Star Trek: The Game 3D Mode Review – An Effect Best Left Off


I started playing Star Trek: The Game this week, because I honestly wanted to see the progress that the development team made since I first saw it in action at E3 2012. I’m a natural born Star Wars fan, but I’m not afraid to admit that I also appreciate the Star Trek franchise, especially J.J. Abrams’ take on it.

First off, this is not a review of the game itself. It’s purely meant to be my opinion of the 3D feature that is included in Star Trek: The Game. I’d also like to make it clear that I’m a fan of the 3D effect in general and have played many games in the third dimension, as well as watched many movies that sport the effect. Now that the stage has been set let’s get to the review of Star Trek: The Game’s 3D visuals.

Star Trek: The Game doesn’t sport the high caliber visuals that you’ve come to expect in a 2013 video game, and this issue is made glaringly worse when the 3D effect is turned on. Almost every game I’ve played that has a 3D mode takes a resolution hit when it’s enabled, but the hit that Star Trek takes to its overall clarity is jarring. I’m talking Aliens: Colonial Marines type of bad. This game loses any sort of sharpness in its textures and backgrounds when 3D is turned on. The character models look blocky around the edges, and the level environments are littered with jagged outlines when they should be smooth surfaces.

Like I mentioned earlier I expect to see a resolution hit when I enable a video game’s 3D mode, but what’s not acceptable is when the feature results in a degraded frame rate. This is unfortunately the case in Star Trek: The Game. With 3D visuals enabled this game flutters and screen tears with every quick movement. Considering that Star Trek is a third person shooter, there’s plenty of twitchy moments, so I was constantly treated to frame rate skips while playing in 3D. It got bad enough that I turned 3D off to verify if the issue occurred in standard mode, and it didn’t, so that’s further proof of how poor this feature makes the already average visuals in Star Trek look.

When I evaluate 3D games I pay close attention to the resolution, the frame rate, and finally how well the effect worked at providing a deeper sense of visual depth. Star Trek: The Game struck out in my first two categories of evaluation, and it doesn’t do much better in the last. I didn’t truly experience a feeling of seeing this game world in 3D. The effect never invoked the notion of added depth to the gun battles, and action scenes in general felt like blurrier versions of the standard 2D visuals.

Third person games set up well for the 3D effect, but Star Trek does not

After about 30 minutes the 3D effect began to make my eyes and brain feel funny, which I blame on the reticule in the middle of the screen that caused a cross-eye effect. I pride myself on my ability to fry my brain and eyeballs with 3D visuals, but Star Trek: The Game proved too much to handle for my seasoned 3D viewing organs. I didn’t get nauseous and start projectile vomiting all over my game cave, but my eyes did feel unusually strained, and my vision did get a little blurry after long sessions of playing in 3D.

I’m a big fan of 3D and hope that the gimmick remains an option in video games and movies, but I can’t get behind Star Trek: The Game’s use of the effect. It made an already weak looking game seem worse, and I became physically uncomfortable by it. The steep hits in resolution and frame rate are just too egregious to recommend turning the 3D mode on. This is a shame because I think J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek universe is a great candidate for the effect, but there’s just too many downsides to using it in Star Trek: The Game. I have to give the feature a paltry 4 out of 10 Buddhas, and I definitely recommend playing this game in 2D. You’ve been informed about the merits of Star Trek: The Game’s 3D mode…

Star Trek: The Game 3D Mode Review

4 out of 10 Buddhas

(Xbox 360 version tested)

The Awesome

  • Turning it off

The Not so Awesome

  • Poor resolution
  • Frame rate tears
  • Makes you feel cross-eyed
  • Doesn’t really provide a sense of depth


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Tags : 3D GamesGame ReviewStar Trek Game
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.