Strike Vector EX Preview

What's your Vector, Victor? We've got clearance, Claren—PIRATES INCOMING!

Generally, I try not to write while I am in a state where I must imbibe cough syrup to feel whole. No, I am not a DXM junkie destroying my liver with over-the-counter Robitussin to stave off the depressive nihilistic sense that all is nothing and human endeavor will amount to naught when viewed at scale with the universe at large. I rather like the universe; it's big and pretty. Though when my cold reached its apex last week, my fever dreams might as well have been a bad trip caused by some mix of cobbled together cocktail of do-not-mix medications. In any case, if I am given to some digressions, please forgive me.

Strike Vector EX is Macross meets French sci-fi comics meets Armored Core. Some of you heathens may know Macross by its bastard name, Robotech; I forgive you because I love you in the way only a brain fogged by sickness can. What I mean is that you are in a mech that looks vaguely like it could be from a Japanese animated show, if it had all the pipes and electronics that should be on the inside, on the outside. Like they built the mech and forgot to put a hood on it. It makes stuff blow up good.

The core mechanic of Strike Vector EX is that you have two modes: a hover-idle mode that lets you float around, make pointed turns, and move slowly; and what amounts to an afterburner mode where you are flying full speed like a jet fighter. And woe be anything that tries to catch you. Until you run into a pipe or something on the oil-rig-like thing you are fighting around. Then you blow up. All in all, this is really exhilarating to play and makes you feel like some kind of aerospace mech god; it was like playing the Gundam game that I always wanted, minus the giant mech-sized laser swords. I liked it best when I switched from third- to first-person mode, where I actually felt I had a better sense of direction.

Strike Vector EX has been available on PC for a while as a competitive online mutltiplayer shooter. Added to the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One console version shown at a recent preview event is a single-player campaign meant to bring new users up to speed. This is complete with a protagonist who isn't shy about mentioning peeing himself during his first combat, so you know he will be, at least open about his feelings. (About urine.) Soon after, you join up with the local pirate lord to do whatever it is they do to floating oil-rig things. This is all shown in a cool motion-comic style that really inhabits that European sci-fi aesthetic.

Your rig is highly customizable, with a primary weapon that is anything from Macross-like swarm missiles, to standard gun loadouts, to shotguns and homing missiles. A secondary weapon or ability is also available with options like a very slow-moving homing bomb, enhanced speed while in idle mode, and other tech advancements. Originally the devs at Ragequit Corporation said they'd made the weapons small, but eventually realized it would be more fun if they were, like, 30 meters long; the mechs basically look like a cockpit strapped to jet engines and giant guns. It's cosmetically customizable, too, and they were jazzed to show me a nineball sticker to express their love for Armored Core's big bad.

I enjoyed the few single-player levels I got to play of Strike Vector EX (it's pretty wicked fun!) before I was swallowed by the headcold sinus-clogged darkness that is what has become of my mind. I will imagine my nasal decongestant pills are the odd Japanese/European mechs, blasting away at mucous causing membranes to hold back the floodgates of a post-nasal drip apocalypse. Strike Vector EX is expected to afterburn its way from a standstill onto PS4 and Xbox One early this year.