Heavy Fire: Afghanistan is a first-person rail shooter set during the US operation in Afghanistan starting in 2011. The player guides the soldier Will through twelve operations, controlling a cross-hair on the screen. Movement cannot be controlled, the game automatically progresses or swings around when all enemies in a certain scene have been defeated. Will uses a regular machine gun and has a limited amount of grenades. The weapon regularly has to be reloaded. Enemies need to be taken out quickly before they can target him, shown through a red exclamation mark above their heads. When they hit Will, a glass crack appears in the screen. In most sequences other soldiers from his squad fight along and Will has to avoid friendly fire. There are also a few sequences involving hostages where you need to aim carefully.
Almost all scenes have a cover system where you can partially hide from enemies, with up to three cover positions. There are also some quick time events to jump or to dodge obstacles. There are bonuses in the environment that can be shot such as additional ammo, more grenades or health. When dead the player can choose to redo the entire mission or to progress from the latest checkpoint. The game keeps track of the score and accuracy and head shots are rewarded. It is possible to shoot various objects in the environment, as well as explosive barrels and gas canisters. Next to the main missions there are some target practice scenes. In some missions you shoot from inside a tank or inside a helicopter, with different types of missions. There are also some short sequences where Will controls a machine gun post. In the alternate scenes there is unlimited ammo, but you cannot fire continuously or the gun overheats. Instead of grenades missiles are used from the helicopter or the tank. Finally there are short sequences where Will uses an RPG to take out helicopters. When out of ammo Will switches to a handgun.
The score is used to reach a new rank and unlock perks in the armory skill tree, influencing health, the ammo size and storage for grenades, and more. The game can be played cooperatively with up to four players, each controlling a cross-hair on the same screen. After completing all missions they can be replayed in a harder veteran mode.
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