2000AD is as cult as cult gets in comics. The magazine from across the pond may be most notable for introducing the world to the gorgeous brutality of Judge Dredd but its also given readers lots of other memorable characters. One in particular, created by the Dave Gibbons and Gerry Finley-Day, showed readers how even the most generic of soldiers matter in war. Rogue Trooper Redux is a remastered cover based shooter game which shows its age but gives players a faithful translation of its source material.
Developed by: Tick Tock Games
Published by: Rebellion
Available now on: STEAM PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
(Review key provided by publisher)
There’s a special place in my heart for characters no one outside of comic book shop patrons would know. Even more so when it comes to characters even comic book fans might not be familiar with. I’ve been a fan of Rogue Trooper for years now, yes even when Dave Gibbons got rid of the biochips.
Rogue Trooper is a future war story published in 2000A.D about the desolate world of Nu-Earth caught in the grips of a catastrophic war between the Norts and Southers. Their war has made the planet inhospitable, Nort soldiers have to wear protective suits to be able to fight in the elements. In an effort to gain the upper hand Southers created a race of artificially enhanced and expendable soldiers called the Genetic Infantry. These G.Is are able to freely move about the planet’s harshest and most toxic surfaces.
After the Quartz Zone Massacre nearly all the Genetic Infantry is wiped out. You as the Rogue Trooper must avenge your brothers in arms and hunt a traitor among your ranks across various parts of Nu-Earth, stopping the Norts war efforts along the way. You won’t be completely alone as your one-man army has a few friends along for the ride. G.I’s each possess a biochip in their skulls which can be removed from a fallen soldier and inserted in your equipment to keep them alive until a new body can be created. It’s here where you’ll get companions such as Gunnar, when implanted in the base of your rifle gives Rogue Trooper the ability to set the gun up as a turret. Bagman inserted into your backpack crafts ammunition and upgrades from salvage on the field or defeated enemies. A third chip, Helm, can give you insight on the field and hack locked doors.
Such as with a lot of 2000A.D stories, the bulk of their protagonist quality comes from supporting characters around them. Most of the quirky levity and meaningful dialogue in Redux’s story comes from the talking biochips, such as Gunnar always wanting to shoot something or Helm giving you recaps of your need for vengeance. It’s not necessarily a bad thing when you think about how many great stories from Judge Dredd and Marvel’s The Punisher happen from similar formulas.
On a technical level, Rogue Trooper’s upgraded visuals are every bit as solid as most newer games built from the ground up. Fortunately, the drabness of Nu-Earth hasn’t been vastly changed from its contrasting monotone pallet. It shows how much the developer understands the atmosphere of these characters and their world constantly on the brink of death. From ground that looks as corse as sandpaper to structures rotting away from decades exposed to toxic elements; every piece has a level of artistic care. Not every remaster should qualify as a remaster but on a purely aesthetic level, Rogue Trooper Redux scores major points.
However, the same cannot be said for other things such as its third person cover based gameplay. The original game came out in the PlayStation 2 era of 2006, a time where cover-based shooting games didn’t quite understand the principles of physics in cover. This game has a lot of parts that feel as though it’s still stuck in 2006. Starting with a camera system that at times feels as though it has a psychotic mind of its own. There were times where trying to do a slight turn disoriented me as my view slingshotted 360 degrees. The game’s cover interaction system is a bit stuck in the past as you need to move your character to a cover piece and hope you’ve pressed up against it in just the right way for Rogue to but up against it. Modern games such as Gears of War have a magnet snap feel done by pressing a button when near cover. It would have made a big difference for Redux to implement something similar. Other times, I found cover provided no actual cover and my character was being damaged in parts sticking out from objects I was trying to hide behind. While I love the animation of the various weapon add-ons for Gunnar, cycling through them by pressing the same single button was a bit of a pain. Fortunately, enemy troops never presented much challenge that the additional time needed to pick a weapon mattered. Even with adjustable difficulty, the enemies still moved and acted as though they had walnuts for brains. Then there’s how big these levels actually are.
Methodical is fine for storytelling purposes, but in moments where storytelling beats aren’t needed, I would have liked to have the option of being able to move at another speed. The whole game feels like my character is stuck in –horse walking up to the Kentucky Derby podium trot– speed the whole time. It’s most notable in parts where only one or two patrol enemies are near and you traverse scenery far too long before anything happens.
They may be individually minor complaints, but add up to affect my enjoyment on a noticeable level. I do have to commend the game on coming in very reasonably priced for $29.99 U.S. without having to bollocks it up with season pass/loot box tripe. Hell, you even get a multiplayer co-op component for 2-4 players making it so while you might be The Rogue Trooper, you won’t be a solo trooper. It proves the industry still has room to put out good full products and bring back old games without having to sell it to you in pieces.
A great remastered game walks a fine line of reminding you what you loved about something but adheres to enough modern innovation to be on a similar technical level comparable to today’s games. Rogue Trooper Redux is good but never fully solves for x in this regard. It’s a solid story, easily recognizable by fans of Rogue Trooper tales, and visually fine to boot. Such a shame that it didn’t fully execute on a technical level. Think of it as restoring a classic car with new paint and a pair of fuzzy dice but not bothering to get the engine to stop making that gargling sound everytime you try to start it.
7/10- Rogue Trooper Redux makes the best use of an acquired taste and is worth its asking price. An entertaining future war tale but held back from its full potential by tech which didn’t quite make the full jump to 2017.
REBELLION take a shot at a Judge Dredd game!