Having had a bit of a drought of games to play, I was unusually interested in Strider when I first heard that it was coming out for the PS4 sooner rather than later and if my bloody Playstation app worked I would have brought it before I even got back to my console. I am quite glad the app didn’t however as it gave me a chance to play the demo and decide that the game isn’t quite right for me.
Now I don’t want this to be a moan at the game and indeed it is hardly fair to judge a game on the demo alone. Though to all those that say you need to play the full game to give you an opinion on the matter, I will say that it is the demo of the game that should draw my interest and if that failed to do so, well …
Not really having much experience with the Strider series, or indeed many Metroidvania style games, I was intrigued to see if this PS4 entry could peak my interest and perhaps hook me in. Unfortunately there were just a few things that bugged the hell out of me in the short space of time that I played it.
Navigating the maps was actually quite cool, the scale felt like I was walking around a city rather than following a set path. However, constant spawning enemies created confusion on where I had already been. I understand that I should have more common sense and should possess the knowledge to work out what direction to go, but the speed in which enemies respawned felt less like a way to liven things up and more like a way to keep you playing areas again and again. I hope that in the main game this is not used as some form of padding out, although it did cross my mind. I guess the other big thing that bothered me was the boss battle. Now the battle itself wasn’t too, too bad, but the consequence of dying was very annoying indeed. Rather than just spawning at the start of the fight, you find yourself having to cut through a few weak enemies who will still chip away at your health creating nothing more than another frustrating minute until you are back to the boss. I have said it before in this review but I hope this isn’t just in to pad out the game and artificially make it longer.
That being said, there were a few points that did stand out and I would be definitely interested in exploring it further. While the boss battles were a pain in the arse to get to after dying, the boss himself was pretty challenging, especially for a first timer like me. The sense of achievement for finally beating him was just the feeling I needed after meeting a challenge and something I experienced a couple of times in a few tricky segments. It’s not a new concept, “feeling rewarded”, but I could tell that beating this game would definitely give someone a sense of accomplishment that may not be found in more mainstream titles. Capcom were also pretty generous with the abilities in the demo and even through I was probably playing for 10 minutes I got to try 2 ‘powers’ that help Strider navigate the world. It was also good to see these abilities have combat and exploration functions meaning that they will be used and not just left sitting in a combo menu until I decide to try my hand at something tricky.
So overall, while it may not have been enough to get me to buy the game, as demos go, it’s a pretty good one. I would definitely like to see this on PlayStation Plus some time this year so I can give it a go for free and I would definitely keep my eyes out for other types of games in a similar style.