Published on September 1st, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D Review
Before the first-person shooter genre really came to fruition, there was another class of arcade shooters that stole the limelight. Those shooters consisted of enormously built arcade cabinets that housed holsters and life-like light guns to stow away while not in use.
Although the experience might be hard to compare having a large arcade cabinet versus a handheld stylus-driven shooter, it does make the transition almost seamlessly. Almost.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
Release Date: Aug. 15, 2013
Genre: Action Shooter
Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D does more than just bear the “3D” emblem. The game actually does a pretty good job representing the former Wii title and bringing it to new light with a dash of 3D depth.
The game starts out with the selection of three varying soldier types: The Recon, Gunner or Support class. Each has specific characteristics based on their classification. For example, the Gunner is able to carry more ammo and has a standard reload time. However, when it comes to deterioration of the weapon in use, the class receives a “Low condition for weapons.” This primarily means that during gameplay, your weapon is susceptible to gun-jams, in which you must tilt the 3DS console horizontally in order to dislodge the
While the classes may appear to give some balance to the game, they don’t necessarily have an impact.
The most balanced, and why anyone would choose otherwise, is the Recon class. The class features faster reload times, and normal condition for weapons. There are less bullets in the clip, but this can be upgraded during gameplay, delivering more bullets based on the gun and upgrades purchased. This is just one way in which the game makes an effort that is seemingly awesome, however it takes away the balance among classes.
The storyline and graphics are two areas where the 3DS version surpasses its console counterpart. Even though it is an on-rail shooter, Black Arms does a decent job of blurring the line between the first-person and rail shooter genre. Action sequences perform well in 3D. There’s nothing like wading through tall weeds and ducking behind a trees with a bit more added depth to the game.
The reticle is moved on the bottom touch pad, leaving the reload button mapped to the circle-pad and buttons. There is a touch option on screen to reload. However, the swivel pad has an immersive gun-type feel to it, almost as if you were dropping the clip out of your gun by swiping it down. The shoulder buttons are used to fire the weapons.
It did feel a bit more comfortable playing in this style, cradling the gamepad in my left hand and pointing at enemies with my right. There was noticeable latency when dragging the reticle, but most of the time it was a combo sweeping the given scene with bullets. This was far easier than the likes of Kid Icarus: Uprising, a game where the controls and included pedestal accessory were nothing short of awkward to play with.
The game spans different level types across the South American terrain. Vehicles are boarded with Gatling-gun turrets, helicopters drop from the sky, and there are even sniper situations that are brought into the picture. This is one area where Teyon excelled in the overall presentation of the game. There are different environments, from heavy forested areas with streams and trees, to supply bases with bunkers and houses. Most of the time, after clearing one of these on-rail tours, it’s common to exhale a long-winded sigh of relief. This is where the game gets brought back right down to earth again.
Although there are moments of tension and feelings of being overwhelmed by enemies, the feeling of triumph for the challenge are often short-lived. At times, the lop-sided difficulty creates an almost frustrating experience. Nailing the first couple of shots might leave a heavier enemy presence, not to mention the cheap shots they land, sometimes after unloading multiple shots in their general direction.
The upgrade system in the game is equally frustrating. It takes higher gunfire rates to take down enemy vehicles such as helicopters accompanied by hordes of troops. However, in order to buy heavier firing weapons one must continue banking money.
In order to get the money, missions need to be completed. The higher the score, the bigger the payout is at the end of the mission. Weapons with higher rates of fire cost more money and become a necessity in latter levels. The guns will also cost an arm-and-a-leg depending on the class selected. It creates a huge catch-22, which over the course of the game, can become grueling, tedious, but most of all, annoying.
Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D has a lot of things going for it. The game provides a fun, arcadey experience on a handheld console. There are upgrades and new weaponry to unlock, along with moving through the military ranks. There is even a portion in the beginning of the game to take a picture with the 3DS’ camera, placing a combat helmet on your head for a profile indicator.
There are tons of new weapons to unlock, and the game has a lot of replay value given the scenarios of each mission, classes and challenges. However, these can become grueling tasks, almost overly frustrating, given the lop-sided difficulty and cheap deaths.
I can’t say that I don’t have mixed feelings about the game. On one hand, you’ve got graphically well done 3D title accessible in the Nintendo eShop. The frustration may leave you to quit often, but the challenge and effort to finally beat the son-of-a-gun will bring you back in for more.
Summary: This game beats out its predecessor and performs well on the Nintendo 3DS console. However, the lopsided difficulty can prove challenging, but sometimes frustrating.