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SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance (XBox 360) Review

/ Jul 23rd, 2012 No Comments

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance Screenshot

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance Review

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance Review

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance is a twin-stick sci-fi shooter that was released onto Xbox Indie Games on July 10th by Brain Shape Games. It allows players to work together as a team with 4 player local co-op or alone in three game modes including story mode consisting of 36 missions, free play and a survival mode.

Mankind has expanded throughout the galaxy only to be systematically shut down by an enemy known as the Constituents of Nothing (CoN); the faceless alien force that mankind named after they appeared from out of nowhere and used dark matter to power themselves and their civilisation. After discovering destroyed alien tech, mankind was able to create a new energy to shield them against the dark matter weapons. It is up to you to protect the colonies from the CoN.

Story

When you first pick up SCHAR: BSA it might feel like a sequel or that you have been thrown in the middle of a story; that’s because you are entering in the middle of a story. Mankind has already spread and is now on the brink of extinction, from the Constituents of Nothing at this point you are regrouping to fight back. It is understandable that we skip the start because it would basically be setting you up to fail before you come in new guns blazing. So instead, we’re just skipping to the blazing part.

Though the story does give you a reason to be playing the levels it doesn’t really bleed through into the gameplay; you might end up playing for the gameplay instead of the story itself, which isn’t necessarily bad. Instead of telling you the story through voices before each mission you have written text that tells you what you have to do as well as characters throughout the mission popping up with speech bubbles. Surprisingly, it works just as well as if they had voices. If you aren’t paying attention you might miss what they’re saying sometimes though.

Gameplay

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance Screenshot

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance Screenshot

SCHAR: BSA is a super simple game to get started playing, the controls are easy to pick up and when you first start up the story mode it teaches you the more advanced controls without putting you through a tutorial stage. It teaches you the techniques you need when you first need them. Though if you get sick of reading script or you just aren’t paying too much attention, you might miss some things; like the fact you can use your salvage parts towards a shield for yourself.

On that note, when you destroy enemy ships they drop salvage parts that you can collect, and then you can use them to heal what you are protecting. The more parts you collect and unload the more you can upgrade the four ships you have a choice of, the more you upgrade your ships the better you are; in theory.

While you’re floating around out in space your screen isn’t cluttered with all the HUD information, instead to see how much special ammunition, or salvaged parts or your health you will need to hold down the left bumper. This will also act as a radar showing you how far away from the objective you are and also where enemies are coming from. Though sometimes it doesn’t show the enemies and you are left in the dark until a swarm of them come out from off screen.

When you first start off the story mode you might sit there and think “my, this is easy. I can just sit here in my little ship zooming around and killing the small amount of bad guys coming at me.” Don’t get too comfortable though the difficulty ramps up pretty nicely with each level you progress through to the point where there are hundreds of enemy ships surrounding you. Although you could probably play through the game using just one ship; each ship has a different mix of special weapons, from mines and turrets to heal bots and missiles.

Graphics

On the graphics side of things, the ships and everything players interact with are pretty basic; they look cool, but basic. At least, at a distance they do; if you press your nose up and have a good look (or just look in the manual) they have some details that make them look pretty fancy. On the other hand, the planets and moon look amazing in comparison.

Sound

Sean Beeson, who has worked on previous titles like Assault Heroes 2 does a wonderful job on the soundtrack. It has a great Sci-Fi feel to it does a good job of making everything feel just that little more epic. Once you’re in game though, the satisfying sound of enemy ships exploding does grab your attention more so than the music.

Overall

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance is a game that you can sit down and play with your friends or by yourself, either way you are going to have fun. The story is not something you would write home about but you can still lose yourself and forget about time in the gameplay. Even after you’ve finished the lengthy story you will still have survival mode and free play to give you more time shooting down the Constituents of Nothing.

All things aside I have to admit, I fell asleep during one of the missions. Not even kidding, I was having fun and it was relaxing and then boom. I was asleep. It is just missing one of those crucial hooks that keep you there, it is fun; but it can get a little repetitive. If you love twin-stick shooters, you will love it though; it has a tiny bit of RPG thrown in there with all the good parts of twin-stick shooters.

Overall Ratings – SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance (XBox 360)

Story:

6/10

Gameplay:

7/10

Graphics:

5/10

Sound:

6/10

OVERALL SCORE:

60%

Sam Reimer

Sam Reimer

Community Manager at Gaming Illustrated
Sam is an Australian that likes cats. Most of his time is spent on Youtube, streaming on Twitch or finishing games in one sitting. Sam also enjoys drinking tea.
Sam Reimer
Sam Reimer
Sam Reimer

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