"Welcome Back Old Friend"
The rebirth of the Strider series initially took me by surprise. While it makes a lot of sense, I'd long since assumed that Strider Hiryu would be relegated to appeared in the Marvel vs. Capcom series with the occasional cameo here and there. You can imagine my surprise when I not only heard the announcement for the game but actually found it to be a great rebirth for the series.
Strider follows the titular character as he slashes, slides and jumps his way through a series of Metroidvania styled levels. When the game starts, you have very little in your arsenal outside of Strider’s well controlled mobility and his Cypher (the sword). Even with these limits, controls for Strider are so tight and responsive that you never feel like you’re out of control which is a marvel considering how speedy Strider is. Indeed, though it isn’t the focus of the game, Strider’s platforming is so well tuned that it could get away with many more platforming elements than what it has in the main game.
However, Strider Hiryu isn’t just a space laser ninja who flips around and jumps and hangs off walls constantly. He also fights, a lot, and you’ll find yourself engaged in combat more often than not. Fortunately, like the platforming, the combat controls are very tight and are rarely boring. The game does a great job of spacing out upgrades so that you’re never stuck with the same style of combat. In addition to the upgrades to combat, and movement, you also receive additional elements for your weapon to utilize in combat. These additional elements, along with the aforementioned upgrades makes the moderate amount of backtracking in the game more interesting than excessive.
Despite being a great revival of a classic game, Strider does has it’s faults. The difficulty can be a little spotty from time to time. While you probably won’t be throwing your controller across the room or flipping tables, there is a noticeable discrepancy in portions of the game. Sometimes you’re slashing through enemies with little to no resistance and other times you’re cycling through your entire arsenal hoping that your health holds out for a little while longer. My second complaint with game came in the form of it’s graphical presentation. Strider himself looks well enough, vibrant and easily identifiable and every swing of his swords brings a bright burst of light and a shower of sparks with you strike an enemy. But this visual vibrancy just draws more attention to how drab and uninteresting the rest of the game can really look. The rest of the game’s color palette seems to consistent of gunmetal greys and other muted tones.
If you’re looking for a nostalgic side scrolling action game that sports a great pace, enthralling combat and fun platforming, you’ll be right at home with Strider. Despite it’s few drawbacks, the total experience is something that fans old and new should be willing to give a chance. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
GameDynamo's Score for Strider (XB1)
|Joey Blackwell II
Avid gamer who's more passionate about writing. Hopes to be a renowned writing voice in the world someday, while still being addicted to games.
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