Strider Hands-On: Faster than Ever

By Kris . September 19, 2013 . 7:00pm

The very first thing I noticed in Strider worried me: I couldn’t use the D-pad to move. It was analog only. I checked the pause menu for a toggle, and even asked the attendant, but there was no way to move digitally.

 

However, when I started moving Hiryu around, my worries melted away. He’s fast. Faster than he is in Strider 2. It’s not just his speed that gives this impression, but the fact that certain things that felt a little bit jarring about older Strider games have been smoothed out. For instance, the time between the end of Hiryu’s slide and his return to quick movement has been decreased. Whereas a slide would lead to a brief stop in Strider 1 and 2, that delay is gone.

 

As soon as the slide ends, you can keep running. That sounds like such a little element, but it adds lot more fluidity to this new Strider.

 

Appropriately, Hiryu’s starting moveset was practically the toolset he was given in Strider 2. Hiryu can double-jump, slash in any direction in mid-air, and even jumps off of walls at the 45 degree upward angle that made leaping between two walls so much fun in Strider 2. However, the new game adds a couple of new tricks.

 

For one thing, Hiryu can now toss out three knives with either R2 or circle. They didn’t seem to do as much damage as a slash from his sword, but they did a decent job of stunning or killing machinegun-using enemies from afar. I’m curious to see how these might get upgraded further along in the game.

 

He also has a launcher, which can be performed with either up and attack or triangle. Unfortunately for me, most of the enemies I had a chance to fight against would be sliced to bits by the launcher itself, so I didn’t really get to play with anything the launcher leads to.

 

Of course, the other element at play here is the more open-world approach to stage-design. While the game’s design shuttled me into two different upgrades. The first one was the “Assault Slide,” which added a bit of damage to the already seemingly-invincible slide attack (which becomes even more destructive if you keep slashing your way through it) and allows Hiryu to kick through red hatches that lock him out of certain rooms. The second was the “Reflect Cypher” which will knock bullets back in the general direction of the person or robot who shot them with a well-timed slash. Given how many bullets people shoot in this game, it was pretty handy.

 

The map always has an arrow on the Strider marker that shows him where to go next, but even with my limited playtime and the station attendant constantly reminding me that I should follow the arrow, a bit of platforming and recognition of a platform I could drop through led me to a health upgrade that increased my HP from 100 to 150. Given that I found two weapon upgrades and one health one in under 10 minutes, I’m curious as to how things will be spaced out across the game’s final map.

 

Finally, the demo’s mid-boss, a human-sized enemy with an electro-polearm, was a tad underwhelming given the Strider franchise’s history of bizarre bosses. His attacks were easily readable and avoidable with a slide, and although he would teleport every time I landed a launcher, I didn’t take a single hit. While my demo ended here, I could see things being interesting if that kind of enemy was added into groups of others (which mostly took one or two hits to kill).

 

Food for Thought:

1. Try as I might, I couldn’t perform the multi-directional aerial slash from Strider 2 in this game. It doesn’t seem like they kept it.

 

2. Even though the first footage of the demo showed Hiryu’s locked at  40 points, regardless of the damage he took, it was possible to die in the TGS demo. Bullets do more than you’d think if you’re not paying attention… like when I was trying to do the multi-directional aerial slash from Strider 2.


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  • JustThisOne

    When the first Strider clips of this showed up and it said it was faster than the older Strider games, I didn’t believe it. He looked very slow in the vids. Then I went to look up clips of the older Strider games, and I agree. I guess Strider was always very good at giving the illusion of speed. I’m glad to hear that you felt that this game was fluid, because, ultimately, that’s what matters when it comes to controls.

    That said, what you said about the bosses does kind of concern me. I loved how creative all the enemies were in past Strider games, so I certainly hope they have more up their sleeves.

    Also, how is the hand holding in this game? I know it’s a demo, and it’s kind of hard to judge, but I’m still curious.

    • Suzaku

      The boss of this demo is Oroboros MkIII (giant robot serpent), so I’m assuming that Kris had to quit before reaching the actual end.

      4gamer.net’s hands-on review mentions that they got more than three game over screens, but that the difficulty level is at just the right point where you have the desire to keep trying over and over. They mention that the new power ups are introduced with appropriate timing, so as soon as you start to master one element, a new one shows up.

      Of course, it’s also been stated that the demo doesn’t reflect the final map layout.

      • Solomon_Kano

        Oh, so there is a boss fight being demoed at TGS? Hm. Guess I’ll have to hope somebody snags footage or Capcom uploads it.

      • JustThisOne

        *__* This is all wonderful newsss. Could this be Double Helix’s diamond in the rough, I wonder? Hmm hmm.

        • Juan Andrés Valencia

          Honestly I actually liked Silent Hill: Homecoming, even with the abysmal combat. The story and atmosphere kept me going.

          This and even Killer Instinct look great. So much so that I’m going to ignore the fact that they made Gi Joe and… *gasps* Front Mission Evolved.

          • JustThisOne

            I… I can’t talk about Silent Hill: Homecoming, or else I get really mean and awful about it. But I will admit that there are some shining points in there.

            It certainly feels like Double Helix is capable of doing good things, but just somehow manages to drop the ball in most of their past games.

            Here’s to hoping this could end up good – no, I mean, great. Perhaps this will be a turning point for them. :>

        • courte

          Maybe it depends on the game? 2D might just work better for them. For sidecrollers and fighters, you have to go back to a style of design and development that you can’t really deviate from too much

  • Longsun_Zhao

    This D-pad issue is a problem. I never played 2D games with the analog stick. Otherwise I’m looking forward to this.

    • Mental

      Granted, this is a demo and might not be the final product, so D-Pad support isn’t out of the question.

      • Suzaku

        The D-pad is used to change the properties of your Cypher as you earn upgrades. Of course, customizing controls is usually a staple for Capcom games.

        • JustThisOne

          I sure hope this is the case. Although, it shouldn’t be too hard to get used to.

  • Solomon_Kano

    While my demo ended here, I could see things being interesting if that kind of enemy was added into groups of others (which mostly took one or two hits to kill).

    Fortunately, this is the case. Skip to the 6:00 mark here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAQbh00CcJU

    Seems they’re still demoing the same section they revealed back at Comic-Con, then. Glad to hear about the fluidity, but I’d have liked them to introduce a new area of the game so we could get a feel for what the actual bosses are like.

    • Suzaku

      According to the other hands-on reviews I read, the demo actually ends with the fight against Oroboros MkIII, so I’m assuming this author had to end their session early.

      • Solomon_Kano

        Ha. I was just responding to your other post about the boss when this popped up.

      • Kris

        Yep! I was pretty bummed about that too…

  • Flamboyant Ass Nigga

    Strider vs Ryu Hayabusa

  • z_merquise

    One thing I noticed from the previous gameplay trailer is that this one is more like a “Metroidvania” instead of a straight-forward progression like the old Striders. If that what it is, I won’t mind it but I just hope that there’s more here than just the typical “futuristic military-base”.

    Previous Strider games not only had different varieties of enemies and bosses but stages as well. So I hope your not stuck in just the same fortress in the whole game.

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