Rogue Trooper Redux (PC Review)
It’s always sad when a great game is squashed under the metaphorical tide of new releases. Titanfall 2 is one very recent example. A 10/10 video game that was swamped and forgotten simply because its release window was suicidal. All those gamers who’ll never get to experience the journey of BT-7274 and Troy Baker because they were too busy reliving World War 1 or flailing around their living rooms in a ridiculous looking headset. Tragic, really, but it didn’t get shafted to quite the degree as Rogue Trooper did in the heady days of the mid 00s.
It was a time, long ago, when yours truly was younger, slimmer, and had just left college. The Xbox 360 had been out for about a year, and then this weird game about some blue guy starts popping up in the game shops I frequented. The funny thing was, although it was a brand new release, it was for the previous set of consoles and, of course, that made it completely uninteresting.
Looking back I imagine that was the reaction of most gamers. We had Oblivion by that stage, the release of the powerhouse that was the 360 had changed gaming in a big way. Why on earth would anyone want to take a step back like that?
Well, now Rogue Trooper has jumped back into my life only this time it’s wearing makeup and some fancy lingerie. It’s still the same game underneath, and boy does it feel like a game from 2006, but with that extra layer of polish to make it feel a little more appealing.
The graphical overhaul is the majority of the justification for this “redux”, and it does look quite nice for a game from 2006 being brought into the modern era. It’d fit quite well as an early-stage Xbox One game or a late-stage Wii U title. Character models have been spruced up with lots of brand new polygons and effects have been reworked along with a lot of the environments. Not everything has gotten the same level of loving detail leaving some bits of the game feeling quite rough. Overall, the visuals do justify the word “redux” but that says nothing for the actual game.
The setup is very simple: you are a blue man who has been genetically engineered for war and you and all your blue brothers are being thrown into the meat grinder between two opposing armies. All of your blue friends quickly die, upon which time you take their consciousness and slot them into your gun, backpack and helmet. You then go off to get revenge on another blue boy who betrayed everyone, causing all the death, taking the disembodied voices of your compatriots with you.
It’s the kind of pitch that really wouldn’t go over well nowadays. Throughout the game your backpack, helmet and gun (named Bagman, Helm and Gunnar, respectively) banter back and forth and give you feedback based on whatever’s going on at any given moment. When you reload Bagman will say “here you go” as he passes out ammunition. Upon nailing a headshot Gunnar will congratulate you (even though the shooting is automated, by him). It’s not as intrusive as it sounds. The voices would get old, but the game doesn’t really last long enough for that to be an issue.
Rogue Trooper Redux is fun while it lasts, though it’s not very deep and is very easy. Once you get Gunnar in your rifle, shooting becomes almost entirely automatic requiring only that you point the gun vaguely in the direction of an enemy. You also get a handy marker that tells you if you’re going to shoot a critical part of an enemy, like their head or a gas-filled backpack. Bad dudes also go down very quickly once you do open fire, and put up very little resistance when they’re not manning cannons or firing sniper rifles. Sometimes, it feels like a shooting gallery, but there is enough variance in setting such as vehicle sections or different objectives to keep it from getting too stale.
You also have a simplistic upgrade system to keep augmenting your abilities as the game goes on. Increased ammo capacity, more powerful weapons, that sort of thing. This is all fueled by salvage you get from looting enemies and finding caches, which makes it important to keep looting. On harder difficulties it can also give looting a strategic element as you choose which enemies to take out first in order to get salvage to make ammo with. Sadly, on the standard difficulty setting very little requires that much consideration. I dread to think how uninvolved it must feel to play on easy.
Total lack of challenge and vacuous story aside, I quite enjoyed my time with Rogue Trooper, although I kind of wish I’d given it a chance back in the day. It’s dumb and shallow but it’s still fun, although the asking price of £20 is a bit on the harsh side for what you’re getting. This might have been filled out by the game’s multiplayer mode, which has been empty every time I’ve made an attempt to try it out. I did a few rounds in the horde-ish mode that expects you to defend an injured trooper and it all seemed very similar to the single player.
If you manage to wrangle some friends who’ve indulged in some of this latest outing of the Blue Man Group you can play 4 player co-op online against waves of baddies to satisfy your bloodlust, but I doubt much of the challenge that makes team co-op exciting would be there given how the way the game is played. There’s really not much here if you’re a multiplayer boy or girl.
But if you like to go solo there’s definitely fun to be had with Rogue Trooper Redux. It’s a time-capsule dressed up real pretty, and sometimes it’s nice to take a look back and see how far you’ve come.
Rogue Trooper Redux
- Always nice to see blue minorities get work in such a competitive industry
- Gameplay is simple and easy to grasp
- Varied settings keep it fresh
- I like the idea of your equipment talking to you
- Graphics look quite nice for a remastered PS2 game
- Virtually no challenge, a game for games journalists
- Story is basically non-existent
- Very short