I don't think some of the criticism in this thread is really fair.
It's not some indie developer's weekend project, the game is a lot more polished than that. The music, level design, gore, graphics, and weapons are all very well thought out and generally work fairly well. The KS project showed the blocky graphics from day one, so it's not really a surprise how the game looks, they even released a demo for people to play with the Kickstarter and it more or less looked the same.
There are some cool mechanics in the game, like the ability to spray blood from enemies over acid pools to stop taking damage from them. There are a few polished little details like that that really make the game interesting to play and give you some creativity, but not much and not enough.
The way they did procedural generation actually works pretty well. They designed several rooms by hand that appear to link up randomly, which gives you some notion of what you are up against when you see a room after the 3rd or 4th time. This is a lot better than others I've played where you can have some really broken maps.
That said, I can't argue with the fact this isn't a 90's shooter in any way. It shares nearly no mechanics with shooters of that era and imposes artificial difficulty due to the limited health pickups, limited ammo pickups, few weapon choices, and an assortment of other reasons. I can't recall a 90's shooter that had procedural generation, limited ammo/health, a buildout that is more or less based around a single weapon, the previously mentioned ammo clip issue, no saving of any kind, and so many melee based enemies. It doesn't mean games of that era are flawless, so the question is whether or not STRAFE improves on that formula. IMO it does and it doesn't.
The way they manage weapons bothers me, especially. Unlike older games where your character progresses throughout the game with increasingly powerful weapons, which scales along with the enemies, STRAFE only gives you one to start with that can be modified throughout the game. The modifications are random, some are good and some really suck to use. You can pick up other weapons throughout the game, there tend to be 3-4 per level, if not more, but they are basic variants of the same 3 starting weapons and their modifications. The weapons you pick up cannot be reloaded and you cannot pick up new ammo for them, ONLY your starting weapon. In games like Doom and Quake, we had 9+ weapons to choose from, could pick up ammo for them, and manage them ourselves. STRAFE doesn't give you weapon load outs like that, probably because it would break the game balance.
I also really don't like roguelike shooters, especially when you get nothing out of death and start all over again. You spend most of your time in the first level until you oops I accidentally that grenade and have to start all over again. STRAFE gets around this by providing items you can assemble to start out in different zones, but you start out with the previously mentioned poor accuracy and no character development and on a more difficult zone. It gets repetitive and old very quickly playing the first 3 maps and then getting killed, having to start over again with nothing. It'd be one thing if it was like Immortal Redneck, where you start over with something from the prior run, but you start empty handed.
All in all, this just feels artificially difficult to me, in addition to repetitive. I'd rather we had 15 well designed maps (e.g. Doom) to play through with actual difficulties, the ability to save/restore where we are, and well balanced weapon loudouts and health/ammo pickups. Most FPS fans have played the classics over and over, despite knowing the levels like the back of their hand, so I don't buy the replayability argument here. Despite being done reasonably well, the permadeath and randomness just makes it repetitive to me. I could do with one or the other, but both just creates a situation where you end up playing the same thing over and over, even though it is mildly different.
Unfortunately, these are fundamental design choices that just can't be patched out.
I don't want to crap all over it. I like the game, it is fun, but it's not what it could have been and that's the biggest disappointment to me. I wanted to love it, but I just can't get over those few design decisions.
Post edited May 09, 2017 by Shinook