Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut Review

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Space combat veteran Brett Todd played with his Transformer space ships in Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut for over a dozen hours.

Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut is pushy. This space shooter all but wrecks its occasionally thrilling dogfighting action by never, ever knowing when enough is enough. The game is a prime example of kitchen-sink game design, assuming that if one white-knuckle tumble against a dozen enemy spaceships is good, then waging that exact same battle many times in succession during each and every mission must be flat-out fantastic. In reality, of course, this relentless approach chafes. It wears at your patience almost from the very beginning, to the point where the monotony soon makes you long to do something livelier.

The premise is a traditional space opera saga. The year is 2299, and you play a voiceless spaceship jockey named Adams, who gets into the civil war raging between Earth and rebellious human colonies just as the colonials are about to go all Death Star on the homeworld. The story is intriguing; not everything is spelled out in the beginning, leaving a lot of open questions about the mysterious alien tech that sparked the war, as well as about your fascinating allies, one of which is an enigmatic humanlike AI. There is no shortage of tension created by the threat to Earth--tension dramatically underlined in the fiery remains of a planet that serves as the backdrop to the campaign's second mission.

Zippy space combat is the highlight of Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut.

Most of the time, Strike Suit Zero is content to be a modern take on the familiar space shooter, with design tropes that go back to Wing Commander. You take to the spacelanes in the cockpits of various vessels, and upgrade and unlock weapons, armor, and other gear as you move through missions. Controls are easy to grasp: The sticks control roll, pitch, and yaw, while the buttons handle shooting, acceleration and deceleration, and firing off missile-diverting chaff. The feel isn't quick flightstick-precise, although the accuracy is close enough to fend off any frustration. The overly simplistic targeting is the only real problem, as you often need to cycle through lengthy lists of foes to choose the one that you want to attack.

You also gain access early on to the strike suit, a Transformers-styled variety of ship that can morph into a giant robot whenever you blast enough enemies and power supplies like drones to load up on an energy source called flux. The character of the game changes as soon as you make the switch, as you immediately go from flying around Rogue Squadron-like to a good re-creation of Optimus Prime standing still in space. Whenever you transform, you lose all maneuverability and speed aside from a weird sidestep that seems entirely out of place, but gain the ability to unload huge energy blasts and twisting waves of missiles that obliterate enemy capital ships.

Battles can look cool, but they suffer from extreme repetition.

Predictably, morphing into a battlemech can be effective, especially when facing waves of enemy fighters, and it's satisfying to pull a "watch this" moment and shred enemy squadrons in seconds. But the Transformers angle doesn't mesh well with high-speed dogfighting. One moment you're looping and spinning at speeds that would snap a spine; the next you're locked in place like a Big Bertha, mindlessly firing round after round at every nearby foe. Becoming a giant robot always comes with some regret, as it brings the entire game to a crashing halt.

What drops Strike Suit Zero back to zero most of all, however, is tedious combat. Every one of the 13 scenarios in the main campaign and the further half-dozen or so offered up as part of the additional Heroes of the Fleet mission series (sold separately as DLC when the game was released for the PC last year) does everything but beat you into submission with a Megatron action figure. Objectives rarely vary from escort missions, seemingly eternal dogfights, and straightforward assaults. In all mission types, enemy ships keep coming, and coming, and coming, warping in many times after you think the mission is finally over, like some intergalactic take on Halloween's Michael Myers. Sheer enemy numbers overwhelm the interface. Tracking colonial ships is a real challenge in battles, as the screen is always littered with red arrows pointing offscreen to every threat and piece of random space junk. Your battle cry soon becomes "Enough already!"

Transformation brings the fun to an immediate halt.

Most of Strike Suit Zero is stripped down in comparison to more lavish space shooters of days gone by. There are no extravagant load-out option screens, no recreation decks to relax in with your fellow pilots, or even animations during the mid-mission visual transmissions from allied vessels (in the future, everyone is apparently a ventriloquist). The main plus here is being able to play from either a first-person cockpit point of view or from an external trailing camera. Ship models are bland, with little in the way of detail, and mission backdrops are mostly static scenes that are stylish and atmospheric, but still limited in impact, like the matte paintings in old Star Trek episodes. This is a plain Jane game made up for the prom.

Only the soundtrack rises above the waterline of mediocrity here, thanks to futuristic tunes that come off like mash-ups of the musical scores from Blade Runner and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. There is a vaguely Eastern vibe to the music, along with echoing choral odes and never-quite discernible chants of exotic words. The only odd thing about the music is its slightly distant sound. Instead of being front and center in the mix like the usual game soundtrack, the score here is somewhat buried, as if you were cruising around listening to the universe's top 40 station on the FM dial.

Sometimes, simple is better. Maintaining focus on frantic space battles that move quickly and wrap up before you have time to regret what you're playing would have made Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut more energetic and compelling. Piling on enemies and tossing in the Transformers-inspired ship just clogs up what could have been a charming, if deeply predictable, space shooter.

The Good
Speedy space combat
Transforming mechanic provides some high-powered satisfaction
The Bad
Repetitive and monotonous
Plain visuals
Transforming mechanic doesn't always complement the combat
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews
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About the Author

Space combat veteran Brett Todd played with his Transformer space ships in Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut for over a dozen hours.

Discussion

15 comments
PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

This game is incredibly slow. At times it felt more like a screensaver than a video game.

andrew_chan
andrew_chan

The main point of a space combat simulator is space combat! Strike suit zero is all about space combat! It delivers a great experience to the intended audience while looking gorgeous, sounding great and having fluid controls.


Based on this review, it appears reviewer did not use strike mode effectively or get the point about switching between flight mode and strike mode. In flight mode, you have more manoeuvrability but less fire power and when you're in strike mode, you don't have as much manoeuvrability but you have more fire power (When you're in strike mode, you can quickly strafe as well as ascend/descend). That's what makes this game challenging and interesting. It's up to the player to find the right balance between manoeuvrability in flight mode and fire power in strike mode while managing flux energy. 


The reviewer is looking for unnecessary items like a 'recreation deck' in a space sim about all out war ... If I wanted a 'recreation deck' I would've played "The Sims". What gameplay fun is added by something like a recreation deck?


The reviewer may not be a fan of space combat sims either. However as a reviewer if you are assigned genres of games that you may not like, you're still expected to remain objective and keep the intended audience of the game in mind.


This is a totally unfair harsh review by someone who missed the point of the game and/or didn't grasp the controls and/or failed to see the intended audience.

ringringabel
ringringabel

played this game on PC w/ a controller, and I was surprised by how blown away I was. It reminded me of older space combat games, where the missions were very difficult as well as long. i had thought a 7.5 was already kinda low for a lower-budget game that is less than $20...but a 5/10?? that's just ridiculous...i don't see how this game could get significantly worse between PC and PS4, I was lookin forward to getting this game on PS4 as my PC is pretty old and I want to see this game at it's best graphically...and btw you can't cycle through targets if I remember correctly, you can lock on to whatever you're aiming at or lock on to the closest enemy...so if the reviewer was constantly pressing these two buttons while trying to lock on to some specific enemy, well that's just not how the controls were made to be played..this game is definitely for more skilled gamers but considering the score that dark souls 2 other take got (5?!?!) I think we can assume the skill these reviewers have when going into playing a game...ugh and I used to really value GS opinion on game reviews, I guess I'll just have to stick w/ Kevin's reviews and ignore everything else?

Vodoo
Vodoo

I don't think this reviewer knew how to play this game properly. The point is to unleash the strike suit in the middle of all the enemies so you can obliterate a bunch of them at the same time in the early parts of the game. Later on you get strike suits that kill targets far away. And you don't have to cycle through tons of targets to get to the one you want. I don't even think that's possible the way the buttons work. You have a button to select the target in front of you, or the other button selects the target closest to you. So what "cycling" this guy was doing was beyond me. I

I couldn't read more than half of the review because it's utter crap. Either he barely played the game or didn't know what the hell he was doing.

Chatch09
Chatch09

5 of 10...not surprising coming from a heavily bias Gamespot review, they did the same thing to Project Slypheed in 2006....which is why its been 8 years since we've seen a space combat game like this.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

This version will be much better suited for PC Gaming not lame stifling consoles.

majere613
majere613

This is a diabolical review, frankly. The reviewer has completely failed to get to grips with how Strike Mode works, and therefore completely missed the point of the game and how the missions work. Strike Mode feels slow and clumsy at first, until you get the hang of the vastly different controls and learn when to switch, and then it becomes a powerful tool- but even then, only when used correctly.

I should say for accuracy that my comments are based on the PC version, played with an Xbox pad, but I really doubt this version has suddenly broken the game.

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

Hahahahahahaha o gamespot you always know how to make me laugh. Really guy's can't you just quit your sillyness?


Repetitive and monotonous, Plain visuals, and some mechanics not working properly. The score a 5 while this game had a 7.5 first. Really 2,5 points less suddenly? And when are you guys gonna be fair about Call of Duty...Be fecking honest GS.


Call of Duty ghost gets a fecking 8 on your website, the game is repetivite and monotonous to the max, and don't come with BS how that game inovates, its the same F'ign game its been since Modern Warfare 2, everyone knows it, just you so called profesional game press don't seem to see it.


CoD Ghost on the PC is a boring repetetive game with a swallow story that is generic as you get it, the visuals are lackluster as the engine is very outdated and on the pc thanks to poor optimization it didn't run feckign well on new pc's needed a F'ing patch that wasn't released when the review was made. But appearantly you guys are so horny about CoD that you forgive those mistakes even though on pc its a 60 euro costing game.......but a much cheaper game that has some visual issues and gets a bit repetitive is a major disaster. Really and you guys wonder why you get blamed of certain actions. Really, you don't get it do you? This is so sad and all the people who claim you are doing certain things seem rather right cause you guys never do shizzle to proof people wrong. Always b#tching about lesser budget games and their mistakens, where CoD is a multimillion dollar game and you forgive every mistake in that one...year after year. Good job, i got to laugh again about how sad reviews can be here and how inconsistent you are. This has nothing to do with the reviewers personal taste, CoD is your parade horse and this game not. This game didn't had the same bugdget but get punished way harder than those with a huge team and money. makes no freaking sense.

Fr0oTy
Fr0oTy

Overly harsh review imho. I found the game a lot of fun, especially trying to unlock the bonuses by completing each mission with the required challenges completed -- some of them were VERY challenging, one of them required you to finish in less than 12 minutes or so? and I kept getting 12:02, 12:05, 12:01 etc. It requires you to adapt your tactics of who to take out first (if at all) and often change your loadout to match your tactic. 

Sure you can breeze through the game without going into any of that, but as with this reviewer - you wouldn't enjoy the game as much. 

Yangire
Yangire

The previous lead designer of the game has a website called Mecha Damashii, and clearly wanted to make a game with mecha. Removing the macross inspired mecha would take away the point of the game.

hitomo
hitomo

I think its lame that he real Reviews are coming when only when there is no financial pressure anymore, its like, yeah, you know we reviewed this game extremly good, we are sorry it was only for the Money , here is our real opinion ..

adsparky
adsparky

I really like the idea of having multiple reviews and reviewers, but i prefer just opinions instead of reviews, but then again most people just see the number and leave, unless they want to criticise the review or the reviewer.

Vodoo
Vodoo

That's a pretty dumb comment being the game is graphically impressive. The consoles run it just fine and the controllers work much better than a shitty mouse.

Chatch09
Chatch09

@Yangire Still waiting on a Macross game that is true to the series....Robotech Battlecry is the closest they've ever got and it wasn't that great.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@hitomoReality does not work the way your imagination seems to. Thankfully.

Strike Suit Zero More Info

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  • First Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • + 4 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    • Unix/Linux
    • Xbox One
    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.
    7
    Average User RatingOut of 107 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Born Ready Games, Doublesix
    Published by:
    Born Ready Games
    Genres:
    Action, Arcade, Flight
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
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