REVIEW: ‘Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut’ is Nothing New, but is a Whole Lot of Fun (Switch)

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Strike Suit Zero

In the furthest reaches of space, humans turn against humans in the name of power and control. All hope rests within the skills of an alien A.I and an amnesiac pilot, with a special weapon known as the Strike Suit. From Born Ready Games comes Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut, a space anime-inspired combat game that combines starfighter and mech-based combat with a galactic civil war that may have far-reaching implications than anyone can imagine.

The year is 2299, and a terrible civil war wage across the cosmos.  Despite expansions into the stars, growing dissent broiled between Earth and the colonies of Earth, eventually breaking out into a species-wide civil war. The Earth’s fleet is routed by the Colonial Fleet, which includes their special operations unit, The Black Fleet. The Earth lies on the verge of destruction. Meanwhile, on Earth, a routine training mission takes a turn for the worse.

The player’s character, Adams, suffers from amnesia and is unable to recall how or why he was stranded adrift in space. Suddenly, enemy ships warp in and after fighting them off, a distress signal rings out, bringing two lone pilots to a far and remote space station in unknown space. An A.I, calling herself Control, communicates with the pilots, stating that she has designed a weapon that is key for winning the war.

Under fire from the enemy, the player dons the Strike Suit, an advanced, cutting-edge hybrid of a space fighter and a mech, able to transform between both configurations for maximum firepower. With the situation dire, Adam, the Strike Suit, and control are the only hope that Earth has in successfully destroying the colonial fleet.

Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is a space combat game, where the player will gain access to fly the strike suit. In the first mission, players will be introduced to the spaceflight mechanics of the game, from weapons handling to ship navigation. After a thorough tutorial, which includes combat with enemy ships, the player will then be introduced to the strike suit. In ship form, the Strike Suit is quite powerful, but the core of the ship is in its mech form, known as Strike Mode.

In Strike mode, the ship wields an incredible amount of firepower and maneuverability. The ship[ can evade projectiles, and deliver devastating volleys of cannon shells and missiles. However, it requires flux energy, must be gained by downing various ships in ship form. The key to victory is to wield this energy wisely. The colonial fleet is incredibly dangerous, especially The Black Fleet, which will utilize advanced alien technologies against the player. After the first two missions, the player is in for a fairly lengthy campaign that will put players up against hostile craft, advanced warships, and even secret weapons that have the potential to threaten life itself.

Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut hits you with a sharp, deep-space mystery, with a hauntingly striking soundtrack and a focused array of colors in its presentation. Blue is a color aesthetic that is heavily used throughout the experience, and its association with space. Cosmic lighting and glows highlight the advanced mystery and far-reaching impressions of a war happening far from the Earth. Ominous dark hues and violently orange flares evoke a sense of dread and doom.

The soundtrack, composed by Paul Ruskay, feels like something pulled right from a deep sci-fi anime, highlighting the desperation of the war, but also, a sense of ancient galactic martial arts. The key track features a female vocalizer, named Kokia chanting throughout a particular track. There is beautiful desperation for the overall experience. Insane battles and combat scenarios, coupled with the mystery of the Strike Suit and Control, all create an intrigue that instills excitement with a small sense of dread and fear.

The gameplay in Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is as fantastic as it was back in 2015, albeit with a few adjustments that players will need to become familiar with.  On the PlayStation 4, the controls were mapped to the Dualshock controller well, but for the Nintendo Switch, the controls take a small degree of getting used to on the joy-con.

The directional pad on the left joy-con cycles weapons and the left analog stick, when pressed down, initiates thrust. However, it also controls pitch, so when you are pushing down, you ship will not go straight but downward. To compensate, the right stick needs to be held up. Considering that players will be surrounded by enemies and need to evacuate a bad situation quickly, this particular instance might be a bit frustrating for some. however, the rest of the controls are fine.  The right triggers control weapons and the left control thrust.

By the second mission players will be given access to the strike suit, and for the duration of the fair lengthy campaign, players will be able to swap from combat fighter to combat back in an instant.  In combat ship form, the player will be able to dogfight with various enemies, firing laser Vulcans or launching guided missiles and rockets. In mech form, the player will be able to unleash devastating firepower from their arm cannons and volleys of energetic swarm missiles.

Strike Suit Zero

As the campaign progresses, players will be in combat with larger enemy vessels and overwhelming amounts of enemies. Each mission feels distinctly different from the last, raising the stakes and risks all the more higher. Coupled with the soundtrack, Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut fills a sensation that only deep-space anime is able to fill and that is the sensation of epic, desperate battle. The feeling of losing is constant, which makes the skills as the Strike Suit pilot all the more important.

Overall, the gameplay in Strike Suit Zero Directo’rs Cut is great, especially on the go. In several ways, this can be compared to the Polygon Pictures anime on Netflix, Knights of Sidonia.

While Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut has fantastic gameplay and comes recommended, there are a few elements holding it back. Considering that the game was released on consoles in 2015 and first released in 2013, I would have imagined a new campaign or series of missions for the Nintendo Switch, perhaps becoming an epilogue to the main game. The main game consists of a primary campaign of a dozen missions, plus a small campaign that has players reliving specific battles in the war. However, outside of these two campaigns, there are no additional game modes or missions.

Additionally, the game’s presentation is still quite sharp for the Nintendo Switch, even with the downgraded framerate and effects. However, I noticed several audio glitches while using the plasma cannons. It could be argued that the sound coming out of the game when in undocked mode is quite low, though that would be a minor inconvenience.

However, as is, Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut does accomplish what it needs to do, with plenty of content and replayability.  If you want a better presentation, the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC versions are the way to go, but the Nintendo Switch version is far more than just functional.

Despite some setbacks with content and performance, Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is a fantastic sci-fi experience, especially on the go. Its mystery and suspense is supported by a tremendous soundtrack and sharp gameplay straight from an anime. This is absolutely one war worth fighting, and my hopes is that Born Ready Games will delight us with another demonstration of their amazing talents in the future. Strike Suit Zero: Director’s cut is interstellar.

 

Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL; DR

Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is a fantastic sci-fi experience, especially on the go. Its mystery and suspense is supported by a tremendous soundtrack and sharp gameplay straight from an anime.