The surprising former VR-exclusive Star Trek Bridge Crew has received a new DLC addon that adds The Next Generation content. How does it play?
Perhaps it’s not the first name that comes to mind when you think of VR specialists, but Ubisoft has been responsible for some groundbreaking VR titles already. They came out with the hands-free flying experience that is Eagle Flight, reinvented board/card games with Werewolves Within and applied voice-driven multiplayer mechanics to Star Trek Bridge Crew. The recently released The Next Generation DLC content doesn’t revolutionize Bridge Crew, but it does give players more of the gameplay they enjoy as well as some content they were missing.
While the original game allowed you to either play with a modernized version of the bridge or the classic bridge from the original TV series, the look and feel of the “Next Generation” series was missing. The TV series that was so popular back in the late eighties and early nineties, with Patrick Stewart in Brent Spiner in iconic roles, was always a fan favorite. Now, players can engage with the bridge from that generation themselves, with several added bonuses that come with that.
Not only has the bridge been wonderfully recreated, the Next Generation expansion also adds new enemies to the mix – including the Romulans and the Borg, arguably the two most famous enemy races next to the Klingons who were in the base game already. Their associated missions play out differently as well, thanks to the unique abilities they bring to the table. The Romulans have the ability to cripple certain systems of your ship, which makes for more dynamic tactical encounters. In Bridge Crew this system-specific targeting was already yours to command, so it’s good to see that the tables can be turned this time around.
The Borg wouldn’t be the Borg without their gigantic cubes floating around in space, and these make for even more challenging battle scenarios in The Next Generation. The scenarios play out much like the original ones in terms of gameplay dynamics, with the exception of the engineering role – which has been replaced with “ops”. When in charge of ops, you now no longer just control the power to the different ship system, but you’ll also have to manage a crew of drones as they perform repair duties all over the ship. It makes the position feel more involved than before and gives you more work to do independently, whereas before it was mostly a role where you waited for simple orders from the captain.
Aside from the new additions, there is also still the option to play cross-platform with PC owners of the game. I believe Ubisoft has also recently dropped the VR-exclusivity aspect of the game, which could further increase the player base. Having said that, I’d imagine that the game loses some of its flair without the use of VR and motion controls – so I’ll happily stick to my PSVR experience for this one. Star Trek Bridge Crew – The Next Generation is a great addition for existing players who were looking to scratch that Romulan/Borg itch. For newcomers, it makes for a richer and more diverse experience – although you might want to wait for the next sale on the base game (and/or expansion).