The BAFTA-nominated, story-rich game that is Rogue Trooper is back and definitely better than ever. You may remember Rogue Trooper, it’s made its way from across so many platforms and 11 years later, it’s on the Switch. I never had a chance to play it on the PS2, XBOX, Wii, or PC. But now I have the chance to not just play the game, but to play it highly enhanced. So is Rogue Trooper Redux (Rebellion, $24.99) that good? We’re talking so good that it spans this much time and that many consoles? I’m going to dissect the heck out of this 3rd person shooter for the Switch so that you can know if it’s worth your money. Read on, soldier!
First, let’s start with the features of this militaristic game:
‘A pioneering tactical shooter and landmark comic book adaptation, Rogue Trooper® is back, remastered and revitalized in true high definition. Experience acclaimed combat and explosive third-person action in this BAFTA-nominated tale of betrayal and revenge at the far reaches of the galaxy.
You are the last Genetic Infantryman (GI). Bred for war and betrayed by your superiors at the Quartz Zone massacre, you stalk the battlefield as a one-man squad, carrying the sentient biochips of three fallen soldiers in your rifle, pack, and helmet.
Your mission? Fight your way across the chemical-blasted wastes of Nu-Earth – a planet ravaged by an endless apocalyptic war – in search of the Traitor General… and payback!’
So what else is in this game?
A classic returns with HD graphics, remodeled assets, dynamic lighting, enhanced geometry, new special effects and more. New features also include modern controls, extra difficulty settings, and a revamped cover system.
Fight through 13 expansive missions in a diverse campaign penned by famed writer Gordon Rennie. Battle the insidious Nort regime across iconic locations from the Rogue Trooper comic including the Quartz Zone, Petrified Forest, and Harpo’s Ferry.
Experience Rogue Trooper’s® timeless blend of stealth-action gameplay, cover-based combat, and epic set-pieces. Tackle objectives your way as you cut a swathe through Nort footsoldiers and vehicles with Lazookas, explosives, turrets and more.
Your biochips aren’t just there for conversation, they are your tactical edge! Gunnar turns your rifle into a sentry gun and boosts your accuracy under fire. Helm offers tactical advice and distracts enemies. Bagman can manufacture custom ammo, salvage parts, upgrade weapons and even lay minefields!
Test your mettle in online co-op for 2-4 players and relive the events leading up to the main campaign. Defend your position against incoming waves of deadly Norts in ‘Strongold’, or fight your way to safety in ‘Progressive’ mode!’
Trailer? Sir, yes sir!
Audio & Soundtrack:
There wasn’t much music during the actual gameplay of the game. You do have some cinematic sounding overtures and such during the menus and cutscenes though. This helps evoke the idea that it’s more of a movie that you’re playing through, versus a video game contrived out of a comic book. I very much felt like I was participating in a story line that could easily have been a CGI animated movie. The music did seem a bit like it was just stock music that could’ve been found in any movie that took place in a war torn setting. So, it was nothing that stood out, but it definitely was not bad either. It did what it needed to to.
As far as audio, all of the right sound effects for a game like this were in the right place. Nothing truly stood out but nothing was out of place either. You had the standard machine gun, cannon, pistol, and machine sounds. What I will give this game credit for is their voice acting. It was definitely ahead of it’s time. In a time when people were okay with voice acting in games like Final Fantasy X, Tony Hawk’s Underground, and Silent Hill 2, this game broke the mold. I was playing it in a day and age where voice acting is second to none and this game still fits right in. The voice acting was simply timeless and it really, truly wowed me. 9/10
The visuals in this game are a great sight to see on the Nintendo Switch. I think some companies are taking the safer path (Fifa 2018) and not giving Switch owners a full fledged experience. There are a few comparison videos out there that show what the game used to look like in the PS2 era compared to what it looks like now and it is mesmerizing. All of the surfaces have been retextured, there are new effects for explosions and fire and such. The lighting and shadows are just so obviously grown up compared to where they were at 11 years ago. The facial expressions on the characters faces just seem to work so much better as well. Although I will say that the GI’s went from looking unqiue and blue, but now they look a lot more like Billy Crudup’s Dr.Manhattan from The Watchmen.
One other small thing this is a little strange is that they didn’t take the time to fix the mouth flaps for the speech. So every time that you see someone talk their heads move up and down more than their bottom jaw and lips move. This is a trick that was done more way back when to help the player understand who was talking if the lips barely moved. My best guess here is that they have kept the original motion capture in from the source code. This is also apparent when you see the characters walking while in cutscenes. Speaking of cutscenes, they clearly took the time to make it seem less jarring when going in and coming out of them. It used to be so obvious in older games, in this one it’s still there, but it’s a lot less obvious. This even goes for when you have a small cutscene for a stealth kill. 9/10
The story was the big draw for me when I first saw that they were bringing this game back. Right in the trailer they mentioned that it was a BAFTA-nominated story. So I instantly knew that I wanted to know the story. I certainly don’t know if this story is separate from the source material (comic book 2000 AD) or if it was a spin off or a standalone story. Nevertheless, I am always provoked to playing or reading something that has been nominated or awarded for fantastic stories.
The downside to this was that the game, even on the easiest difficulty still thwarted me from getting even a quarter of a way through it. So, if the difficulty was low, how was it still stifling to beat the game? What was the thing that held me back overall? The unfortunate answer was the controls. Several of the buttons do multiple things, first of all. That became cumbersome overall. Additionally, the primary weapon was a fully automatic weapon that I would often forget would double as a sniper rifle (only after getting so far in the game). Since I had used it as an automatic weapon for so long, I really forgot that it was ever a thing that it was a sniper rifle. I kept thinking that I had a separate sniper rifle. I often had to go to the controls menu to figure out how to get to it. But no, it wasn’t weapon cycling, because that would imply that it was a separate weapon, which it wasn’t. The game only mentioned once how to bring it up and use it as a sniper rifle, which I forgot after that segment of the game because it didn’t really require a sniper rifle again until later. So I died multiple times again, trying every button trying to figure it out. TL;DR version…it’s the R3 button. Remember that, because the controls menu doesn’t really clarify too well that that’s what it is.
Other than getting stuck and dying repeatedly, the GI that I played as had a great background story. Him and other GI’s were genetically created to survive on Nu Earth and fight off the Norts. It very much felt like Resident Evil 4’s 3rd person shooting mashed up with a Wolfenstein type story. Eventually the other 2 people in your party die and you take their “Bio Chips” and use them to enhance your gear and equipment. All in all that part is different and interesting and had me from the beginning. The downside here is that once your two party members die and become equipped, you just run along on your own with no real help. The game has other GI’s all around you, but none of them are AI that help you. I kept dying repeatedly in a section because I couldn’t find my sniper rifle and all the while, the other GI just stood there. They were taking thousands of bullets and just staring off into the distance. I’m not entirely certain of the purpose of that from a cinematic, gameplay, or practical perspective.
You eventually break off from the main group of GI’s to follow a captured GI to save his life. I will not spoil anything for you, of course, but that’s where the story really picks up. And that’s also where it also begins to get more difficult. So all in all, I would state that the main hiccup in this game is the fact that the controls are a bit overloaded. Additionally, save your hands and wrists and don’t play it on the go unless you play it in tabletop mode. There are just so many controls that you have to be able to reach, sometimes simultaneously ,that it makes holding up the Switch a chore. This is partially because of how ergonomically strange the Switch is overall. I found the best comfort and enjoyment playing this game in docked mode. 6/10
This game does have a 2-4 player online co-op mode as mentioned up at the top of this page. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find people online. Or at least that want to play the game at the same time anyway. Although, considering the lack of AI in the game, if you can find others to play with, you’ll probably have a much easier time playing the game. There are two additional modes as well (that can also be played alone or online co-op). These modes are Stronghold and Progression. Stronghold is a gameplay type that might be more appealing than the latter. In Stronghold you fight wave upon wave of Norts storming your stronghold. Progression is less of my cup of tea, but that doesn’t make it a bad gameplay type. In Progression, you just make your way from start to finish through Norts whilst picking up items from the ground to keep your ammo and health up.
These modes are great and all, but I you do the following. I suggest you play all 3 modes as a single player first and then go through and beat everything again with a friend or friends. This way you can at least say that there are 6 game modes, thus stretching your dollar further. I do wish that there was a deathmatch online mode. It would be cool to choose to play as the blue GI’s or the Norts and there could be a few maps available to play on. 7/10
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