The space shooter sim has been a long dormant genre since the 90’s, and even then it was only a thing for PC gamers. Console gamers looking to get their feet wet, or perhaps anime fans wanting to live out their Macross dreams may find a lot to love in Born Ready Games’ Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut, but it’s definitely not a game for everyone.
Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is an enhanced console port of the 2013 Kickstarter-funded single-player space shooter Strike Suit Zero. Featuring updated visuals, an overhauled story and extra DLC missions, the Director’s Cut is now available on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 for $19.99.
The main campaign consists of 13 missions that will set you back about 6 hours, but feature medals to earn and optional objectives to complete for upgrades that may or may not add replay value to your game. In addition to the campaign, the Director’s Cut also features additional DLC missions and 2 bonus ships to pilot around in space.
Playing the role of a fighter pilot in the United Nations of Earth, you actually play a small part in an ongoing conflict between the warring nations of outer space. Earth has denied free colonization of other planets and, in turn, has gained a fleet of new enemies that will stop at nothing to get what they want.
As missions play out, you’ll notice that the game’s AI is at war with each other, not just you. This always gives the feeling that you’re part of a squad, not the end-all hero that you might expect from most modern games. Mission objectives range from blowing up specific targets to, well, blowing up specific targets while you escort friendly vessels to their destination. The overall lack of mission variety brings a certain level of tedium to Strike Suit Zero, but the weight of this complaint is going to vary from player to player. I lost interest in the story pretty quick and grew pretty tired of doing the same ol’ same ol’ within a few hours.
The selling point for Strike Suit Zero is the titular Strike Suit, which is a fighter jet that transforms in to a mech. As you destroy enemies or avoid damage for a period of time, your pilot’s flux meter fills up and allows you to use that resource to change in to a mech for superior mobility and damage. Your normal ship can still dish out punishment with a wide variety of changeable gun and missile types, but while the mech portion controls fantastically, controlling the ship is something nightmares are made of.
If you’re familiar with 360-degree space flight controls you’ll feel right at home with Strike Suit Zero, but as someone who hasn’t been exposed to them since the mid-90’s, I found the ship’s control scheme to be anything short of agonizing to deal with. Again, this is something that’s going to vary from player to player — as I’ve seen the controls praised in many other reviews — but if you’re looking for something that controls more like Star Fox, you’re in for a second helping of frustration cake.
Graphically, Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut nails the epic feel of space, and does so in spades. Every zone looks fantastic, every explosion is colorful and every ship is a pleasure to look at, although the explosions seem to plummet the game’s framerate almost constantly. Seeing what developer Born Ready Games‘ was going to deliver next was the main reason I wanted to plow through mission after tedious mission, and never was I disappointed by the visuals. It also offers a stellar soundtrack that’s very reminiscent of Konami’s Zone of Enders.
As most of my complaints are personal, your mileage with Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut may vary. If you’re in to 360-degree flight controls and you’re okay with the repetitive mission structure, you’ll find a lot more to love with the game than I did. While I did enjoy Strike Suit‘s beautiful representation of space and the epic scale of the conflict within it, I just wasn’t a fan of the pilot’s control scheme and that was something that weighed heavily on my overall opinion of the game.
Recommended for fans of: Zone of Enders, Gundam, Macross, Colony Wars, Wing Commander and various other space fighter sims like Freelancer or FreeSpace.
Bradley Keene is an avid gamer & freelance blogger from Baltimore, MD that handles news and reviews here at What’s Your Tag?. If he’s not knee-deep in an RPG or some form of Nintendo game, he’s usually watching terrible horror films or listening to Gwar. Follow him on Twitter @amgfail_WYT, or contact him by e-mail at email@example.com. Love gaming? Join TEAM XBRO today!