HomeReviews2.5/5 ReviewStrikers 1945 III Review

Strikers 1945 III Review

-

Over the past few weeks, the Psikyo back catalogue has been dropping onto the Xbox Store in two and three-game gluts. We’ve been getting the Strikers 1945, Samurai Aces and Gunbird games individually at £7.49 each, and – while we’re not smitten with the piecemeal way they’re being re-released – it’s been a fantastic chance to reevaluate them. 

strikers 1945 iii review 1

This is the first time we’ve had the chance to play Strikers 1945 III, and, we have to say, it’s the odd one of the Strikers litter. While the second game was very much a continuation of the first – in a good way, playing like a finely-tuned DLC pack – the third in the series is more of a departure. It’s a modernisation, a step into a different shoot ’em-up direction, and in almost every way, it’s a step back from what’s come before. 

If you just consider the structure of Strikers 1945 III, it’s nothing new. This is eight levels of vertical shooting action, each starting with some basic pew-pew foreplay and then moving onto the boss encounters, which are what most Psikyo titles are really about. You pick your plane, stack up power ups that make your weapons increasingly OTT, and horde smart bombs that can clear the board, should you need them. Then it’s onto the boss, which is almost always a super-vehicle covered in turrets that gets cracked open to reveal a mech. Sink that mech, and it’s onto the next level. 

So far, so Psikyo. But from the first screen, Strikers 1945 III is clearly more modern. There is more detail in the backgrounds and ships, as you can suddenly pick out engines and pipework in the mechs and aircraft carriers that you’re facing. But while there has clearly been a visual upgrade in Strikers 1945 III, we can’t help feeling that the series is worse for it. There’s a smudgy fuzz, a Vaseline-like filter to everything that seems to cheapen the graphics, but – worse – it makes the combat more noisy, as it becomes incredibly hard to pick out your ship. Your bullets and the enemies’ are hard to distinguish, and, very suddenly, the simplicity of the Strikers series suddenly becomes more illegible. 

strikers 1945 iii review 2

Which is where the new shoot ’em up direction comes in. Strikers 1945 and Strikers 1945 II are wave-based shooters: enemies attack in salvos, and you move around the screen in an effort to gain an advantage. Gaps between waves are reasonably sizable, and you can sneak through without too much problem. But in Strikers 1945 III, the emphasis has been moved way, way over to bullet-hell. Rather than be wave-based, bullets are unrelenting, spinning out in patterns that leave very little room for maneuver. You spend more attention on your own ship, weaving through the tightest of gaps, rather than look at what the boss might be doing, and aiming for individual elements of their ship. 

The swap is a poor one. There’s no real art to the way that bullets hurtle towards you, and concentrating on your ship means you’re not enjoying the important stuff, like the hulking great bosses and their multiple stages. It’s also vastly more difficult, and it positions Strikers 1945 III at the top-end of challenge. It’s certainly not a game for newbies. Some will be tickled at the prospect of challenging themselves in this way, but – for us – it amounted to a whole lot less fun. 

Fun is what Strikers 1945 III dearly needs: something to bring a touch of character and humour. The lack creeps into the boss and level design, as – aside from the Chaos Queen, which takes you through the various growth stages of a bug – there’s nothing at all to write home about. Large chunks of metal with turrets on float past, and you get bothered by bullets until they get taken down. Strikers 1945 and Strikers 1945 II managed to come up with three or four bosses that you could happily recall, but Strikers 1945 III can only manage one. 

strikers 1945 iii review 3

We’re in the process of trucking through all of the Psikyo back catalogue (thanks for the opportunity, City Connection), and we can say with some confidence that, if you’re looking to save £7.49, Strikers 1945 III is at the back of the queue. It’s not bad, by any means – none of these re-releases deserve that ignominy – but it’s dwarfed by its predecessors. 

There may be people who feel that Psikyo shooters are on the simplistic, easy side. To those people, we recommend the bullet-hell of Strikers 1945 III. For everyone else, we’d like to introduce you to the first two games in the series. They may be 1995 shooters set in WWII, but they happen to feel so much fresher.

You can buy Strikers 1945 III from the Xbox Store

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow Us On Socials

24,000FansLike
1,671FollowersFollow
4,922FollowersFollow
6,670SubscribersSubscribe

Our current writing team

2806 POSTS23 COMMENTS
1529 POSTS2 COMMENTS
1276 POSTS18 COMMENTS
1029 POSTS46 COMMENTS
856 POSTS0 COMMENTS
398 POSTS2 COMMENTS
116 POSTS0 COMMENTS
82 POSTS0 COMMENTS
78 POSTS4 COMMENTS
24 POSTS0 COMMENTS
12 POSTS10 COMMENTS
8 POSTS0 COMMENTS

Join the chat

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x