Game Review

Heavy Fire: Black Arms Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Kill 'em all

Remember Heavy Fire: Special Operations, that on-rails military shooter that was kind of not good at all? Well, it got a sequel. Don't ask us how, but somehow it convinced enough people to plunk down their cash to be worth another go for developer Teyon. While it does delight us to say that there have indeed been a few tweaks for the better in Heavy Fire: Black Arms, the game still struggles to elevate itself above a sub-par shooter.

Black Arms leaves the somewhat generic Middle Eastern setting of Special Operations in favour of a somewhat generic South American jungle, and the new greener scenery is a decent change of pace for the military-shooter spiel. You're there to break up an illegal arms ring, and by "break up" we mean "mindlessly shoot everyone in the face."

On paper, Black Arms has everything a good rail-shooter should. Powerful weapons? Check. Multiplayer and a high score table? Check. Borderline genocide? Quadruple-check. However, in practice, there is not a single interesting thing done with the genre.

As with Special Operations, Black Arms makes a great first impression. The environments are relatively well made for WiiWare — although enemies don't fare as well, looking and behaving like cardboard cut-outs — and the game's attempt at putting you in an action movie is somewhat convincing until you've mowed down your first enemy troop, shattering all illusions of grandeur with by and large the same brain-dead spray-and-spray gameplay as before: never are you in any real danger since your ammo is so bountiful, your enemies so static and your reloads so nigh-instantaneous. The masses of bad guys basically just run out waiting to get shot — with the same useless exclamation point alert of the first game appearing above their heads when they may or may not be almost close to hitting you.

Nearly every single arm in your arsenal is an aurally oomph-less automatic weapon of some sort, ensuring that you never need to lift your finger from the trigger and can instead just brush the screen with your crosshair, and even though you unlock new weapons the higher you score, you're always stuck with the most recent unlock. There's no challenge or thought whatsoever to combat: it's like someone spilled coffee on the "rail-shooter" button in development, slapped some military dudes into a jungle landscape and punted the whole shebang onto WiiWare.

Some of the issues that plagued the first game don't feel so bad here, though: camera movement is a bit more dynamic and lively, and the new sniper portions are welcome — if only for providing an ever-so-slightly different way of mowing people down — and mid-level checkpoints alleviate the frustration of dying in a completely random difficulty spike. These improvements are very minor in the scheme of things, but we suppose that if you're on the fence between Black Arms and predecessor Special Operations then you should probably go ahead and get this one. However, we strongly suggest you don't even bother, and instead try to either track down a cheap copy of one of Wii's better retail rail-shooters or stare blankly at the wall.


Heavy Fire: Black Arms is smack-dab in the lowest tier of the rail-shooter ladder, failing to offer anything of interest besides its attractive price. While the few tweaks help elevate the game ever-so-slightly above its predecessor, they're not near enough: the gameplay is still as basic as the genre will tolerate and really needs more fundamental changes in order to justify its existence. Who knows when or if that'll happen, but as it stands, Black Arms is a miserable little download best avoided.

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User Comments (25)



kurtasbestos said:

FINALLY someone made a game about using guns to shoot people. I've been waiting forever for that to happen.



Sneaker13 said:

I can't wait for it the reach Europe. I liked the first one and judging from the trailer, this looks more dynamic.



NintenDaan said:

Jon, at those exclamation points... am I the only who thought instantly of those Metal Gear games?

The enemies in Black Arms seem to be shooting at random spots (no clue what they doing until the exclamation point) and than go all suddenly: Oh, the enemy! Like you said...static..



Link79 said:

Just as I suspected. More worthless crap on Wiiware. I miss the days when they were actually trying to make good games for the service. Back when Wiiware was on a roll with stuff like Mega man 9 and 10 as well as Konami's Rebirth games.



JonWahlgren said:

@5: Yeah basically. It's like, what the hell else were they shooting at, the scenery?



shinesprite said:

Why when you click the developer/publisher title nowadays, does it only show the titles produced by that developer/publisher for the same system/download-able service? (eg. I really enjoyed Teyon's Robot Rescue and am eagerly awaiting a sequel. However the above link shows no indication that they also make DSiWare games.)

A drop-down "sort by system/download-able service" menu for developers/publisher's games would be nice.



JonWahlgren said:

@8: If you click on the dev name and hack the URL by replacing "wiiware.nintendolife.com" with "www.nintendolife.com" you'll get a list of all available games they made.



SwerdMurd said:

Who is buying these? I guess they're ordinary-war-setting enough to convince the super-casual Wiiware browsers to pay for the game unresearched...can't see who, after doing any investigation, could think either of these two experiments even counted as salable games.



luke17 said:

Black Arms/Black Ops
The next game will probably be Cry of Duty: Contemporary Warfare



dizzy_boy said:

namco should remake time crisis for wiiware, all they would need to do is glooss the graphics, the rest of the gane can be left untouched. i recon that would be miles better than heavy fire.



Wolfenstein83 said:

C'mon a 3?
I know it's not the best game ever, but the graphics were improved (less blurry, muddy) and it was more of a challenge than the first one was.
I mean, 500 points, that is next to nothing for a game like this.
The only thing that sucks is the gameplay hasn't changed, aside from a few added waggle moments, but I had fun shooting the bad guys.
It reminds me of back in the day, games like Bloody Wolf.
Anyways, that's my take on it, sorry if you hate me for it.
It may sound like I am just trying to make excuses for a somewhat wasted purchase, but it's not true.
I just think the price is equal to the product, and I wouldn't pay more points than what they ask, that would insane.
Hey, it beats a virtual fireplace at least, and Warmen Tactics, now that was a terrible game.



Sylverstone said:

I seriously laughed a luke17's comment.

I demand a comment like button!
(goes to forums to plead case)



Sabrewing said:

I dunno, since they're eventually bringing this out all together as a disc release, that might be worth picking up if it's cheap enough.



cyrus_zuo said:

If it is like the first one it isn't worth buying at any price.

I enjoy rail-shooters. Ghost Squad is great fun, Time Crisis is great (I agree it should be brought to the Wii). The first Heavy Fire game was just awful.

That said, it also got to #1 in the top 20 games for WiiWare and I'd guess sold a TON of copies. If I was the developer, I wouldn't change too much for the sequel unless I had a lot of compelling evidence. It was clear that the first game did well. (I wish could say as much for my own...)

Anyway, best of luck to the developers, and to those who enjoy this game, I'm glad you enjoy it. For me, I won't consider it. Shame on me for being fooled once. I won't get to twice .



What_She_Said said:

Okay, so. I really only joined this site to state these few things.

Wiiware is really just a giant waste pit of virtual numbers being spent. Wiiware rarely ever has anything good since it's dying into crappy puzzle game hell. Then they brought this out, which then trigger's the reaction of window browsing kids who go into a frenzy over a war game and of course, they don't research it at all. If you notice that most games are rarely ever given out any complete information about the game? All they give you is reviews. And I was totally expecting this to be a pit of wasted points. Judging by most games on Wiiware I wasn't expecting alot of good news for this game. And guess what I learned about this game? It's crap. My only concern about this game was if you could at least move and you don't just stand there and randomly blind fire all over the place. My concerns were right.



MeloMan said:

I debated and debated and debated if I should've got HF:SO and never got around to buying it based on the reviews, and I LOVE a good on rails shooter. But now that HF:BA sucks as well, I'm sure I will stay away from this series altogether. I'd rather go find Ghost Squad in a bargain bin... I never did get that game.



dustin_g said:

This game is fun for the price i think, mindless blasting, if you like rail shooters for 5 bucks buy it. I have the first one and thought it was awesome.



MikeyMikeMike said:

I honestly think the first game did well because it was the only sort of realistic looking shooting game on the service. Since my expectations for it were roughly the equivalent of Carnival King in military camo I actually thought it was passable...Carnival King is miles better though...still this second round is unquestionably a pass.



flowerpower said:

As a casual gamer I enjoy playing Black Arms, but my teenagers prefer Wii's Black Ops. Black Arms is a fun shooting game at a great low price. By the way, there is a contest on now to win back your Wii points. Check it out!

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