But “Star Trek: Resurgence,” just released from developer Dramatic Labs and publisher Bruner House, hews more closely to the spirit of classic “Trek,” more focused on exploring strange new worlds and new civilizations than blasting them to smithereens with a photon torpedo. In so doing, it proves a welcome addition to the broader universe—even if its narrative choices are more compelling than their actual gameplay.
If you’re familiar with the choose-your-own-adventure flavor of Telltale Games, you’ll feel right at home in the narrative-focused gameplay of “Resurgence.” (Dramatic Labs is made up of 20+ former Telltale artists and producers.) Set just a few years after “Star Trek: Nemesis,” the last TNG movie, the game eschews the relative familiarity of the Enterprise for a smaller ship, the Centaur-class science vessel Resolute. It’s not the Federation flagship, nor is it particularly beautiful to look at (diehards will recognize the design as a “kitbash,” where modelmakers would glue together bits of existing models for random ships in the background of ‘90s Trek). But that’s the point: You and the Resolute crew are regular, everyday joes, doing the grunt work of Starfleet while Picard and co. get all the attention.
Like the A/B-plot structure of many a classic “Trek” adventure before it, “Resurgence” flits between the perspectives of two different crewmembers. There’s Commander Jara Rydek (Krizia Bajos), the new first officer of the Resolute; the ship’s previous officer, along with several other crew members, was recently killed in an accident, and the captain (her former Academy mentor) is counting on her to help him weather the new scrutiny to his command. In the trenches, we also follow Petty Officer Carter Diaz (Josh Keaton), a happy-go-lucky enlisted engineer more focused on a potential romance with a fellow crewman than the big decisions of the brass.
Together, they and the Resolute crew embark on a dangerous diplomatic mission that wouldn’t be out of place in an old episode of “The Next Generation.” There are two warring factions with centuries of animosity between them, and it’s your job to mediate the dispute before it explodes into all-out war.
In classic Telltale fashion, the game itself plays out largely like an interactive movie, with a heavy emphasis on dialogue and relationship-building. As either Rydek or Diaz, you’ll talk to crewmembers and alien guests alike to mediate conflicts, come to decisions, or exert your will on your subordinates. As Rydek, the weight of command lies heavily on you: Will you force a crewmember to risk their life to save several others? Which of your second officers will you lean on for support during a difficult test? Do you safeguard the reputation of your captain or make an unpopular decision that may protect the crew from danger?