For over 35 years Rogue Trooper has been in action-packed tales of war in the pages of British comics anthology series 2000 AD. Did you know in 2006, the blue-skinned commando created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons had his own video game? Neither did I. Which is why I was excited to preview an upcoming upgrade, Rogue Trooper Redux from Rebellion (Sniper Elite) and developed by Tick Tock. While much of visual and style elements have had a massive overhaul, fans of the comics will find an essence that faithfully adapts the last survivor of the Genetic Infantry.
Just as with any non-mainstream comics property adapted because of someone’s passion for the character, Rogue Trooper Redux starts by showing you who this character is and how he was put on his quest to avenge his band of brothers killed at the hands of the Nort through playing the game. Which is the most fun kind of exposition. The E3 demo level dropped you right in the middle of a battle in the war for Nu-Earth. You’re aided by the rest of your army early on as you learn the basics of the games tactical cover system and combat. Strategy plays just as much a part of the game as action. Press up against barriers littered on the battlefield to avoid enemy fire then plan your own attack. Rogue Trooper may be able to survive harsh environments and the vacuum of space but he can only take just a few bullets before it’s game over man.
If you’ve read the comics then you know what makes GI unique isn’t just their blue skin. When one of them is nearly killed in battle Rouge Trooper can carry their bio-chip in his rifle, helmet, or backpack to prolong their existence. Once you become the sole survivor, these chips become your greatest allies in the field. Gunnar helps your aim and target selection, Bagman can manufacture ammunitions or heal your wounds in combat. Later on, in the game you’ll also get the third member of your load out, Helm, a bio-chip that will give you game advice and distract enemies. All these elements can be upgraded as you progress to unlock even more abilities from each chip.
Rogue Trooper’s story of a one-man-army on a quest to avenge his fallen infantry at the Quartz Zone Massacre is one of the harshest and exquisitely dramatic stories of its kind in comics. Tick Tock thus far have done a solid job of ensuring players feel the futility and overwhelming doom of war. As one moment you’ll be in a firefight with Nort footsoldiers then when you think you’ve earned a respite you find yourself having to deal with a tank battalion. According to the developer, my experience was the easy part of the game. Yet I still found myself dying a few times.
Unlike most shooters today, Rogue Trooper Redux focuses on its single player story. Multiplayer modes and co-op for 2-4 players buttress the story mode, letting players relive the events leading up to the main campaign. In ‘Stronghold’ you defend your position against incoming waves of Norts, while in Progressive’ mode you must fight your way to safety with your friends. We didn’t get to try these modes but if the studio manages to incorporate what they already have going for it, the multiplayer will be more of an added value to the game than a crutch.
Rogue Trooper Redux is the first 2000 AD game to be outsourced by Rebellion since its acquisition of the comic imprint in 2000. Which is also something I had not put two and two together on till I met with the publisher at E3. Instead of trying to strong arm Rebellion into making a Punisher game after Sniper Elite and now seeing how good Rogue Trooper Redux is coming along, I want a Judge Dredd game.
The Rogue Trooper series of tales has a rich history alongside 2000AD’s other iconic titles, it’s reassuring to know there are fans of comics in different mediums bringing characters who deserve exposure to other audiences. I can’t wait to see what this finished game looks like when it launches for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.