Oculin, known in the realm of the living as Benjamin Toy Yoder, is a college student majoring in journalism and professional writing. He likes to pretend to be a vidjya game journalist and, at the very least, has successfully tricked a few people into believing him, landing him gigs at VGChartz, Classic Game Room Empire and TheSpeedGamers.
Digging for gems in unknown or poorly received titles is what Oculin games for. He places a large emphasis on entertainment, rather than just polish. He also has an unhealthy interest in creepy Japanese idol games, despite never playing one.
Anime, visual novels and manga are also hobbies of his, although he is incredibly picky and very rarely takes recommendations.
Just bringing up the visual novel genre will generally put a single image in most minds: a male main character with three to five other characters who all want his sexy bod'. Dengeki Styker ups the challenge by increasing that number to ten. However, those ten aren't questionably aged girls who want his undying love, and they don't want to love his body tenderly. They want to dissect his body in a lab. That's because he is not just a faceless high school protagonist, he is a super hero.
Dengeki Styker takes place through the eyes of Yuuki Yamato, a child who gains super powers after giving up all of his memories. Years pass by in peace where his powers are unneeded, but suddenly a group super powered cyborgs from a strange country infiltrate Japan. Yuuki Yamoto, now a high school student, moves out under his Stryker Zero alias to protect his homeland.
The trial alone for Dengeki Stryker stands out from other visual novels, setting the groundwork for an experience that focuses on action sequences, as well as character personalities and interactions. Other elements are here as a reminder that you're still in visual novel territory, including school life and chicks that will roll around your feet, presumably until you pick one of them up and drag them through their character route. Of course, it wouldn't be an 18+ visual novel without some sexy time for each of the ladies in the full version.
While the virtual love interests play their roles, the real stars here are all the over-the-top super hero characters, including Yamato and the villains who are after him. The game takes place in modern day Japan, so the super heroes and villains are essentially from another world, making for some entertaining dialog between characters as misunderstandings and off-the-wall conversations pile up. The villains in specific are just a giant bucket of stereotypes. Their extreme differences in personality and motivations mix together to create a train wreck of a team. But that train wreck proves to be one of Dengeki Stryker's strongest points.
As entertaining as the banter between characters is in a visual novel form, the action sequences in the trial do not fare so well. They feel sluggish and create dead air filled with monotonous combat descriptions between the rest of the title's humorous and well-crafted dialog. These scenes are spiced up through smart uses of sound, animation, and CG images, but overall probably would have benefited from being portrayed through a different medium.
The trial shows a lot of promise for the full title and it's impressive that the developer, Overdrive, has made a release that shows they can do more than just your typical visual novel, while still remaining true to their roots. You can download the trial from MangaGamer's website, and the full game will be available for purchase on June 22.