By Nathaniel Liles
When I finished Strike Suit Zero’s first campaign, I was a little underwhelmed by the game’s diversity of gameplay and overall personality, but the game itself was so close to being everything I’d ever hoped for, so when I was given the chance to review the game’s main DLC, Heroes of the Fleet, I was excited to see what new gameplay elements developers Born Ready had in store. Was I disappointed? Was it just more of the same? Long story short, no, it was a marked improvement. Long story long, however…
When I fired this up the first thing I noticed was the length of the DLC because it was staring me right in the face. Five missions is what you get with the package, which is a bit less than half of the main game’s length, but considering it’s less than half of Strike Suit Zero’s price of admission, I’d say that’s a pretty good deal right off the bat. However, when you actually play through the missions you realize that this short 5 mission campaign is more interesting and fun than the entirety of the base game.
The premise of Heroes of the Fleet is as follows: You’re a trainee for the U.N.C. participating in a training program where you virtually fight some of the greatest battles of the war, taking the roles of heroes and traitors and learning from their mistakes and triumphs. Not only is that a completely badass premise, but it’s very well executed too, with more challenging and interesting missions and a brand new AI; “Companion”.
The AI is a horrible person. At first, she seems like your run of the mill disembodied voice, guiding you through your first mission or two without any kind of backtalk or scheming, but then after you display a bit of skill and start moving through missions, she gets a little; GLaDOS-ish. Remember, the sarcastic, evil AI from the Portal games? Well it seems the writers this time around took a cue or two from Portal, and that’s not a bad thing, because when the AI starts throwing in some “historical inaccuracies” to make things more difficult, the game gets really interesting.
The controls and bright-ass explosions are still a bit of a sore point for me, and the fact that this DLC concludes with a nearly impossible “Bonus Mission” rubs me the wrong way, making it feel like this is a 4-mission DLC with a big rubber middle finger taped onto the end rather than just 5 good levels, but the last mission, albeit nearly impossible, is built around an interesting premise and you really get to see the AI get sassy, so I forgive it this once.
All in all, I’d say that if you already have Strike Suit Zero, you should definitely save up the $6.99 to get your hands on this level pack, because if you liked the main game, you’ll love this. It improves on the writing and level design in a massive way and shows that 5 well-done levels can completely overshadow 13 less interesting levels. I recommend this wholeheartedly, but if you haven’t already purchased Strike Suit Zero, you may want to bump over to my review of it to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Developer : Born Ready Games
Platforms : Win / Mac / Linux