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Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear Review (Xbox 360)

February 14th, 2013 by Crowbar Comments

Heavy: Fire Shattered Spear is a military shooter based in the Heavy Fire franchise. With military shooters being the flavor of the month (more like the past two years) has gaming seen enough of the terrorist driven war atmosphere? Obviously not, with Call of Duty dominating the military shooter market with Battlefield as the runner up are there any games that can actually compare to the giants? Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear’s release is quite audacious for Developer Mastiff because of the timing.

You play as Sgt. Will and you are a soldier who must stop an impending nuclear war. By jumping into the fray and behind enemy lines, Sgt Will must save an allied spy from execution. By using his skills and weapons at his disposal this task, this mission should go off without problems. Oh and did I mention you will have to disarm a nuclear missile? Well, that is pretty much the story in a nutshell. It is not the greatest of stories, but for the kind of game it is, one could say it is enough to drive the game from Point A to Point B. Quite frankly I prefer the story to be as simple as this. It does not try to hide behind fake storytelling and try hard character development. You have the atmosphere, now shoot stuff.

The gameplay is something I was not expecting. While the game was loading I notice the controls did not specify a way to move. I was puzzled to say the least, after I begun playing I noticed it was a Rail Shooter, or shooting gallery, similar to Time Crisis or House of the Dead. Finally, a game that hows the true colors of FPS tiles, for some reason I found it refreshing to play this game. Games like Call of Duty has dreadful level design, they are built like hallways purposefully to drive the player forward so their hand my be held until the next cutscene. Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear is a Rail Shooter through and through. It may be simple, but it is more honest and challenging than most modern FPS titles today.

Unlike popular FPS titles, Shattered Spear has health packs placed through-out the levels. No matter how long you stay in cover, your health will not regenerate. Oh and you died? You will restart at the checkpoint with the same amount of health you had when you arrived there. Ammo is also rather scarce compared to other FPS titles. You can run out rather easily despite it taking only one or two shots to kill an enemy. The amount of ammo you can carry increases with each upgrade you get when you complete levels. While the skill tree is not the biggest, choosing what you want can be somewhat strategic. You can have more hp, but increasing your ammo may end up being the better option.

The controls are a bit iffy. Because you do not move your body around willfully you just aim the gun. This set up on consoles without the addition of a movement peripheral feels very awkward to play. By using the left analog stick to aim and the right to get into cover (if it is available) you will find some of the areas can be somewhat challenging due to the over sensitive aiming. Next to single player you can play with up to three other people in 4 Player Co-Op. Games are always more fun with friends right?

Surprisingly enough, Shattered Spear has some pretty good art design. The levels are well constructed and there is more environment interaction that that immovable barrel in CoD or invincible pool chairs in Dead Island. The voice acting is pretty bad though. In the game’s defense, it is not supposed to have that AAA quality and budget like most FPS titles have these days.

While the content of Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear runs a bit on the lower side, the game’s gameplay is still more honest and challenging than those popular military shooters. I give Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear 4 out 5 nerds. Sadly, the odd controls hindered the game’s experience, but the honesty of the gameplay is where this title earns much praise. You can pick it up on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.

Crowbar is an angry young man, but he knows his games. We all have our passions and his come alive when his digital self is hammering baddies, solving puzzles or flying. He also has a penchant for dressing like giant penguins, but we promised him we wouldn't mention it.