Review: Strider (PS3)

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Title: Strider
Format: PlayStation Network Download (3.8 GB)
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Double Helix Games
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Strider is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Hiryu has finally made his return after countless failed/cancelled games, in Strider, to defeat the evil Grandmaster Meio with all the skill and perfection of its old-school 80s arcade game brethren. Strider has within it the potential to be a spectacular game, but the mindless-button mashing that’s useable for basically all the game turns it into something mediocre at best, removing any form of skill required to complete. While the story is less than an after-thought, you don’t need to understand why Hiryu is doing what he is doing, you just have to do it.

Gameplay:
Hiryu is a master ninja; skilled in the art of sword swinging, acrobatic jumping, and looking cool while standing still. From the instant that you are given control over him you notice his skill at all those criteria and the ease at which he dispatches his enemies – literally cutting through them like butter. Yet, that is also one of the major downfalls of Strider.

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I initially started out just running at enemies full speed, spamming the attack button to quickly remove that enemy from the field. There was a sense of immense power watching as Hiryu effortlessly ran through multiple enemies in a matter of seconds; leaving a wake of death behind him. That pure enjoyment, however much fun, only could sustain itself for a short time, quickly turning into boredom. Every enemy you run into is just a few button mashes away from being history, making the task of progression rather stagnant. So what would you do to try to make the game more exciting? Add strategy!

Sadly adding any form of strategy to your attacks, not because the game makes you but because after killing the 100th enemy you still don’t break a sweat, doesn’t really benefit you in any way. After a few failed attempts to add in strategy to the game, you’ll quickly realize that it is pointless and revert to your previous tactic of just spamming the attack button on each enemy till they disappear.

Occasionally you will run into random sections where the difficulty of the game will become harder than before, making you semi-think of what is going on in the screen. Though once you remember that every enemy you dispatch drops health for Hiryu there’s no need to panic.

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Then you run into the bosses; the section of the game where, you know, you should have to use some form of strategy or have gained skill which will make the boss fight beatable. Sadly, not really… since the boss fights require you to just mash the attack button a couple more times than your standard enemy.

Visuals:
Without being outstanding, Strider does offer some nice eye candy to look at. Character movement, for a hack-n-slash game, needs to be very fluid and easy on the eyes –  oh, and Hiryu is a ninja. While occasionally Hiryu feels like a stiff piece of wood, he does have the swiftness and agility that you would think a ninja has, giving him a pleasant visual flare.

Though you will run across the same looking enemies over and over, they do look nice and are detailed with just enough to notice while you are running at full speed, swinging your sword like crazy. The big difference will be when you come across one of the bosses of the game – they are distinct and each look unique to themselves.

Audio:
Strider is, for the most part, a really nice sounding game. The background music is wonderful, the movement noises are nice, but it is when characters talk that the game stumbles.

If you can deal with horrible accents and just plain bad writing, then you’ll enjoy the one-sided conversations found within the game. While the voice acting does try to help you get a grasp of the story, it’s so annoying that every time I would see text pop up on the screen and hear someone read it, I would start to hum to drawn out the noise. Maybe that is a little harsh… actually, it isn’t.

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Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
While overall Strider does offer enjoyment, especially for the old-school gamer, it can quickly lose its shine after a short time. Mindless attacking without any real form of variance makes for a boring button masher that suffers even more from a non-existent story. With that said, if you’re looking for a mindless, button mashing game – you should check it out.

Everyone needs a game like Strider every now and then.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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