GamingReview: Strike Vector EX PS4

Review: Strike Vector EX PS4

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When I first caught the trailer for Strike Vector EX for Playstation 4, I was immediately grabbed by its fast paced action set to a pounding hard rock soundtrack. It showcased fast aerial dog fighting in futuristic ships with battles in space to large constructs in the air. It was demonstrating all the aspects of classic arcade shooter action that I cherished in old school games such as Space Harrier and Ace Combat and it got my attention.

Originally released for PC back in 2014, Strike Vector EX has been brought across to the Playstation 4 with some new features and refinements including a brand new single player story campaign. Developed by the superbly named Ragequit Corporation, Strike Vector EX not only looks like a fun arcade title but it is also surprisingly low priced for a new release at pocket change level compared to other recent arcade title releases.

Starting off we have the new single player story campaign which is set over fifteen story missions and puts the player in the role of Marv who has dreams of becoming a Vector pilot to fight in the war between the Consortium and the Syndicate. When he comes of age he immediately signs up to for the consortium and begins his training as a pilot. All seems pretty straight forward when you start but very quickly the story starts to become an incoherent mess with some really terrible voice acting to the character of Marv and the side characters you fly with and do battle with. The last time I played such a rambling nonsensical story campaign was in Vanquish, but like Vanquish, the action and gameplay make up for the flaws in the storytelling and lines of dialogue. Without spoiling too much of the story, the number of times Marv switches allegiances is just staggering to follow his exploits that soon you will find yourself skipping the brief dialogue cut-scenes just to get to the action itself.

The Vector ships have two modes of flight, Standing and Fast. Fast will see the Vector in pure thrust mode using afterburners to speed around the battle area giving less maneuverability but greater speeds. Standing mode is the default mode for the Vector and enables it to hover in place allowing for more precise combat. Switching between the two is a matter of simply holding the left trigger on the controller and it can be exhilarating in Fast mode when zipping in and out of the different playing locations such as giant oil rigs in the sky. They are so cleverly designed that you can fight between structures or use them as cover when the action gets too hot. Health and attack cool down power ups can be collected simply by flying into them and they are healthily stocked on each mission.

The missions mainly come down to simply destroying all the enemy ships that are thrown at you, and different Vector ships and load-outs become available as the player progresses more and more in the story. You can choose your primary weapon and its perk, a special action which serves as a secondary weapon such as mines or defensive modes such an instant shield or Nanobots for self repairing. At first you are restricted to the standard generic load outs but soon you can begin to tailor your Vector load out to your own fighting style. Each mission is scored by how long it takes to complete it, with your overall time going on the global leaderboard as well as a nice comparison with anyone on your friends list who is also playing the game with some missions being longer than others but ultimately none of the story missions were longer than six minutes for me so the story campaign itself is rather short but it is still great fun and I did find the dialogue to be enjoyable despite its terrible delivery and throw away storytelling use.

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Outside the main story campaign the game has a Skirmish mode which is really just an offline training mode using the various battle arenas in the game to try out weapon load outs and flying skills. In this mode however the player can not earn any of the in game currency or gain XP from playing it and is purely single player, but with the main story offering pretty much the same experience but with the ability to earn Keb credits and XP, I fail to really see the point of this mode for the game.

It does have an online multiplayer as well, and this is where the customisation of your own Vector comes into play. The Multiplayer features six game modes ranging from your traditional deathmatch to capture the flag. Playing through these modes will allow the player to unlock new cosmetic items and weapons which can be purchased with the Kebs currency. The Vector can be tailored to have different cockpits, engine and wings which can change the look of the ship itself, you can even purchase decals to personalise the wings as an extra bonus. Weapon load outs can be customised as well to your preferred fighting style.

I did struggle to find matches with other human players, but the game will place AI Bot players if human players cannot be found, and though some can be ridiculously easy to defeat, some can prove to be a challenge but it was frustrating to play against bots the majority of the times I did take this game online. Which is a shame because Strike Vector EX has the potential to be an amazing fun experience online, I do wish that it had been included as part of September’s PS Plus free games because it could have launched with a large player base to suit the online potential of its multiplayer.

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It does have some issues however outside of the story campaign’s flaws. At times the background music can fail to start leaving an awkward silence after enjoying a power rock tune in the last mission. Sound effects can also fail to play correctly which can be annoying as the audible to let you know when to dodge an incoming missile is crucial when fighting multiple enemies so when it fails to activate you simply get blasted out of the sky.

I really enjoyed Strike Vector EX as an arcade title, the gameplay is fast and fluid and flying a Vector at full speed between the structures of a giant sky platform is amazing. The story campaign is weak on story and dialogue but for an arcade level title it provides enough action to make the investment in playing through it worthwhile and working to improve your own time is always a must for competitive players and I did enjoy comparing my time to those of my friends also playing it. For the price Strike Vector EX really is old school arcade action, it is just a real shame that the online element currently has such a low player base so fighting bots is less of a challenge although you can still unlock new items, gain rank XP and currency as well as Trophies for those who like to collect them.

This would have made a superb PS Plus title for September, just as Rocket League benefited from being included in it. There is enough solo content to make it a viable purchase but it can be so much more fun an experience if the player base was large enough to make the online multiplayer more credible.

SUMMARY


+ Price
+ Fast arcade gameplay
+ Soundtrack
- Campaign Story and Dialogue
- Low playerbase for MP modes
- Sound Effect and Music miscues
Sean McCarthy
Sean McCarthy
Freelance writer but also a Gamer, Gooner, Jedi, Whovian, Spartan, Son of Batman, Assassin and Legend. Can be found playing on PS4 and Xbox One Twitter @CockneyCharmer

1 COMMENT

  1. Yea my biggest worry was that no one would buy this game, which unfortunately seems to be the case. Hopefully it gets put on PS plus at some point, perhaps that’ll help spruce up the online component.

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<br /> + Price <br />+ Fast arcade gameplay <br />+ Soundtrack <br /> - Campaign Story and Dialogue <br /> - Low playerbase for MP modes <br />- Sound Effect and Music miscues <br /><Reviewed on Playstation 4 and available now>Review: Strike Vector EX PS4