Review by Kaas

"A fun game, but there's nothing special about it."

A soldier, standing alone against a giant army filled with rogue soldiers. Bullets will fly, grenades will explodes and nukes will detonate. Thousands of enemies, vehicles and even buildings will fall before your mighty weapons. It sounds like an epic game filled with memorable moments, but it's actually a simple, yet fun Xbox Live Arcade game called Assault Heroes. You are the lone soldier, armed with a high-tec buggy (and a speedboat in some levels) which houses three different weapons. Depending on the situation, you are free to choose with which weapon you will wreak havoc: your flamethrower, your minigun or your flak-cannon. You can even throw a few grenades or nuke the entire screen if you get into too much trouble. The weapons are quite different from each other. The flamethrower works really well against infantry, but has low reach. The minigun works well against infantry too, but can also easily take out small vehicles and some buildings. It has a large reach, and fires fast. The flak cannon fires slow, but is extremely powerful, and often is a one hit kill. However, because of the slow reload, it's mostly useful against larger and slower targets. The grenade is another powerful weapon, and usually destroys it target. However, you only have a limited supply, just as with the nuke. The nuke destroys the entire screen, but is very limited to use. By picking up power-ups that are dropped by destroyed buildings and some enemies, you can upgrade your existing weapons, making them a lot more powerful than before. The weapons themselves are easy to fire: simply push the right analog stick in the direction you want to fire, and bullets will spray that way. You can move around with the left analog stick, making for pleasant and simple controls (it's basically the same as the popular Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, also on Xbox Live Arcade).

Now, what use do these weapons have if there are no enemies to fire them at? Luckily, Assault Heroes has plenty of those. Soldiers, tanks, helicopters, kamikaze soldiers, turrets, bunkers… you name, it's in here. And they all want you to die. You will be constantly fighting for your life, as these enemies will not stop coming for you. You will be under heavy fire, from beginning to end, and there will be some giant bosses trying to stop you too. If your vehicle happens to be blown up, the game isn't over yet. Your assault hero will survive, and fight on foot. Obviously, he's much weaker than your supercar, and two hits will drop him like a bag of sand. His gun is also considerably weaker, so I'd suggest using your grenades and nukes at that time, if you still have any. Luckily, if you can survive for a few moments, your car (or boat) will respawn and you will be ready to rock again.

The game is divided in 4 zones, each with a few levels, which make for 17 levels total. Levels take about 10-15 minutes to finish, so the game can occupy you for a few hours. If you get bored of the levels, you can always try to blast through them with a buddy: the game has a co-op feature. You can play online or have a friend over with a second controller, which is a really nice feature to have on a game like this.

The levels you will be blasting through are actually quite different from each other, more so than I figured when I started playing this game. You land on a beach, go through some hills, fight next to a railroad, infiltrate bases and even ride a boat on the sea. There are even some sections you must play on foot, so you can probably imagine that these parts are quite hard. It's nice to see they weren't lazy and take the same levels over and over again. The levels look nice too, and you can see they actually spend some time on the graphics. Explosions like nice, the enemies look cool and there's no lag, even when there are a lot of enemies on the screen. The music isn't as noteworthy, and I can't remember a single tune I heard. Then again, I was usually quite busy fighting a battle worthy of being made into a movie, so I guess it may have been my fault. At least it wasn't distracting or annoying, which is enough for a game like this.

Ignoring the (extremely lame and bare existing) story, most players will be playing this for the sheer fun. Another way to play this would be by getting a highest score as possible. There are multiple combo multipliers you can earn, and it's fun to earn more points than before. By alternating your weapons, hitting as much as possible and not dying, it's actually quite challenging to get the highest score as possible. Then we have the achievements. They are fun to get this time around, and require some special types of playing. You will have to finish the game a few times to get all of them, but I like them better than the “get 1000 kills with X weapon” achievements. An example of the achievements in this game is “kill 60% of the enemies on foot”, which requires skill, and “finish a zone killing less than 50% of the enemies”, which is fun to do too. So, why a 7 for this game and not higher? Well, it is a bit short, there isn't a lot of variation and it's not really hard to finish. It's very fun, don't get me wrong, but theirs is nothing that really stands out as perfect. So, it's just a fun game, nothing more, nothing less. I'd recommend it if you like shooters.

7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/08

Game Release: Assault Heroes (EU, 12/13/06)


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