Code Hardcore Hands On – A Retro yet Surprisingly Fresh 2D Brawler for the PS4
From the China-based developer, Rocket Punch comes a fresh take on 2D brawlers in the form of Code Hardcore. Here’s another gem from Sony’s own China Hero Project, the company’s initiative to thrust Chinese developers into the spotlight. Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this game makes Gundam Versus look overrated.
My experience at PSX 2017 was filled with great games of every caliber, but Code Hardcore was probably the most fun when it came to multiplayer experiences; second to Monster Hunter: World. The way it starts is players select from a roster of hardcore 2D mechs. Each has its own unique set of bombastic abilities, as well as advantages and disadvantages in battle. Some are better for long range, some for mid-range, and some for melee. Luckily, their attacks aren’t copied and pasted from one to the next. The exception is their rocket boost abilities that make for a very fast-paced combat. But, honestly, it felt similar to when I first picked up a Super Smash Bros game for the N64. It’s unique, highly replayable, and a perfect competitive game to play with friends, especially if you’re mech lovers.
“Not only is this a really fun multiplayer game, but it facilitates old-school couch co-op”
My playthrough entailed a four-player free-for-all, with guns blazing and rockets launching and sprites blowing up all over the map. Each time I had my metallic backside handed to me, I had the option to re-enter battle as a different mech. The recurring chance to playtest a different mech takes away the misery of defeat. From there, customization just keeps the game cycling forward. Another mech means another method of destroying opponents – Abilities can be managed and mapped at the selection screen.
Additionally, speaking of screens, my play session was done in split-screen…four-player split-screen, which really took me back to the old days. Not only is this a really fun multiplayer game, but it facilitates old-school couch co-op, which is a huge plus since split-screen seems to be fading away.
During combat, the sprite effects were reminiscent of the highly addictive titles you would find in arcade machines, only you don’t have to insert a coin each time you die. That said, the game also shares the addictive factor. You just want to keep playing, to pick your rival on the field of battle and smash them to bits. It helps that the animations are finely tuned, with very good art design. Everything I witnessed from this title fits its genre but with unique takes and the right amount Metal Slug ferocity.
Like every game in the China Hero Project, Code Hardcore doesn’t have a release date yet. But from what I saw, it’s shaping up to be another top platformer/brawler/ side-scroller. The closest equivalent I can think of arrived recently, and that’s Blue Mammoth Games’ Brawlhalla; another 2D fighting game. However, this IP will cater to anyone who’s a softie for Sci-Fi or classic mech anime. Hopefully, we’ll have a release date soon.