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Heavy Fire Shattered Spear is the 4th entry into the Heavy Fire series. It was made in 2013 by Teyon for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Sadly the PC version isn't light gun compatible, as it uses relative instead of absolute mouse positions. The PlayStation 3 version supports PlayStation Move and is the version covered in this review.
In the game's story a US spy stole Iranian plans about nuclear weapons. The spy went to Afghanistan to forward the plans but was caught there by rebels. Over the course of the game US soldiers rescue the spy and then escape. With the gained information the US forces attack Iran and capture a nuclear warhead. The game concludes with the US military raiding an Iranian missile base and self destroying a nuclear missile mid air.
Apart from gameplay segments featuring cover based shooting, there are several vehicular combat segments. The latter take the player into a tank, on a boat and on airborne units. In total there are 12 levels. After every other completed mission the player gains an upgrade point, which can be used in an upgrade tree. The game encourages the player to play each level in two degrees of difficulty, as not all power ups are unlocked after the first play through. Interestingly the upgrade tree is the only place where the player can choose amongst the 4 available side arms. These sidearms run on a finite amount of ammunition, which has to be replenished by shooting icons. If the sidearm runs out of ammo, the player switches to a 1911 pistol with an infinite stock of bullets. Other pick up icons are grenades and health. During specific portions of some levels, four additional weapons are used, which further increases the weapon diversity of the game.
In many situations the player may hide behind cover using the analogue stick. Some enemies will remain visible and hazardous even if the player is in cover. In other situations the analogue stick allows to dramatically change the orientation of the player, revealing enemies, that wouldn't be vulnerable otherwise. A calibration menu is accessible during normal gameplay upon pressing the select button.
The game contains quick time events, in which the player has to quickly swing the move controller into a certain direction. Sadly especially the upwards swing isn't properly detected by the game and thus often gets ignored. Considering the PlayStation Move being a gyro based controller the calibration stays remarkably usable. Don't get me wrong, iron sights like accuracy will be lost almost immediately, but compared to other Move games the loss of the zero position is far less noticeable.
Personally I like Heavy Fire Shattered Spear. It's not a good game in the usual sense, but it is fun to play especially using a Move-Sharpshooter controller. I found the audio to be mixed badly and I was annoyed by the long loading times. To me the forced in quick time events were somewhat bearable considering the availability of unlimited continues and the checkpoint system. I like Rambo The Video Game, which I reviewed in episode 124, better than Shattered Spear even though Rambo is more flawed, because of the richer variety and the higher challenge.
I think the cover is very pretty. The front is well made and looks intense. The back reuses portions the front cover in a lazy manner.