After the virus wars of 3104 AD, humanity faces a new challenge. The D’aarg, a technologically advanced alien race, is conquering defenseless solar systems at an alarming rate. Humanity’s technology is not capable of fending off this new threat, and so a project begins to develop enhanced star fighters to take on this new enemy. The Soldner-X 2 defense is the fruit of humanity’s labor.
Soldner-X 2 is a shooter unlike anything seen on Xbox 360. The entire experience is a melding pot of moody galatic-style music, hell-based shooting, endless waves of enemy spacecraft, imaginative alien worlds, and outlandishly big enemy spacecraft.
Choose between two fighters with one that can be unlocked at a later time. Thor is a heavy starfighter with its primary weapons being a bounce laser and scatter gun. Thor is more streamline, but should only be used by veterans. It shoots much slower than its faster cousin, Mexxus II. Mexxus II, aptly named the Bullfighter, is much quicker at dispensing ammo. Its primary weapons are the bullet gun and magma cannon.
Both ships control identically and use the same joypad configuration. You can fire by pressing the X button and toggle between your weapons by pressing R1 or L1. Enemy spacecraft, when destroyed, will release special power-ups that will level up your weapons. When collecting this power-up, it will only level up the current weapon you have selected. This adds an element of strategy to the gameplay. Once you decide which weapon suits you the best, always be sure to have it selected before collecting one of these power-ups.
No shooter would be complete without score bonuses. Soldner-X 2 is loaded with score bonus features like score multipliers and large gold rings that drop from destroyed enemy spacecraft. These items are plentiful throughout the game, so collecting them should be a main priority.
Unlike some shooters, your spacecraft has a very long health bar. Since the action is intense, full of obstacles, and enormous bosses, it makes sense for this feature to be present. Luckily, health power ups are available and randomly scattered throughout each level. Any good shoot ‘em up player will be able to survive through most of the levels without needing any of these life-saving power-ups.
Your spacecraft’s arsenal can be upgraded. Some weapon upgrades include bullet enhancements, Chasers, Shockwaves (i.e. bombs), etc. These all compliment the weapon power upgrade mentioned earlier.
Each stage has a collection of hidden keys that can be collected to unlock different things, but these can only be found on ships that glow yellow, and they are not easy to destroy. After collecting so many of these keys, additional features and stages are unlocked.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Soldner-X 2 plays like a dream. Everything is fast, smooth, and the action never skips a beat. Even in later levels where the action switches to a vertical scroll, the camera follows slightly ahead of your ship giving you advance warning of incoming enemies and walls. Even boss battles are full of adrenaline pumping fervor as they spray the screen with an endless array of bullets. During boss battles, you are given instructions on how to battle the boss. The voice acting, while sparse, is done extremely well and adds to the intensity of the action. In some cases, large arrows will appear on-screen indicating where the boss will strike next.
Graphically, Soldner-X 2 is a brilliant mixture of 2D and 3D visuals. The backgrounds stand out with shiny metal tunnels, space debris, asteroid belts, ruined cities, alien forests, and underwater worlds. Imagination was not spared during the creation of these stages. The music is a collection of moody, galactic-style tunes that really set the mood for each stage and boss encounter. Something has to be said for great music in a shooter; if it doesn’t capture the mood from the very beginning, half of the experience is lost.
Synthetic robot voices call out the names of power-ups when collected; certain bosses speak during encounters; and the pilot of your spacecraft will sometimes have conversations with ground control depending on the situation. Overall, Soldner-X 2 is an incredible shooter. Everything about this game makes it a classic. If you’re looking for a new shooter that is addicting, challenging, and fun, then this game is for you. Even newcomers to the genre should check this game out; it’s one of the best.
Soldner-X 2 is available on the PSN for $12.99.
Mike ‘STGuy1040’ Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: SideQuest Studios
|The graphics are absolutely incredible.|
|The music is a collection of moody, galactic-style tunes that really set the mood.|
|Soldner-X 2 is addictive, challenging, fun, and worth every penny.|
|Shoot 'em up fans will truly enjoy the experience and newcomers will be blown away.|