Strike Suit Zero’s thrilling combat and awe-inspiring world make space combat feel like a relevant genre after years of stagnation.

The Good

  • Fast-paced combat feels new and exciting
  • The ability to transform injects much-needed creativity into the old formula
  • Captivating renderings of outer space draw you into the world
  • Hard to acquire upgrades and multiple endings extend the game’s replayability.

The Bad

  • Most missions are too long for their own good
  • Upgrades are valuable, but often too hard to acquire
  • Underwhelming delivery of the narrative and scripted dialogue.

Earth’s future hangs by a thread. After decades of expansion and colonization across the universe, man’s disparate factions are fighting for independence from their homeworld. Strike Suit Zero puts you in the role of Adams, a faceless soldier, as you defend the United Nations of Earth from the Colonial onslaught. Though a few nagging issues persist throughout, Strike Suit Zero’s strengths continuously rise to the surface, and whether it’s the dramatic renderings of outer space or the heady mix of grace and aggression during battle, there’s simply a lot to love about its modern twist on the decidedly stale space combat genre

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Before acquiring the game’s namesake war machine, you have to complete a few introductory tutorials in a standard fighter jet to get acclimated to the controls. Jets are fast, and your test fighter is no exception. You can engage thrusters for an additional boost of speed to keep up with fleeing enemies, but topping out can also send you slightly off course due to the effects of inertia. Unlike the strike suit you command during much of the campaign, jets have the ability to disable incoming missiles by emitting an electromagnetic pulse. The EMPs get the job done, but the lack of something like a quick barrel-roll feels like a missed opportunity for practical showmanship. The standard fighter is quite simple in that regard. After a few minutes, you’ll have no problem mowing down enemy ships while jetting across the battlefield, and Adams will be cleared for his return to active duty.

Each of the four ships used throughout the campaign are capable of equipping various types of guns and missiles simultaneously. Most scenarios are flexible enough that you can develop your own loadout without jeopardizing your chances of success, since that responsibility ultimately falls onto your ability to strike or flee at key moments. Missiles that lock onto enemy aircraft have a finite supply of ammo, so it’s smarter to utilize standard machine guns or plasma rounds rather than auto-targeting every enemy from the start. Once you deplete your cache of ammo within individual missions, you’re out of luck since there are no items or supplies to be found in the vastness of space.

However, rather than lean on the notion that space is a mostly empty void, each stage is replete with fantastic images of gigantic celestial bodies and gaseous nebulae that make the entire experience a joy to behold. Debris and casualties of war decorate the foreground while jetstreams of red and blue dance across the screen. The balance of scale and visual flourishes make you feel like a part of the action, rather than a mere observer of distant wonders.

Even the largest enemy vessels don't stand a chance against the menacing Strike Suit.

Even the largest enemy vessels don’t stand a chance against the menacing Strike Suit.

The relatively dull jet gameplay at the start leaves a lackluster first impression, but once the game puts you in the seat of the Strike Suit, it spreads its wings and never looks back.

From the handful of ships you’ll pilot during the course of the game, the Strike Suit remains the most enjoyable to use for it’s ability to transform and out maneuver enemy aircraft. Once you’ve gathered the right amount of flux energy from shooting down enemies and space debris, your suit can change into a nimble mech with considerably stronger firepower and the ability to quickly dash out of harms way. Every shot you fire in strike mode depletes your flux meter, so finding the balance between your two states becomes a critical skill for success in later missions. The advantages the mech brings to the table include the ability to auto-lock onto the nearest target and the potential to train missiles on up to five enemies at once, but be careful: you can still get shot down if you neglect to watch your back. Once you get a taste of juggling the nimble jet and the powerful mech, it’s hard to go back to the less exciting alternatives. It’s too bad that you can’t use it in every mission, but thankfully there are only a few where it’s unavailable.

Strike Suit Zero’s thrilling combat and awe-inspiring world make space combat feel like a relevant genre after years of stagnation.

By Peter Brown