Moving into Contra: Rogue Corps, 1 thing is made absolutely clear, it’s a game that does not take itself seriously. This both may be a good and bad thing. Characters that must hurt themselves to avoid an alien from carrying over their body or a panda add a lot of novelty, it is just how far with the concept they move. The E3 demo didn’t detail everything, but it did reveal a game that, while entertaining, didn’t feel like Contra.
The issue is actually fairly straightforward. Without one hit deaths and adding weapon customization and unwanted objectives to phases, there is not much that divides Contra from a different top-down shoot’em up like Dead Nation. Stages boil down to shooting enemies before they shoot you and preventing weapons from overheating or getting overran. It proved more difficult than you may think but nothing memorable either.
Even bosses felt rather bland. One of them was a giant dude who shoot things that you needed to avoid, with the hardest part being enemy management, and another was the ever popular robot you need to shoot from behind. To make up for a lack of substance, Contra: Rogue Corps doubles down on style. Riding a bomb that takes out a bunch of enemies or adding an elaborate finishing move is cool, at least the first five or 10 times, it just doesn’t have that much runway.
After a while it feels like you’re going through the motions. The story does a good job of breaking some of that up and had me interested, in the so bad it’s good way, but unless something changes, Contra: Rogue Corps feels less like the latest in an iconic series and more a lifeless sequel that uses style to make up for substance.