On paper Strike Suit Zero should be right up my alley. I am a sci-fi buff and I love to fly fighters (on rails or not) across striking space vistas. So I jumped in this game fairly excited.
First the story, or should I say something scramble together that only serves to move the game forward; Humans discovered space travel, humans colonized other worlds, humans divided into two factions, humans fight...and that's pretty much it. I understand this is an indie game but the folks at Born Ready could've worked harder. A great story is usually free.
Visually I found the game to be stunning. Even though most backdrops had a "paint" feel, everything was most pleasant on the eyes. Sound effects were top notch as well. Explosions, collisions, warning cues, felt meaty and had impact. On the music side things weren't so nice. A good "Mass Effect" ambient music is peppered here and there, but during most missions the music defaults to a theme build on arabic rythmns and instruments. To say that it clashed with the visual is an understatement.
Gameplay felt solid, controls (with a 360 controller) felt just right, though the default binds are not the best, I urge you to customize them. The screenshots might give you the feeling that this is an on rails game but it is not. There is a mission area with more than enough room to let you try different strategies. On the flip side, mission objectives are all linear and most are accompanied by a countdown.
Where things crackle is in the overarching mechanics. The game has 13 missions, each of them long and segmented. The game relies on checkpoints to save your progress and they are NOT evenly placed. On normal difficulty, the game can be hard. More often than not, once you die you will have to replay a big stretch of the mission, any sense of progression is lost and the game becomes a chore.
You can also earn upgrades for the suit, but they don't seem to make a lick of a difference. For instance you gain a shield upgrade, but in the next mission the shield is still the same lenght and diminishes at the same speed as before. Furthermore, the only way to gain those upgrades are through secondary objectives, which is fine by me. The problem is that in some missions the game won't offer any visual cues to inform you on your progress OR the secondary objectives are so hard/impossible to accomplish that you simply give up.
-Variety of ships (you get to fly more than the suit!)
-Some gameplay mechanics and checkpoint system makes the game a chore
-Subpar and inadequate music
-Upgrade system is useless
-Enough with the countdowns
-Final mission is a joke
-Achievements are a grind
Final note : I can only recommend this game to hardcore sci-fi shooters. Born Ready shows promise though, if they can spend more time refining their mechanics their sequel can be great.
PS. The game offer VR support, If I ever get my hands on the Oculus Rift I will play Strike Suit Zero again. On VR this game should be a blast!
Posted: January 11th, 2014