Contra: Rogue Corps (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 02.10.2019

Review for Contra: Rogue Corps on Xbox One

The Contra Collection is tight with both EU and JP versions that give different localizations that transform the games. It is a collection of some of the most satisfying 2D run-and-gun action titles that have ever been programmed. Those were amazing right? Sure would be amazing to see a modern take on the breed of action Konami used to be known fo… oh wait, that's Blazing Chrome. Just what is Contra: Rogue Corps exactly? Here's a look at it, on the Xbox One.

Contra: Rogue Corps is a bit of a mess. It starts off with a very strange cold opening where the options can't be accessed until after the intro mission. Sensitivity is low, controls feel unresponsive, and can't be adjusted till later. The cut-scenes are done in this low quality motion-comic book style, and have terrible dialogue that was written by a savant who has no idea how people talk - all of this while the music sounds nothing like Contra. The beginning sets a terrible precedent to what is otherwise a decent guilty pleasure. After this introduction, its as if the game itself realized just how embarrassing the story, and its presentation actually is. From that moment on, all story scenes are quietly dumped in a cut-scene menu selection to be viewed at your leisure, instead of being shown as progress is made. This is a positive in Rogue Corps' favour.

After the initial shock of the terribly conceived introduction fades into memory, Contra: Rogue Corps can try to recompose itself in a professional manner and represent its mighty lineage. This is not really a Contra game. This is not entry that fans have been waiting for since Contra: Uprising, but fans of Midway's Smash TV and Total Carnage are going to finally get the successor they have been waiting for all these decades. Yeah… that obscure '90s twin-stick arcade shooter that was a parody of action movies. This is what Contra: Rogue Corps has become, a parody of itself. Remember that time in Contra III: The Alien Wars when Bill Rizer rode an ICBM? Expect to see Rogue Corps desperately rub that memory into eyes of everyone who knows that meme, because there is no such thing as restraint anymore.

Screenshot for Contra: Rogue Corps on Xbox One

The tone in Rogue Corps could be best described as 'deaf.' Characters and how they're designed are like Fortnite or Overwatch rejects. They are busy, and are covered in junk which makes everything hard to read when the camera is as far as it is. The kind of unappealing characters that are the result of a western game developer focus group testing. Overly zany, manic and often exhausting to the senses; these scrubs are desperately trying to overcompensate for the lack of likeability. There is no style to any of the vulgar language either - like an adolescent child who is eager to blurt out expletives because their parents aren't around. Curse words and dirty language is like a spice that is meant to be peppered in dialogue for emphasis. It is not meant to be over used and relied on for personality.

Contra may have experimented with various perspectives in gameplay throughout its various iterations, but at its core it was always a 2D run-and-gun. Shooting gallery, shoot 'em up, and overhead sections were gimmick stages that mixed up the action, and added some variety. Rogue Corps's major statement is to commit to the idea of shifting perspectives, but Nier Automata this is not. There is no commitment here since so much of Rogue Corps is just overhead twin-stick shooting. The over shoulder "shooting gallery" mode is very rarely used, and is mostly leaned on during a few major boss battles. There is not even any instances of trying to copy a 2D side-scroller sequence at all, which would have been a neat diversion, and would have fit the thesis of Rogue Corps' changing camera angles. This is a very grind-heavy, twin-stick shooter first and foremost.

Couch co-op is Rogue Corps saving grace. One would hope so, since every Contra has had this from the beginning. Doing the grind with someone friendly enhances the experience, even though it's not easy to forget that this is supposed to be Contra. This does not change the fact that the action is stimulating and working together to gather materials to upgrade weapons is a good time. Everything is firing on all cylinders during the "exploration" levels, which are randomly generated, and is where the 'rogue' fits in Rogue Corps. All the RPG elements and the randomized level design begin to make more sense here. The designers pre-emptively made all mechanics subpar by design only to shoe-horn an upgrading system - as if it all can be justified. This design does not foster high skill play; only those willing to grind for hours can and will be the best eventually. Expect to not complete stages, since they are timed and without the extra power from upgrading, it is very likely time will run out.

Screenshot for Contra: Rogue Corps on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Contra: Rogue Corps is not a complete failure. Misguided? Yes. Awful? Absolutely not. The control issues are remedied by loading up the options and adjusting stick sensitivity. Why they didn't put them at max sensitivity from the get go? It's the same reason this has a cold opening and giving no chance to change settings until after the first stage leaves a horrible taste impression with how unresponsive it is. The only true misses are the lack of a continuous soundtrack that doesn't sound like a Metal Gear Solid rip-off. Why wasn't this at 60FPS on Xbox One X? A solid game, with some absolutely baffling design decisions.

Developer

Toylogic

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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