Iron Fall: Invasion Review

Iron Fall Title

Title: Iron Fall Invasion
Developer: VD-Dev
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
NA Availability: 
Digital

EU Availability: Digital
Block Usage:  3,861

My last 3DS review was on a free-to-start title that actually turned out to be a double-edged sword.  That was Pokemon Rumble World, an addicting game with an unfortunate “you can’t do everything unless you give us real money” downer stuck onto it.  While I am still enjoying the base gameplay of that game, I thought to look to more free games from the eShop to work on even more reviews.

Out of all of the other 4 or 5 games on the eShop, I decided to pick something quite interesting that I’d heard about a long while back.  Just like the PlayStation Vita, the 3DS doesn’t have many shooters to its name.  Really, shooters are staying on home consoles, for the most part.  There are some exceptions, though.  The Vita has a good half a dozen shooters to its name, and the 3DS has a few, one being listed in these “Free to Start” games.

Without further delay, let’s get to the review.  Here is my review of Ironfall Invasion!

Story

Iron Fall Story

The plot of IronFall Invasion is pretty cliché sci-fi shooter story.  Humanoid aliens have invaded the Earth and you, a human with battle armor, are defending it from them.  It’s a premise that people can expect, but there’s nothing in it to make it feel unique within the world of shooters.  It holds nothing even close to games like Doom, Halo, and Star Wars Battlefront.

It’s also worth noting that the characters don’t have much to them.  You’re just a soldier fighting and your backup is just your backup.  You don’t really get to know these characters very well.  They’re just kind of there.  Imagine it like Mega Man Legends’ conversations between Mega Man and Roll except without any sort of backstory or talk about their real lives.

Gameplay

Iron Fall Game 1

Invasion is a third-person shooting game.  That’s all I can really do to describe what the game is.  You don’t have all of these RPG or puzzle elements thrown into the mix.  As you play the game, you will fight and battle your way through waves of enemies and objectives in the form of running around and shooting them down.  So, it’s a third-person shooter.

The game progresses like a normal third-person shooter.  You have 11 stages in Campaign, where you move through a stage to complete objectives as well as shooting down enemies.  Some objectives can be switched up a little bit, it follows the normal shooting premise of having waves of enemies thrown at you at checkpoints and having you fight them off before the next checkpoint will reveal itself.

Now there are a few unique elements to this game that I’ve not seen in some other shooting games.  First off, you don’t have a health gauge.  Instead, you have a Heart-Rate Monitor on the touch screen.  This will increase as you run, shoot at enemies, get shot at, or do other things.  If it gets too high, you’ll essentially have a heart attack and die.  When it gets too high, you have to get away from enemies and recover, preferably under cover.  This can take a good amount of time to go down, so it adds a bit more of a strategy element from regular shooters where your health regenerates in 3 or 4 seconds.

The other unique element is when you reload your weapon.  As you run around and fight enemies, you will run out of bullets in your clip and start to reload.  This initiates a circle on your HUD when you reload.  The normal full cycle is about the same time as normal shooters.  However, there’s a small square in the middle.  If you tap the reload button while it is there, it will automatically finish reloading, giving you a much quicker response time to begin firing at enemies again.

Combat is pretty standard for a shooting game.  You can run around, change weapon, aim to fire, hide behind cover, jump over cover objects, and the like.  You have a primary and sub weapon like you do in Halo, so shooting fans will already be familiar with the system when the game begins.  In the original stage, for example, you start with a pistol and assault rifle.  Both do damage, but both have their advantages.

Iron Fall Game 2

The game also has multiplayer, and it works pretty well.  You can pick a game type you want and go online to gather players.  You’re then taken into a match and duke it out with other random 3DS players from around the world.  Sometimes, it may take a while to get people to join your game, but this works well and it transitions into the game pretty seamlessly.

Now here’s a big thing I want to mention.  The game says it’s Free-to-Start and it is, but there’s a deception here.  Many free-to-play games offer the bulk of a game available without spending money, and this does not.  Here’s the point I’m getting at.  Iron Fall Invasion is a demo.  It even says in the game that you’re just demo-testing the game with the content that’s there without paying.  You have a demo stage of campaign and a demo stage of multiplayer.  If you want the full game, you have to buy it as DLC.

Finally, we can talk about length.  If you end up buying the game, you’ll spend a good 5-6 hours in the campaign mode.  This isn’t a bad amount of length for a shooter.  While the game doesn’t really add anything extensive to challenge you that isn’t in the first stage as well, it’s a good amount of length if you can get into the gameplay.

Controls

Controlling the game has positives but it also has negatives.  First of all, the New Nintendo 3DS is utilized here.  The ZL button can be used for dashing, ZR for reloading your weapon, and the C Stick can be used to move the camera.  This last one is very important as it helps the comfort of the game into the emulated dual analog feel that a shooter needs.

Moving around is done with the Circle Pad and the D-Pad is used for switching weapons, also done with the A button and Y button.  The L trigger is used to manually aim your weapon and R is used to fire.  Finally, you can take cover with the B button if cover is available to you.  That’s pretty much all there is to it, though there are also touch screen icons for aiming, reloading, and moving to cover.

So, what’s bad about this?  The camera sensitivity is bad.  There are extensive options for camera and aiming sensitivity, but none of them are quite accurate enough.  No matter what option I used, every time I aimed at an enemy was a hassle and made it look like I had never played shooting games before.  No matter what option you set it to, aiming is going to be a pretty big hassle that makes you wish Aim Assist had been built into the game.

Presentation

Iron Fall Pres

Visually, the game looks pretty nice.  I would compare the game to some of the medium-to-high end PSP games with how the graphics are.  The environments look great, but the characters are a little choppy with the jagged edges.  For a 3DS game, and a free one at that, it looks pretty nice.

The other thing is the performance.  Load Times are short, but the game runs at a steady 60 frames per seconds.  Yes, you heard me.  A 3DS shooting game that runs at a solid 60 fps, whether you’re in single player or multiplayer.  Whatever these developers did, we need more of it in the handheld world, especially on Sony’s side.  The performance is very impressive.

The downside of the presentation is the voice work.  I’ve heard a lot of cringe-worthy voice-acting in my gaming days.  The voice acting in IronFall Invasion is PS1-level of voice-acting.  I won’t suggest you’ll be hearing any Jill Sandwich lines, but it just sounds like the voice-actors didn’t take their job very seriously when they did the recordings.

Summary

IronFall: Invasion is a pretty impressive third person shooter for the 3DS.  Despite how well it plays, however, the experience is brought down by its story, lack of good camera sensitivity, bad voice acting, and the fact that it’s just a demo being advertised as a full game.  It’s a good gameplay experience, but that’s as far as it goes. 

6/10

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