Hard Corps: Uprising Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3
Hard Corps: Uprising screenshot
Hard Corps: Uprising screenshot

It's also imperative you avoid enemy fire, as taking a bullet means you'll lose any equipped weapons and a slab of health - there's three bars for the male character and two for the female, proving that gender inequalities are absolutely fine if you frame your game around a nineties vibe. As a general rule of thumb, regardless of which character you pick, if you stick with the Super Machine Gun and Spread Shot you'll be perfectly equipped for every instance.

New additions include a combo meter and the ability to sprint, air dash and reflect bullets. But the game has no sympathy for you, and doesn't even bother attempting to teach you how these things actually work. They're there if you want them, basically, though I do get a slightly perverse satisfaction from watching my high score tick upwards while batting enemy sniper rounds across the screen.

Seeing as an Arcade run is designed to be impenetrable, most will likely play the game via the more flexible and considerate Rising mode, which lets you pick your starting level and spend in-game credits to upgrade your character beyond stock settings. Uprising's economy is fierce, however, and by the time I got to the last level I'd barely been able to afford more than upgrading my lives stack to nine and elongating my life bar a few notches. Decking your character out with the full arsenal of upgrades, and thus unlocking abilities like triple jumping, will be a pipe dream to all but the most committed players.

Few will opt to go down that path, however, as Uprising doesn't capture its audience like Contra: Hard Corps did in 1994. Uprising pares the franchise down to its component parts, but like a child messing with their father's antique watch it's got absolutely no idea how to put it back together again.

Even worse, the game's eight stages are each about three times too long, dragging you through endless screens of enemies and two or three sub and main bosses before letting you take a breather; the game generally outstays its welcome even more than a games journalist at an open bar. The problem becomes even more pronounced as Uprising progresses into its later stages, with levels developing an inexcusable fondness for cheap, annoying, and unfair death traps.

What Arc System Works seems to have forgotten is that there's a fine line between challenging and unfair. Bayonetta is challenging. Demon's Souls is challenging. Uprising's off-screen enemies, which cause you to plummet to your death by attacking as you jump over chasms, are simply unfair. Platforming gimmicks are introduced in every single level to rub salt into the wound, probably in a failed attempt to spice up the level design, further diluting the fundamental experience of shooting guns and dodging bullets to a pitifully thin constitution.

The opening level puts you in a desert, complete with the requisite amount of cracked ground, crisp blue sky, and quicksand populated by evil robot worm, and the vintage mise-en-scène is completed with you fighting bread-and-butter foes against the backdrop of a crashed spacecraft. It's probably the most creative bit of design in the game, with any residual charm from this moment truly dead and buried by the time you're skulking through a factory with a supposed focus on stealth that I never quite managed to work out - Contra or no Contra, I have an itchy trigger finger and I'm not afraid to use it. It's all a bit tedious at this point, but you'll think there's a chance it could pick up in time for an explosive finale.

Go a couple of levels further, however, and you'll be shouting words at the screen that I'd never be allowed to write in public, such as the Naughtie one BBC presenters have all been saying a lot recently.

Maybe you'll be devoted and talented enough to see the game to its conclusion. As for me, I'm out. I got to the third form of the final boss and decided I've had enough - in this instance, at least, I'm not nearly interested enough to take that exhausting last step to the end credits. If Konami is genuinely sincere in its desire to stage an uprising, they'll certainly need to try a bit harder next time.

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Game Stats

Technical Specs
Hard Corps: Uprising
6
Out of 10
Hard Corps: Uprising
  • Some decent run-and-gun blasting.
  • Smooth animation.
  • Disappointing boss fights.
  • Later levels feel like a grind.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 16/02/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: ARC System Works
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 13,918 10137
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