Our hero Rogue is sort of like a mashup of The Rock, Riddick, and Rambo. He’s a blue-skinned engineered super soldier that’s been wronged in the worst sort of way. His entire genetic family has been murdered by a mysterious traitor and now he’s out for justice and revenge. Rogue Trooper Redux is an action-packed shooter filled to the brim with comic book goodness, stealth-action tactics, and great gunplay. This is our Rogue Trooper Redux review.
Right from the beginning, the story drives the entire single-player game experience with dramatic comic book flare. As you’re propelled into the frenzied action there are opportunities to collect more guns, upgrade gear, gain new powers and features, and try out different tactics. The missions I’ve played through so far can be solved different ways depending on how you like to play. You can go in Rambo style with guns and grenades blazing or you can take a stealthier approach and snipe enemies sneaking up on them for stealth kills, and moving about the map like a special forces operative.
Rogue Trooper: Redux is an HD remaster of the classic third-person action shooter featuring new special effects, higher fidelity geometry, dynamic lighting and completely remodeled characters, weapons, and vehicles. The visuals look fantastic and the effects evoke imagery of recent battles and a scarred war-torn wasteland. The soundtracks add to the eerie ambiance of a toxic irradiated post-apocalyptic setting and are available on Steam as a bonus.
The backdrop is a conflict between the Norts and The Southers, in the same self-titled comic book world published by British magazine 2000 AD. Super soldiers known as Genetic Infantrymen (GIs) were created to aid in the war.
Our hero Rogue is joined by his former companions Helm, Bagman, and Gunnar after their untimely demise in the tutorial steps of the game. As each died Rogue removed their biochip and implanted in their respective gear namesakes. From this point on each mission brings us closer and closer to the Traitor General unraveling the bizarre mystery behind the conspiracy piece by piece.
The cutscenes really work for the game here. The dialog is true to comic book form, a little campy with an emotional intensity that pulled me in. Each new page and chapter of the story made me want to get to the end of the mission to find out more.
The three companions that join Rogue provide a witty and pithy running commentary with him. There is a setting in the configuration options that lets you choose verbose or minimal for the amount companion dialog you hear. For example, when putting the silencer on Gunnar he told me if it was too loud I was too old. The companions each perform their own special functions as well in addition to the banter.
Gunnar is probably the most versatile of the three. He has turret and silence modes in addition to the default assault rifle. Using the right mouse button Gunnar will scope in and become a sniper rifle. In turret mode, Gunnar can provide cover file and distract the enemy. I like to play stealthy, so he has the silencer equipped most often, but I also use the turret when I need support fire from cover. It depends on the situation, how the cover is laid out, and what weapons the enemy is using.
While Gunnar is in turret mode the only weapons you have are the pistol and melee attacks. The pistol packs a punch but it makes you realize just how much Gunnar adds to tactics. That kind of tactical tradeoff illustrates the thought and detail that is apparent in so many aspects of the game.
The first form Gunnar takes is the assault rifle but there is also the shotgun, mortar, sniper rifle, and others. Weapons are bound to the number keys or can be swapped out using the mouse wheel.
In addition to the guns there are an array of grenade types. These range in functionality and purpose from damage to crowd control. Rogue Trooper uses an interesting visual arc to display where the grenade will land. This arc can be changed with the arrow keys and mouse.
At this point in the game Helm hasn’t seen much use. His main function seems to be to unlock doors and hack terminals. This typically consists of using your action button E and waiting for a short timer to count down as he hacks those bits. Often this will trigger an onslaught even where the character must protect Helm and deal with the enemies while he hacks his way through.
Bagman serves the all-important function of manufacturing and reloading ammo. He also upgrades the weapons and displays the map objectives. Ammo and medi-packs are manufactured from salvage obtained from enemies and caches dotting the world. It’s important to manage resources even on the easiest difficulties or you may find yourself short enough materials to upgrade.
The missions start with a cutscene setting the stage for the next mission goals. These can be accomplished a variety of ways. While there are milestones that need to be completed how you get there and what you use to do it are up to you.
Some enemies are heavily armored, so direct assault or sniper rifle attacks do little damage. To take those out you could use the mortar or grenades or lure near an explosive tank. I prefer the stealthy approach and like to snipe the field down in front of me, but sometimes running in with the shotgun or assault rifle, grenades and mines flying, works better.
Early missions are straightforward. As you progress in the game they get increasingly more challenging requiring you to use a variety of tools or tactics to complete them. The game doesn’t hold your hand or tell you exactly what to do but it does give you guidance in the form of advice from the companions such as asking you to take out certain kinds of soldiers or objects. Sometimes accomplishing mini tasks, like taking out laser turrets, can make accomplishing the main goal easier.
Don’t be discouraged if Rogue Trooper beats you down a bit until you learn some tactic to overcome that particular obstacle. The game can get a bit brutal at times and I hit walls where I couldn’t progress for a day or so. It took me several tries to develop a strategy I could pull of that would overcome the obstacle. But once I did find a way past it was extremely rewarding because I solved it my way. That clicked with me because I like the idea other players could find ways to solve and accomplish the mission with different weapons and methods.
Don’t worry about losing too much progress if you do run into a wall and wipe a few times because checkpoints are plentiful. When you do wipe, and you will, the game offers the option to restart at the checkpoint or restart the level. Restarting the level sends the player all the way back to starting cutscene so choose that only if you feel like you’ve made a mess of it and want a bit of a do-over.
In addition to ground combat, I got to play through an on-rails aerial mission which played a lot like a Star Fox level. I shot targets as I sped down the tube. At other times I got to operate an anti-aircraft gun to take down air support hampering the success of my mission. Both were a lot of fun.
Cover and peeking are important aspects to Rogue Trooper. When Rogue stands close to an object that will provide cover he “snaps in” close to it. He can move along the wall peeking out the side for a quick scope or blind fire over the top of it. Sometimes it can get in the way and make movement difficult and that can be a bit frustrating. After a bit of time, I got good at approximating the snap distance to cover and used that to my advantage when scoping or throwing a grenade.
On top of the single-player campaign, Rogue Trooper offers multiplayer with easy matching from your friends list. You can create or join games in coop mode.
This game has everything I personally love in a third person action shooter. It provides a satisfying blend of action and story with the freedom of play, personable characters, and a compelling storyline. The comic book presentation gives the shooter its own personality and character and it has online cooperative play. If you enjoy a thoughtful tactical shooter, then I would recommend giving Rogue Trooper Redux a try.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PC with a Steam code provided by PR.