From humble Kickstarter beginnings, Strike Suit Zero has come a long way. Originally available for PC and reviewed by our own David Roberts, it has become the first self-published title on the Xbox One with visual improvements and some added content as the newly released Strike Suit Zero: Directors Cut. As a space-flight combat sim, its nearest competitor in the One’s marketplace is Crimson Dragon – and only by squinting is there any similarity.
In the campaign mode you’ll be taken through a story not dissimilar to Titanfall, whereby colonists have broken off ties with the military forces of Earth known as U.N.E.. As the voiceless pilot Adams, your missions are directed by an “AI with a god complex”. The Directors Cut brings along with it Heroes of the Fleet – five missions where you get to replay key historic battles in the conflict and serve to flesh out the story.
And you will need to get good at combat if you want the good ending – each level is rated based on your performance and they contribute to how the game ends. There are three levels of difficulty – a blessing when you’re just learning the ropes, and certainly the hard levels work well for extending gameplay after you’ve managed to upgrade your ships sufficiently to make normal far too easy. I consciously avoided David’s review to not focus on his experience – and Born Ready had definitely taken the right steps to provide better checkpoint placement and difficulty settings, though some missions required later visits to improve my score to unlock ship performance upgrades.
The only gripes I have are that the cockpit view offers no real advantage, and sometimes exploding ships can obscure your vision. Jet streams, smoke and explosions match the dogfighting physics: they don’t come across as authentic space combat, but are way more fun than stodgy adherence to reality. I must admit, seeing a volley of swarm missiles chase after your target is extremely satisfying, as is laying waste to Corvettes with a rail gun from across the battlefield.