Star Trek is one of the most influential, most successful, and most beloved franchises of all time.
As we all know, there have been multiple TV series, with another on the way. There have been 13 movies in all, with Star Trek Beyond currently raking in millions of dollars around the world. Head into a bookshop and you’ll find a healthy selection of novels set in the worlds of Kirk, Picard, etc.
And, of course, Star Trek has inspired more than a few video games in the past 30 years.
The concept itself is ideal for games: a crew boldly going where no man has gone before, discovering strange new worlds, new civilisations … well, you get the idea. With such diversity at its core, Star Trek games have crossed numerous genres over the decades, including in-depth space-combat simulations and first-person blasters.
Sadly, not every game set in the Star Trek universe has been as impressive as Kirk’s pub car-park brand of fighting or Riker’s luscious beard. While there have been some great ones, there are also several others you (and your wallet) should avoid.
To help you stay on the good side of the Star Trek gaming world, we’ve compiled a handy list of the 5 best releases …
Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Final Unity
Ah, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Picard. Riker. Worf. Data. Troi. Crusher (both Beverly and Wesley). La Forge. Q. What a great cast of characters. What a great series.
So, have you ever wanted to step onto the Enterprise-D and indulge in a spot of space-exploration with the crew? Well, A Final Unity makes it so!
This game captures the spirit of Star Trek: The Next Generation with impressive accuracy. Featuring the voice talents of the full cast, impressive graphics, and in-depth gameplay, A Final Unity is pretty much everything fans of the series could possibly want.
Players are tasked with ending a war between two classes of an alien society, and there’s plenty to see and do along the way. Plus, few things are as satisfying as being able to actually make Picard say “engage”.
Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force
Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force is a kick-ass FPS fans and non-fans alike could enjoy.
The game tosses the crew of the Voyager into a mysterious graveyard for starships, and tasks the Hazard Team with fighting their way out. The story’s well-told, the voice acting is spot-on, and the action is as exciting as watching a Klingon take on a Gorn while Kirk drunkenly heckles them both.
Elite Force opens aboard a Borg cube (surely one of the scariest places ever), and captures all the unsettling atmospherics you’d expect. This is a great way to start any Trek game, and the Borg’s sound effects and swiping laser-sights are brilliantly done. The inclusion of the series’ title sequence helps to make this feel like an interactive episode, icing this irresistible little cake perfectly.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Fallen
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a welcome break from the standard formula of other Trek series: rather than having a crew explore space, hopping from one world to another, DS9 centred on the crew of the titular station. One might think this could limit the potential of a game adaptation, but The Fallen is actually a fantastic tie-in with plenty to enjoy.
First and foremost, you actually get to play as one of three different characters (Captain Sisko, Major Kira, or the mighty Worf), which effectively makes this a three-in-one deal. The graphics might be weirdly angular at times and a little untextured now, but they capture the look and feel of the series nicely.
The third-person adventuring and combat is fun, atmospheric, and really makes you feel like you’ve stepped into the show. The Fallen is definitely one to track down.
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
Now this really is a beautiful thing.
This was released in 1992 to mark the Original Series’ quarter-century birthday (as you might have guessed from the title), and captures the series’ charm brilliantly. Players get to control the Enterprise and crew across multiple adventures, blending conversations, exploration, and combat into one gorgeous experience.
Everything about 25th Anniversary feels spot-on: the voice acting; the visuals; the dialogue; the sound effects; the music. This was clearly put together to give fans the closest thing possible to actually being in the series itself.
A sequel, Judgement Rites, was released in 1993, expanding on the same successful formula.
Star Trek: Bridge Commander
This 2002 game puts players in control of their own ship, the USS Dauntless, following the death of its captain. You eventually upgrade, though, as the gripping story deepens.
There’s lots to love in Bridge Commander. One of the best features is the way in which other characters appear throughout the game, including Picard (with Sir Patrick Stewart’s silky voice, of course), helping to embed this firmly in the universe despite the presence of original characters. On top of this, space combat has rarely been as well-done in Star Trek video games – ships move, fire, and handle exactly as they should.
Bridge Commander really makes you feel as if you have your own ship at your disposal, and is absolutely one of the most authentic, deepest, and exciting Star Trek games out there.
So, that’s our five best Star Trek games. It’s time to bring this away mission to an end: scoop-up what’s left of your redshirts, grab your phasers, and beam back aboard!
What’s your favourite Star Trek game? Let us know!