Sizing Up: Strike Suit Zero Preview

By RPS on October 28th, 2011 at 3:39 pm.

Suits, striking!
RPS chum Paul Dean has been suited up for a look at Strike Suit Zero. What follows is his report. The game is set to be released on PC next summer.

I’ve never been very into the giant mecha thing and my enjoyment of the genre is mostly limited to the deconstructivist, apocalyptic, existential angsting (no, really) that is Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, if you want your giant robots with less clinical depression, Judeo-Christian symbology or Freudian themes, then doublesix’s Strike Suit Zero might be more to your taste. Actually, you can probably still keep the big Freudian weapons.

Instead of crippling self-doubt, the protagonist of Strike Suit Zero comes equipped with a massive transforming space ship that fires lasers and missiles, both of which are much better tools for permanently addressing a multitude of life’s challenges. In the extremely glossy preview that doublesix’s Creative Director Jim Mummery took me through, this transmogrifying technobeast took on vessels that made Battlestar Galactica look like Sputnik.

Suits, Zeroing!
Mecha fans may find themselves suitably lubricated to learn that the ship design comes courtesy of Junji Okubo, who has contributed giant robots to Steel Battalion, as well as the animes Appleseed: Ex Machina and Viper’s Creed. According to Jim, this means Strike Suit Zero has “Very functional mecha. The hinges are all in the right place. It’s not like a Michael Bay Transformer, where three tonnes of metal comes out of nowhere. It does actually functionally work.” I’ll take his word for it.

A massive transforming space ship is exactly what you’d need if you only had three hours to save the earth (after all, Flash Gordon would be useless), and the pilot of this craft will fight their way through those three hours of actual gameplay. However, a single journey through Strike Suit Zero will take players down just one of many potential branches that are part of a wider plot shrub. Depending on whether they succeed or fail at any of the game’s various missions, new and different opportunities present themselves. Should the basic Strike Suit prove unsatisfactory, there are snappier, deadlier models to unlock.

Zeroes, Suitening!
The build I saw only had a handful of ships and fighters to show off, but it was already a pretty affair. There was a clear Homeworld and X-Wing influence on display, with languid, bloated capital ships boasting all sorts of bristling components that could be shot off as you zig-zagged between them. Meanwhile, searing beam weapons leapt from vessel to vessel, tearing through the cold vacuum of a very empty space that Jim assured me would soon be populated by even more enormous ships, structures and space stations. He describes combat as a combination of first-person ducking and weaving with traditional dogfighting, as your ship transforms from fighter to robot and back again.

It remains to be seen quite how complex and exciting the combat gets, but there’s talk of being forced to make plot-critical decisions in the heat of battle, of wrestling with enemy aces and of ridiculous, suicidal odds. In fact, depending on which plot thread you follow, you may still get to enjoy some mecha-angst when you find you didn’t quite save the planet, but instead doomed it to a slow death.

Strike Suit Zero is slated for a summer 2012 release.

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54 Comments »

  1. JackDandy says:

    Hot damn, I dig giant robots.

    And I understand it takes an approach similar to the Playstation’s Colony Wars, where failing certain missions could take you down branching plot “trees”.

    Basically, Zone of the Enders + Colony Wars.. I may just be psyching myself up, but it really sounds great.
    Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

    EDIT: Couldn’t they have supplied you with some better screenshots, though? Humbug.

    • sneetch says:

      Looking at the first screenshot I thought it was a game about robotic spiders. Falling off buildings. Into fires.

    • Kevin says:

      You dig giant robots!

      I dig giant robots!

      We dig giant robots!

      Chicks dig giant robots!

    • Leandro says:

      I am always puzzled by the lack of good futuristic mech/spaceship shooters. I mean, I like my medieval fantasy settings, but what’s not to like about The Distant Future?

      Why did the spirit of late 80′s and early 90′s RPGs survive in the RPGs of today but the spirit of 80′s and early 90′s space shooters did not?

      Man, I loved the art direction on those games. Unlike today’s trend of Sci-Fi/Futuristic Game = Space Marine.

    • hexapodium says:

      @Kevin I miss Megas XLR. The world needs more selfaware, (sometimes) witty giant robot cartoons.

    • Groove says:

      “Chicks dig giant robots!”

      This giant robot isn’t the giant robot.

      The giant robot is my penis.

  2. Zeewolf says:

    I’m not big on big robots, but I can definitely get behind a game about shooting things in space. There needs to be more of those.

  3. Vexing Vision says:

    Ooooh, I love how the campaign sounds! Reminds me of Terminus, one of my all-time favourites.

    Now tell me I get full customization over my robot and Newtonian physics and I’ll give you whatever money you want.

    • JackDandy says:

      I wouldn’t expect that from this kind of game, bro. It will probably be more of an arcade-action game, like Future Cop LAPD. That was good too!

    • magnus says:

      Speaking of which was it just me that got the obscure Future Cop:LAPD Monty Python reference in one of the missions?

    • Nemrod says:

      Explain yourself sir!

      I love both, so how come I didn’t catch/remember that?

    • magnus says:

      Remember the boat called Throat Wobbler-Mangrove?

    • firefek says:

      Newtonian mechanics in a space game!? That’s unheard of!

      Everything would look like it is moving very slowly and there would be no sound (if you want a real simulation). Hell, hitting things with your sword will make you fly away. Then again, that’s what lightsabres and the like are for…

  4. AdrianWerner says:

    No mention that the soundtrack will be composed by Paul Ruskay, aka the guy who wrote music for Homeworld games? RPS, I am so dissapoint ;)

  5. Tokamak says:

    Who’s this mysterious “RPS” fellow?

  6. asshibbitty says:

    Steel Battalion mech designs were basically the best. This is also a PSN title so I guess it won’t be too involved. First person though?

  7. PodX140 says:

    I’m sad that there are so many giant mecha games, but no mech games. Huge difference. One flies, and the other has jumpjets that last for just long enough to maybe make it out of the way of that ppc that’s about to burn your leg off.

    I miss mech warrior games (Hell, even mech assault on the consoles was pretty damn good, if slightly arcadey).

    • JackDandy says:

      There’s been some twitter rumbling about that new Mechwarrior game. Next week will probably have an announcement.

    • PodX140 says:

      And now that’s just cruel. I’m already so excited for Skyrim and now you say that the (albeit pretty ancient now, what’s it been, 3 years since the teaser? So maybe 5 years of development?) new MechWarrior is going to have some sort of announcement?

      It’s not fair that this is my first year of engineering I tell you, I don’t have the time for all this!

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      They’re finally releasing the MechWarror iteration they showed the teaser trailer of back in 2009? All the legal muddles have been cleared?

      Woo hoo!

    • Cinek says:

      There’s Mechwarrior: Living Legends for all the modern needs in Mech gaming :)
      Multiplayer-only, but still outstanding piece of gaming!

    • Droniac says:

      “I’m sad that there are so many giant mecha games,”

      Surely an exaggeration?

      The only recent mecha game (on PC) I can recall is Front Mission Evolved, which was so bad that it really shouldn’t count at all. And the only upcoming mecha game is this Strike Suit Zero.

      The recent mech games (again, PC) I can recall are Mechwarrior Living Legends and Perpetuum Online. And we have both Hawken (2012) and MechWarrior 5 (2013-2014?) coming up. And if you count top-down perspectives then you also have Gatling Gears, the pretty good mech twin-stick shooter that was released a couple of months ago.

    • PodX140 says:

      Actually when I look at it I am probably exaggerating. I guess because I haven’t played living legends or perpetuum online my mind makes them not exist.

      On the topic of Hawken: You mentioning it made me reassert it in my books, initial impressions left me with an extremely mecha/arcadey feel, though looking at gameplay it looks similar to mech assault. Though, my calling it a mech game requires it to actually have a selection of mechs to choose from, and I seem to recall that no such choice will be available.

      Finally on the topic of mecha games being in such high number. There have been 10 if not more (Correction, it runs at 9) front mission games released in the last 10 years. That’s one mecha series, let alone other games. Commercial Mech games have been : Mech assault 1&2, a standalone mechwarrior expansion, an MMO (which I’ve heard several people compare to eve. Mechs are complex, but they aren’t supposed to be that bad :P ), and possibly chromehounds, I’m not sure where that falls on the mech/mecha line. So I may be exaggerating slightly, but I don’t think by all that much when you look at the numbers.

  8. Miker says:

    It’s always been a guilty pleasure of mine to build Gundam kits, so I have to say I’m excited for this, angst and all.

  9. Azhrarn says:

    Looks and sounds pretty good, seems well worth a look once it’s out. :)

  10. Armante says:

    Homeworld + Star Wars = Sold
    Hope this turns out to be good!

    • Cinek says:

      Erm… no, it’s not really anything like Homeworld + Star Wars.
      Flying in space with ships that leave engine trials doesn’t make a game Homeworld+Star Wars mix.

  11. Durkonkell says:

    Hm. I’m not normally a big fan of starfighters that are also robots (I’m very traditional. I think starfighters should be starfighters and big walking tanks should be big walking tanks), but this does sound pretty interesting. I would be interested in hearing more later!

    Speaking of games that have space in them, has the Hivemind detailed a node to think about Sword of the Stars II and then process said thoughts into words for the rest of us?

    • Fiyenyaa says:

      Not much point yet – they’ve buggered the release unfortunately.
      Done a Dead Island – given out beta-code to Steam.

    • Durkonkell says:

      It’s Magicka all over again!

      Ah well. SOTS1 and Magicka turned out alright in the end, and it looks like they’re patching it like crazy right now. To the Third Field of Battle for now, I guess!

  12. cosmicolor says:

    I hope it, assuming this is aiming to be an arcadey mecha game, matches up even a little to Zone of the Enders 2, which was all-out awesomeness from start to finish.

  13. Vagrant says:

    Looks like Omega Boost more than any other of the myriad of mecha games people mentioned. And on that note, is this an on-rails shooter? Because that’s what it looks like. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Although being able to transform might make it feel like the space battles of Gundam Z (on PS1), or Macross VFX2.

  14. Dominic White says:

    If you ever want to understand what the fuss is about giant humanoid robots beating the crap out of each other, just track down and watch Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It’s pretty lightweight, fun cartoon stuff, but proof that Japan gets all the best saturday morning cartoons. I’d have killed for a show like that as a kid.

  15. YourMessageHere says:

    While this does look fun, and I’ll keep a close eye on it, two things occurred to me on reading:

    1) why doesn’t this have a Macross license attached to it? ‘Cos with a thing that transforms from robot to fighter and back in combat, that’s what it is, basically. There seem to be lots of Macross games, but none in the west/on PC, and I’m dismayed by that.

    2) where is my Evangelion piloting game? Gainax seems fine doing umpteen different reboots and alternate reality versions of NGE, including re-imagining the single finest mecha series of all time as a dating sim several times. So why is it still beyond them to give us Eva piloting games?

    • Dominic White says:

      There are tons of Macross Games, but they’re only in Japan, because Harmony Gold – owners of Robotech in the US – have given up the anime game and gone into a joint real-estate/trademark trolling venture.

      No joke – they make their money selling buildings and threatening people who want to release anything that looks even vaguely related to Macross/Robotech in the west. They’re a large part of why the new Mechwarrior game went silent shortly after that teaser trailer.

    • Paul Dean says:

      An Evangelion game could be excellent. Possibly. I’ve tried some of the poorly-adapted/poorly-translated Japanese offerings and they haven’t inspired. In fact, any (English-language?) Evangelion game at all might be welcome, whether on a PC or on a tabletop. It’s something the franchise hasn’t yet explored.

  16. verily says:

    giant robots? count me in

  17. danimalkingdom says:

    If it’s anywhere near as good as Omega Boost, I’m in.

  18. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    SO it is like Robotech and WIng Commander hooked up and had a shiney new baby?

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  20. ockhamsbeard says:

    As a rule I don’t like gaming coverage that starts with “I hate genre X, and this game is genre X”. Such an opening would be unthinkable in other press – imagine “I don’t drive cars, I hate them, so here’s my review of the latest hatchback” – yet it’s prolific in games media. How is it editors keep handing unqualified or openly disinterested journalists tasks to cover the wrong subject?

    That said, naturally very excited about a decent giant robot game – a genre that is sorely overlooked.

    • alundra says:

      Judeo-Christian symbology or –>Freudian<– themes…in Evangelion…

      ockhamsbeard is right, it's not a mindless complain, next time get someone more qualified for the subject at hand.

    • Dominic White says:

      Echoing this sentiment – it’s terrible journalism. Can you imagine a serious music publication having an article that started with ‘Well, I don’t know much about the stuff and have never really liked it, but here’s the new London Philharmonic thing… or something’.

      Doesn’t help in this case that a lot of PC gamers have an incredibly narrow point of view on what makes an acceptable game with giant robots in. They can’t be agile or use their hands – it’s only okay if they behave exactly like modern tanks, but walk instead of roll.

  21. Madlukelcm says:

    As long as I get to blow stuff up I’m happy.

  22. Josh W says:

    Highly branching three hour structure, interesting! Reminds me of people’s ambitions for that old speilberg/church game, but in the context of a structure already known for it’s replay value. Could work pretty well!

  23. innociv says:

    Sounds like it’s only single player. Interest is lost.

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