I’m not much of a huge fan when it comes to on-rail shooters, but recently they have found a nice place on my gaming shelf. Heavy Fire: Afghanistan is one of those games your not quite sure of, but for a $19.99 title you can’t really argue that you’re losing anything here.
I wouldn’t say there’s much of a story to the game. The player is deployed to Afghanistan and fights their way through multiple missions. It’s nothing that hasn’t been already done before, so don’t go in expecting a complex story. In total though there are 14 story missions, two of them which are shooting ranges. The difficulty by default is rookie, but after completing the first 14 levels you’ll re-unlock them all at veteran difficulty. It’s not as hard as it sounds either, as the game difficulty is quite easy and shouldn’t give you any troubles whatsoever.
Like any on-rail shooter the game guides you through multiple action-packed levels where you only have control of certain actions. There are two separate ways of playing the game. You can either use the Dualshock 3 controller or the PS Move. I didn’t really use the DS3 all that much as I felt like I would enjoy this game much more with the PS Move, but the basic functionality for the DS3 are similar to that of any other first-person shooters; with the exception that your not controlling your movements. As for the PS Move set-up, I had both the Move controller and the Navigation. The Move controller is in charge of aiming and shooting, while the Navi is used for throwing grenades and reloading your weapon. There’s a cover system, which at first seems pointless considering you could stand in front of your enemies for quite some time, but as you progress through levels, the difficulty of enemies increases making the cover system much more useful. One of my favorite thing about the game is the involvement of quick time events. No matter if your using PS Move or the DS3, your gonna end up using motion controls as these quick time event require you to flick your controller in a direction to avoid danger. This builds up quite a surprise as most of the time you’ll be shooting your targets without even knowing that a QTE is about to happen. Overall I enjoyed what was offered from the gameplay and felt satisfied enough knowing that this was an on-rail shooter; so expecting some sort of gameplay leap is a bit too much really.
The graphics are actually quite stunning for a low budget title and I have to say I was impressed with the lighting; though it did have a few issues. For example, when progressing through a level the camera will tend to put you in a position where the sunlight actually blinds you, or actually shines to much on one area. This can make it nearly impossible to notice any hidden enemies that are being shrouded by the sunlight. Otherwise I think the developers did a brilliant job with the lighting and it adds more realism to the dull graphics. I know I said that they were stunning, but that’s only because the lighting does such a good job masking some of the issues with the textures.
Finally the multiplayer. Heavy Fire: Afghanistan features both local and online co-op play. It plays exactly the same as single-player except you have additional cross-hairs on the screen; along with a scoreboard for the other players (up to four). It’s a fun way to get together with your friends and family and battle it out to see who has the most points in the end. Yes I know it sounds a bit stupid, but I did really enjoy playing this game with my nephew, seeing that he doesn’t know how to play any other games, and I wouldn’t say the violence in this game is that heavy at all. Additionally, there are online leaderboards. So if you’re someone who absolutely loves having the best score on that level, the leaderboard allows you to see what your up against.
Heavy Fire: Afghanistan isn’t a bad game and for just a mere $19.99 I think it’s well worth the price, especially since it’s a retail game. The gameplay is excellent and the graphics are there, but the lack of good story may be a bit of a bummer for some. Either way, it’s a good game that anyone can enjoy and it brings back many nostalgic memories of a classic arcade shooter.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.