Review: Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut (PS4)

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Title: Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut
Format: PlayStation Network Download (PS4) (1.8 GB)
Release Date: March 8, 2014
Publisher: Born Ready Games
Developer: Born Ready Games
Price: $19.99
ESRB Rating: T
Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

It has been about 150 First-Person Shooters, 12,000 Tower Defense and maybe 60 Role-playing games since I have played a good space shooter (not to be confused with a shoot-em-up). It seems more appropriate to measure the time gap between space sims by how many other genres have populated our consoles between the releases of good space dog-fighting games. No, I’m not bitter because it makes experiences like Strike Suit Zero taste that much sweeter.

I am of course speaking strictly from a console point of view, as the PC, Tablets and Smartphones have seen some great ones, Galaxy on Fire for example. But quite honestly, the last space sim I played on a console was probably Jedi Starfighter on the PlayStation 2. I’m struggling to remember any on the PlayStation 3, though Xbox 360 did have some on their online store.

Regardless, it looks like April is a great month for fans of this sparsely populated genre. Not only did we get Strike Suit Zero, but the end of the month has the Vita receiving Starflight Inception (an awesome little shooter) as well.

SS Screenshot 04

But I’m here to talk about Strike Suit Zero, a game that, much like the namesake suit you fly within, takes a bit of time to adjust to – but once you do, you begin to understand why this genre needs to make a comeback, especially with the power of the new generation.

Gameplay:
Strike Suit Zero has you waging war in an intergalactic conflict involving colonists from Earth looking to win their independence long after having left home to colonize new worlds. You begin the game with a traditional fighter, equipped with two forms of primary fire and two secondary weapons. After a few missions you will begin to unlock other ships and weapons. The star of this show is, of course, the Strike Suit.

If you are a fan of Zone of the Enders and Omega Boost, you will feel right at home with the Strike Suit, as it is able to strafe enemy capital ships and lay waste with bombardments of seeker missiles. But the enjoyment of Strike Suit Zero comes in the combined use of its fighter mode and the Strike Suit. Traditionally, space sims had you jousting with ships charging each other, guns blazing, only to pass each other and come about and try again. The Strike Suit allows you to charge an enemy in fighter mode, and immediately transform and flip around to finish him as he passes.

SS Screenshot 01

Use of the Strike Suit isn’t unlimited and you have to destroy enemy vessels in order to earn “flux” which fuels your robot mode. It might sound frustrating, but I found the balance to work well. I never felt the need to remain in robot mode, as the fighter has better propulsion and allowed me to escape sticky situations. It was not a rare situation to charge a capital ship (littered with gun turrets) strafe them in robot mode and then transform and blast off before my flux expired. On my way out, I’d take out a few enemy fighters, easily refueling my flux for the next run.

It took me a few missions to adjust to the controls as it had been quite a while since I piloted a space ship with a PlayStation controller so I was definitely a green pilot again. Once I took the Strike Suit around for a few missions and found the perfect control scheme, I felt completely unified with the ship and was blasting through squadrons like Alex Rogan.

Visuals:
While not quite what I would expect in a PlayStation 4 game (when compared to some of the AAA games out there) Strike Suit Zero runs smoothly and looks sharp. The added textures (this is an enhanced edition) look great and the lighting effects, coupled with the ship and missile trails, make for an explosive visual assault.

SS Screenshot 05

This is a $20 game, and for that price, it looks and moves amazingly. You are allowed a cockpit view in both modes (which I usually prefer), but seeing your ship transform kept me favoring the external view.

Explosions flare up your HDTV, and nothing compares to blasting an enemy ship and watching it spin out of control before bursting into a brilliant ball of fire as you pass through the debris.

Audio:
Most of the developing story in the game is told through in-game chatter between pilots and commanders. This reminded me a lot of Ace Combat. Some of the chatter comes from the DualShock 4 but I founded difficult to hear, probably because I had my sound-system blaring (though that never seemed to be a problem with games like Resogun). Accompanying the game’s dialogue is the various sounds of battle, which are as chaotic as the visuals they compliment. Also worthy of mention is the amazing musical score, which I ended up purchasing. It is very reminiscent of the Western/Eastern marriage in movies like The Fifth Element, with a touch of the aforementioned Zone of the Enders score, a perfect blend for a space epic.

SS Screenshot 02

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
It has been way too long since I played this genre on a console and it has been sorely missed. This is definitely the generation where hundreds of ships can litter the background of an interstellar arena without making the hardware flinch, and all the while maintaining the amazing graphical expectations. Strike Suit Zero is an example of how this genre still defines what playing video games is all about. It lets you become the pilot of a spacecraft that transforms into a giant robot. It lets you destroy giant capital ships (the size of a neighborhood). I can think of very few better ways to enjoy this hobby.

Score:
9.0

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

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  • Keith Dunn

    Cool!