You might have heard of Strike Vector before. Released last year on PC, it was a multiplayer shooter in the vein of games like Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 (in terms of speed) that, apparently, died off rather fast. Now it’s coming to consoles later this year as Strike Vector EX, hoping to fix many of the issues of the original release and add some new features on top of it.
The draw of Strike Vector EX is its campaign. Where the original PC version was solely a multiplayer affair, the console editions attempt to flesh out the game. The demo showed off the first three missions, which acted as a tutorial of sorts. The first dealt primarily with movement, contextualizing it by placing me in the roll of a newly recruited pilot escaping your base after it comes under attack. It was slow to start, but once I got outside, things took off fast.
Your ship – or Vector – has two forms: one is focused on speed, in which it transforms into a jet of sorts, and the other is focused on combat, where it’s almost like a tank. It hovers, allowing it to strafe and ascend and descend at a controlled rate for more precise shooting. With the press of a button, it can morph between these two forms instantly. Since I was out in the open, I mostly stuck to the jet form, both to quickly move between targets and because flying around at blistering speeds is exhilarating.
Outside was a large construction site of sorts. Small drones were dispersed around the area. My objective was to destroy them. They didn’t put up much of a fight – though they moved around a bunch, they weren’t very evasive, making them easy to take down. It was basically target practice. The next mission began with the same objective, only this time it also threw a couple vectors in at the end. Fighting against fellow pilots proved to be much harder. They rarely idled, always zooming about the area. Tracking them was easy – again, thanks to those objective markers – but keeping them in my sights long enough to deal damage? Not so much.
Strike Vector began to flourish here. Chasing down the enemy through the complex spaces the game offered was exciting. The ebb and flow of battle revolves around that pursuit, of carefully maneuvering you way around the environment to lose your opponent only to launch a counterattack. With how seamlessly you can swap between speed and combat, Strike Vector highly encourages that sort of cat and mouse play. Those moments were fleeting battling against the AI, the two of us instead deciding to just go head-to-head and see which of us could the kill the other first most of the time, but those rare moments where everything clicked were superb.
The third and final mission of the demo continued the tutorializing with a bit more on movement. It started off with a race wherein I had to fly through all the rings before my opponent. After that , it was more target practice. This time by sniping targets from a far with a rocket launcher. Before, the vector I piloted had a machine gun, which worked well for glancing damage. With the rockets, it takes a lot more skill to land any hits. Particularly because you can avoid them with a quick dash to the side while in hover tank mode, something I had to do plenty of while practicing with the rocket launcher myself.
The multiplayer portion wasn’t available in the demo, unfortunately, so I can’t speak to how well the game plays under ideal conditions. But if the campaign can keep things varied and challenging, it might be worthwhile for that alone. Strike Vector EX will be out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime this fall.