Thursday, 27 February 2014

Anytime Reviews: Strider

The unstealthiest ninja ever
I've recently got my hands on Strider, Double Helix's new reboot (they've been making a lot of those lately) of an arcade game of the same name which sadly, I have never had the pleasure of playing. Strider Hiryu is our main character, who is one of many striders that have attempted to infiltrate and sabotage the mysterious city of Kazakh but this doesn't really get expanded on in the main story other than every single other strider before you has failed. And is probably dead. Speaking of the main story, its basic and cheesy, but its a reboot of an arcade game, so I can accept that. Although I would have liked the backstory of these striders and villains explored further (there is enemy intel that tells you about them, but it doesn't say much). The enemies and bad guys in Strider are introduced randomly, with stylish introductions and subtitles before them. But the main villains have no explanation of how and why they're there. But they look interesting and have lots of variation. On the topic of looks, this is a really good looking game.
Strider somewhat resembles the looks of Street Fighter IV, due to it being in 2.5D (and published by Capcom) and there are a barrage of different colours thrown on screen at many points in the game. The animation is clean and smooth, and I didn't notice any drops in framerate or freezing. The gameplay is fast and quick, but Strider is a glass cannon as Edge magazine puts it- he can't take very much damage, but he can sure deal it out. Balancing this is the smorgasbord of health pickups that are present around the game. But if you do die, the health refilling checkpoints scattered conveniently throughout the city will take you back to where you were. The button for slashing your sword doesn't have a delay between strikes, so you can just pummel it. You can attack in all 8 directions, but your only moves at the start are an upper cut, a sliding move and of course the regular strike. You can also climb walls, which adds more variety to platforming. Strider is also a side scrolling Metroid-Vania game, with big open areas and a steady supply of new moves and abilities, soon providing you with the likes of double jumps and different elements to your cypher, which is your sword, to pass through to new sections of the world map. It also has plenty of hidden upgrades to your health and energy, as well as collectibles like the enemy intel mentioned in the first part of this review. But although the enemies have variety, some of the bosses and enemies are quite irritating. For example a metal gorilla (above) has a move which always happened to trap me in a corner, and he kept on doing it fast enough so it would hit me as Strider stood back up and recovered.
Strider manages to harken back to its original arcade predecessor, while updating it for the current generation. But it harkens a little too much, with a simple story holding the the game down and a few irritating moments as well. It should last for around 7-8 hours, or at least my run did. But this is a good fast paced arcade title, worth the £12 or so.
(Thanks to Capcom and Laura Skelly for providing us with a review copy!)


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