Having never played the origin title, I came into Rogue Trooper Redux with a fresh set of peepers. Described as a pioneering tactical shooter and landmark comic book adaptation, it’s important not to get this game confused with a remake. I point that out because although games like Gears of War have since released and defined what a cover-based shooter should play out as, Rogue Trooper Redux bears all of the mechanics and functionalities of its BAFTA-nominated source material from years gone by, despite the fresh lick of paint and somewhat revamped gameplay. Rogue Trooper Redux has undergone quite an extensive portion of care, certainly more so than is to be expected from a typical remaster in gaming today. We’ve got HD visuals, remodelled assets, enhanced geometry, dynamic lighting, a tweaked cover system and more – with that being said how well does an old dog fare in a new junkyard?
Taking on the role of Rogue, who looks like the love child of Soul Reaver’s Raziel and Van Damme’s Colonel Guile, Rogue Trooper Redux is a story of betrayal and revenge that’s set at the far reaches of the galaxy. Rogue is what’s known as a Genetic Infantryman (G.I.), an enhanced soldier that’s capable of enduring the harshest of terrains. Sent with his squad to battle in the war against the Norts, it’s not long before you realise that you’ve been betrayed and left for dead, ultimately leading you on a self assigned mission to seek out the traitor and make them pay. It’s exactly the sort of gritty story setup that you would expect from British comic 2000AD, and that comic book feel is as dominant throughout the entirety of play as it is at the beginning.
Right from the get-go one stand out feature is the ability to tear personality / ability chips from your fallen fellow troopers and slot them into your gear to take advantage of the perks – something main man Rogue does with his three dead teammates, enabling him to take them through his journey. Gunnar servers as an extension to Rogues rifle, Helm provides oversight via Rogues helmet, whereas Bagman (you sussed it) is embedded into Rogues trusty backpack. It’s a solid implementation that removes that feeling of isolation despite being alone throughout much of the game. You can indeed alter the amount of dialogue that’s being exchanged in the game, which is great for those of you that don’t want to listen to the constant yapping from your dead allies. I have to say however that the dialogue is quite decent so I was never compelled to toy with the options.
Rogue Trooper Redux does a good job at feeding you the basics of play throughout the opening sections of the game. There’s quite a lot to keep on top of but it’s mercifully easy to understand and swiftly becomes second nature. The gameplay constantly encourages you to try out different methods of assault and tactics, dishing out new weaponry, upgrades and abilities at a steady and reliable pace. You can take to the fields of play in a plethora of different ways irrespective of the fact that the mission structure feels quite linear. Maps on the other hand are typically wide open and expansive, leaving it completely down to you as to how you want to skin the proverbial cat. Want to go in all guns blazing? You can do just that. Want to hang back and pick your foes off with stealth? That’s you can do too. This instantly gives you a level of freedom to go about your business however you see fit, it’s quite simply exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable.
Gunnar comes with the ability to swap between silent and turret mode on top of the standard assault rifle mode. You can deploy his scope to shoot from afar or lay down the turret to draw fire. The counter here is that whilst Gunnar is in turret mode you can only use melee attacks and your pistol, which instantly showcases how vital your teammate is. Worry not if you prefer your gunplay with a bit more ‘kick’ because other weapons such as the mortar and shotgun will be available to you as you progress. You can also utilise a range of different grenade types with a decent amount of flexibility when aiming and deploying them. There’s no denying that Gunnar is the most helpful teammate, but that’s not to say that Helm and Bagman don’t earn their keep. Bagman will upgrade your weaponry as well as manufacture ammunition and medical packs that can be picked up via scavenged items from enemies and crates.
This alone adds a layer of strategy to the mix as you’ll need to keep a steady eye on your resource management. Helm is arguably the least notable teammate, with his main aid being one that will hack and unlock doors. Safe to say that as a collective team, you’ll be pulling off action-packed sequences that would put The Expendables to shame. With that in mind it’s vital that you never assume that you’re some over-powered force that can deal with anything that stands in your way. Enemies come in varying shapes and sizes, many of which can be heavily armoured meaning you’ll need to think quick and tactically with your tools to dispose of them before moving onto the next. I found it quite handy to rely on some well placed mines as well as a hologram to lure my foes onto my boomstick, which offers up some satisfying results.
Unfortunately Rogue Trooper Redux does suffer from a few questionable setbacks, most notably being how slow it can be to do something as simple as switch to a different weapon or reload a current one. It’s not a massive annoyance but it’s an issue that certainly makes itself known when you’re being overrun and quickly need to resupply your gun or swap to something else. Furthermore I found the movement to be far too sluggish which is baffling when you take into account that the cover system has been revamped. These issues are hardly game breaking but it’s moments in which these flaws become overly apparent that the action-packed fun is quickly traded with barrels of frustration. Thankfully there’s a generous checkpoint system in place the help remedy any faults you’re subject to, on top of the (at times) brutal difficulty of the game.
Rogue Trooper Redux certainly sits in well with current gen games as far as the visuals are concerned. It hardly breaks any barriers nor does it push the limitation of current gen hardware, but the fresh lick of paint is most definitely commendable. It looks gorgeous and comes packed with design and flare, which will no doubt please returning fans and newcomers alike. There’s roughly ten hours worth of gameplay within, which is further fleshed out by the multiplayer options that you can take to via online Co-op for up to four players. It would have been nice to see a deathmatch mode thrown in for good measure, or maybe even some TDM, but beggars cant be choosers right? In any case Rogue Trooper Redux comes with just enough content as it is to justify the asking price.
Rogue Trooper Redux is a solid remaster that gives a classic cover-based shooter a relevant and well deserved place in the proverbial spotlight once more. Problems such as clunky movement and slow weapon selection / reload does hamper the experience to some degree, but there’s no denying that the overall package is well rounded and robust enough to please returning fans and newcomers alike. This may not pack the same punch as the origin title but it still delivers a decent shooter that deserves some attention. The visuals are good, the clever mechanics and functionalities are great, the freedom in the gameplay is brilliant and almost everything in between is equal to that. Rogue Trooper Redux may not blow your mind, but nevertheless it still manages to be exhilarating and challenging.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.