- Posted June 9th, 2008 at 04:26 EDT by Eric Blattberg
- 6 Comments
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Although the harsh difficulty and lack of multiplayer may offset some potential players, NovaStrike’s open areas and unique mission structure are reason enough to give it a shot.
- Not another “dual analog” top-down shooter
- Open, go-anywhere levels
- Unique mission structure
- Overly demanding difficulty
- Lack of cooperative functionality
The PlayStation Network has seen a plethora of top-down shooters since its materialization in late 2006. It began with Blast Factor, the average yet enjoyable cellular shoot-em-up with innovative motion controls. Next came the beautifully addictive Super Stardust HD, a game that caused many (including this reviewer) to brave many a late night attempting to best the dauntingly lofty scores on the ever-growing leaderboards. Next to grace the network came the melodious Everyday Shooter -- a shooter you certainly don’t see every day. Now, as the first self-published game on the PlayStation Network, NovaStrike flies into the fray, but does it manage to stand out from the pack?
The title is quite generic from a plot perspective. The “Draelus” invade mankind’s colonies and you have to eradicate them. To be fair though, it’s not like anybody plays a game like NovaStrike to experience a captivating storyline, they’re looking for appealing, exhilarating gameplay. For the most part, NovaStrike offers just that.
If you don’t feel comfortable jumping headfirst into the campaign, a non-required (but recommended) tutorial will inform you on the basics of the title. My one qualm with the tutorial is the lack of a voice actor. While this actually applies to the entire game, the tutorial is especially heavy on text. I don’t want to be reading while I’m trying to direct my craft, especially if I don’t yet know how to properly play the game.
While playing the tutorial, you’ll discover that NovaStrike isn’t a true dual analog shooter. You control the “scythe,” a sophisticated fighter that combines both human and Draelus (alien) technology. Despite its advanced abilities, the ship doesn’t have immediate turn speed, acting more as a true aerial vehicle than the crafts of other top-down shooters. The controls are fairly straightforward; the left stick directs the scythe, R2 and L2 fire your primary and secondary weapon respectively, R1 and L1 cycle through your primary and secondary weapons (again respectively), X activates the crafts afterburner (boost), and the right stick directs your multi-directional omni-cannon.
Now, being in a fighter pilot rather than a 360-degree directional craft, it would be a shame if you were confined to dogfight in small, confined areas. Fortuitously, NovaStrike allows you to pilot the scythe throughout the game’s seven vast areas. This isn’t a rail shooter, you’re free to fly wherever you’d like. You will however be prompted in certain directions in order to complete certain objective-based missions. Missions generally take either an offensive or defensive form; take out the Draelus base, protect the human colony and so on. The missions aren’t always so straightforward though. Sometimes you’ll have to protect moving human crafts by, for example, destroying explosive kamikaze pilots. Another time you’ll be tasked with razing Draelus anti-air weaponry before a human fleet flies through. Though occasionally repetitive, the unique mission structure sets NovaStrike apart from otherwise similar titles on the PlayStation Network.
During your encounters with the Draelus, you’re provided with the fairly hefty arsenal of two ground-focused weapons and seven aerial armaments. You won’t always have to rely solely on your munitions though, as oftentimes allies assist you in your objectives. While they’re certainly helpful, amidst heavy conflicts, not shooting your allies can be tricky.
Conversely, shooting your enemies will prove a challenge. To restate, the widely varied enemies -- including bosses -- are remarkably intelligent. They’ll dodge your head on assaults, swoop behind you and take you out. Such aptitude is both a blessing and a curse. Nobody wants to play a game with shoddy AI, but on the other hand, it’s often tough to stay alive while being attacked by Draelus swarms. Actually, tough is an understatement. This game is hard. Players will definitely be discouraged by the standard Soldier setting, and will undoubtedly drop down to the slightly more forgiving Recruit. Even on Recruit, NovaStrike is by no means easy. While each of the seven stages are approximately 10 to 20 minutes in length, expect to get halfway and fail several times before you succeed. At least this lengthens the would-be brief title.
What better way to take on such stages than cooperatively with a friend? Regrettably, no such option is available. While we ... (continued on next page)
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- 11:33pm EDT - June 8th, 2008
Nice review, I might pick this up.
- 1:14am EDT - June 9th, 2008
i actually really enjoy this game, well worth 10 dollars. ohh and by the way PSU, just because it doesnt have co op play, doesnt mean you should mark that as a negative, because its fun as hel l anyways, and Co Op will be coming for it down the road anyways. and why is hel l a banned word anyways? it aint even bad...?
- 5:33am EDT - June 9th, 2008
Game is quite difficult. I'd also prefer to use the other analog stick for firing ala SSHD. It's about a 6.5-7.0 in my book; not terrible, not great.
- 6:27am EDT - June 9th, 2008
The game is hard, not so hard to die sometimes as it is to complete objectives before moving on to the next. It's a solid, fluid game and I enjoy it, but it is frustratingly difficult however hard it is it's a welcom addition to my library of PSN games
- 7:55am EDT - June 9th, 2008
Excellent shooter. A little difficult but at least you get your moneys worth. The graphics are great and the free roaming is an outstanding innovation. For ten bucks I give it a 10.
- 3:30pm EDT - October 3rd, 2008
want your 10 bucks worth? beat this game on every difficulty and you'll definitely get it. just dont cry when you get to hardcore.
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