Title: Strike Suit Zero: Space Combat Reborn
Developer: Born Ready Games
Release Date: 1.23.2013
Genre: Action / Shooter / Space-Combat Simulator
Synopsis: “Strike Suit Zero is an action-packed arcade game set in the final hours of a future Earth where the only hope for the planet to avoid destruction is the Strike Suit, an advanced, transforming spacecraft that empowers the player with ludicrous firepower and awesome abilities.”
Development Factors: The main idea behind Strike Suit Zero is to create a bridge between the space games of old, such as Freespace and Colony Wars, and more modern vehicular shooting games like Spy Hunter and Twisted Metal. However, even though it clearly stems from classic gaming styles, it surely separates itself by invoking more tactical elements: energy and weapons’ supplies are limited and successful juggling between fighter- and strike-modes will be necessary to effectively utilize the strike suit. The game also features a third-person and cockpit perspective.
The simulation aspect of this game is pretty good: the player ultimately feels like a relatively small part of the conflict as a whole thanks to the background happenings; a complete battle between allied and enemy forces goes on as the player completes specific objectives. Battles are not designed to revolve around the player. With a Kickstarter goal of $100,000 (which was obviously reached) it is no surprise that this was a grand project, and with PS3 and 360 variations already in the works, it is apparent that it has caught a mass attention.
Story: “Humanity has spread out across the stars after discovering an alien transmission. The relationship between the United Nations of Earth (UNE) and her off-world colonies has become strained, and after Earth scientists discover strange technology on a colony world and try to keep it for themselves, they are expelled from the planet and a civil war begins.
To call it a civil war is probably giving too much credit to the UNE, though. Earth’s forces get shafted pretty thoroughly by an alien relic the colonists possess, and the rest of Earth’s surviving fleet desperately races to their homeworld to stop its complete destruction.”
Visuals: Visually the game is pretty on point; from the vast, free-roam environments and background happenings to even the player ship at hand, the artwork is there. Planetary designs are interesting, and special effects are eye-catching. Halos are not overdone, particles are actually coherent rather than purely aesthetic, and the transformation between fighter- and strike-mode is clean. World-renowned Mechanical Design engineer Junji Okubo, of Appleseed: Ex Machina and Steel Battalion, and mecha and ship designer for Infinite Space, did the ship designs for Strike Suit Zero, which explains why there is a certain aspect of the game that feels vaguely familiar upon viewing for the first time.
Mechanics / Learning Curve: Being a single player, mostly story-driven, campaign-style game, Strike Suit Zero pans out like most others. It’s fairly easy to get the hang of, as long as you understand the inversion difference between aerial and land-based combat (based on my personal experiences, it seems many people don’t…). One thing that is a bit tricky throughout is being an effective “transformer”, that is to say switching back and forth between fighter- and strike-mode; knowing how and when to transition between the two can be a great asset, and most assuredly is later on in the game.
Music / Sound: From the get-go, award-winning sound designer Paul Ruskay, composer of the Homeworld soundtrack, crafted the soundtrack for Strike Suit Zero, and boy is it apparent. His particular style, although recognizable, seems almost overly befitting for this game. Still, it’s a great sound that he creates, and from it a vibe that gets you hyped up while also evoking a more somber attitude.
The sound effects are not half bad either; explosions, laser sounds, thrusters, scraping metal, guns – all seem to be harmonious, building off of each other. Even though they are overly-attempted sounds, they seem to play off of and into each other sound, creating a mixed attitude the player may or may not even notice while playing.
UI (user interface): Strike Suit Zero features a user interface that is, shall we say, different in certain regards. First of all, everything is featured on the top of the screen, which is quite funky given most other utilize corners. Each aspect is featured in “tabs”: mission objectives, complete with progress bar, armor and shield gauges, energy and ammo counters, and a thruster’s bar. In the lower-left corner is a hologram of the player’s current ship with the class above and health and shield bars with a numerical counter above them. This is a different setup indeed, but the space it creates by keeping everything in a straight line is enormous, no doubt. The different colors and halos are nice as well; think Iron Man’s holo-reader in his mask: the blue hue of everything combined with an organization that is most efficient.
AI (artificial intelligence): As mentioned about the mechanics, Strike Suit Zero is a pretty straight-forward game, and plays as such. The game’s AI is like many other games before it-it gets more intelligent and more difficult as the game progresses. Nothing much else can be mentioned on it, except for the fact that the AI interacts fairly efficiently in the background, but alas, is not all that interactive.
Game Flow: A linear story line and gameplay make this game not all that impressive; it’s pretty basic overall. One positive regard is how smooth it is-from the beginning to the end, it is easy to track as there are barely any plot holes and the descriptions and briefings are in depth.
Innovation: Hands down not one of the most innovative titles of late, but it’s nice to see someone trying to resurrect the titles of old, and that alone garners my respects. 3D (referring to the dimensionality and direction of the game, not its format) 360° combat, limited weaponry and energy, thruster gauges, multiple targeting systems and icons – it all makes for a fairly decent “old-title” game mock-up, allowing for both older- and newer-gen gamers to get in on the action and market to more of the audience that is out there.
Fun Factor: Personally, I don’t see much replay value in this title; it is the kind of game one would not spend much time on, to the point that some might not even finish it. But, as with any and every game, there is a niche market for this particular style of play, and I can’t say anything bad about that-this is just a personal opinion. To step out of the box for a moment, the game is pretty fun after getting used to the controls and all – changing between fighter- and strike-mode never gets old; also, I can never get enough of looking at the artwork the game features, from the planets to nebulae, ship designs, special effects, and light work. To put it bluntly: some will like it, some will not.
Overall: 63 / 100 ♥
Gamer Perspective: I gave it a chance, and it just wasn’t my personal cup of tea; as stated before, though, some will like it, and some will not. It was nice to play something different, for sure, but it’s nothing I could see myself going back to after a while, even in a high state of boredom.