It’s been a long time since I’ve chimed in with a review, but it’s a disservice to give Cho Dengeki Stryker anything less. What started as a fun action story ended with an incredible world and an even more powerful message. This is Overdrive’s finest hour.
Cho Dengeki Stryker is a visual novel by the company Overdrive (makers of my previous favorites Deardrops and Kira Kira) that follows a man named Yuuki Yamato after he makes a wish to become a superhero at a terrible cost: losing all his memories.
What follows is initially a fun romp with some eccentric characters before it slowly morphs into a much grander saga featuring impressive worldbuilding, plot twists, and deeper characters than you’d initially think.
Quick note, Cho Dengeki Stryker is a rerelease of the original Dengeki Stryker visual novel with three added routes. That brings the total to seven routes/story arcs in all. Important to note for later.
As I said in my first impressions after playing the first route, Cho Dengeki Stryker began as a solid superhero action story, and it seemed poised to continue this trend heading into the next arc, but it goes far further than that by the end. Overdrive is very aware of the world they’ve built and use facets of this world as plot twists that work fantastically well in advancing the characters, the plot, and illustrating how Yuuki’s wish had much farther-reaching consequences than initially intended.
This narrative is told through all seven routes, two of which are “true” endings for their respective releases. It’s an expansive story that has a lot to tell.
Speaking of the world, Yuuki’s wish seemed, at first, to be a simple way start the story. It was fun, it was a bit absurd, but otherwise it seemed to be right at home in the story. As the story goes on, the narrative carefully pulls back the seams on the world and exposes the depth and consequences of this wish, which end up answering several questions along the way. I was impressed by how my one question after the first route ended up being an important plot point in the narrative.
Through all of this, Cho Dengeki Stryker has one key message to send its readers which, in hindsight, permeates most of the narrative. While I won’t expound on it for spoilers reasons, it’s easy to say that the Aesop ends up being one of the finer points of the narrative and wraps everything up in a nice bow.
Whenever Masaaki Endoh and AiRi show up, you know it’s on. I mean it, it’s on.
There’s a lot to be said for how much the enforced playing order of some of the routes ends up improving the story, but it still feels like a cheat in some ways. I’ll leave it at that.
Like so many visual novels, some routes conveniently forget things that should be rather... important. I’m talking things like some big-bad in one route won’t ever show up in another, either by handwaving or maybe some contrived reason. This happens very visibly in the first route, where the big bad of literally every other route is never seen.
Chou Dengeki Stryker is an Overdrive visual novel from top-to-bottom. It starts off light and fun, but it gradually settles into a cycle of comedy, action, and existential exploration. There’s a lot to love about Stryker, from the genre shifts to the impressive Aesop that Overdrive expounds on in both the original game’s true ending, and the expansion’s true ending.
While it has some flaws, I’m willing to overlook them due to the shear awesome it can bring to the table, in both action and narrative tenacity. They exploit the world to reveal a number of interesting discussions over the nature of the wish Yuuki made and how that has affected all the characters, and Yuuki himself.
Chou Dengeki Stryker was an excellent ride, and one that I’m willing to recommend to those in for the long haul. While it doesn’t seem like a deep story at first, you’ll be surprised how far down it goes by the end.
My name is Dex, I find myself without a lot of time these days, but when I have it I play incredibly long visual novels.