On Tuesday March 15, 2011 the PSN store was graced with the presence of a new Contra game. The game had previously been released on the XBLA for the Xbox 360, so they had first dibs at this very impressive game.
Most gamers like myself, who have lived to see many consoles probably now what the Contra series is all about. It’s roots started back in the arcades, and on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Basically Contra is a 2D side scrolling game with a science fiction story, and two player co-op. The series always included main characters who wielded a gun or some sort of weapon. The goal in each game of the series was to overcome the alien race, and defeat large boss creatures, and machines.
Hard Corps: Uprising takes the series to a whole new level with an anime style developed by Arc System Works, the creators behind the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fighting games. If you’ve played either Guilty Gear, or BlazBlue you’ll recognize the art style immediately. The graphics in the game are very impressive, and include vivid colors that bring the game to life.
In this new installment to the series, the story is more involved. The game has two available characters, Colonel Bahamut (from Contra: Hard Corps) and Krystal initially. There were also three DLC characters made availble for purchase from the PSN/XBL stores when the game was released. The three DLC characters include ‘Harley Daniels’ with a very unique 50’s style hairdo, ‘Leviathan’ one of the main enemies in the game, and ‘Sayuri’ a Geisha styled female assassin with a sword. All of the characters except for Sayuri had guns as weapons, and it turns out that Sayuri is the strongest of them all.
I liked the selection of characters, the costumes were diverse, and were more than just skins by any means. The price for the extra characters was reasonable in my opinion. For $2.49 a character you get a great deal. I would definitely invest in getting Sayuri as she is the strongest character available. With each character, initial or DLC you have to play the game to unlock their special abilities and extras.
The game features a handful of different modes that include the traditional local co-op, and online co-op modes. You can play through arcade mode to follow the story, and unlock the game’s available trophies/achievements. Along with the arcade mode there is a mode called the Rising mode in which you earn points to put towards your characters upgrades, and customizations. The online mode can be played both arcade style or rising mode style. The player has the option to join a quick match, or even create/host their own room with their own rules for online play. When I first tried to join a quick match I wasn’t able to find one. It may have been the time of day? I ended up creating/hosting a game, and someone joined almost immeditely. I imagine everyone is trying to fully unlock all of their characters before tackling online, and that’s the reason there aren’t that many available matches at the current time.
I’ve heard rumors that the XBLA, and PSN version might differ in loading times. The rumor was that XBLA took about 2 minutes to load while the PSN version only took 20 -30 seconds. Myself and another reliable source (a fellow Xbox 360 gamer) determined that the versions were equal in loading time, and quality. If you’re an Xbox 360 gamer, or a PSN gamer like myself I believe you’ll find that this game is definitely worth having in your game collection.
Overall this game is very much worth the $14.99 price tag that the PSN/XBL stores has it listed for. I’ve seen games that aren’t near as good as this one go for more than that. Hard Corps: Uprising has great replay value for both online, and local gaming. If you’ve been missing the Contra days of old, then this will definitely fill that gaming void. It adds something new to something old without ruining the experience that was Contra. It truly is still Hard Core (pun intended).