Strife: Veteran Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 05.01.2021

Review for Strife: Veteran Edition on Nintendo Switch

You are forgiven if you don't remember Rogue Entertainment. The only significant thing about this company was that its headquarters where actually in the same building as id Software, with all of its creations (bar one) using the id Tech line of engines of the latter. It's biggest "success," besides the far more popular American MacGee's Alice, was the 1996 FPS by the name of Strife (later known as Strife: Quest for the Sigil), which used Doom's engine, but had more than just its run-and-gun gameplay, as this was basically one of the pioneers of the first-person shooter/RPG sub-genre - the precursor to gems like Deus Ex. Night Dive Studios' port of the revamped Veteran Edition has arrived on the Switch, which has become the go-to system for fans of retro gaming… but is this worthy of their time?

This takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, after a catastrophic comet impact brought something nasty onto the planet, killing millions, and leaving a large part of the population mutated, and "possessed" by the voice of a mysterious, malevolent creature. The hero (call him "Strifeguy") will have to destroy said being, by attacking the so called 'Order,' mostly with the help of the resistance group known as 'The Front.' A typical alien invasion story? Yes, pretty much. Strife won't win any awards for its plot, but it manages to be relatively engrossing, even offering a couple of neat twists and turns here and there. Who cares, though? You just want to shoot at bad guys, right?

Well, while powered by the "Doom Engine," and although there are plenty of things to shoot at here, this is also very into role-playing, besides pulling the trigger. Playing like your standard first-person RPG, you need to talk with people to receive a variety of missions, which range from entering a base and assassinating a character or stealing an item, to simply going to 'A' to kill 'B' - and 'C,' and 'D,' and 'E,' and so on. Yes, while lots of talking is involved, this remains a shooter. A fun one? Not really. This is pretty basic, and therefore boring, when compared to most of its ilk, be it old-school, fast-paced shooters, or modern, first-person RPGs.

Screenshot for Strife: Veteran Edition on Nintendo Switch

There are some things that are annoying too, like how bullet-spongy some enemies are, with ammo drops being tiny by comparison, or how most enemies use hit-scan weapons that can reliably snipe the hero from across the map, killing immersion while doing so. There must be a way to avoid fights and go all stealthy on the Order's behinds, though, right? Unfortunately, this leads to the biggest issue with Strife, which is how the freedom it offers, is nothing more than an illusion, and not even an elaborate one. There are missions that make it seem that there's more than one way to accomplice them, but in reality there's usually (if not always) only one, making this open-ended world feel very linear.

Oh, you can try different things… just don't. Probably taking a page from some of the adventure games of the distant '80s, deviating from the "path" in any way either kills the character, or simply makes the whole thing unwinnable. You've read that correctly: you don't just fail the mission - you are forbidden from even reaching the end! It's a real shame, because there are some things to like here. The story, for example, although it begins as a fairly typical plot of resistance, quickly develops into something far more interesting. The character interactions are more than decent, as well, with mostly good voice-acting, and some nice cartoon-style, 2D images when the hero talks to certain characters.

There's some tiny amount of fun in here, but only for those who go in with a very specific mindset, and don't mind something that's basically a relic of the past - because that's the issue with Strife: it has the curse of many pioneers, which is how it was one of the first in what it does… but far from the best. Sure, it has an old-school charm of sorts for those who can appreciate it, but there's little reason to play it, when there are better alternatives out there. Think about it, would you rather play a Zelda game, or Atari 2600's Adventure? Yes, the second is basically the pioneer of the genre it gave its name to, but it's not exactly that good. Long story short, just play Deus Ex.

Screenshot for Strife: Veteran Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Strife is basically a prototype first-person RPG/Adventure, and as such, is nowhere near the level of polish of the games that were released after the late '90s. Boring, repetitive, not as non-linear as it thinks it is, and easy to break by not doing what it wants from you, this is fans, and old-school aficionados-only material, as there are better representative of the genre nowadays.

Developer

Night Dive Studios

Publisher

Night Dive Studios

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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