Heavy Fire: Red Shadow Review- Boring Warfare

Developer: Anshar Studio

Publisher: Mastiff

Release Date: October 17, 2018 (PC, PS4, PSVR), October 19, 2018 (Xbox One)

Available on: PC, PS4, PSVR, Xbox One (reviewed)

War games have long been a staple for video-gaming, and are a dime a dozen. So to generate any interest, a war game needs to stand apart, both in terms of gameplay and presentation. With both the Call of Duty and the Battlefield franchises maintaining a virtual stranglehold on the genre, smaller developers and publishers really need to do something to make their game stand apart. It’s not enough just to shoot things and make things go boom. Sadly for the new game Heavy Fire: Red Shadow, developer Anshar Studio and publisher Mastiff didn’t get that message.

Apparently, they thought sitting in a turret, with 360 degree combat, would be enough. To be fair, it is fun in limited doses. But with clumsy controls (the default scheme is especially bad- switching to FPS-A worked far better), run of the mill graphics, and an already seen that story in another game makes this an easy game to overlook. While you have eight missions in the campaign, it’s really only four locales (you do a day and a night mission in each). You never move from your turret, so gameplay consists of spinning and shooting, and occasionally calling in support, which can come in the form of a supply drop, infantry, artillery, an air strike, or an attack helicopter. As you play, you get points to spend on leveling up in four categories- Player, Machine Gun, Rocket Launcher, and Support. Each category has only five or six upgrades, and long before the final mission you’ll have unlocked them all.

Each mission is made up of three stages, with each stage having three or four waves of enemies. thankfully, the game autosaves upon the completion of each stage, so when you get tired of your play session you can pick right back up without much time lost. Each mission takes between 30-40 minutes to complete, making Heavy Fire:Red Shadow a very short game. There is no multiplayer, and the only difference between the campaign and the endless mode (which unlocks upon completing the campaign) is the lack of a brief story cut scene. Gameplay never really varies, as you’re stuck in the turret until you complete a mission, die, or quit the game out of sheer boredom. With the lack of content, gameplay variety, and brief overall running time, I can’t recommend this game at its $19.99 asking retail price. This is a five dollar game at most, and even at that price it’s a hard sell.

Had there been more of a variety of gameplay, Heavy Fire: Red Shadow may have, at the very least, qualified for a decent stress reliever. As an arcade game, it might be an okay short time waster while waiting to do something else. But as it is, it’s just not worth your time. Add in an annoying guy yelling at you about side missions (they appear in the upper right hand corner of the screen and consist of killing a certain number of enemies, landing head-shots, destroying vehicles, etc), and this game really becomes something to avoid. There’s no real strategy in approaching the missions, save do you take a supply drop or allow your meter to fill for stronger support to be called in. There’s just not much here to recommend. As I played on the Xbox One, I did not check out the VR capabilities for the PS4 version (which is actually a paid add on). It’s possible that in VR, this is a much more immersive game. But outside of that, this is one to pass on by, as there are plenty of other military shooters more worth your time.