Heavy Fire: Red Shadow gave me plenty of mindless action and explosions in a wave-based shooter. It even adds a basic story to tie the game together. The problem is that there are very few levels and some annoying bugs that lower the overall value of the experience.
Heavy Fire: Red Shadow puts you in machine gunner’s nest with 360 degree movement. A little circular icon in the middle of your screen functions as a targeting reticule and a directional threat indicator. Your job is to fight off waves of enemies from multiple directions, survive the waves, and survive the level.
Although there are eight levels, they are not unique. Each level has a night and day version, reducing the total number of levels to four. Each level must be completed to unlock the next level in the campaign. There is a slight difference in presentation, but it’s a different coat of paint on the same house.
Each wave will bring a combination of enemies. The soldiers come in riflemen, RPG, and the explosive kamikaze flavors. They are not overly powerful alone, but, in a swarm, they can cause some damage. On land, you will encounter the slower troop transport and the jeep with a mounted machine gun. The water had a raft with soldiers and an equipment carrier that could only be destroyed with rockets.
The problem is that hitting these vehicles was inconsistent. I would target the truck and fill it with enough lead to poison a planet. Even though it might be on fire, it didn’t go kaboom. Other times, I would barely coat the exterior with bullets, and it would explode and flip. I had the same issue with the jeep, and sometimes it would pack itself into other vehicles on fire making it impossible to see or hit. That didn’t keep it from hitting me.
Targeting soldiers would be inconsistent as well. You can move the entire gun with the left stick and make other adjustments with the right stick. The left trigger will zoom. Despite using enough rounds to block out the sun, there were times when I almost couldn’t kill a soldier, even with the reticule on top of him. Other times, I was wiping out a battalion with a simple lazy sweep.
Killing enemies will fill a bar with five different selectable support items. The first is a supply drop that will give you more rockets and health, although I had an infrequent glitch that didn’t give me any rockets. The second gives you some infantry to watch your six, although they are only ever in front of you. The third is an artillery bombardment. The fourth will send a jet or three to drop some bombs, and the fifth is an attack helicopter. If you can afford it, you can use more than one at a time.
Support is just one of four upgrade categories. You can upgrade your health and make it regenerate, you can upgrade your machine gun bullets and capability, and you can upgrade your rockets. Some are more useful than others, but you can choose them in any order provided you have enough skill points.
In addition to a health gauge, you have an experience gauge that fills by beating a wave and completing side missions. You earn a skill point for every fill. They can be spent on upgrades, but all the upgrades will be completely unlocked, before you end the game. Even though you have no more use for experience, you will still see a message about gaining zero experience.
The side missions give you a bonus to your experience gain. They seem to be randomly assigned as you play and range from getting a number of headshots to destroying vehicles. I found that they could be mostly ignored.
The announcer for each new wave will also tell you if you failed or succeeded in a side mission. Often, I failed the mission or was successful in the lull between waves, or when I couldn’t possibly be successful. I guess the clock just ran out on some of them without me being able to do anything.
The visuals are bland but not offensive. We even have some slightly destructible environments with basic physics that were nice. Little icons are positioned above your enemies, and they help to separate them from the rest of the world.
I was also surprised to see the presentation includes a minor story. There are little Call of Duty influenced level intros with maps and images detailing the course of a conflict between the US and a unified Korea. It’s minimal and wasn’t necessary, but the developers did a good job here.
I think most people will be happier playing the Endless Mode. You can pick your level and time of day and keep fighting until you are finally overwhelmed. It will push you far more than the regular levels with a lot more tension and score you against other players. Without this mode, I don’t know that I would recommend the game at all.
That leads to my biggest problem with Heavy Fire: Red Shadow – the price. The flat version I am reviewing here is $19.99. PSVR compatibility can be added for $9.99. Value is subjective, but, with the current content, I would wait for a price drop.
Heavy Fire: Red Shadow offers wave-based combat over a handful of levels. When it operates well, it can be fun to drop more bullets than a John Wick movie, but the limited levels mean that fun doesn’t last very long. It’s not bad. It’s just too basic for the high price of admission.
Heavy Fire: Red Shadow PS4 Review
Heavy Fire: Red Shadow lets you face waves of enemies and vehicles in first person with a swivelling machine gun. It does this just fine with moments that are fun, but the limited levels and occasional minor glitch make it difficult to recommend at the current price.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using a PS4 Pro.
Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.