I’ve always had a fondness for rail shooters. This subgenre of first person shooters focuses on gunning down as many targets as possible before they can chip away at your health, and the control is taken completely from the player. Rather, you’re on rails, rarely performing a quick time event or two. Heavy Fire: Afghanistan is one of those games, but this one is a lot less inspired than the likes of Area 51 or CarnEvil. Instead of gunning through aliens or killer clowns, you’ll be shooting the same terrorist characters FPS fans have been fighting since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Like most rail shooters, Heavy Fire: Afghanistan is a glorified target gallery when you get down to it. Sure, enemies will shoot at you, but the only ones you need to pay attention to are ones with big red exclamation marks hovering over their heads. These enemies are the ones who will deal damage to you if you don’t take them out fast enough, so you have to keep on your toes. While they will come one at a time at first, eventually you’ll be dealing with multiple lethal gunmen at once. The game does try to change up the average rail shooter formula by giving you a very basic cover system, but it’s so bare-bones it’s barely worth mentioning.
Sadly, Heavy Fire: Afghanistan can be a bit of a joke at times when it comes to difficulty. The first time I died was halfway through the game, and I soon found out why. You need to beat the game once to unlock the actually difficult difficulty level. While it is true I got some enjoyment out of the game, it is also true that I have no motivation to play through it again on a slightly higher difficulty level. However, the game does take a massive difficulty spike when there’s only about three missions left.
Presentation wise, Heavy Fire: Afghanistan isn’t too bad. The graphics are solid, and there are some very nice locations in the game. However, those are a rarity as you’ll mostly be fighting through samey looking deserts. This was at its worst when I was in a dried up river, which I could have sworn was the exact same as another dried up river earlier in the game. Of course, the game also has the charming low-quality voice acting infamous of the genre, and oh boy is it bad. If you thought Ghost Squad was too cheesy, then you haven’t seen anything yet.
Throughout the game’s roughly two hour campaign, you will come across some interesting setpieces. Once in the three four level segments you will be forced into a vehicle with unique weapons, be it an APC, a tank, or a helicopter. Heavy Fire: Afghanistan does have a very big Call of Duty vibe going for it, only on rails with a healthbar instead of regenerating health.
Once you score enough points in the game, you can rank up and unlock new skills and weapons. There aren’t many to unlock, but given the length of the game, this makes perfect sense. You’d be crazy not to start the game investing in the different guns, which steadily give you better ammo and firepower over time.
Something I feel I should note before I wrap this up is, if you’re going to play this game, make a profile. Without it, you’ll find yourself very surprised when you leave the game and come back… Only to find all your progress has been wiped. Overall, Heavy Fire: Afghanistan is the sort of game I have trouble recommending. Sure, I enjoyed it, but I feel guilty about every time I had fun. This game is clearly not very good, even for rail shooter standards, but something kept me going back. For three dollars, you could do a lot worse I suppose.
And hey, at least it’s better than the developer’s other game.