Platforms: Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Genre: Another Konami travesty to outsuck Contra Returns

It’s honestly easy to pick on a company like Konami these days, what with their past questionable decisions and the way they’re treating their game franchises as of late. Then again, they’re making more money from their pachinko and gym ventures, so it’s not like we’re making fun of a lesser company like how a kid uses a magnifying glass on an ant colony. That shoots mini-homing rockets.

The point I’m trying to make here is that you shouldn’t feel guilty calling Contra Rogue Corps the latest festering blight on gaming for this year, especially in a market where run-and-gun games like Blazing Chrome exist. Much like how it’s alright to “pick on” an Asian peripheral distributor because they are knowingly shipping low-class gaming gear to the lowest common denominator who do not know any better, it’s fine to sling mud at Konami’s revival-gone-wrong; an homage to the top-down and side-scrolling 2D shooters that adds a few new things that don’t make it worthy of the Contra name.

I’ll just break it down real quick because I don’t think this title is deserving of any essay-wide critique.

CONTRA ROGUE CORPS E3 (5)

  • I’m perfectly fine with a top-down 3D action-style Contra game as long as it’s done right; hello Neo Contra. But whoever thought it was a good idea to add in an overheating-slash-cooldown mechanic in a run-and-gun style game must be condemned in a special circle of hell. Honestly, it’s really unheard of to not fire your gun and do nothing in a series where you need to be on the move and fire. Every. Single. Time.
  • Even if the overheat/cooldown meter is to make you switch to your secondary weapon, it’s a pretty stingy and slow system in a blistering fast-paced enemy-filling-screen 3D action game.
  • What I loved about past Contra games are the many varied challenges and bosses it throws at you that will keep you on your toes. In Contra Rogue Corps, it’s repetitive waves after waves of recycled enemies, bosses, and even levels. The only challenge here is staying awake for all of the game’s time.
  • There is multiplayer and PvP here that’s basically Konami’s take on Smash TV and Gauntlet, but I highly doubt I’ll find someone to play with online. There are better ways to spend your time with.
  • Trailers don’t do justice as to how ugly this game looks, but I can tell you that seeing it in motion makes even the PS1 3D Contra games look like Mona Lisas in comparison.
  • Yes, I am aware Nobuya Nakazato directed the game. He’s known for doing one of my favourite Konami games of all time: Rocket Knight Adventures. But he hasn’t done anything noteworthy for the past 10 years since Contra Rebirth (a stellar remake FYI). What the hell happened between then that made him produce, direct, and approve this mess?
  • The characters are probably the only redeeming things about this game. You have a woman who has a special sword stowed in her alien belly, and a panda bear who can run-and-gun with the best of them. The cast gives out that Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe, but with murky aesthetics. It’s all over the place, really.

Long story short: we should be thankful for the times Konami actually gave a s*** with Contra: Shattered Soldier, Neo Contra, and Hard Corps: Uprising. Heck, we’re cool with the company re-releasing the old arcade Contra games this year.

Because those are the only ways you can really get your 2D shooting groove on; you can’t get that with Contra Rogue Corps. Konami really needed to develop this game a bit more so that it’s a bit more focused. What we ended up is a mess with the best of intentions. Sorry, Nakazato-san, but it’s best you let the indies take over what you used to be good at.

Pros

  • Flashes of fun in its take in Contra.
  • Some good ideas in theory…

Cons

  • ..which are counter-intuitive to the run-and-gun gameplay.
  • Slow, repetitive, and recycled gameplay
  • Terrible aesthetics.
  • Four-player co-op mode is lacklustre.

FINAL SCORE: 40/100

CONTRA ROGUE CORPS E3 (6)

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