A little bit lower than terminal vector
Strike Vector is the game everyone’s been waiting for since at least Rogue Squadron, possible since the Star Wars movies themselves. Dogfighting in high speed ships around supersized structures with a spectacular backdrop of explosions and chaos, where you’re in complete control. The biggest mystery of this game is how come is hasn’t been made before.
Currently Strike Vector is incredibly simple. You join a server in a variety of modes (We prefer team deathmatch but there’s also regular deathmatch, domination and bounty hunter – all of which are exactly what they sound like) and then you pick your loadout. Ships are fitted with two weapons and there’s a choice of quite a few, each with different play styles. The minigun might take a long while to ramp up but accuracy isn’t really required, rockets pack a punch but are slow, homing rockets don’t do too much damage and the railgun is exceptionally powerful but requires pinpoint accuracy on ships that can be moving at hundreds of miles an hour. You’re picking one for the left side of your ship, controlled by a left click and one for the right controlled by a right click. Your ship itself is mostly governed by the mouse with some keyboard movement and use of abilities. The abilities are all simply but powerful such as dropping a mine or giving yourself a tremendous boost to speed. The final trick these little fighters can pull off is to go into hover mode, becoming stationary. This makes it much easier to aim but also makes you a much easier target so there’s a constant element of risk/reward.
The above paragraph is pretty much everything you need to know to play the game, there are pickups and little features in the arenas but on the whole Strike Vector is an incredibly simple game, and all the better for it. It’d be nice to be unlocking different kinds of ships but DLC has been promised and it’s going to be free so hopefully we’ll see more variation over the coming months.
The battles themselves are glorious and the amount on control you have using the mouse is beyond what we’ve seen on any other game. Within minutes of your first spawn you’ll find yourself barrel-rolling through pipes, sweeping through scaffolding and boosting into the tiniest of gaps to escape people who are chasing you because the mouse control is so precise. Players fly in graceful arcs and if something is going wrong you can always hit the hover button and come to pretty much a dead halt. When you’ve got enemies on your tail there’s a wealth of options available and it never feels less than cinematic, echoing the visuals of everything from Wipeout to Homeworld with futuristic superstructures being criss-crossed by energy trails and fire. Even the way you explode is beautiful, with your rolling wreckage pumping out smoke as you try to steer your now missile-esque hulk towards anything hostile.
Of course the shallow side of the game may restrict it’s longevity, there’s not the progress tree of something like War Thunder and currently there are very few game-modes and they all play much the same. It would be better if there were different classes of ship, particularly if there were larger ones with space for smaller ships to fly through parts of their hull, but as it is each game plays out very similarly. What keeps you coming back for more is the sheer excitement and beauty of the battles. There’s a lot of skill involved and a little bit of strategy – so at least you’re not constantly being beaten by someone who has just played more than you, there’s a very even playing field.
Overall, Strike Vector is spectacular and a must-have for anyone who is at all interested in dog-fighting space games. Anyone interested in competitive shooters at all should give it a look as for £18.99 you’re getting one of the most refreshing and exciting games we’ve ever played. Hopefully the devs will stay true to their word and keep the new content coming.