Review: Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut
In the year 2299 the fate of Earth hangs in the balance of an ongoing war between the U.N.E. (United Nations of Earth) and a space colony that possesses a weapon capable of destroying planets. As the game’s 13 mission campaign begins you learn that the enemy forces intend to end the war by destroying Earth with one final attack. The only hope for your home planet comes in the form of the Strike Suit. A specialized craft that can transform into an incredibly powerful suit of armor. Throughout the game you’ll take down enemy ships, escort allies through dangerous mine fields, and ultimately launch one final strike that felt much less epic than was likely intended.
Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut consists of the original 13 mission campaign from the initial PC release as well as five new missions that act as simulations/history lessons of key battles during the war. Each of these missions will take on average around twenty minutes to finish and reward upgrades to your ship if you’re able to complete the mission under specific parameters. Unfortunately the mission structure for the most part very rarely changes from the beginning of the game right up until just before the last mission. Throughout Strike Suit Zero you’ll pilot one of a handful of ships (each with differing armor/shields/guns/etc.) through an open space battlefield to simply take out wave after wave on enemies. Most missions simply feel like they drag on far too long because they don’t do very much to change up what you’re actually doing. Which is too bad because piloting your ship and transforming with the Strike Suit to unleash a blinding array of missiles is pretty fun. Without much variety in missions the game tends to get stale after long play sessions no matter how fun it might be to pilot the Strike Suit.
The one time the game does offer something different comes in the final mission as you’re asked to do something totally different from the other missions. I get the feeling that this mission is supposed to feel hugely important or epic in a sense. It’s all up to this last effort to turn the tides of war and save Earth so there’s some serious weight resting on your shoulders. Instead I felt much of the opposite. It felt like a calm flight as I listened to one of the main characters explaining major plot points of the story.
I haven’t spent a ton of time with other space combat games in the past so I do understand that getting used to how this game controls should probably take some time. That said I think the default control layout is poor and even switching through the different customization options doesn’t provide an optimal layout. For instance the default control scheme sets the left analog stick to controls rolling while the right analog stick controlled the pitch and yaw. This felt backwards to me so I switched the controls for the analog sticks which unfortunately meant that all of my weapons were now mapped to L1 and L2. I grew accustomed to this over time and it probably won’t be a big deal in the grand scheme of things but I do wish there were some better customization options for controls.
Despite some of the longer missions dragging on for a little too long I have to hand it to the game for having some incredible background art. I mean space is fun to look at anyways but sometimes I’d stop attempting the missions just to fly around and look at all of the planets and stars that surrounded me. Some of the missions that take place over Earth are especially great as you can see what appears to be this large structure that has been built to connect Earth to the Moon with other large space stations surrounding our home planet as well. There’s just a lot of detail that went in to creating a backdrop for these large space battles that absolutely did not go unnoticed. In addition to that the soundtrack, done by Paul Ruskay (Homeworld) and Kokia (Tales of Innocence), is pretty awesome and fits rather well with the game.
I didn’t run into this too often but Strike Suit Zero can be pretty bad about failing you without any warning whatsoever. In one case I was doing exactly what I needed to do when the screen went black and the mission failed screen appeared for no apparent reason. In another instance I failed the mission because apparently I flew out of the mission zone despite being in the same area as the enemy ships that I needed to shoot down. For that matter the game didn’t even display any sort of warning that I might be approaching the end of the mission area. Luckily I didn’t fail missions too often and the checkpoints seemed to be close enough together so that I didn’t lose too much time. (Apparently the original game was much worse about checkpoints.)
Strike Suit Zero is pretty fun but as I mentioned before the repetition throughout almost every mission does get old pretty quick. To be honest I was having a great time up until about four-five missions in when I realized that the mission structure wasn’t going to change. That said if you don’t mind the repetition Strike Suit Zero can still be pretty fun and it does have an awesome soundtrack to go with it.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Piloting the Strike Suit is fun
- Great soundtrack
- Backgrounds featuring planets, moons, etc are beautiful
- Structures clearly visible on the Moon. John Lear vindicated.
What I Dislike:
- Control customization feels limiting
- Very little mission variety
- Failing a mission instantly and for unclear reasons
- Missions drag on for too long