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Preview: Four Reasons to Be Excited For Project Root
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 02, 2015   |   Episode 81 (Show Archive)  

As somebody who enjoys old school shoot-em-ups, I've been excited to see the genre make a comeback. In just the past week alone, I've reviewed both Soldner-X 2 and Jamestown+. And in case you think that's a fluke, Argentinian developer OPQAM will be releasing Project Root on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PS Vita. My review is still a few weeks away, but I wanted to take a moment to discuss the four reasons why you should be excited for Project Root.

It's Like a Science Fiction Desert Strike

Do you remember Electronic Arts' Strike series? It started with Desert Strike on the Sega Genesis, and then quickly moved on to Jungle and Urban Strike. It didn't take long for EA to drag the series into the 32-bit era, with Soviet Strike and the terrifying Nuclear Strike on PlayStation. But as popular as these games were, they didn't make it into the 21st century. If you're the kind of person still a little sour by this decision, then Project Root is for you.

Although the craft may look like your typical starfighter, this game is more about piloting a futuristic helicopter than speeding through the level with a jet. You'll hover over the planet shooting other ships out of the sky and bombing the ground forces into the Stone Age. Some enemies will drop powerful secondary weapons, but most of the game revolves around you taking out other ships with your standard guns and firing grenades at tanks on the ground. Not unlike what we saw in the Strike series.

The Levels Are Huge

Maybe it's because the stages in Soldner-X 2 and Jamestown+ are bite-sized, but I was surprised by how large the levels are in Project Root. The first stage alone took me well over a half hour to complete, and I was constantly exploring the surroundings. The following stages are equally long, as well as impressively diverse. I'm only showing footage from the first three levels in this preview, but all of the stages have a unique look and color palette.

The levels are so large that each one has multiple secondary objectives, which are often far away from the main quest. The missions can range from protecting an armored truck to bombing power generators. After all of the quests have been completed, it's off to a lengthy boss fight set in a roped-off arena. These boss fights feel claustrophobic compared to the enormous size of the standard stages.

It's Sort of a Role-Playing Game

While it's not exactly Final Fantasy, Project Root offers a leveling-up system that may make people more interested in revisiting stages. Killing the different enemies and completing objectives will award players with experience points, which eventually turn into tokens that can be used to upgrade the ship. There are six different upgradeable parts, including speed, weapons, armor and more. This made a noticeable difference, and it gave me a big incentive to complete the secondary objectives.

You Won't Have To Wait For the PS Vita Version

Lately it seems like a lot of big PS Vita games are coming out months after their PlayStation 4 counterpart. We don't have to go very far to dig up examples, as both Axiom Verge and Bastion have adopted the staggered PS Vita launch. But Project Root is different. There's no need to wait around, because gamers will be able to play it on the big screen and on the go when it debuts on April 28th. I put some time into the handheld version and came away impressed. Sure, the graphics take a bit of a hit, but the gameplay remains fast and the levels are massive. Aside from small details in the backgrounds, it doesn't feel like the PS Vita is getting a compromised port. Hell, I actually like the control scheme better on the handheld. Go figure.

Project Root will hit PlayStation 4, PS Vita and Xbox One on April 28, retailing for $9.99. I'll be back in a few weeks with a full review of the finished game, so be on the lookout for that. Let me know if you have any questions about Project Root and I'll do my best to answer them.


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