We've talked about the Contra-inspired Hard Corps: Uprising before, but I spent some more time with it today, and I have to wonder why some are hating on the game. Yeah, it's not the beefy, manly Contra, but then again, it doesn't reallyhave the Contra name on it. And regardless of what name's on the cover, it's a lovely game.
I had the pleasure of playing alongside Kenji Yamamoto, producer of Hard Corps: Uprising, in a co-op session. We had a nice chat about the title while we played the game. I felt like he was carrying my suckage most of the time, but he didn't mind too much, and that made my play through a lot of fun.
You've probably already heard that Arc System Works created this game. Their art guys went nuts with this game, and that's probably why it's so beautiful. It's 2D sprites on 3D levels, and it works so nicely. Seeing the art and animation in person is needed to fully appreciate what they've done. We're talking top quality, in everything from the basic movement down to the enemies' death animations. In fact, I got so wrapped up in watching baddies die that Yamamoto had to cover my ass a few times.
It's really embarrassing how bad I was, especially when you consider all of the things they've added that should make my struggle a bit easier. There's a life bar, and then lives on the meter. Easy double jumps and even an air dash should make things easier for me, right? They didn't. It wasn't until I equipped a new homing laser, the Chain Laser, that I wasn't dying as much. Yes, tell me how much I suck.
The weapons can be leveled up three times by successfully collecting three of the same weapon types. Your spread shot becomes massive, but that won't save you, as I can attest. The most powerful weapon is called the Crash Gun. It shoots short-ranged missiles that do a lot more damage than your normal shot.
I worked through a wall boss, which was a total Contra throwback, and then moved onto quick sand and then some cycle-based shooting, jumping over ravines and trying to reach flying helicopters. See? You're still doing badass things -- it's just more pretty now. Yamamoto told me that there's about 10 hours of badassness like this to enjoy, and then you can play in Rising Mode, which lets you level up your character progressively.
It's old-school running and gunning with beautiful, high-definition graphics. And some Contra throwbacks. Konami and Yamamoto himself use words like "heavily inspired" to describe the game, but they never say plainly that this is the next Contra. In fact, Yamamoto says that they really want this to be seen as a new franchise. Don't get hung up on it being related to Contra. It's too much fun for that. I'd say that if you don't enjoy Hard Corps: Uprising, you're probably thinking too hard.