At this point, virtual reality is still more of a tech demo than an actual gaming platform. There are a ton of great ideas out there, no one's arguing that - but most of the apps available now aren't much more than ideas.
While it's hard to tell if the full game will fall into one category or the other, there's no denying that Star Trek: Bridge Crew fulfills one of the principle concepts of virtual reality: transporting users into an immersive life-like situation that would otherwise be impossible. Sure, the bridge of a starship might not be all that realistic, but it's hard to argue that Ubisoft's upcoming VR simulator is anything but immersive.
As far as the game itself goes, Bridge Crew is about as straightforward as you can get. Players take on the various roles of a Federation starship crew: Engineering, Tactics, Navigation and the Captain. Normally, this sort of control would have to be mapped to a single controller or screen - but, with an Oculus Rift, individual players can take on specific roles in a more cooperative setting.
Unfortunately, the Oculus Rift - otherwise known as the game's biggest selling point - could also be the very thing that keeps the game from being successful.
Considering that each of the stations must be manned (Ubisoft made no mention of any modes with fewer than four players), that means that each player needs an Oculus headset. Not only that, but you'll need four computer setups and four pairs of the Oculus Touch controllers. For those of you keeping track at home, that's a few thousand dollars worth of hardware, and that's just to get the game up and running. Needless to say, that sort of capital isn't something that the average consumer would have lying around.
Plus, there's the question of whether or not the concept will have any legs. To be fair, Bridge Crew has more going for it than other VR game on the market today, but it's hard to tell if it'll end up being anything more than a tech demo come release day. With only a single trailer to go on, Ubisoft is going to have to give gamers more than just promises if the studio wants the game to be successful.
Possible hang-ups aside, Star Trek: Bridge Crew looks like the sort of blissful nerdiness that only the most hardcore of games can provide. It's the kind of experience that Star Trek fans have been dreaming of for years - now, Ubisoft just has to make sure the game is worth playing come launch.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew is due out sometime later this year.
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