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Gaming Review

Strider review (PS4): Arcade reboot is true to its roots

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Released on Tuesday, Feb 18 2014

'Strider' screenshot

© Capcom


Release Date: February 18 (worldwide)
Platforms available on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Double Helix Games, Capcom Osaka Studio
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Platformer

Before the runaway success of Street Fighter 2 transformed Capcom into an arcade superpower, the studio was best known among coin-op circles for its 1989 hit Strider.

The hack n' slash platformer has retained cult status for two and a half decades, yet never received a worthy follow-up despite several attempts to recapture the glory of the original.

Strider fanatics have waited patiently for a definitive successor to the side-scrolling classic, and their unwavering loyalty has now been rewarded with a glossy remake of sorts from developers Double Helix Games and Capcom Osaka Studio.

Strider game screenshot

© Capcom

Strider features some challenging boss battles


The long-awaited new entry in the series is being touted as a retelling of the arcade original with elements of the NES console version thrown in for good measure; and if nothing else, it's true and respectful to its golden-age roots.

With its polished HD visuals and futuristic dystopian art style, Strider looks a far cry from the game that landed on arcades in the late 1980s, but its gameplay is near identical.

Players take control of Strider Hiryu - an assassin on a mission to take out Kazakh City's evil dictator Grandmaster Meio - and will spend most of their time performing acrobatic leaps, slicing robotic bad guys to pieces with a plasma weapon called the Cypher, and scaling walls.
    With its polished HD visuals and futuristic dystopian art style, Strider looks a far cry from the game that landed on arcades in the late 1980s, but its gameplay is near identical.
The game's relatively simplistic control scheme and pick-up-and-play value will be its greatest strengths as far as the nostalgia enthusiasts are concerned, as the developers have succeeded in their efforts to recapture vintage coin-op values and repackage them for the 21st century.

Strider's infectious brand of aerodynamic platforming and furious combat harks back to the dawning of the 16-bit era, but the developers haven't shied away from tweaking Capcom's winning formula.

For starters, the new Strider surges along at a quicker pace, which gives combat a blistering edge and lends the platforming segments a greater sense of urgency.

The in-game world of Kazakh City is less linear than it was back in 1989, with some opportunity for off-the-beaten track exploration cropping up during each level.

Strider game screenshot

© Capcom

Strider Hiryu acquires new abilities as the game progresses


There are nooks and crannies aplenty, and players are given the opportunity to stray the course and track down hidden bonuses, adding a degree of depth to the experience.

Core gameplay calls for more tactical prowess than you might expect from a title of this nature, with players often required to calculate their approach, rather than merely charge in headfirst with their Cypher at the ready.

Some combat situations are best tackled head on, while evasive tactics may be more effective in others to help you conserve energy in the long run.

New powers and abilities are drip-fed throughout to keep their experience fresh, and additional challenges that can only be completed using these powers are introduced with every level.


While Strider embraces its roots and many of the new features brought to the table feel like welcome improvements, it isn't without its faults.

Scaling the walls and ceilings of each stage is part and parcel of the game, but Strider Hiryu has a tendency to stick to every surface he touches like some kind of human fly, and this can be an issue during frantic combat situations.

The graphics more than serve their purpose in the sense that Strider looks as good as any other side-scrolling platformer we've played, yet it does little to stand out in a saturated genre, even with the raw power of the PlayStation 4 behind it.
    Strider embraces its roots and many of the new features brought to the table feel like welcome improvements, but it isn't without its faults.
Levels are certainly easy on the eye with plenty going on in the backgrounds, whether it's a convoy of tanks rolling by or a passing train, but there are sporadic occasions when it is difficult to tell background scenery from scalable platforms.

While this is rarely of life or death consequence, it's a questionable design anomaly nevertheless.

We also found that Strider borders on frustrating at times, subjecting players to beginner's traps and punishing them harshly during boss battles that were seemingly designed to push us to the limits of our tolerance.

'Strider' screenshot

© Capcom

Strider Hiryu surveys the Kazakh City skyline


However, this is offset against how addictive the game is. No matter how many times one of those formidable end-of-level bad guys defeat you, it's almost impossible to set down the controller for the night until the tables have been turned.

Strider is admirably true to the game that Capcom released on arcades in 1989 and will delight those who still hold a candle for the original, with its unaltered core gameplay and polished production values.

With these qualities on side, it's easy to overlook the game's shortcomings and deem it worthy of the Strider name.

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