Strider (PC/PS3/PS4/X360/X1 - Q1 2014)
From the ashes of GRIN’s cancelled reboot, Capcom is staying closer to Strider’s roots, enlisting Double Helix’s services to do so (the studio, which is finishing up Killer Instinct for Microsoft, is now making a habit of giving mouth-to-mouth to dead franchises).
Though making a graphical jump to 3D, very little else of Strider’s 2D platforming, reactionary hack n’ slash ways have changed from its old school predecessors. Even the story gels closely to 1989’s original narrative. You are Hiryu, the youngest enlistee to earn an A-Class ranking in the rigorous “Strider program,” making you just enough of a light-footed hardass to off Kazakh City’s biggest tyrannical sonavubitch, Grand Master Meio.
Appearing to be a hellish cross between the Soviet Union at its prime and Blade Runner, players are allowed to freely traverse the landscape in true MetroidVania fashion, whacking those fool enough to run into the titular hero with your Cypher – Hiryu’s plasma powered sword designed to inflict spectacular amounts of pain upon his enemies as well as absorb new properties to aid your speedy murder tirade.
Some of the best franchise revivals know to stick close to the source material. Injecting 2.5D into Strider is a smart move, allowing the title to walk between fresh for newcomers and classic for old blood begging to see Hiryu outside of yet another damn fighting game. Going for digital instead of full-on retail tells a tale of wisdom on Capcom’s part, too. The price will be easier to down for the discerning consumer and Capcom gets to test the waters to see if a new Strider sinks or floats through a safer, cheaper to publish bet. Win-win territory there.
The last ingredient is simply that the game has to be good. Strider is running towards an early 2014 release on both current and next-gen consoles.