Dull. It’s a word that not only lacks emotion and any real sense of relatability but also is able to capture my whole experience with Strike Suit Zero. Of course only if a one word review is what you enjoy. That said, I have to ask myself what went wrong? during the development of this space-combat game and if you find yourself intrigued then I would urge you to read on.
Sold as being ‘Space Combat Reborn’ there is a lot on the line here for Strike Suit Zero and develop Born Ready Games. From the initial trailers, screenshots and even concept drawings I got into a sense of mindless thinking and daydream. ‘Finally’, I through, ‘a space game that really captures what it’s like to be in control of a space fighter and the option to turn into a gundam-like-mecha. Would could go wrong?’. That in my mind I couldn’t wait to get a first hands on with Strike Suit Zero at Eurogamer 2012 which, for the short time it was ended up being a rather enjoyable time. But then why, after having a good time at Eurogamer do I now find myself no longer wishing to play and feeling let down on what could of been a great game.
Let’s start at the core of the problems shall we. The gameplay. One of the key features of Strike Suit Zero is ‘Fast, frantic space combat’ but really what you have in reality is a clunky and unresponsive system. Now you may say that this is due to the controller I used but take note, I’ve hand a go at this game with keyboard and mouse, gamepad and a joystick. All of which end up feeling so restricting on the movement. I understand that a space fighter moving at such velocity would be tricky to control and this is pulled off well to a point. However after only a short amount of time you find that what you initially felt was good is in fact just irritating and giving you a headache. Mentioning headaches may I just say how disorientated Strike Suit Zero is? The game features a lack of useful HUD features which would fix this problem such as an indicator to give you an idea of which way is up. In fact the overall HUD design is rather lacking. The useful information is there but really your so focussed on the ship that it’s yet again, disorientating to look at the information.
Combat is maybe a bit more enjoyable no? well no. It’s not. The earlier levels of the game are rather slow yes but this is the same with any game. The pacing for this levels felt fine and worked as a nice introduction to the games mechanics and objectives. Once you reach the end of the third level you acquire the ‘The Strike Suit’ which opens up a door of opportunities. The option to now switch between pursuit mode and strike mode is enjoyable and puts a nice idea on the table. The downside is that like the rest of the combat it was get rather dull rather fast. No matter how much dashing you do in strike mode or how many ships you take down in pursuit mode, the gameplay of the finished game is dull, unenjoyable and at times frustrating. The early build was better.
Good news however for those of you who like visuals and sound design. These are done rather well. Visuals are nothing special but given how much is on the screen at any given time, the amount of detail to the backdrops etc the overall visual Quality is to a high standard. With the ship and mecha designs by Junji Okubo, who has worked on the likes of Appleseed: Ex Machina and Steal Battalion, it’s understandable that visually the game appeals. Musically the game is also successful with composer Paul Ruskay working on score and Japanese singer/songwriter Koria handling the theme song. It’s a joy to listen to Strike Suit Zero more then it is to play which is a let down. I do highly recommend you listen to the soundtrack if you can however.
I could talk about Strike Suit Zero all day and not in a good way. Sure, it’s not a complete mess and in fact does a good job at trying to accomplish what it set out to do. The problem is it emits a feeling of poor polish, unfinished work and bad choices which have fed to it falling short. I feel let down by what could of been a great game but instead I found myself looking at a dull, repetitive and down right boring game with a forgettable story.
Strike Suit Zero is a missed opportunity which what could of be a work pf passion with some big names. Sadly the result is a dull experience which you have to take with a pinch of salt. Better yet, just don’t waste your time.