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Rogue Trooper: Redux

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, Xbox, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Developer: TickTock Games (EU), Rebellion (US)
Release Date: Oct. 17, 2017

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PC Review - 'Rogue Trooper'

by Keith Durocher on July 4, 2006 @ 1:21 a.m. PDT

Rogue Trooper: Redux brings 2000 AD's cult sci-fi strip to life in an authentic, tactical, cover-based third-person.

Genre: Action
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Rebellion
Release Date: May 23, 2006

Up until roughly a week ago, my knowledge of 2000 AD extended exactly as far as Judge Dredd. When I took on the task of reviewing today’s featured game, Rogue Trooper, I had no idea whatsoever that there was a connection. Thanks to the magic of Wikipedia, I quickly learned that this comic company in fact has an extensive legacy of action-packed story-telling that extends back 30 years and covers many different titles. Furthering my astonishment, I learned that this is the fourth game released that follows the Rogue Trooper! How I’ve managed to go for so long with my head in the sand regarding this franchise is beyond me. With that in mind, I’m grateful to have been given the chance to educate myself with this 3rd person perspective 3D shooter.

Rogue Trooper the game follows an early story arc from Rogue Trooper the comic that details two factions at war on a planet called “Nu-Earth”. The fascistic Norts have been fighting the Souther Confederacy for longer than anyone can remember. So much chemical and biological weaponry has been used in this perpetual conflict that the atmosphere itself is now lethal. To gain the upper hand, the Southers design a super-soldier, the bio-tailored “Genetic Infantry”. These warriors are made to be faster, stronger, and more resistant to fatigue in the field, and to be 100% immune to the poison in the air. In this way they will achieve more mobility than the pressure-suit limited Nort shock-troops. However, on the eve of the first Souther deployment of their new force, a traitor betrays the plans to the Norts, who systematically slaughter every G.I. except one: the super-soldier known by the call sign of Rogue. His personal mission of vengeance is the plot of this game.

What first drew me in to Rogue Trooper, aside from the epic scale of the initial invasion levels, were the bio-chips each soldier has implanted in their spinal column. These function somewhat like flash-memory chips, with personality imprints of each genetic infantryman hardwired into them. As each fighter dies, a compatriot on the battlefield can carve the chip out and then implant them into their rifles, their helmets, or their equipment packs. These provide different advantages to the fighter who collects the chip, as well as provides a second chance to the dead G.I. If the soldier who picked up the personality chip survives to tell the tale, the cloning technology of the Souther military ensures a new life. Rogue experiences this early in the game, when a comrade falls in combat and is given new life as a sentient, auto-targeting assault rifle. Eventually, the hero of our tale has three personality-chips that assist him in different ways.

Rogue’s rifle, once it’s been personalized with his squad-mate Gunnar, can be set down and used as a remote auto-turret. This is great for those times when you know you’re going to draw a lot of attention and there’s only one bottleneck for Nordland troops to come at you. Bagman’s chip in your equipment pack is a life-saver; you can collect raw materials for him to process into more ammunition, health packs, and weapon types. He becomes the wind beneath your wings, allowing Rogue to be a literal one-clone army. Finally, Helm (talk about a name that doubles as a self-fulfilling prophecy) in your helmet allows you to hack into security grids as well as project holo-decoys. All of this combined makes for a play experience that is refreshingly different from most run-and-gun games.

Graphically, Rogue Trooper has little to be ashamed of, but little to be excessively proud of either. It’s certainly a far cry from cutting edge. The models are a tiny bit blocky and the textures are vaguely low-detail; I am very much reminded of titles built using the Quake III engine. The best thing about this slightly behind-the-curve approach is the smooth-as-glass frame rates. You shouldn’t need the most powerful graphics card on earth to get the most out of Rogue Trooper. The particle effects add a much-needed dash of flair to the oppressive atmosphere of Nu-Earth, but even these are essentially more of what we’ve already seen in countless other war-themed titles. I suppose ultimately, the graphics are functional if not stunningly impressive. Interestingly, my single biggest issue with the artistic design is directly related to the character itself. I realize this isn’t the fault of the game, but I just cannot accept an army of shirtless soldiers. To quote a science-fiction classic, I just do not “grok” it.

While I may be lackadaisically blasé regarding the graphics of Rogue Trooper, there is one problem that has gotten under my skin and won’t go away. This is an issue of design, and in my opinion it is a direct result of the platform for which this game was originally intended. To be specific, this release suffers from “console-itus”. That is to say, each and every level is extremely linear with very little room for exploration. Your objectives are set in stone, and after about three levels there is a tangible sense of being stuck on a railway track. A to B to C to D, the rigid structure of your progress often seems stifling. This also has a fairly drastic effect on re-play, although the co-operative multiplayer feature helps extend the lifespan of the game significantly. Sadly, even though I quite like the online play just due to the fact that it isn’t the same tired death match we’re always handed, the same design flaw is evident here too. Each level is just a single twisty line from start to finish.

That’s about all that I can fault Rogue Trooper for, though. The voice acting is great, the innovative game-play mechanics are a breath of fresh air, and the developers really did a great job of creating a wartime battlefield atmosphere. I can only imagine how much more I’d be impressed with this had I any previous connection to the comics, but even without that prior relationship I was fairly impressed with the enthusiastic passion that obviously went into the development cycle. If you’ve been searching for something that accommodates both your love of infantry dog-fighting as well as your lust for futuristic science fiction, then Rogue Trooper is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Score: 7.9/10


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