Heavy Fire: Red Shadow review for PS4, PSVR, Xbox One

Platform: PS4, PSVR
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Mastiff
Developer: Mastiff/Anshar
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Heavy Fire has made the rounds on many different platforms. It seemingly was an attempt to make a more approachable Call of Duty for novice players. It’s simple play mechanics and very basic visuals failed to impress the more hardcore gamer, but it has enjoyed moderate success on Wii and even PS3. Now, Mastiff has decided to take the game in a different direction and create an Arcade style shooter that sadly lacks any real charm or substance.

The “story” of this game is laughable at best, with a fictional idea of North Korea trying to take over the world. It begins with a narrator telling all about how the world is doomed under their rule and it’s up to his battalion to stop the invading armies. I have to be honest and literally tuned out what was being explained as it was so silly. Once the game begins you find yourself manning a stationary mini gun, and that’s where you will be for the entire duration of gameplay. Unlike other Heavy Fire games that had movement on rails (like House of the Dead), you are just sitting in one spot and fighting off waves of invading North Koreans. It’s very dry, and gets old very fast.

During the “battles” you will be given mission objectives to complete to earn health boots and weapon upgrades. However, the mission parameters appear too quickly to notice sometimes because you are too busy trying to shoot an insanely small target that is somehow draining your health. The entire experience leaves you feeling like you could be doing so much more, and yet, there is no more to it. You are always behind this minigun, fighting waves of enemies you can barely see and missions you can barely achieve. Everything is functional, but shortly after you begin playing, you’ll want to move on, quickly.

The whole thing ramps up the underwhelming presentation when you take this game into VR (On PlayStation VR). Now you can sit at minigun command and try to shoot even HARDER TO SEE enemies and miss vital mission objectives as you try not to fall asleep … In VR!

Not even a VR mode can save Heavy Fire: Red Shadow from being dull, simple and just plain boring. Visually, we have something that looks like an upscaled PS2 game. Very washed out colors and textures. Character models are so small-scaled and poorly animated that it’s difficult to decipher anything in front of you. The VR mode adds even more eye strain as the animation will have a shimmer that makes any moving object look like a fuzzy mess. Sound quality is not totally bad, but there isn’t really anything to get excited over. Guns and explosions will sound fine, while voices will get under your skin rather quickly. What little music there is sounds fine, but there isn’t a single track that is memorable after you switch off the game.

Heavy Fire: Red Shadow is just not good. It tries to be a decent game, but just fails on every level. The inclusion of VR just adds hope that it will at least be fun for a little while, but it turns out just being more of a headache. I figured VR was included to generate some interest in what is essentially a bargain bin title. It’s very basic but there is just no fun to be found here. I cannot recommend even trying this one out, even to experience the VR mode, as it just doesn’t deliver any kind of lasting appeal.

Note: Mastiff provided us with a Heavy Fire: Red Shadow PS4 code/copy for review purposes.

Grade: D+