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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Strike Suit Zero Directors Cut Review

It's no starfox but it should be enough to fill the void.

Strike Suite Zero is a 3D space shooter for the PC, PS4 and XBOX One. I love space shooters and my favorite of all time are StarFox 64 and the Rogue Squadron Series on the 64 and Gamecube. I’ve been waiting for a similar game to those for a while but so far I haven’t found anything. Not even the Ace Combat series has been able to fulfill my need for a good fast pace aero shooting game. Strike Suit Zero comes close but it just doesn’t get there.

The Design for Strike Suit Zero is fairly simple. Shoot at your target and not get killed or get your friendly naval ships destroyed. That’s pretty much it.  You get to play in 13 different levels with several missions which involve protecting some stranded naval ship or destroying enemy ships. At the end of the level you earn medals which unlock better weapons for the ship that you are flying. 

The Menu can be a bit confusing at times specially for first timers who just want to get in the game. In the beginning you are briefed on a mission and told what you should do. The next screen tells you the weapons you can use and have unlocked but you cannot select it. At the end you get to select a ship and change weapons. This is done all via text so you must remember which weapon does what since no sample is given as to what a weapon is supposed to do. Your ship also allows a certain amount of weapons and not all ships are the same with some of them only allowing 2 at a time.

Controlling the ship takes a bit of getting used to as well. You can use both joysticks to move the ship up and down with the R Stick to move the ship left and right. This felt a bit backwards for me so I changed the control settings to allow the ship to be maneuvered with the L stick and flip the ship with the R stick. The L2 and L1 triggers are used to fire your weapons with the D-Pad used to switch weapons. This wasn’t a huge issue for me as you can easily change the controllers to your liking. It’s not the best option but it’s not the worst either. 
Fighting against other ships is fast paced but at times it can feel slow. You have all this open space to travel in but most fighters stay in one part of the map making the rest of the map worthless unless you are trying to get away from an enemy. 

In order to use most weapons, you need to be within range in order for you to do any damage to the ships. Otherwise unless your HUD locks on, you’re just wasting ammo. You have unlimited ammo for just one weapon type but like most games today, if you use it too much it will overheat and you will have to wait for it to recharge. 

The Gameplay though is very simple and shouldn’t take long for any player to pick up and play. Most of the time your targets are chosen for you but you can easily swap targets to a closer one if you want. The main goals for most levels are to defeat all enemy targets. At the end your score is tallied and you will earn medals. 
The voice over acting could be better in the game. There are many instances of emergency where a ship is getting attacked and yet the captain of said ship is acting calm during the attack. This sort of takes away from any need of urgency the game may have had especially when you are about to go into action.

The soundtrack is also limited to several soundtracks that do not at all match the action. You would think that the background music would be something epic or at least gets you pumped to go into action. But no, that is not the case here. I’m not saying the soundtrack is bad, but it’s repetitive and boring. 

Luckily the sound effects are great though. This pretty much drowns out any bad music or voice over that is playing. 
Graphically the game won’t break any new grounds. The effects are nicely done and the backgrounds are rendered nicely. But because this is mainly a space shooter and mainly everything is space is almost dark, you can’t really see the detail. 

The game does provide smooth gameplay, even with hundreds of enemies on the screen as well as your own allies, there is no lag or frame rate drops at all.
Strike Suit Zero is a space shooter that should satisfy some needs for those waiting for the next star fox or similar type of game (I’ve been waiting 11 years). It may not be the longest game with 13 levels at 20 minutes each but it certainly fills the void. As for replay value, there is really not much going on. Beat the level and play again to try to beat your own score or earn medals. It’s a great arcade game and for $19.99 I think it’s at the right price to check it out. 

Design: 7/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Soundtrack: 5/10
Graphics: 6/10
LifeSpan: 5/10

Total Score: 6/10

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