Same As the Sequel –
Just like its sequel Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D, Heavy Fire: Special Ops is a flawed Virtual Cop-type shooting gallery that offers a quick burst of fun for about 5-10 minutes. Black Arms 3D and Special Ops 3D are basically the same exact game only with new stages; they can be considered simple expansion packs of one another.
The Heavy Fire series is an on-rails shooting gallery where the player controls an on-screen cursor using the stylus on the touchscreen, shooting is performed by tapping a shoulder button, and a flick of the circlepad will reload. The goal is to shoot anything that moves before they shoot you. Unfortunately, just like the sequel Black Arms 3D, there really is no incentive to continue playing this arcade-style shooter and each stage provides a frustratingly cheap challenge. After taking five hits of damage, the game over screen sends the player back to the main menu with nothing unlocked and nothing gained; all that work is lost. The absolute lack of progress makes gameplay feel like work especially when you get sniped from that one guy who appeared in the corner of the screen for one quick second towards the end of the stage. Each stage often floods the screen with enemies but only one or two will actually shoot at you. And unlike other shooting gallery games, the overall lack of interactivity with the environment or the absence of secrets makes shooting repetitive. It would have been nice to shoot a secret area of the screen to unlock a 15-second super gun, implement a boss fight or two, or have a way to get some health back. Without basic extras like these, gameplay is tasteless.
There is an attempt to spice up gameplay by including a few new guns to unlock but acquiring these new semi-automatics requires the completion of stages. But the player can only complete stages if they have a better gun and replay the level several times so memorization sets in – it is a vicious and tedious cycle. Most players will have the patience to complete the first level or two after half a dozen attempts, but the tolerance for the chore-like gameplay will not last long. Two-player co-op downloadable play would have been cool too.
For a $5 downloadable eShop game, the environments look pretty good considering. Even the 3D effect isn’t that bad. However, animations are choppy, enemy character models are pretty blocky, the environments contain little to no interactivity, and there is no way to distinguish a friendly from foe – shooting a friendly NPC results in a point penalty. And there really is no soundtrack to speak of as there are only sound effects from gunshots and the pathetic groins of the one-hit kill enemies.
With a lack of features and a cut-rate gameplay, both of the Heavy Arms titles on the 3DS eShop have a great amount of potential but wind up frustrating instead of entertaining.
On Par With: Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D
Not As Good As: Vampire Night (Guncon title)
Play It Instead: the Time Crisis series
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com