Rogue Trooper Redux is showing its age but this Trooper certainly deserves a second tour of duty. The FingerGuns Review;
Rogue Trooper Redux is a curious beast. The original comic book game adaption released over a decade ago on the PS2, OG Xbox and PC before making its way to the Wii in 2009. For an award winning game (hell, it was nominated for a few BAFTA’s back in 2006), it is rarely mentioned in the mainstream gaming mindscape despite silently built up a bit of a cult following among 2000 AD fans. Publishers Rebellion obviously felt this needed to change. The Redux version of Rogue Trooper is a HD spitshine that restores this futuristic third-person shooter with some much needed visual TLC but retains most of the dated gameplay aspects from the ‘09 version.
In Rogue Trooper you play as a genetically tailored soldier called Rogue (no, wait, it gets better) who was created by “Souther” scientists to wage war on the “Norts” of Nu-Earth, a planet poisoned by the ongoing conflict. Rogue and his 3 squad mates (Helm, Bagman and Gunnar) drop into a region called the Quartz Zone in an attempt to catch the Nort armies unaware. Only the Norts were waiting for them. After a heated battle, all of Rogue’s comrades lay dead and he’s the only survivor. Disobeying an order to return to base, Rogue goes rogue (I told you it got better, but wait, there’s more) to avenge the death of his fellow troopers. It’s a plot that will be instantly recognisable to long time 2000 AD readers but is very accessible for newcomers to the series.
The story is predominantly told via cutscenes but they are amply supported during play by chatter from Rogue’s dead team mates. Confused? Well, Rogue was able to keep the personalities and abilities of his squad alive by taking a biochip from their dead bodies and installing them in his gear. Gunnar is installed in his massive gun, Bagman is installed on his bag and Helm is installed on his (are you ready for this?) helmet (YES! Genius. All of it). The team are almost constantly barking helpful hints or notifications like “Medipack incoming” or “Now you’re just showing off” which add a surprising amount of charm to the game.
Rogue’s team mates are also integral parts of the gameplay itself. Each of them grant the Rogue Trooper abilities which help him in his quest for revenge. Gunnar enables a mild auto aim system to his weapons and pinpoints auto-kills on Nort enemies. Bagman can convert “Salvage” (which can be looted from enemy troops or from specific junk piles) into ammo, medkits, grenades, new weapons or upgrades to other equipment. Helm offers a mini-map HUD, a holographic decoy and enables Rogue to open electronic doors. There are times during the game when Rogue is separated from members of his team/equipment. It’s surprisingly impactful by tying together game mechanics/equipment with story/character development and it plays into the narrative that Rogue is weaker without them. Together though, they’re a force to be reckoned with.
That’s obviously a good thing because there are thousands of Nort troops to be taken down in the game. A cover based shooter, Rogue and Co. are pitted against infantry, mechs, planes, helicopters, tanks, snipers and more as he cuts a tear around Nort territory. Each level different paths of completion. An example: During one mission, you start with a scaleable cliff in front of you. Head up this cliff and you’ll be greeted by a couple of mounted machine guns and a load of Nort troops. Alternatively, you can sneak around to the right past some explosive sensors to attack from the rear. On another level there are heavy mech machines which can take an age to kill in a head-on firefight. If you sneak around and flank from the side, there are Nort mounted machine guns you can use on their own troops. There’s a degree of choice, freedom and openness to the design which was probably ahead of its time in 2006 but feels on par with most mid-tier games of today.
Not everything feels modern about Rogue Trooper Redux however. The cover mechanics are anything but context sensitive and you’ll sometimes be sticking to walls when you don’t want to or have your head popping out from cover when you want to keep it down. When in cover, the blind fire ability is less than useless. 30% of the time, popping up from cover to fire will have you firing into the cover rather than over it. The enemy and friendly AI in this game are incredibly dated; you can shoot a Nort in the arm at which point they’ll become aware that something is happening, look around for a grand total of 3 seconds before going back to whatever they were doing as if nothing happened. Other enemies run into walls constantly. The stealth can be a little hit and miss with some enemies omniscient to your presence while others are oblivious to you even when you’re right in front of them. While most of the textures have had a significant visual upgrade, they’re often wrapped around simplistic and blocky maps.
Despite these flaws, Rogue Trooper Redux is still a lot of fun. The “thicker than mushy peas” AI mean that unless you get truly outnumbered, you always feel like a super powered killing machine which is intensely gratifying. Disabling a mech with a Scrambler grenade and then tearing it apart with your bare hands never gets old. It’s a game that makes you feel very tactical and intelligent with its design which is something that feels fresh and anything but out of date. Rogue Trooper might be getting a bit long in the tooth but it’s certainly worth a second tour of duty if you’re a fan of the comic books or a newcomer alike.
Rogue Trooper Redux is available now on PC, PS4 (review version), Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we received a code for the game from the publishers. Please see our review policy for more information.