A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Contra Rogue Corps is a "twin stick" arcade shooter for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. This action game, which is the latest in the Contra franchise, has you killing thousands of alien invaders and undead humans. You'll use several weapons to kill -- including rocket launchers, machine guns, and flamethrowers -- and dramatic finishing moves result in over-the-top visuals (like ripping someone in half). The game also has strong profanity (including the "F" word), and one character is seen smoking a cigar.
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Konami ruins another classic series. Not for fans at all. Play the phenomenal Blazing Chrome instead!
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What's it about?
In CONTRA ROGUE CORPS, aliens have taken over the Earth and it's up to you -- as part of an elite mercenary unit -- to protect the planet and get rid of these nasty creatures. Set a few years after 1992's Contra III: The Alien Wars, this game is played mostly from an angled top-down perspective (sometimes in third-person mode), as you'll select one of the four characters from the Contra series and blast enemies with several kinds of weapons. Similar to other "run and gun" action games of this kind, it has you using one analog stick to move your character around Damned City while the other aims the weapon (which may be in another direction). Along with the single-player campaign, the game offers cooperative (co-op) play (beside you in the same room or online) and a competitive mode for up to four players per team (online only).
Is it any good?
There's some fun to be had with this twin-stick action shooter, but it doesn't last too long to keep you interested unless you love this franchise. Contra Rogue Corps is easy to pick up and play, with accessible controls that rely mostly on the dual analog sticks. It's fun to walk around these urban environments, mow down thousands of creatures, avoid obstacles (like enemy fire), and master your main and sub-weapons. The progression system is interesting, with various upgrades to augment your weapons. While the story is trite and the one-liners grow tiresome quickly, fans of the franchise will enjoy playing as familiar characters, including Kaiser, The Gentleman, Ms. Harakiri, and a giant panda cyborg called Hungry Beast. As you'd expect, there's some variety between each of these characters, which you'll learn to exploit -- especially when fighting against huge boss characters.
But for the most part, the run and gun action has a lot of "rinse and repeat": you'll move your protagonist around, firing away to clear the area, likely while walking backwards to keep your distance as they approach you (and wait for your weapons to cool down, if you can't use them temporarily). You want to make sure you don't paint yourself into a corner, so you''ll likely employ these basic tactics to clear each level. The gameplay grows stale quickly, the missions aren't very imaginative ("clear the area" or "reach the end of the level" are two examples), and missions are timed and you can't pause or save progress midmission -- so if you die, you'll have to start all over again. The co-op or team-based player-vs.-player (PvP) matches add some variety but aren't too thrilling. The graphics are also dated, with bland character models and repetitive environments. Overall, Contra Rogue Corps will appeal to fans who are huge twin-stick shooter players or have a nostalgic leaning toward the series (even though this doesn't feel like part of the franchise). Otherwise, other gamers will probably stay away.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Contra Rogue Corps affected by the blood and gore of the on-screen action? Would the game be just as engaging if the action wasn't as bloody? Does it need to be so bloody considering that the game isn't realistic?
Is it enjoyable to play an action game by yourself or with friends? What are the pros and the cons of each approach?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Konami
- Release date: September 26, 2019
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence
- Last updated: February 19, 2020
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