Tried the Contra Rogue Corps Demo
September 15, 2019

Contra Rogue Corps turned off a lot of people with its wacky visual presentation and top-down viewpoint from its trailer. Not surprising, considering Contra games usually have a SIDE-scrolling perspective and, more times than not, a more "serious" tone. But as the game crept closer and closer to its release date, I tried keeping an open mind; the game is being directed by the same guy who did past Contra titles, such as Contra 3 and Hard Corps. On top of that, my favorite "recent" Contra game is Neo Contra, which also has an oddball presentation and top-down perspective.

Then, a few days ago, I caught wind that a demo dropped for the game, so I downloaded it on my PS4 and gave it a go...

First off, this game looks more like a low-budget PS3/X360 title than a PS4/XONE release. I really don't mind much about that as long as the gameplay is solid, though I'd be lying if I said its "shiny/clay" visuals didn't distract at points. So then I took control of the protagonist of the demo, Kaiser, and... I was immediately concerned. Right away, I could tell there was this weird, slight delay when moving and controlling the character, and I felt this the most when I tried jumping with him the first few times. I got used to it after a few minutes of learning the controls, but considering how responsive past Contras control like, at least the good/better ones, I feel I shouldn't have to "get used to it."

Afterwards, I played the game.

Yeah.

In terms of gameplay, there wasn't anything inherently wrong with it, but... that's also its BIGGEST problem. Instead of playing and feeling like a Contra title, it felt more like a generic run n gun title trying to mimic a Contra title. Occasionally I came across things familiar to Contra games, such as a wall barrier and power-ups, but they were "off" in some ways. For the wall barriers... I didn't even attack the walls to destroy them; I had to kill all enemies in the immediate area. Also, whenever I grabbed a spreadshot weapon, it was only temporary, and I put emphasis on TEMPORARY; after barely less than 10 seconds, maybe close to six, the weapon was used up. Speaking of weapons: the main weapon has a cooldown period if you use it for more than 5/7 seconds. This is a weird element because... if you stop firing for barely a second, the "cooldown" charge resets to zero... so... what's the point?

However, between these tidbits of familiarity, the whole thing felt generic. Like, if you skipped the title screen, didn't tell me what game I was playing, and I just started playing the game, I would not have known it was related to Contra. I haven't played Shattered Soldier and Neo Contra in quite some time, so maybe some of these complaints I'm having are in those 3D titles as well, but I swear I didn't have any actual controlling issues with those games. I might have to do a quick revisit on both games. They also have their own distinctive flair to them, something I can remember after years of not touching them; can't say the same for this one. As it currently stands, this demo actually makes me not want to get the game on its release date. I'll probably get it at a reduced price down the road, unless the full game is actually better than the demo presentation. I'll have to hear word of mouth on that one.

EDIT: also, I read that the Switch version, visually, might be worse than the PS4 game? I've read how everything looks blurry and I've even watched footage of blurred gameplay. My condolences to Switch users if this is real.

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honestgamer honestgamer - September 16, 2019 (10:09 AM)
That sounds like exactly the experience I expected after watching the trailer when it was revealed: "wacky" in place of any other distinctive Contra feel, with said wackiness being used to mask unambitious design. I was not impressed.

As for the Switch version looking worse, people ALWAYS say that even when it's not true. It's a bias that they let affect their impressions, which are sometimes based on nothing. But sometimes, they ARE based on something, like when a game was designed to really take advantage of the PS4's maximum power. The Switch certainly isn't as powerful as the PS4; it's merely more powerful than the PS3/Xbox 360 by a wide enough margin that it can play most non-AAA games currently being developed without obvious deficiencies. I wouldn't expect it to run the newest Call of Duty without unfortunate visual downgrades, but I would think it could run something like Contra without issue unless the developers just don't care (which, given the state of other versions of the game and Konami's token interest in even continuing to make games, may be the case).
Masters Masters - September 17, 2019 (09:05 AM)
This always looked like a POS to me. As soon as I saw the trailer... I mean, I was hoping maybe it was a joke. So it looks bad, plays bad, and doesn't feel like Contra. They couldn't have done a worse job.

Well, Modern Warfare is coming out soon...
pickhut pickhut - September 17, 2019 (04:36 PM)
I'm just glad that's $40 I won't put into a game I know is going to be meh. The funny part? The Contra Anniversary Collection is currently on sell for $10 all the way up to Rogue Corps' release date. That's $10 of entertainment versus the $40 of... whatever Rogue Corps is. Or $44 if someone is considering getting the season pass version. For some reason.

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