IntroductionRageQuit, the small team of developers who brought Strike Vector to the PC community more than 2 years ago, have made it their mission to bring an even greater project of its nature to the consoles. If you're unaware of the premise within the game, here it is: Strike Vector Ex is a competitive multiplayer (with a single-player campaign and skirmish modes) aerial-combat game where you take control of your extremely agile fighter and bring havoc to your enemies over gorgeous sky (and space) battlefields.
GameplayThere are a few game modes in the game: A full story "Campaign" with cutscenes, "Multiplayer," and "Skirmish." I'll save the campaign details for the full review, but I will mention that the missions are navigated across a World Map of flying stations where you are given a specific objective to accomplish and can even set time-related records. The Multiplayer, where I spent a great amount of time battling things out, has 6 different types of warfare: Squad Battle (Team Deathmatch), Demolition (destroy the opposing team's infrastructure before they destroy yours), Capture The Flag, Battle (free-for-all), Bounty Hunter (free-for-all with an added objective to acquiring dropped "kebs" in order to score points), and a team based King of the Hill where you attempt to control the center of the map. Skirmish mode is a non-experience non-kebs (in-game currency) awarding game mode where, after unlocking maps via completion of campaign missions, you get to practice your combat skills.
The general rule of the game is to destroy enemy vectors, and luckily for you, you are given absolutely everything you need to do so. There are a couple different loadouts to choose from that you can maximize your presence on in combat. Again, I'll save a good deal of specifics for the full review, but for example, one loadout I had a lot of fun using was the combination of the main weapon being the Carbine class (sniper), Ghost special action to make my vector invisible when able, and Specialization being the Hyper Scope, to allow my zooming capabilities to be increased. There are a number of setups available to match your play style, allowing a large variety of combatants in any given dogfight. Along the different possible attacks, there is a specialist involved with deploying a healing orb around you, and if you are purely interested in wrecking havoc on your enemy and decide not to include that, there are ship repair pickups throughout the environment.
ControlsI cannot speak highly enough about the complete control one has over their flying battle machine. The game mixes hovering and jet-fighter flying in a perfect way. If you're boosting your way towards a surface, and death seems inevitable, cutting boost and automatically shifting into hover status will bring you to a complete stop where you can the change direction and proceed with your plan of action. Vice versa to this idea; if you are hovering in the air and an encounter with the enemy begins to look bleak at best, with a push of the boost, you can begin your evasion with jet-like flying through the many gaps throughout the environment or simply just putting distance between you and your combatant.
Although the automatic switch between hover and flying is an amazing ability, I found myself not stressing too much when boosting through the environment. The turning in any direction flowed and gave me absolute full control of where I wanted to go. The analog sticks compliment each other; when I'm using my standard movements with the left analog stick, simultaneously moving my right analog stick (aiming) allowed my vector to make smooth curving turns, adding immersion to everything. The L1 and R1 buttons allowed me to adjust my elevations, an essential tool when hovering through the inside one of the large structures in which the battle is taking place at. There is also strafing-boost which is essential when in a face-to-face encounter, adding another way to kill or avoid being killed.
Final ThoughtsMy experience while playing the game was a fantastic one. While it was slightly difficult grasping the shooting gameplay part of combat, the movement controls were arguably the best I've ever experienced from an aerial warfare game. Even in my first matches of combat, I was hovering in the air launching missiles one second, and boosting my way through the tiniest spaces within the environment to evade an enemy the next. I was pulling off the craziest aerial movements possible, and it's safe to say you will do the same with a very minimum learning curve.
The concept of objectives, loadouts, and pick-up items is extremely easy to grasp and there is nothing to fluff up the depth that is available. It's about fun paced action and the developers did a good job providing the platform for others to enjoy this. The game as a whole feels natural and immersive, and trust me when I tell you once you play in first person view you will fall in complete love. Strike Vector Ex releases August 30th on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at a later date. Be sure to check out the full review on KeenGamer just before then.