Sunday, 27 October 2019

Contra: Rogue Corps ★☆☆☆☆

‘Contra: Rogue Corps’ is definitely what you would call a blast from the past. The game is a direct sequel from ‘Contra 3’, set in a place called the Damned City where you will once again face off against an alien invasion by just shooting everything you see. It’s a pretty standard plot for a shooter game from generations gone, but in all honesty, I’m not sure who this game is really aimed at. The majority of young gamers have probably never heard of ‘Contra’ before, and going back to the older games to find out more is quite difficult unless you have access to much older consoles.

The game is of twin-stick shooter variety and has single-player and co-op – both online and couch co-op, which is highly appreciated as not many games are doing this nowadays. I always find it refreshing to play a co-op where online play isn’t needed, with it being such a prevalent thing in this generation.

I’d love to give some elaborate review points about the storyline of the game, but unfortunately, it’s nothing more than a backdrop… An excuse to slaughter hundreds of aliens.  There could have been so much more effort made in the writing area of the game which would have differentiated itself from the prior games from decades ago. Fair enough that the story wasn’t great in those ones (as they often weren’t with basic shooters), but there’s not so much excuse nowadays – especially with a current gaming demographic that craves the thrill of an absorbing plot. 

And this leads onto my second problem with ‘Contra: Rogue Corps’ – without a story that is intriguing then the gameplay really needs to make up for it, yet here it does not. The twin-stick nature of the games means the controls need to feel tight but most of the time moving the character around feels sluggish and off. On top of that, over the course of the 20-hour campaign, the game is not really a pretty affair. Bland and overused textures litter the screen, with nothing really standing out graphically.

Interestingly there is no ammo as such in the game but rather a weapon overheating system. You’ll get a certain amount of time that you are able to fire your gun before you have to stop and wait for a few seconds, with little else to do but kiting your enemies and stalling them until the firing can happen again. The first time it happens is fine, but dealing with this over the entire course of the game becomes frustrating, and leads to the player feeling like they’re spending more time waiting than actually killing things.

In fairness to the developer they have obviously tried to create and input new ideas into the game to make it a viable option in 2019, but none of these parts come together as a whole to make an experience worthy of paying for. By changing things in the game that didn't need to be changed, ‘Contra: Rogue Corps’ has lost its identity as a ‘Contra’ game which leads me to ask – If ‘Contra’ fans won’t like it, then who will?

Hannah Read

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