Strike Suit Zero: Directors cut
Developed and Published by Born Ready Games
Strike Suit Zero is a space combat game that was initially released on the PC over a year ago, since then it has continued to be worked on by Born Ready Games with extra features and missions included to mark its release as the Directors Cut on the PS4 as a digital Download. This game is fairly unique in modern terms as I can’t recall the last time I was aware of a space flight combat game being released on a console that looked as though it could be a good experience.
I used to play many of these games when I was younger and it certainly reminds me of classic Star Wars games- like the fantastic Tie Fighter and Rogue Squadron series as well as other titles including Colony Wars that was released on the PS One and even the grandfather of this genre Elite, that was released before I was even born 30 years ago for the BBC Micro. With this lack of recent titles in this genre in my mind I feel as though this game could well have a found a big gap in the market to fill, the games I have just mentioned were all hugely successful selling a lot of titles.
When loading up the game I was greeted to an introduction that explained the back story, which basically reads like many sci-fi stories set in deep space. There are two sides involved in a war, the colonists, who want to separate from Earth’s Control, and then the United Nations of Earth (UNE). You play the part of a pilot for the UNE who is caught in the middle of this far reaching and expensive war that could well end in the destruction of our home planet if you fail.
The music in the games menu screens as you prepare for missions really fits the futuristic sci-fi style perfectly, it sounds very similar to what I heard in Biowares Mass Effect games and personally I loved the soundtrack in those games. A problem I do have in the menus is that there is a lack of customisation options for the various ships you will use. Another annoying aspect for me was that certain weapons can’t be used in certain conditions and there was a couple of times when I was unaware of this until I had started the mission, leaving me with the choice of either carrying on and playing through hampered or restarting the mission entirely with a different load-out.
Graphically this game looked OK, it was nothing special and in some aspects I was let down, mainly the detail on the ship you are flying is just not there, the textures seemed to be missing and it was distracting whilst I was playing through the game. The lack of detail doesn’t end there, on the majority of enemy ships and installations there is a distinct lack of detail with many of them looking like grey blocks with splashes of red on them when you get up close. This was certainly not something I was expecting from a PS4 title. Whilst I understand this is an indie title with a far lower budget than many AAA titles I remember the detail and visual beauty of Resogun and again am felt as though more work should have gone into this area, after all the ships are the main aspect that you will interact with. The backgrounds do look very nice though with large planets, novas and asteroid fields brought to life convincingly. One problem runs through it all though, it looks fairly bland, the colour scale is very conservative with only blues and reds seemingly used. I would have loved to have seen a hugely colourful battle with a variety of colourful lasers, ships and stations.
Moving on from the adequate but overall slightly disappointing graphics of the game, I have to look at how this game feels, do I feel as though I am in an interstellar war for survival in an advanced Space fighter that can transform from a ship to a kind of Bipedal Mech suit and again? I have to say I was left a little disappointed. The flying mechanics do work well and you feel in good control as you avoid enemies and make runs along side a larger cruiser or Corvette ship. Sadly though there isn’t enough variety. There are just four differing classes of enemies; fighters, corvettes, frigates and Cruisers. Sure there are different types of fighters but I honestly couldn’t tell what the difference was between them in the heat of battle.
As well as these dog fighting sections there are the obligatory missions where you have to attack and destroy stationary, but well armed Space stations and weapons platforms, but these play exactly the same as the rest of the missions. This isn’t to say that it isn’t fun to play, many of the missions are hugely enjoyable. You can launch a huge missile assault on a Cruiser before speeding off to take out a bunch of Fighters before returning to another run at the larger ship and this does feel great, as though you could be in a movie. The main draw back is that once you get to the half way point you realise that all the variety in the game has been and gone. From here on in it does feel like a grind as you rinse and repeat the different aspects, just in larger and more time constricted missions to get to the end.
Some of these problems look to have been slightly addressed in the extra missions included in the directors cut. Firstly it introduces weak points in the larger ships making them much harder to destroy, even harder as the game doesn’t tell you where the weak points are, leaving you to a bit of trial and error before you find them and again this is something I personally, wouldn’t have expect of a refined version of a game, especially as it has been out for a year already on other platforms.
Overall I have to say that Strike Suit Zero has some good points and the basis of a very good game. It just feels as though it hasn’t been finished to me, the lack of textured detail on the ships is unforgivable for a PS4 title in my opinion. But the game at times is very fun to play through, the problem is that it needs more variety as the fun game play quickly becomes a chore as you repeat it over and over
Playstation 4 Version Reviewed (also available on Xbox One and PC)