Numerous guns to unlock; controls are tight for the most part.
Heavy Fire: Special Operations 3D is one of those games that you play and you sort of wished you hadn’t. On the surface, it’s an on-rails shooter reminiscent of classics such as Virtua Cop, House of the Dead, and even the newer Resident Evil Chronicles series. But unlike all of those iconic names in the genre, Special Operations lacks any sort of merit or distinguishing quality. In the end, it’s a game that’s sure to get lost on the eShop simply because it’s not an enjoyable experience.
Developer Teyon seem to have put very little into the game’s presentation. It’s about as barebones a game you can get; basic menus, segments of the game that possess no audio whatsoever, and muddy graphics really damage the overall product. In truth, all I could think about when playing was that arcade game from the ’90s, Area 51. I remember the animations in that game, and others of its kind during that time period, were hilariously bad due to the low frame rates. That’s how it is here. The fact that the 3D is hardly noticeable doesn’t help matters either.
As a result of this, enemy movements are static and choppy, which only means it’s difficult to line up your shots on them appropriately. Unfortunately, as this is a game where literally the only thing you do is shoot things, this is kind of a big deal. Of course, this is made worse by complete lack of audio in the game. When playing a level, all you hear are horrible patched-in audio clips of gunfire. Yep, that’s right– usually there’s no music playing in the background. None– and it’s just one example of how Heavy Fire feels sloppy all round; it’s almost like no one played the thing before releasing it.
Does this look like fun to you? No, seriously, does it?
The aforementioned traits would be forgivable, though, if the gameplay was good, but sadly it’s not. It’s okay at best, and bad at worst. It should feel natural to play an on-rails shooter with a stylus, but somehow Teyon have managed to make the gameplay feel clunky and unresponsive. Furthermore, there’s no variety to the shooting at all. Yes, you can rank up and unlock new guns to take into battle, but that’s where the customization ends. To top it off, the levels are about as run-of-the-mill as you can get in this sort of game, so I never felt like I was seeing something unique. There were no clever segments, which I think can be done in this type of game; it felt more like I was being ushered from one ugly set piece to the next, only to engage in the same screen-tapping extravaganza as before. At least the controls feel quite tight for the most part, which goes a long way considering the amount of aforementioned stylus tapping.
Furthermore, the difficulty is pretty inconsistent too. Heavy Fire has a fantastic way of throwing a bunch of guys at you, and then marking certain ones as priorities by an exclamation point above their heads. The issue with this is the exclamation points are shown far too late, so sometimes you’ll be mowing dudes down, only to realize that there was one guy, who apparently you should’ve known to kill first, with a sudden exclamation point above his head, firing a shot at you that can’t be dodged. This is made a little more manageable when you have a friend tag along in the cooperative multiplayer mode, but the truth is, asking a friend to subject themselves to this misery is embarassing, and almost feels irresponsible. After all, even with a friend, the gameplay is still pretty dreadful.
Generic title? Check. Generic setting? Check. Generic graphics? Check. Generic audio? Check. Generic gameplay? Check. As one might be able to see, the problem with Heavy Fire: Special Operations 3D is it’s uninspired. I enjoyed the chance to unlock new weapons and use them in battle, and the controls were okay most of the time, but that was hardly enough to make up for everything else. Ultimately, Special Operations feels like a chore to play because it’s just not fun. Yes, it’s cheap on Nintendo’s digital service, but in this case, you get what you pay for.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.