Strike Vector EX is a combination of terrible technical bugs, poor level design, and an insignificant plot that ends up not being very fun to play. Aerial dogfights and flying through the sky at high speed is always a great pitch for any video game, but very little of that charm is ever present here. When I first started playing Strike Vector EX on PlayStation 4, a port of a game originally made for PC, it immediately crashed after only playing a few seconds through the first level. It was a fitting omen to the broken down experience that awaited me.
The multiple crashes I experienced throughout my time were only a fraction of the many problems I had with Strike Vector EX. The story in the game’s main campaign feels like a throw-away, with events that take twists and turns without any sort of buildup or logical reasoning. Characters constantly switch sides and make cliché one-liners while expecting us to care for them when they die in combat. The cutscenes at the start of each chapter try to give details about the story, but it feels like a lot of information is missing. I wasn’t given a lot of context to what was happening in the world. Factions are at war here, but I had no clear explanation of who is who, or why there was a big war happening in the first place.
The visuals of Strike Vector EX look reminiscent of a launch title on PlayStation 3. I noticed lots of textures pop in on models throughout each of the 15 missions of the campaign. Environments are empty, despite being wide open or built with many corridors and obstacles to fly through. The best looking mission I played involved an assault on a satellite above the Earth’s atmosphere. The blue of the planet beneath me was a great contrast to all of the action happening in the high skies as I blew up pieces of the satellite. The rest of the game is filled with shades of browns, reds, and washed out colors in both interior and exterior settings.
Controlling your ship, which is called a Vector, feels good when you’re flying through the air at high speeds. You can hover and strafe in the air when in combat, or hit one of the shoulder buttons to jet forward at incredible speed. However, hovering around can be a bit too slow, even after getting an upgrade to speed up later in the game. Handling your Vector is good when you need to make tight turns or quickly switch your view to deal with an incoming attack, including having the ability to dash to the side and avoid missiles.
The Vector can be customized with different weapons, all of which don’t affect the speed at which you can move around. Missiles are a nice choice for some serious firepower, but the most unbalanced weapon you can equip is the Gatling Gun. I never once found the need to switch to any other weapon throughout the whole campaign because of how efficient the Gatling Gun was to use.
The auto-targeting would allow me to hit targets frequently and deal massive damage with each impact. Things were made even easier with how dumbed down the skill of enemies were in battle. On multiple instances, I was able to gradually circle around enemies with my Gatling Gun and never be hit once by them.
Multiplayer was a big part of Strike Vector on the PC, and the PlayStation 4 version is no exception. You have a variety of game types for up to 12 players, which can be played on 15 maps based off the main campaign. Multiplayer is definitely fun online, with little to almost no latency issues that I found in all of the games I played online.
It did take some time to find enough players to join up in a match, but once the games started everything played out great. There are some balancing issues with the weapons however, with the Gatling Gun being the biggest one in need of an adjustment. It just so easy to shoot someone down or destroy an objective with the Gatling Gun, compared to using something like a Missile Launcher or other explosives.
While there are some good parts to Strike Vector EX, I found my issues with it far outweighed everything else. The multiple crashes I experienced on PlayStation 4 were inexcusable, and significantly impacted my enjoyment of the game. The campaign has a very forgettable story that takes place in environments that don’t look well designed or polished on the PlayStation 4. Multiplayer is the best part of this package, but definitely needs some adjustments in order to balance out the matches online. Truthfully, there are far better flight combat games you can purchase on the market than this.
This review is based on a digital review code for Strike Vector EX for the PlayStation 4, provided by RageQuit Corporation.