The new installment of the saga modifies its bases and becomes a fun Twin Stick Shooter away from the great production values.
Classic sagas change over time, seek new mechanics and try to reinvent themselves to offer fresh formulas that maintain interest in the franchise in question. It is not that Contra games have abounded in recent years precisely, although Konami has been good at marketing Contra: Anniversary Collection, which, as the name suggests, is a compilation of several of the classics of yesteryear. The new of the Japanese company, Contra: Rogue Corps, breaks with the past.
The old run and gun of the saga were action titles with horizontal displacement, while this new chapter opts for the isometric view. The result is a quite different product, which does not lose its focus on action. FreeGameTips has come to Konami's offices in Madrid to test the single player experience. We tell you what we thought.
Damned City is doomed
The history of the game takes more than five years after the events narrated in Contra III: Alien Wars. We return to Damned City, a city overflowing with the invasion of aliens, so that we will have no choice but to shoot ourselves at everything that moves. From the argument we have seen rather little, but it is intuited that the thread will serve as an excuse to continue shooting, so no one should expect a script that transcends beyond what it is.
The post-apocalyptic setting mixes organic and cybernetic elements, which are reflected in the scenarios and in their curious and extravagant creatures. All this is represented in a dirty and rough three-dimensional world. On a graphic level it is a production without many pretensions, although the game works smoothly and without slowdowns.
Against: Rogue Corps.
In the direction of Contra: Rogue Corps is nothing more and nothing less than Nobuya Nakazato, a veteran of Konami who has already directed other videogames in the saga. Let's not fool ourselves, Rogue Corps moves away from Contra's bright past and offers fun without much fanfare. Nakazato has surrounded himself with a modest team to create an equally modest product.
Preparations before combat
The game takes place in two types of scenarios. The base of operations and the levels themselves. In the Allied camp we can manage everything related to the characters. Each of them has two slots for weapons, one main and one secondary. In addition, we have the option of installing improvements, developing the potential of weapons and acquiring new ones.
Personalization goes further. In the world of Contra: Rogue Corps it doesn't matter if you lose an arm or a leg, as cyber implants are the order of the day. Moreover, not even running out of sesera is a life or death problem. In the transplant shop you can acquire a new brain or undergo an operation to have your skeleton changed completely. It does not seem, however, that cosmetic surgery takes too much. After all, shooting and dodging leaves little time for coquetry.
Perhaps that is why the four protagonists are so peculiar: Kaiser is a muscular soldier armed to the teeth, although among his incisors he does not rest a weapon, but a cigar that does not stop smoking at any time; Mrs. Harakiri lives up to her name and does not hesitate to offer suicide operations against aliens; Hungry Man is not human or extraterrestrial, he boasts of his sturdy panda body (literally, he is a panda); Last but not least, Knight does not wear armor or carry a sword, nor does he ride a horse. It resembles a monster, skewers protrude from its head and its legs are 100% mechanical. The player can choose any of them from the base of operations. In practice, as they are so customizable, we have not noticed many differences between them, but each of them is a specialist in a type of weapon and has exclusive special attacks.
Time to split heads: this is Against: Rogue Corps
The minutes of business are over. After training, equipping us with the best weapons and enjoying a body lift, we headed to the vehicle that will take us to war. The missions are selected from a menu containing the difficulty and other details about the phase in question. As we mentioned, the game system differs from other titles in the franchise. The developers offer us a very direct and fun Twin Stick Shooter, but that does not fall in love.
We handle the character across the scenes not too wide, so they are soon filled with enemies. The gameplay is based on shooting and dodging. This last point is very important, since the number of aliens is so high that immediately the shots begin to fly from one place to another. As if that were not enough, some locations incorporate poisonous plants and other obstacles that we must take into account. Konami has created a mobile camera system that changes planes between sections, which gives the game dynamism.
The dash plays, of course, a crucial role. Anyway, given so many elements on the screen, it is sometimes difficult to avoid everything that comes our way. The situations of chaos follow each other and death ensues several times. Fortunately, we are resurrected a couple of times before the true eternal dream looms over our heads. At more advanced levels, we will have to dodge other obstacles. For example, at a certain point in the game, two mechanized enemies deployed a laser that was moving vertically across the screen. The solution was to end one of those robots to destroy the gadget.
Against: Rogue Corps is one of those titles in which we become sweepers. Yes, the city is dirty, but it leaves juicy booties. When sweeping the stage – we say it figuratively – we will find a lot of loot. In addition, some elements of the scenarios such as the boxes or the bodies of the enemies can be collected to launch them against the monsters.
In that unstoppable frenzy, when an alien falls wounded, we can approach and perform a brutal execution; also face very hard final bosses of stripping or jumping on platforms (this has seemed a bit more awkward). We must know how to properly manage the skills of the characters to deploy our power in a timely manner. The same goes for projectiles, which are finite. As for weapons, which can be changed with just one button, they don't run out of bullets, but they overheat.
The initial levels are very rejugables, but not excessively varied. Of course, one of them changes the scheme and poses a survival mission in which we will have to face several waves of enemies. In another phase, a giant rock threatens to crush us and forces us to run while collecting energy cores. These part platforms, as we said before, feel little imprecise. The control does not finish clicking us either, handling some weapons is not as intuitive as it could be.
Against: Rogue Corps will go on sale on September 26 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. The test session was conducted on a PlayStation 4 and alone, but the game has a cooperative mode.