Some may be undiscovered gems and some may be stinkers, but regardless I hope I can inform your choice and help you reconsider picking up that game that half caught your eye in the bargain bin.
Authors note: this game was played on the Wii so there may be differences to other versions of the game. Do let me know if thats the case!
First, the basics for those who may not know. Rogue Trooper is a third person shooter from UK based developers Rebellion, based on the popular 2000AD character of the same name.
A “Genetic Infantryman” on a scorched Nu-Earth where North and South are perpetually at war, Rogue and his G.I. friends are created to end the stalemate by being able to survive the most hostile environments of NuEarth without coming to harm.
The game follows the first major storyline of the comic, in which the entire G.I. corps are betrayed and killed. Only Rogue escapes, with revenge on his mind. G.I.s’ personalities can be saved onto “biochips” and uploaded into new bodies, and through various quirks of circumstance, Rogue’s former brothers-in-arms Gunnar, Bagman and Helm currently reside in his gun, his backpack and his helmet, functioning both as his companions and critics.
In game, this allows you to become a one may army via the use of various techniques, from deploying Gunnar as a sentry, to allowing Helm to provide decoys. All the while, Bagman lets you upgrade and manufacture your basic abilities and weaponry by scavenging resources from those you kill and NuEarth itself.
Gameplay itself is a mixed bag. Most of the game follows a cover based system, where you fight via a mix of outmaneuvering Nort forces and fighting from cover piece to cover piece. Despite being a one man army, you certainly won’t be rushing headfirst at any gun lines soon, which is very true to the comic and allows the game to take on an almost Rambo feel at times.
The game tries to mix it up with stealth sections, but the limited methods you have of approaching targets and the mixed enemy AI means that if sometimes you will find yourself on the receiving end of attention you did nothing to deserve, which can be frustrating. Still, pulling off those stealth kills can be very rewarding, specially for the bonus salvage it grants and the cool little cinematic.
In later levels it can get a bit repetitive, but overall there is enough variety to the weaponry you unlock and the settings you fight (even if the missions are pretty much the same) to keep you entertained for the 8-10 hours you will be playing the game.
Control scheme wise, I have a few problems. Assigning most of the buttons to the wiimote is quite useful mind- those who have played the Hitman or Freedom Fighters games on consoles will be right at home. Its just that combining that with the wiimote controlling the camera means that when action gets tense, you tend to move the controller around a bit and the camera can get a bit crazy, which can result in some annoying deaths.
The decision to assign grenades to the nunchuck was an idea that, whilst good in principle, gets annoying fast. Even the smallest amount of vertical movement makes you stop dead still to throw a grenade. This is usually followed immediately by you trying to correct your mistakes, which just makes you throw a grenade right in front of you. More unnecessary deaths. I found myself only using grenades when in cover, in which a simple flick throws a grenade at the closest enemy group out of blast radius, which works a lot better.
The difficulty spikes up and down as well, (in typical 2006 fashion) throwing in missions where you defend a train from enemy airplanes. Due to having to utilise a different skillset to one I had been polishing the entire game, those levels just became game of retention, remembering where the and when the attacks come from so hopefully you can survive (the game designers clearly knew this as well as they stuck far more checkpoints into the level than usual).
Despite all these problems, I found myself liking the game a lot. Like most 3D shooters, the game is best when you are slowly taking your time with the level, sniping out foes from a distance and employing stealth to sneak around and dispatch your foe and loses some coherency when you get in to mad fire fights out in the open.
Its a great blast from the past, as despite its limited appeal (mainly due to the IP being used) its not a bad game itself, rising above average for most of its play.
A solid game for those who like third person shooters and essential for anyone who was a fan of the comic. Recommended.