Strike Vector EX PS4 Review
High, stable frame-rate
Challenging level design
Great high speed effects
Great multiplayer action
Seemingly unbalanced weapons
Terribly generic soundtrack
Tiny online player-base
Strike Vector EX for PS4 comes to us as a remaster of the 2014 PC version. Fast and challenging, Ragequit Corporation’s 3D space fighter blends dazzling speed visuals à la Armored Core V with simple multiplayer PvP to create compelling gameplay best served in bite sizes. Despite its tiny online player base, the title’s potential becomes abundantly clear from your very first dog fight.
The campaign features a series of missions that boil down to don’t die, avoid obstacles, and shoot stuff. All in all, it’s a fun diversion that developed my handle on the controls more so than engage me. Some decent voice acting and character portraits carried along threadbare story but really wasn’t enough to stir any investment in the game world.
Your ship is armed with one main weapon, a secondary, rechargeable special, and a fast flight mode. The stable fighter mode restricts movement but allows for precision aiming while flight mode launches your ship into awesome F-Zero speeds. Firefights are twitchy but the ship handling is responsive enough to keep up. Switching between ship modes is fast and allows for dexterous maneuvers such as ducking in and out of cover or racing missiles through massive air ducts
Matchmaking in multiplayer took me about a minute each time I logged in and typically scrounged up a total of six players – half the online match limit. While I didn’t get to experience all out 6v6 multiplayer, the 3v3 matches I played were still exhilarating. The small community on PS4 seems to know the multiplayer maps inside and out and forced me to catch up quickly. Some primary weapons, like the homing missile launcher and carbine cannon seemed overpowered. Every single lock-on I got with a homing missile resulted in a kill with little to no window for players to escape the fast rockets. Meanwhile, the carbine cannon chewed through enemy armor, killing in only two hits. Sure, I had a blast ogling my K/D at the top of the match rankings but more options to counter my moves would’ve made each victory much sweeter.
Environments aren’t pretty featuring outdated, even ugly textures but a high, steady frame-rate on the PS4 was enough to keep me happy and ship handling lively. High speed flight looked awesome and filled me with a sense of speed as the world blurred past me. Leveling up your profile unlocks ship aesthetic customization options for your ship, including alternate cockpits, engines, and wings. Players can also paint their ship to their liking without having to drudge through unlocking skins, as we’ve so often in multiplayer progression systems. A nitpick is that the game’s first person camera doesn’t feature a detailed cockpit; it’s a clear windshield view that glimpses your ship’s cannons but nothing more. Really, I would’ve been much more taken by the title if it had featured an immersive pilot’s console, as seen in EVE Valkyrie.
Sound production was generally good and added to the experience but the constant trucker rock soundtrack drove me up the wall. It’s a personal inclination but trucker rock consistently cheapens game production to me, especially when it’s this forgettable and generic. The space setting made it seem further out of place. By this point, I think most gamers have gotten used to a electronica, dubstep, and ambient rock accompanying their space flight experiences.
Strike Vector EX is great fun and a great port. It controls beautifully on the Dualshock 4 and delivers a certain kind of high speed, arcadey space action and well-implemented mechanics I’d honestly expect to find more of on the market. However, between the generic music, lacklustre visuals, and weak campaign, it’s a lack of imagination and character that ultimately hold Strike Vector EX back from being much more than “spaceships in space.”