Reviews: Strike Suit Zero

An flawed but admirable creation

It's often said that Freespace 2 pretty much killed the space sim genre by being simply too good for anything to compete against it. Strike Suit Zero isn't the game to dethrone it, but SSZ still manages a modest amount of fun for an indie project.

First, its failings: the storyline is almost nonexistent and nobody really counts as having a personality. The colonial forces are faceless and might as well be robots considering you never interact with them except in dogfights. There's no attachment to the non-characters and they come and go as the plot dictates, as do various ships. There's also a few too few capital ships to deal with. Snub fighter count is fine; they're small and it's hard to distinguish many of them enough that people would be able to tell the difference (let alone care), but there's really only a handful of capital ships you fight and while they all require different tactics, there could be more. A better targeting system wouldn't hurt either; in most cases you can only select either the enemy closest to you or the one that's directly in front of you and oftentimes they're the same enemy.

The Strike Suit (and the DLC Raptor) are also the only machines with giving a fuck about. Dogfighting can become difficult in later levels and the Strike mode missile spamming really makes a difference in whittling down the enemies. Not only that, it wouldn't have hurt to let you use it at the start, then maybe make it damaged and force you to go without for a few stages before letting you use it again.

I'd complain about the game never actually telling you what the weak points in enemy capital ships are, but I've heard the DLC missions actually corrected that problem. DLC is a problem in and of itself, but any port in a storm.

All of this aside, I like SSZ a lot. Combat's fast-paced and dealing with large capital ships is more fun here for me than it was in X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. Weapon distribution is also pretty well-paced, and it's also fun to go back in previous missions and use your awesome weaponry on enemies who'd previously given you a lot of trouble.

Give it a go if you're willing to look past its flaws. It may very well be a pleasant surprise for you.