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Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Two years after release, Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear has finally found its way to Steam. This is a military-themed on-rails shooter that harkens back to the days of Time Crisis. While the story is brief and the gameplay is shallow, fans of this style of shooter will get a kick out of the explosive set pieces and varied levels. Nobody is going to accuse this of being a great game, but the roller coaster ride is fun while it lasts. Rating: 64%
Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear
Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear
  • Review Score:

  • B-
In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Snake quietly sneaks his way past guards to infiltrate some of Afghanistan's most dangerous corners. He takes his time and uses silenced weapons, all in an attempt to avoid being detected by an almost unlimited supply of enemy soldiers. Snake knows it's suicide to rush in with guns blazing, so he holds back and waits for the right moment to pounce.

Will, the hero of Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear, has a slightly different strategy. Instead of waiting for the perfect time to attack, this member of the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment is ready to race through Afghanistan killing anybody that gets in his way. He's strapped into a roller coaster ride through a Michael Bay-style warzone full of explosions and huge set pieces. I think it's safe to say, this is not a sneaking mission.

Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear is the kind of action-packed on-rails shooter that would have been enormously popular as an arcade game in 1996. It's a very simple-minded shooter that sees Will fight through 12 levels to rescue hostages, gather up information and, if all goes well, save the world from the threat of nuclear war. Oh, and he'll have a chance to kill hundreds of enemy soldiers using a number of different weapons and vehicles.

Although the setting may be different, the rhythm is certainly reminiscent of Namco's Time Crisis franchise. Will races through the level finding different hiding spots, which sets up a bunch of target practice challenges. This gives our hero a chance to duck behind cover when he needs to catch his breath and reload, a mechanic that makes the linear paths feel slightly more interactive.

Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While the story is only 90 minutes long, Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear does cover a surprising amount of ground. We not only go from the rugged desert to the city streets, but we also jump into a series of cool vehicles. We speed down the river on a boat, use a helicopter to take out enemies from the sky and create massive explosions by commandeering a tank. These are a fun diversion to the basic run and gun action.

This style of game does lose something without a proper light gun, but I found the mouse and keyboard to be an acceptable alternative. If anything, this set-up makes the action a lot more manageable. Aiming with the mouse makes some of the trickier shootouts a little too easy, and they don't give the keyboard much to do. When not ducking behind cover, you'll be forced to struggle through the annoying quick-time event button prompts.

Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The visuals have a distinct last-generation look, and for good reason. Although Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear is new to Steam, it was actually released across all platforms in 2013. But even when it launched, this on-rails shooter still felt dated. Everything from the gameplay to the cheesy voice acting is straight out of the 1990s, and I'm sure that will appeal to a lot of old school arcade gamers.

Nobody is going to accuse Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear of being a great game. The gameplay is shallow and it's over in an hour and a half. But as arcade-inspired on-rails shooters go, this one is action-packed and surprisingly diverse. It's also $3.99, which is a lot less than you would have spent dumping quarters into the arcade cabinet. Will may not be as sneaky as Snake, but you can't argue with his results.
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