Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Star Trek: Bridge Crew Game Poster Image
Authentic starship simulation in VR promotes teamwork.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Themes of duty, courage, sacrifice for others. Promotes cooperation, teamwork with other players.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Federation, its people are a force for good, exploring galaxy while assisting those in trouble. Bridge crew are noble, calm in face of danger. Player's character -- whose gender, skin color can be customized -- is set up to do right thing in most situations, though player is forced to make some tough decisions about whether to risk crew's lives to save others.  

Ease of Play

Complex simulation-style play with no option to change difficulty, but intuitive VR controls, lengthy tutorial do a good job helping players get settled in.

Violence

Ships explode in space as radio transmissions report crew deaths. Onscreen deaths are rare, with bridge crew members shown falling to ground.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Trek: Bridge Crew is an immersive virtual reality game that simulates various roles on the command deck of a starship. Within these roles, players can work alone or in teams of four, applying cooperation and teamwork as they try to help ships in distress and fend off attacks by aggressive Klingons. The Federation is a force for good in the galaxy, with starships sent on missions to aid, protect, research, and explore. Combat is generally a last resort, but when it happens, people often die. The bulk of casualties occur off-screen with reports of deaths coming over radio transmissions, but players may also witness occasional bridge panel explosions that can injure or kill crew members. Some situations force players to make hard decisions, such as whether to try to rescue people in a disabled ship or allow the doomed vessel to serve as a distraction to aid in their own escape.

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What's it about?

Players finally get a chance to sit in the captain's chair in STAR TREK: BRIDGE CREW. Or the helmsman's seat. Or the tactical officer's. Or the engineer's. Up to four people can play together in this immersive virtual reality simulation of life on the command deck of a starship, each sitting at their favorite bridge station. All four positions come with their own custom computer interfaces and series of responsibilities. The player at the helm controls the ships movement and warp jumps while the tactical officer looks after scanning and combat and the engineer tends to the ship's power supplies and repairs. The captain, meanwhile, monitors everything, issuing orders to individual crew or the entire ship. When playing alone, players can jump between positions at will. A brief campaign that involves several rescue missions and showdowns with the Klingons allows players to learn the ins and outs of each position before jumping into randomized online battles, which is where most players are bound to spend the bulk of their time. Note that this game supports cross-platform play between PlayStation 4's PlayStation VR and PCs with either HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.

Is it any good?

Virtual reality isn't a perfect fit for all genres, but it tends to excel in space simulations where the main characters remain seated in front of panels and controls. Star Trek: Bridge Crew is exactly that sort of game, and it can be a ton of fun -- under the right circumstances. There's no denying that its simulation of life aboard the command deck of a starship is both empowering and thrilling. Whether you're playing cat and mouse with a Bird of Prey warship or racing against time to search life pods and transport survivors before a dangerous space anomaly forces you to abandon your efforts, this game captures the tension and courage everyone has seen in the TV shows and movies. And being able to naturally look around the deck -- even wave at other players with your hand -- in virtual reality is enough to fool your mind into believing you're really on the bridge of a Federation ship.

That said, there are a couple of catches. First, this is a game for Star Trek fans. If you don't have at least a passing interest in Gene Roddenberry's universe -- and a love for simulation-style games -- you're likely to wind up some combination of lost and disinterested in the level of detail that's been put into each crew member's role. Second, while the solo campaign and randomized "ongoing missions" are fun, if you want to get the most out of online play, it really helps if you play with friends rather than strangers -- which will likely be hard to set up, since everyone will need their own VR kit and copy of the game. Suffice to say the requirements for an ideal experience online won't be met by many. But if you enjoy playing solo -- or you're lucky enough to have a bunch of Star Trek loving friends with VR rigs of their own -- Star Trek: Bridge Crew is one of the best and most authentic Star Trek games yet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in the media. Hundreds of people die in Star Trek: Bridge Crew's space combat sequences, but only a handful of injuries/deaths are shown onscreen, so do off-screen deaths have the same impact as those you can see? Why or why not?

  • Talk about Star Trek's outlook. Do you think Star Trek, in its many incarnations, depicts a positive or negative view of the future? Is there anything from Star Trek's philosophy that can be applied to our world?

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