Despite considerable success in North America the Heavy Fire franchise has yet to garner noteworthy popularity in the UK. Avanquest Software is hoping to change that however, with the forthcoming Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear and before that with Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D, available now for Nintendo 3DS.
As with it’s high-definition sister title, Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D is an arcade style light-gun videogame without the requirement of an additional accessory. Your Nintendo 3DS console and a stylus is all that’s needed, and of course a basic knowledge of the principles of the genre; aside from a loading screen relaying the control system there is no tutorial to speak of.
The story begins with the player leading an assault on a very well equipped enemy base, downing hundreds of foes with sharp shooting, exploding enemy vehicles and moving deeper into the unknown territory. The plot continues along its paper-thin path as it punctuates the gameplay, but despite its interesting comic style delivery it is of little consequence: far more important is the in-game action, and there’s little to be disappointed with here.
Before beginning the videogame the player can choose between three character types. Each has three specific attributes, such as reload speed and magazine size, which do significantly affect the way in which you play the videogame. However, you cannot change class without starting a new save file; an odd design decision that does not encourage experimentation. More open to interpretation are the unlockable weapons and upgrades available before starting missions.
Players travel through the missions in an on-rails style using the stylus to aim and either trigger to fire. The control system is designed to accommodate both left- and right-handed players and is comfortable in all respects. Enemies pop into action from all angles, increasing in number, accuracy and aggression as the player pushes further through the missions, demanding that the player invest in perception and reaction in order to make their way through the videogame unscathed. However Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D is a very difficult videogame, offering just five lives per level, so the player is wise to use the upgrade options to give them an advantage.
Completing a level will earn cash which can then be used to purchase the aforementioned weapons and upgrades, tipping the scale in your favour. It would seem that the development team at Teyon were aware of the difficulty involved in the videogame they were creating, as an option to replay previously completed missions has been incorporated at the route of the videogame, allowing you to earn additional cash without increasing the difficulty.
Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D is hardly striking in its presentation, with a visual and aural quality that could easily have been achieved on the first generation of Nintendo DS hardware. However, it’s the little touches that offer the videogame a subtle boost to its playability: the exclamation marks that appear above the heads of dangerous enemies, the range of impact for explosions and the switch between handheld and mounted weapons varying the gameplay standard. There’s no denying that most gamers will look at Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D and see something that looks decidedly average, but digging a little deeper reveals a much more rewarding experience.
This, ultimately, is both Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D’s blessing and it’s curse. Gamers looking for a no-nonsense action experience at a budget price need look no further, Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D provides exactly this and does so in spades. However, it’s not likely to win any awards for innovation or visual achievement, which are two areas in which videogames are commonly judged more harshly than others. Far from being a highlight if the Nintendo 3DS’ software catalogue, then, Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D remains a highly enjoyable action title that demands nothing more than the player’s time and dexterity.
Don’t forget: You can win a copy of Heavy Fire: The Chosen Few 3D right here at Electronic Theatre. Simply visit the Win a Copy of Heavy Fire for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Nintendo 3DS! competition page for more details.