Heavy Fire: Red Shadow

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Heavy Fire: Red Shadow Game Poster Image
Bland, boring VR military shooter goes nowhere fast.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game has a wafer-thin plot involving attacks on the U.S. by a unified Korea, with the only thing standing against the vast armies of invading forces being a lone soldier camped in a stationary turret. Players simply shoot anything that moves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There’s no real character or story development, with players just taking the task of pulling a trigger and laying waste to whatever they can get in their sights.

Ease of Play

Gameplay is incredibly simple. Point and shoot is all there is to the action, outside of using the occasional power-up such as calling in airstrikes to take out larger swaths of enemies.

Violence

Violence is constant. Players use their turret’s machine guns and rocket launcher to plow through wave after wave of invading soldiers. Vehicles explode and soldiers are torn apart in bloody manners, especially when killed close to the turret.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Heavy Fire: Red Shadow is an arcade-style shooter game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PC, with VR support for PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. Players take control of an armed turret and defend against waves of enemy troops. Although the "one versus all" concept is a little over the top, the violence is presented in a more realistic manner, with lots of bullets, blood, and explosions. Shooting at distant targets has less of an impact than killing enemies that manage to get closer, but only because the blood spatter and such is much further away. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content included in the game.

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What's it about?

In the not-too-distant future of HEAVY FIRE: RED SHADOW, there’s a new threat looming. After a brutal North Korean regime manages to retake and reunify with South Korea, this new superpower has its sights set next on teaching the United States a lesson. Tensions quickly boil over into full blown conflict, with the newly unified Korea actively attacking U.S. interests. After surviving a surprise missile attack on Guam, it’s up to you to drive back the invading forces. Your only hope lies in a heavily fortified turret, armed with machine guns, a rocket launcher, and a whole lot of ammunition. With attacks coming from all sides and staring down overwhelming numbers, can you overcome impossible odds and turn the tide of battle?

Is it any good?

On-rails shooters are known for their fast-paced action and limited mobility, like taking a shooting gallery onto a roller coaster, but the gameplay disappoints in all areas. Heavy Fire: Red Shadow seems to ask what would happen if a game cranked up the hostility to an eleven while eliminating any movement at all. The answer? In this case, you’re left with a game that functions from a technical standpoint, but lacks any feeling of fun whatsoever. It’s an especially bad sign when the best thing that can be said is that the game "works."

There are lots of problems in Heavy Fire: Red Shadow, starting with the presentation. The game isn’t exactly setting any benchmarks when it comes to its graphics. It’s bland, boring, and uninspiring. And yet it’s still more polished than what passes for the game’s paper-thin plot. Gameplay is little more than point-and-shoot, with players simply dragging the reticle across the screen while letting loose a steady stream of bullets. There are challenges in each mission, like getting headshots, stopping the advance of kamikaze soldiers, etc., but these are more of a distraction than an actual goal. Setting aside the fact that hitting distant targets isn’t exactly a precision affair, attempting to prevent being overwhelmed is likely to accomplish the goals by pure chance. Finally, Heavy Fire: Red Shadow's extremely short and repetitive, with little reason to go back to the experience … assuming there’s even any motivation to finish it at all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Heavy Fire: Red Shadow affected by the unrealistic setting of the game? Would the impact be intensified if there were more graphic sequences shown throughout the game, or is it violent enough because of the constant onscreen shooting?

  • How can virtual reality bring a player more into a gaming experience? What are some of the potential hazards of VR?

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