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Strider: A GEEK Video Game Review

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Ninjas are awesome. That’s a well known fact.

Video games are packed to the brim with some of the most badass ninjas known to man. There’s Ryu Hayabusa. Then Guy. And also Joe Musashi. But there’s one ninja who’s futuristic home setting, incredibly cool threads and super cool blade that puts him in a class of his own – Strider Hiryu.

He’s made his presence felt on a whole host of consoles throughout his solo escapades and crossover fighting game appearances. Double Helix polished off an old school gaming franchise (Killer Instinct) and breathed new life into it by creating an awesome reboot. Did they manage to do the same with Capcom’s most renowned ninja?

Hell…yes.

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This reboot of sorts brings back Strider Hiryu with a modern action/adventure game that pays tribute to everything that made his series so beloved. It’s quite clear that Double Helix has a great appreciation for this franchise. There are so many cool nods to the original games and even Strider Hiryu’s motions from his fighting game experiences. The remixed soundtrack presents even more catchy renditions of past themes. The bosses have also received makeovers to their original designs, which all look great in comparison to how they once looked. The developers display their respect for the original games and still manage to freshen everything up for a worthy return to form.

Strider’s game play is molded by the rules applied to the “Metroidvania” formula. Hiryu moves through several hub locations that are ripe with enemies and bosses to face, platforms to climb onto and run across and many secrets to uncover. The overhead map and easy to distinguish icons makes traversal a simple and fun affair. Strider Hiryu moves with fluidity and grace, his sword cuts through enemy fodder with satisfying slashes and his leaps are simply poetry in motion. The 2.5D animated visuals pop off the screen and suck you into the many beautiful environments of Kazakh City.

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For those gamers who simply must comb through every dark and hidden corner there is, this game should whet their appetite. As you venture across Kazakh City’s snow-capped hub worlds, you’ll acquire new skills that steadily transform Strider Hiryu into an even stronger ninja assassin. Your character’s overall repertoire widens in scope as you pick up health/special move meter upgrades and new powerful maneuvers. This sense of progression makes the game a deeper affair that rewards players who search out for secrets and places that exist off the beaten path. Strider moves at a fast pace, but it keeps everything moving in a focused and manageable direction.

One of the more standout features of Strider Hiryu’s new adventure are the boss encounters. You’ll run into some familiar faces for these battles and be put to the test. These fights offer some standout moments that up the cool factor to even higher levels. You’ll be amazed at Strider’s maneuverability once you run into a giant, snaking robot that must be climbed upon in order to be killed. These boss encounters are amazing to play and watch from afar.

Strider is by no means a difficult endeavor, though. Sure, there are some challenges that await in the multiple boss encounters and Survival modes that you’ll unlock over time. Strider Hiryu becomes a powerhouse as you play, which means there’s not a lot of things that can take him down. This game is pretty darn easy to conquer, which may be an issue for those expecting something more challenging. And the plot? Aside from a few cutscenes and random dialogue moments from major enemies, there’s not much story here to cling onto.

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Strider is the reboot that Capcom’s most popular future ninja deserves. The 2.5D Metroidvania gameplay style, vibrant visuals and numerous nods to the series past make this downloadable game worth speed running all the way through. The low difficulty and unimportant plot details are minor issues that don’t dampen the experience too much. Hiryu’s latest adventure is well worth re-equipping your Cypher for.

Rating: 85%


Images: Capcom, Double Helix

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