Strike Suit Zero
Strike Suit Zero
I want to like Strike Suit Zero. I rallied my friends to support the game and pointed to every positive preview I could find.
And the internet was full of them, including full glow from Rock Paper Shotgun and Penny Arcade Report, two places I trust for unbiased previews.
Sadly, both were hoping for the game to come together at the final moments. The story is not unheard of - veterans of Halo: Combat Evolved,
Sins of a Solar Empire, and Thief: The Dark Project have often claimed that the game did not come together until weeks before the project
shipped. During this crunch period, final are and design are expected to just snap together like well crafted jigsaw pieces that just
happen to fit together. Those who have participated in Elemental War of Magic's beta, however, may well remember that the final weeks can
also be the point at which a project full of potential can come falling apart.
While we'll never know whether the game failed to gel toward the end or was undone by last minute failures in decision making,
the resulting game has failed on its ambition to bring in the new age of space gaming with anything surpassing mediocrity.
What's left of the project is a beautiful game atop terrible foundations.
When not fighting the games controls, you find yourself piloting a beautifully realized space craft in a universe carved out of
Japanese manga. Artist Junji Okubo is known to have contributed concepts to help achieve this look.
The soundtrack supports this with a well produced score from Paul Ruskay, composer for the Homeworld series,
as well as a few performances by singer Kokia. Watching the game over a player's shoulders, you would get an impression that the player
must be enjoying the massive barrage of missles they just fired off from their spaceship that also just happens to turns into a flying robot.
If only it were so. Flying the spaceship in Freespace 2 feels powerful, with your ship turning on a dime in response to your every
momentum. In Wing Commander, flying the spaceship is far more restrictive in a manner loosely based on WWII dogfights,
but it gives the player a feeling of momentum. Strike Suit Zero feels uncomfortably between the two, too restrictive in turning speeds
to feel free but too responsive to changes in acceleration to have the momentum of Wing Commander or X3.When you struggle with the
targeting system, you get a sense that the developers knew what they needed in a targeting system, but not why or how, leaving for
functions that feel unused or frustratingly far from the other core actions on the keyboard.
It doesn't help that the missions themselves are dull. Those of you looking for that time you slept in behind enemy
lines or that time you were betrayed by your superior and had to evacuate the field of battle in better games will find none of
that mission variety here. There are two objectives to every mission - kill these red guys and defend these blue guys.
The side objectives end up being how fast you kill said red guys.
The story is the traditional "Defend the motherland from ungrateful colonists" ,
but the story is undone mostly by poorly written characters voiced by unmotivated actors.
Had this game been released in 1999, it would have been from an upstart Japanese developer who didn't understand the market
but just wanted to chase the money train that Wing Commander and Descent Freespace enjoyed.
Back then, we would have ignored it in favor of better space games both available and anticipated.
And with Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous on the horizon, I suggest you do the same.