Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Finally Played Multiplayer Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 15, 2017

I haven’t played Star Trek: Bridge Crew in over a week. With all the Fyrecon stuff and the late work nights, I just didn’t have time to devote to flying a mission. My minimal skills degraded, and I forgot a few things.

So naturally, I wanted to dive into the deep end and play multiplayer.

In spite of two n00bs, and one guy who sounded drunk, the mission was a resounding success. The player acting as captain had been playing a lot of the game over the last couple of weeks, and knew what he was doing. We actually managed to avoid combat entirely through stealth, which caused him to apologize to the player at tactical at the end of the mission.

I was at the helm, and it was pretty rough at first, because #1 – I’d only run the helm during the the tutorial and to try and save the mission from the AI helmsman’s terrible piloting, and #2 – I hadn’t played the game in a week and I’d forgotten some basic things like… you know… how to go to warp. Oops.

Fortunately, the game is designed so that your tasks are pretty straightforward. Doing your job isn’t hard. Doing it efficiently and well is a bigger challenge. And coordinating with three other players, in virtual reality, is where things really get interesting. Trying to keep your detection signature low while evading enemy ships is more of a challenge when the engineer suddenly gives your engines full power, and your quiet crawling pace at full speed suddenly shoots up… as does your “noise.”

Really, the multiplayer and the roles are exactly as I anticipated. It’s fun… some of the most fun I’ve had in a Virtual Reality game so far. ¬†It’s a little funny how you have all this fancy Virtual Reality environment around you, and you spend most of your time staring at a control console. ¬†However, VR gives your team a presence that’s pretty amazing. The other players seem to be in the room with you. I could turn around and see the captain in his chair. That’s where his voice appeared to be emanating. Joining the group in the ready room, I could turn to the person I am talking to and wave. I could point out something on the viewscreen.

I’ve never been a fan of force feedback. It always seemed artificial to me. But in VR, when my controls shuddered in my hands as the ship around me took damage from weird environmental effects, it seemed much more natural. It’s the difference between “here’s what’s happening on a screen” versus “here’s what’s happening to me.”

The teamwork requirement feels spot-on. The developers were worried that the Captain’s role would be superfluous, and took steps to address it. I think they nailed it. There’s definitely something to be said for the individual stations to anticipate orders and take initiative. But overall, someone in the Captain’s chair coordinating things, and having a by-design better picture of everything going on, really makes a huge difference. It’s very fun how everyone quickly settles into the roles.

So… I have plenty to look forward to. I can’t judge the game based on a single multiplayer experience, but my impressions so far remain very positive. I’d say Star Trek: Bridge Crew is one of the first “must play” games for VR.

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