Strike Vector EX is one of the most thrilling and high-paced multiplayer experiences on the PlayStation 4. Building upon the existing 2014 PC release, Ragequit Corporation has fleshed out the game by adding a single-player campaign, and an offline Skirmish mode if you want to practice on the multiplayer maps before venturing online. Unforgiving and frantic, the online multiplayer in Strike Vector EX is still the real reason to play the game.
Switching between first and third-person, players get the opportunity to pilot a mech crossed with a fighter jet. While in mech mode, you are capable of hovering to easily find your target and unleash a battering of rockets, missiles, and bullets. You can easily transform with the press of a button to boost your way across the map for some high octane engagements. Simply release the button and you’ll instantly transform back, allowing you to track foes and destroy them before they even know what hit them. Unlike other aerial dogfighting games, you can turn the tides if you are getting chased by stopping on a dime, turning around, and opening fire in the blink of an eye. All the tools at your disposal in Strike Vector EX exist for this type of quick encounters.
There are a total of 15 different different multiplayer maps, as well as single-player missions. Essentially, the developers have created a narrative mission to each of the well-thought out and designed multiplayer maps. Most of them take place on a planet, but you’ll also venture into space and weave your way in and out of some kind of orbital space station and wreckage. Depending on the location, you may be free to soar through open skies, or you’ll have to make quick turns in tight corridors. Not only does the map force you to alter your strategy for movement, but it should play a significant role in deciding your loadout.
You're equipped with two different weapons, a primary and a secondary special weapon that takes some additional time to recharge between uses. There isn’t a best weapon for all situations, and you don’t have to worry about unlocking anything outside of customization options. Everyone is on equal footing when it comes to weapon loadout, giving a greater emphasis on your piloting skills then simply unlocking a “better” weapon. The Gatling gun is the perfect weapon for beginners, allowing you chip away at your enemy's health with constant firepower. During my 30+ online matches, I made most of my kills using the swarm and homing missiles. Homing missiles are highly effective, although once players master dodging, you have to try and catch them off guard or engage when they are focusing on another target. Granted, Strike Vector EX includes full friendly fire, so if you aren’t careful, and even if you are, you may lock onto your own team’s ships.
Of course, with the inclusion of secondary weapons and equipment, you have an extra option to get out of tough situations. Whether you go with defensive options, such as an extra rocket booster, nanomachines for an instant heal, or more offensive methods such as a tesla coil to fry anyone near you, or a stalker mine to instantly destroy your enemies to pieces, you have plenty of variable options. In fact, you’ll most likely be changing your loadout mid-match to counter whatever the other pilots are using.
Strike Vector EX is an enjoyable and thrilling multiplayer game when both sides are equally matched. Sure, at times you’ll join a one sided match, but that’s just the nature of online competitive games. The single-player narrative is serviceable, but feels like a side attraction to the main dish; which is the online multiplayer. Now excuse me, while I chase after this one pilot that consistently relies on dropping stalker mines.
Note: The Strike Vector EX review is based on a digital PS4 copy of the game, provided by the publisher.