By: Jeff Cater
Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is a spaced out shoot ’em up developed and published by Born Ready Games. As a rogue transmission detailing the intricate evolution of space flight is intercepted, Earthen colonies revolt against Colonial Earth. As a pilot named Adams, your goal is to assert your dominance upon the rebellion. But is Adams ready for such a task?
Strike Suit Zero is a pretty unwieldy beast at times. The game quickly makes you become familiar with two separate control schemes: one for piloting a regular ship, and one for piloting the Strike Suit. Spending time in a ship jetting around the stars feels immediately familiar for anyone that has seated themselves behind a star fighter before, but there’s a somewhat jarring difference when the ship transforms into the Strike Suit.
In said mode, you sacrifice much of your mobility for sheer firepower. Controlling the suit closely resembles moving any character in a third-person shooter, except in zero gravity conditions with enemies in every direction. Thrusters and weapons are bound to the shoulder buttons and triggers, and an extra boost can be done by clicking R3. The face buttons take care of enemy lock-on and countermeasures, but the targeting never feels intuitive or friendly, and it usually winds up targeting a close enemy that is nowhere near your field of vision. In short, flying the ship is a comfortable blast but scurrying across the void in a Strike Suit can be a disorienting, clumsy endeavor (at least at first).
As Strike Suit Zero takes place in the dark, cold void of space, a LOT of what you’ll be seeing is stars blurring by and various explosions. Born Ready did a great job of decorating the void with nebulae and gaseous clouds to fly by, but ships scream last-gen. It’s not that the ships look bad, it’s just that they don’t look very cool or sharp.
When skimming the sides of larger battle ships and the like you’ll notice the textures are pretty dull and uninspired. Though really these things are hard to take note of when being tailed by an enemy or jetting through a shredding ball of fire. I should also mention that the special effects look pretty good, and the various weapons and explosions are very well done.
The voice acting is bland and not very memorable, and it doesn’t really do anything to give depth to the peripheral characters. Meanwhile, Adams comes off as another boring, silent protagonist that we all came to know and love in 2000. The music, a blend of orchestral and electronic, is pretty well done and, when accompanied with the intense firefights, gets your blood moving.
Strike Suit Zero is certainly not a pick-up-and-play title, as the hardcore nature of the intense combat can confuse newcomers and send them running pretty quick. The game features difficult primary and secondary objectives; some seemingly designed to intentionally discourage or frustrate a player.
An example: the only way to unlock upgrades for any given ship is to complete side objectives during a mission, which can range from laughably easy (using only laser weapons) to the absurdly difficult (trying to prevent a single torpedo from hitting an allied vessel amidst a field of enemies).
If you brave the swelling difficulty you’ll find Strike Suit Zero to be a very unique and rewarding game. Clearing a whole squadron of enemy fighters in one fell swoop with the Strike Suit is completely empowering if utilized wisely (you must earn Flux power by destroying enemy combatants in order to transform your ship into the Strike Suit).
Dog fights are exhilarating as well, and being able to transform and switch up the pace of the gameplay is invaluable to the longevity of the title. Unfortunately, as much as this game screams “multiplayer,” there’s none to be had.
While pretty tough to get into initially, a patient player will find loads of play time and enjoyment in Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut. The game has just enough visual flair to make eyes widen and enough visceral gameplay to keep them that way.