. Progression for characters is also quite good, with satisfying outcomes
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
PC Specs

It has a few bad framerate drops, but it does switch between scenes and characters quickly.
Star Trek: Resurgence has an interesting story with thought-provoking scenarios and two good protagonists. While it makes adequate use of the interactive-story genre, there was room to improve the choices and gameplay.
Star Trek: Resurgence
Star Trek: Resurgence box art Platform:
Our Review of Star Trek: Resurgence
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Star Trek: Resurgence is ranked #1136 out of 1911 total reviewed games. It is ranked #33 out of 72 games reviewed in 2023.
1135. Afterimage
PlayStation 5
1136. Star Trek: Resurgence
1137. Final Days
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Star Trek: Resurgence
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