Typically, we here at GamesRadar want to root for those
underdog budget games that manage to make it to retail with all the other big
boys in the industry. So you have to believe us when we say that we take
absolutely no pleasure in tearing apart games like Heavy Fire: Afghanistan.
The plot is pretty much what you’d expect – ever since he
was just a boy, our homegrown all-American protagonist has only ever dreamed of
shooting at Middle-Eastern terrorists and he’s finally gotten into the Marines.
That’s… pretty much it. From there, you navigate a menagerie of static screens
sporting absurd walls of text while a disinterested voice actor reads
everything to you. This PowerPoint-inspired mess rears its ugly head between
every single one of the game’s twenty-four missions.
As this is another game clinging desperately to the success
of the Modern Warfare franchise, you can expect to be hitting up all of the
familiar locales – riding shotgun in an Apache helicopter, unloading from
behind a mounted machinegun on a Humvee, and advancing through war-torn cities
with your brothers-in-arms. The game also carries over most of the tropes you’d
expect from the on-rail shooter genre – a perpetually unending force of enemy
soldiers ready to die, glowing ammo/health boxes that you need to shoot in
order to pick up, etc. Unfortunately, the sound design for HFA is some of the
worst we’ve ever heard. Enemy firearms sound distant and muted (regardless of
how close they are to you). Likewise, your own weapons come across as
underwhelming and ineffectual (a high-powered ACR shouldn’t sound like a
HFR’s greatest sin, however, is that the game is simply way
too easy. While every enemy that pops onto the screen is firing directly at
you, you’ll only receive damage if a terrorist has a flashing red exclamation
point above his head. We literally left the game unpaused and our marine
completely exposed while we walked off for twenty seconds to grab a cup of
coffee and returned to find ourselves still at full health even with three
armed terrorists firing directly at us. The four-player co-op merely
exacerbates the difficulty issue as the enemy AI isn’t even equipped to deal
with one player, let alone four.
To its credit, HFR features some incredibly tight controls
thanks to the PlayStation Move’s accurate motion sensor. The instances in which
we’d have to pause the action to recalibrate our controller were few and far
between. That being said, actually setting up multiple Move/Navi controllers
still sucks and, considering what HFR has to offer you, really not worth the
Heavy Fire: Afghanistan is a game that really wants to be
Call of Duty on rails, but it simply lacks the budget and creative license to
pull any of it off. The game is just a cheap cash grab in every sense of the
word. Even the most hardened on-rails gamers will find little to show for their
tour in Afghanistan other than a severe case of PTSD.