Ten years have passed since Rogue Trooper originally graced our screens, now he is back and in Redux glory, which includes HD visuals, a new cover system and reworked controls.
Starting out as part of a larger squad, Rogue is a GI – Genetic Infantryman – bred to fight and survive in the most hostile of environments, which in this game is the planet of Nu-Earth. His enemy… the Norts. Unfortunately for the GIs, an ambush has been set, the extent of which is discovered throughout the story and is told in chunks – driving enough of a vested interest in the campaign to keep you playing – and takes several cues from the successful Rogue Trooper comics by 2000AD.
Rogue’s team fall early on in the game but luckily for them, Rogue can insert their bio chips into vacant slots in his gear – weapon, backpack and helmet – thereby giving life to his fallen comrades beyond their genetic bodies and also a personality (and additional skills) to Rogue’s gear.
The main emphasis on the Redux version is the ‘reworked’ visuals, which I found to be a bit hit and miss. In places textures look finely detailed, particularly character models, but many of the structure and environmental shapes remained blocky – Rogue Trooper could have benefitted from a Halo Anniversary treatment instead of just a lick of HD paint and as for the colour palette… wow is it drab and dull, thankfully the gameplay is far from dull, especially during the second half of the game.
Third person cover-based gaming has come a long way since 2006, mainly due to the revolution of the genre that EPIC brought us with Gears of War, so it’s odd that the team decided to rework the cover based gameplay of Rogue Trooper in the way they did – opting for an auto system that sticks Rogue into cover – making the combat a bit of a struggle until you find that sweet spot of snapping in and out of cover.
In places, the combat plays a tad clumsily. The environment obscures seemingly perfect lines of sight, so instead of pouring lead into soft gooey Norts, you’ll be carving out your very own Swiss cheese or worse… a grenade will bounce right back and land at your feet. As for blindfire, I think a blind man may have more luck at hitting a target. No matter how many times I tried to use blindfire, I hit nothing, rendering the ability absolutely useless.
Instead, waiting for a lock on ability granted by Gunnar’s biochip, you can lean out of cover to pop the Nort easily or use the Sentry or Hologram abilities to create diversions that allow you to flank enemies that are dug in or are heavily armoured – and it’s these moments where the combat of Rogue Trooper shines, particularly when playing on the hardest difficulties.
The problem I had most with the combat of Rogue Trooper is testament to how good the combat of Gears of War is. Thankfully, once Rogue’s quirks clicked, I began to love the experience and I was soon leading the way during the few multiplayer modes that are included as part of the Redux edition.
Another sign of the game’s age is the lack of intelligence from the AI – both friend and foe. It was great to spend some more time with Rogue, but if I had my way, I would have opted for a brand new title rather than an incremental Redux update.
Third person shooters have come a long way since 2006 – a year that marked an impressive jump with the release of Gears of War. Rogue Trooper will suffer in the eyes of those that place the title directly against the Gears behemoth and will miss an enjoyable romp through Nu-Earth in the boots of Rogue. Admittedly the Redux version could have done with a greater overhaul Halo Anniversary style, or better yet… released as a brand new Rogue Trooper title.