The original Strike Suit Zero was released on PC last year to a mixed reaction. Now the game has made its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in “Director’s Cut” guise, featuring a host of tweaks and the “Heroes of the Fleet” DLC – but will it satiate those looking for a space shooter fix?
Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut takes place in the year 2299. You take on the role of a spaceship pilot named Adams, who is slap bang in the middle of a civil war between Earth and the surrounding colonists. Fairly soon into the game you find out the colonists have access to an extremely dangerous weapon that is currently on its way to do a bit of remodelling to Earth’s pretty face, so naturally you have to stop it.
Told through a number of in-mission transmissions, and brief cutscenes, the story chugs along nicely, with just enough urgency to keep you interested in what happens next – however it certainly plays second fiddle to the gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay, I hope you like shooting things, because you’ll be doing a heck of a lot of that! Initially, controlling your spaceship can be a little overwhelming, as tends to be the case with a lot of space-based shooters. You’ll have to master pitching and rolling in the infinite abyss of space, as well as dealing with the various cannons and missiles that you will have access to. Fortunately I rarely found myself getting disorientated, as there are enough markers (be it other ships, or scenery) to keep yourself righted. With a bit of practice you’ll soon be darting about the place like a pro.
It’s not just as simple as piloting a ship though, as in the second mission you are introduced to the Strike Suit. Shooting down enemies will gather you enough “Flux” to be able to transform into a mech. While the mech does sacrifice a lot of manoeuvrability, it packs one hell of a punch with a strong cannon and a barrage of missiles capable of taking down much larger enemy craft. It also has a handy feature whereby pressing one button will automatically track you towards the nearest enemy. Be warned though: the mech mode doesn’t last long so knowing when best to deploy it is key.
The 13 missions on offer in the main campaign aren’t particularly adventurous when it comes to new ideas. Most tasks boil down to “go there, kill them, now kill them… and them”. Don’t get me wrong, piloting the Strike Suit is a lot of fun, but tedium does set in when asked to do the same thing repeatedly. New ship unlocks do their best to inject a bit a life into things, but in my opinion this doesn’t really succeed.
I found the Heroes of the Fleet DLC to be a more interesting prospect. These five additional levels see you take on the roles of important pilots in key battles from the past, and let you play them out. They are rock hard, too, and had me tearing my hair out a number of times.
In fact, the entire game is certainly no pushover, and you can expect to see your ship go up in flames a number of times. I’m all for a challenge, but unfortunately the slightly dubious checkpoint system can leave a bitter taste in your mouth as you see 20 minutes of hard fought progress lost.
Graphically, some of the backgrounds look absolutely stunning. Your Strike Suit also looks good up close, although everything else lacks detail. This doesn’t really matter though because if you’re going slow enough to be complaining about the details on enemy ships, you’re more than likely about to get a missile up the tail pipe.
A special mention also needs to go out to the musical score. Created by Paul Ruskay (Homeworld), and Kokia (Tales of Innocence), I was really impressed and certainly wouldn’t mind if they released it to download.
Strike Suite Zero: Director’s Cut is a hard one to score. The actual gameplay mechanics are a lot of fun, but wrapped around an uninspiring game that becomes repetitive long before its 13 main missions are over. This was the biggest issue for me, and the reason the score isn’t higher. Born Ready Games have the foundation for something brilliant, and I hope there’s a sequel in the works with a bit more variation.
If repetition isn’t a problem for you, however, and you just want to blast-off into space and shoot down enemies by the bucketload, then this game is definitely something you should look into.