It took me about five seconds of playing Strider HD last week before I realized that it was a game that I was going to sink a good amount of time into. That’s not to say that I wasn’t excited when the first trailer hit a few months ago at Comic-Con – it was actually one of the few genuine surprises of the show. But what that unexpected look at the HD reimagining couldn’t capture was that intangible quality of just how great the game feels.
The moment you gain control of Strider Hiryu feels so amazingly fluid. The way he arches forward as he runs, gaining momentum as you charge down a hill, conveys an impeccable sense of inertia. The moment you slash through your first enemy, never losing your stride as you dice them into bits and pieces is incredibly empowering. Taking flight, soaring through the air, and twirling with grace is a wonderful evolution of how it felt to play the original Strider on the Genesis.
This same sense of movement carried itself all the way throughout the end of my demo, which culminated in an epic set-piece of a boss battle. This three-staged encounter had me climbing up the side of a cyborg dragon as it soared high through the sky, running across its back as the wind tried to impede my progress, and eventually busting open its robotic face to reveal a terrifying creature that resided beneath the machinery. Capcom assured me that this early encounter is just a small taste of the sort of massive creatures that you'll have to combat throughout Strider.
But despite just how great Strider HD feels, this short preview still hasn’t sold me on the much-touted “Metroidvania” aspects of the game. That genre’s name gets tossed around liberally, and most of the time it becomes attached to something that pales into comparison to the design magic that Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night managed to conjure so many years ago. Those two classics in particular did such a phenomenal job at balancing cause and effect by divvying out obstacles and ways to overcome them at a pitch-perfect rate. Their worlds became collages that filled in over time, eschewing the relative linearity of so many games prior to them.
Strider HD definitely has power-ups that allow you to gain access to previously inaccessible areas, such as a slide attack that can knock open vents and a charge strike that allows you to break through obstacles. Strider also showcases a large, open map that players will be scouring throughout their journey. But at this early stage, the small slice of the map I saw felt a bit underwhelming, and the environments all sort of blended together. If I had to go back to a certain room after discovering a new power, I would certainly have to look at my map and try to remember just where it was that I needed to go. Granted, Capcom assured us that this demo was not indicative of how the final game would unfold, but true classic Metroidvania’s call for an impossibly delicate balance. I’m not saying that Strider HD can’t attain this harmony, but it’s definitely going to be a tough feat.
Regardless of these reservations, I walked away from my time with Strider HD totally on board for the project.In this small slice, Capcom and Double Helix have shown that they have what it takes to take a classic late-'80s staple and inject some 21st century flair into it.
Source : ign[dot]com