Hard Corps: Uprising Review
Hard Corps: Uprising Box Art
System: Xbox 360
Dev: Arc System Works
Pub: Konami
Release: February 16, 2011
Players: 1-2
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p

Don't think these changes make the game anything approaching "accessible," though. The new abilities to double jump and dash are merely an excuse for the developers to make the stages tougher, and the levels are long and hard enough that it takes tons of practice to get through them, even one at a time and with a health bar. We wouldn't have minded an infinite continues option. Even the comparatively easy first stage took us several tries (and many, many curse words directed at the too-infrequent checkpoints) to conquer; the eight total stages can easily average more than an hour of work apiece, all considered. We frankly can't even imagine how someone could get through the game in Arcade mode, with one hit per life, starting all the way from the beginning whenever their continues ran out.

Hard Corps: Uprising Screenshot

The graphics are a departure for the series, shunning the somewhat gritty look of the older games in favor of a colorful 2.5-D world, which isn't surprising given that Arc is the developer that brought us BlazBlue. The visual style is certainly interesting, but we found it a little too light and cartoonish for an action title. We'd have preferred something truer to the series' history.

The sound, unfortunately, is a low point for the game. For music, there are rock versions of classic Contra tunes, but the recordings sound overly hyper and synthetic, as though they were recorded for a corporate-training video or Saturday-morning cartoon in the 1990s. The voice acting is annoying, with repetitive groans whenever an enemy dies and overused dialogue clips.

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All in all, because of the difficulty, we suggest that those uninitiated to Contra stay away from Uprising unless they're really up for a challenge. Despite the improvements, many aspects of the gameplay are still antiquated, and without a soft spot for Contra in your heart to keep you going, there's little chance you'll see this tough-as-nails title through to the end. Try Weapon of Choice instead for a far more bearable, if also shorter, side-scrolling action experience.

However, Hard Corps: Uprising is a love letter to Contra fans, a distillation of everything they love about the series augmented by some control and visual updates. If you have a history with the franchise, a hankering for explosive 2D action, and a whole lot of patience, it's a great buy for your $15.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.2
Graphics
The art style is interesting, but it's a little too cartoonish for Contra.
4.1
Control
They're true to the series' roots, but we would have liked to see a dual-joystick option.
2.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is cheesy, and the dialog clips are annoying and repetitive.
4.3
Play Value
Thanks to the intense challenge, the eight stages take hours to work through.
3.8
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Exciting run-and-gun gameplay with beautifully rendered 2.5-D graphics from Arc System Works.
  • Arcade mode features 2D run-and-gun gameplay that stays true to the genre's hardcore roots.
  • All new Rising mode allows players to train and level their soldier and purchase power-up items.
  • Classic and all-new boss battles to challenge and thrill.
  • Cooperate with gamers all over the world in Online Co-Op mode and compete via online leaderboards.

  • Screenshots / Images
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