I’ll be very honest and admit that I never played, nonetheless heard, of Rogue Trooper before it was announced to be re-released on current gen platforms. Quickly searching some history on it, I discovered it was released over 10 years ago, back in 2006. I started to wonder how it skated right passed me. Maybe because back then we didn’t have as perfect of an advertising platform, but regardless I remember annoying my parents for hours at a time to wait for me while I peruse every damn case in the GameStop store. After playing it however, I understood on a deeper level why it went under the radar for me, and also perhaps maybe a lot of other people.
It’s a cover shooter. I can’t even think of a cover shooter that dated before or around the time of Gears of War, which as fate would have it was my first one with the certain game mechanic. Even then, I don’t think I understood just how revolutionary the system would be, for better or worse but that’s another conversation. As it turns out, Rogue Trooper Redux is actually a pretty perfect combination of old school nostalgia and modern expectations of graphical excellence from video games. Again, I never played the original release, but it’s not hard to tell what generation it came from if you grew up in the time. To summarize the rest of the review below; this is probably the new bar for developers and publishers to reach for when remastering a game, and I pray we see more in this fashion really soon.
The action plays out in third-person fashion, with the occasional first person shooting when you zoom down the scope of your rifle. It doesn’t favor one shoulder or the other, but instead has a centered camera just a short distance from your character. It changes slightly depending on the area you’re in, so if you’re moving around tight areas it’ll zoom in closer, and larger areas will display a slightly further placed camera view. Think about the camera for other games in the era like Mercenaries and SOCOM. Cut scenes early on will introduce you to the finer details of gameplay and the game world. You know, when games used to show how your characters gains each little ability and new feature rather than popping up vague text on screen. You are a genetically built infantryman named Rogue who gets dropped down onto the surface of Nu-Earth with a whole battalion.
As everyone deploys in drop pods, defense rockets shoot them out of the sky like its open season on birds at a bird watch reserve. Trying to repel the onslaught of enemies, you do everything you can to not only survive, but also save the lives of your comrades. Gunnar, one of them, gets shot in the back early. Instead of him simply dying and being gone forever you rip out his biochip and slap it into your gun. He will assist you by locking onto enemies in some circumstances, as well as delivering a bunch of chatter. Yes, he talks through your gun now. Later on you’ll see two other comrades fall to the enemy, but taking their biochips and putting them in your backpack and helmet will continue their lives. Bagman, the infantry soldier you put in your backpack will allow the manufacturing of explosives when under fire.
You can also purchase ammo, health, and explosives from a quick menu, but it will cost salvage points. Whether it’s fallen friendlies or enemies, you can run up to their bodies and salvage from them, making them disintegrate, and giving you more points to upgrade things like bullets and improved explosive grenades. I really like the healing system, which is a syringe that extends from your right shoulder and injects health into your arm. If hit, there will be some health that will regenerate if you can stay in cover long enough, but the rest needs legit healing. Resupplying health syringes will cost salvage points though, and it’s pricey, so being tactical is truly key to survival, especially on harder difficulty levels.The tactical aspect comes with the cover system.
Originally back when it released, the game hit one of the first waves of cover systems. You can think of it as a pioneer to the gameplay mechanic. Although it does a great job, there are aspects that needed refining. The cover system is almost as good as Gears of War in the way that you get in and out of it quickly, but it fails in overall traversal with clunky vault mechanics. The dodging helps evade enemy fire, but when you wish to climb up a couple rocks to flank, which normally would physically work in modern games, blocks you off. It makes the maps feel somewhat linear, but it’s not exactly the worst since linear progression of the map is what triggers various events like needing to destroy a tank or blow open a locked gate.
I’m a huge fan of co-op. If there’s one thing that convinces me to try any game, it’s that. Even horrible games can win me over a bit if I can exploit their awfulness with my brother in online play. The online co-op of 2-4 players can be played in two different ways. One is a Stronghold mode, which sees you and your friends trying to survive for as long as you can against attacking enemies, and the other is Progression, where you consistently try to move your way through objectives. I didn’t experience many, if any, lag or other performance issues while playing online. You can even host a game, or search for people who are hosting themselves.
Sound and Graphics
You can feel the historic style of both audio and visual elements here. The opening cut scenes showcase this with explosions that show have old school fire effects, but the brush-ups from redevelopment mask the age a great amount. Two of the most beautiful looking aspects of the game though is the character models and the game world (but what else is there to analyze anyways). There’s many times in the cutscenes where you will get close ups of characters and the graphics now rival many modern day releases. The blue texture of the genetically made infantry looks real in a comic book animation kind of way.
After dropping in the world for the first time, I couldn’t help but stare at the sky above. Due to the lack of atmosphere and oxygen, there are no clouds, so you get a straight view of space and an almost aurora borealis event. Of course, it’s not the aurora borealis for scientific reason, but you can get the picture I’m painting. The characters whose chips you place in your gear will talk with you throughout your adventures. It’s a bit annoying because it’s like having constant radio chatter, but luckily they are goofy enough that it doesn’t feel like a technical annoyance where they need to repeat the same phrases in order to give off the vibe of a living squad.
Rogue Trooper Redux absolutely screams throwback PS2 and Xbox 360 days. It is what everyone deserves to experience in a remaster of a game. If you never played the original, then you’ll love the game as it could be mistaken as a game developed in this era for this generation of gaming. If you have played it before, then I know you’ll be very appreciative of the graphical overhaul it has received. Having played games like Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection and all of the lazily ported games like Bully and Jak and Daxter, this takes the cake for love and care put into the process. You can tell Rebellion has wanted to deliver a beautiful upgrade to a game they never forgot about, and it feels like they want players to have the best experience possible, more so than simply to make a quick buck on it. The action is awesome across all 13 expansive missions, the story is simple yet creative, and the fluidity of the gameplay mechanics make it a joy to sit down and sink time into. I hope and pray to see more projects like this done by more companies soon.
|+ Beautifully done remaster||– Map traversal is classically limited|
|+ Online Co-op modes||– The world can feel a little empty|
|+ A challenge on hard difficulty setting|
|+ Smooth 60 fps gameplay|