If you’re strictly a Nintendo fan, the chances are that you never played 2006’s Rogue Trooper. Sure, there was a Wii port in 2009’s Rogue Trooper” Quartz Zone Massacre, but I’m not sure how popular it was. Fast Forward 11 years and Rebellion has released Rogue Trooper Redux, a remastered version of the original cult classic. As someone unfamiliar with the original game and the comic book series of the same name, I found Rogue Trooper Redux to be a fun, yet repetitive experience.
Like most remasters, Rogue Legacy Redux adds a shiny new coat of paint to the visuals and slightly tweaks the gameplay mechanics. The narrative follows Rogue, a Genetic Infantryman (GI) and his crew as they take part in a Civil War styled conflict between the Southers (good guys) and the Norts (villains). At its core, Rogue Trooper Redux features a campy story about war, sacrifice, and revenge. It starts off strong but begins to fizzle out during the later levels.
While a lot of Rogue’s squadmates are killed early on, they live on through the use of Biochips that contain their memory, and personality. Each of these characters are connected to different pieces of equipment that Rogue carries around. Gunnar’s chip is implanted into the gun. His special ability allows Rogue to transform him into a turret to mow down enemies. Bagman acts as your backpack and Helm is planted firmly in your helmet. You can use Helm to hack computer systems, create holograms to distract your enemies and he also serves as your minimap.
There are interesting mechanics in Rogue Trooper, but the 2006 mechanics feel too dated. The cover system in the original game was considered revolutionary at the time. Unfortunately, so many games have now mastered covering in third person shooters that Rogue Trooper just feels underwhelming. The cover system in the game is really painful. In fact, it often works against the player. Rogue can duck behind cover, but often his vision is obscured when hiding from enemy fire. Even when you’re able to see your target, killing them feels impossible because of hitboxes. I usually had to run into the battlefield, shoot enemies, and then dive back into cover.
There are many abilities and weapons that can be unlocked throughout natural progression of the game, but I never felt as if they were necessary. Once you unlock Helm, players can use holograms that provide distractions for enemies. I used it in the mission that the ability becomes available but then chose not to for the remainder of the game. It felt more like a nuisance rather than a supportive maneuver. You can also stealthily take down Norts, but the game often felt unfair when attempting this approach. Some missions have way too many enemies, and you’re easily spotted. Being discovered by Norts means that all Hell will break loose. Stealth works, but Rogue Trooper Redux is much better when you go for the guns blazing approach.
In order to refill resources, upgrade weapons, and unlock new abilities, players need to pick up salvage. You’ll be able to find heaps of resources on the minimap, and you can pick up salvage from the corpses of fallen enemies. Later on in the game, salvage will become plentiful, but early on, you’ll need to be more resourceful in order to survive. I found myself being stressed out in the opening levels. I wanted to unlock new abilities, but I needed to refill my ammunition cache and medpacks. This caused me not to be able to upgrade my weapons which made it tougher to kill enemies. There’s a sense of strategy when deciding how to spend you salvage.
While Rogue Trooper Redux isn’t a terrible game, the repetitive nature of the campaign really makes it a drag to complete. Variety in gameplay is few and far between. Most missions require the player to make it from point A to point B, taking out Norts along the way. There’s nothing else to it. Despite the game being fun, the overall experience feels quite bland at times. Selecting weapons is a chore as well. Every single weapon you have unlocked can be accessed by pressing Y. Although you can change weapons on the fly, you’ll need to keep pressing the button until the weapon you’re looking for is highlighted. When enemy fire is raining down on Rogue, switching weapons becomes a stress-inducing hassle. Rogue Trooper Redux isn’t a particularly great looking video game. The environments occasionally look interesting, but it suffers from the generic color palette found in most modern shooters. The character models are generic, and the visual aesthetic isn’t great to look at.
Rogue Trooper Redux isn’t the worst remaster to be released. The narrative is campy, the gameplay is interesting, and it’s great to see how it influenced other shooters that came after the 2006 original. While there are some innovations in the campaign, there’s no denying that for a remastered video game, there are a bunch of problems. The gameplay still feels rooted in 2006, despite some tweaks, the cover system which was once revolutionary is now a nuisance, and the graphics aren’t anything to rave about. With that being said, Switch owners interested in a game to waste a few hours with mindless fun will find enough to enjoy about Rogue Trooper Redux. Fans of the original game and the comic book series will have a lot of fun. There’s no denying the impact that Rogue Trooper has had on the modern shooter; the game just didn’t leave me with a great impression.