Star Trek games, much like the many other facets of the Star Trek franchise, tend to be either very good or very poor, without much of a gray area in between. Star Trek: Shattered Universe, the latest game to bear the Trek name, regrettably falls toward the poorer branch of the Trek universe. Brought to you by TDK Mediactive and developer Starsphere Interactive, Shattered Universe is essentially a lazily designed space shooter that takes place inside an alternate universe depicted in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series called "Mirror, Mirror." In this universe, everything is backward--the Federation is now an evil empire, former foes are now your allies, and everybody either has a scar, a goatee, or something similar to clearly indicate that you are most definitely in some sort of bizarro universe. This concept itself obviously isn't a terribly original one, and Shattered Universe's gameplay mechanics are equally pedestrian in design, hopelessly trying to mirror bigger, better space combat games.
Star Trek: Shattered Universe is about the most boring and unimaginative space combat game you'll ever find.
There isn't a whole lot to Shattered Universe's plot beyond an extremely basic setup. Essentially, you play as a nameless member of the crew of the U.S.S. Excelsior, commanded by George Takei's Captain Sulu. At the beginning of the game, the Excelsior is called to aid the U.S.S. Enterprise, which has become trapped in some sort of space anomaly (and also happens to be captained by Walter Koenig's Commander Chekov). Upon its arrival, the Excelsior is pulled into the anomaly and is spit out into an unfamiliar universe. A battle with an alternate version of the Enterprise--captained by a now-evil Chekov--then ensues, and although you are eventually victorious, the anomaly disappears, leaving you no immediate escape back to your own universe. From there on out, the Excelsior's task is to get home by trying to find this anomaly once again. Along the way, you'll engage in a lot of meaningless combat while meandering around this strange universe, performing one dull task after another.
There are 19 missions in Shattered Universe. Each mission has multiple objectives, some of which you find out at the very beginning of the mission and some of which appear only after you're neck-deep into one. Each mission is prefaced by a somewhat drawn-out and perplexingly, uninformative briefing from Captain Sulu. Missions primarily have you flying around in one of the game's several small fighter ships--which include a couple of Federation-brand fighters, a Klingon Bird of Prey, and a Romulan Shrike--blasting other fighters, collecting random items, and occasionally engaging starships. The problem with the game's missions is that they never really feel like they have much purpose, nor are they particularly well paced.
Several chapters require you to go on "scout" missions, where you essentially fly from one navigation point to another, collecting minerals for some unknown reason, and in between, you shoot a lot of fighters. In another mission, you have to protect the Excelsior from an Enterprise attack. Your goal is to damage the Enterprise so that it will retreat. Once you've done that, the Enterprise launches a warhead at the Excelsior. Sulu informs you that the warhead is too heavily shielded to be destroyed, so you need to go destroy the rest of the Enterprise's fighter squadron in three minutes. How does destroying a group of fighters save the Excelsior from a seemingly indestructible warhead, and why does the task need to be completed in three minutes? No satisfactory answers are given for these or any number of other questions that will likely pop into your head while playing the game. Additionally, most of the missions can take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes to complete, and it is far too easy for you to end up getting smoked right at the end of a mission when some late-mission objective presents itself out of the blue, thus causing you to have to start all over again.