Friday, September 30, 2011

Star Wars Republic Commando Review

I recently got Star Wars Republic Commando on sale on steam during a Lucas Arts sale and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Republic Commando, even for a game that is six years old. It is a first person shooter that was made by LucasArts, back in 2005, and it's all about commanding your squad through fairly familiar Star Wars environments. Originally it was available on PC and Xbox. It is easily comparable to the newer Rainbow Six games, where you have a squad of four that you can command around, use to blow open doors, hack consoles and are capable of plenty of other options. Since Republic Commando came out in 2005, it is not up to the standards of anything recent, obviously, but you can see the beginnings of some great squad based strategy, the kind that many people loved in the new Rainbow Six Games. It is a fairly length game, lasting about six to eight hours, with multiplayer (that no longer works), but was pretty generic. One of the main complaints about the game is that it is repetitive and that the multiplayer doesn't do anything exciting, both of which are still true, but despite that there is a good game beneath it all.

The story of Republic Commando is one that put's you into the shoes of a exceptional clone soldier, one of few, one that is a leader. You are put into command of a small strike force, with three clone soldiers under your command. Despite the fact that they are all clone soldiers, they actually have personalities and even at times question orders, but they don't ever disobey orders. The very first battle in the game flies you over a scene from Attack of the Clones, a great desert battle between the Seperatist and Republic forces. You land in the midst of it, alone, and fight beside other clone soldiers against a drone army. You do find your squad throughout the first level, slowly gaining member by member as you move from the desert into a Seperatist compound. The entire story is a complement to Atttack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, you even see General Grievous and his bodyguards at times. My one complaint about the story is that it get's a little boring and repetitive. Every once in a while there are new elements added to it, but mostly it's seven hours of fighting drones and Trandoshans. It is great to fight all the different types of drones and thankfully it only lasts seven hours, because beyond that it may have gotten a bit tedious and brought down the experience. My favorite part of the story was the grand scenes of battle that you get to observe every so often, they made me long for Star Wars and made the wait for The Old Republic even worse.

The gameplay is interesting, at times it seems heavily focused on the FPS aspect of the game, yet at other times it exemplifies the need for good tactics with your squad, but most important is your ability to stay alive. When you are critically injured you cannot command anyone, so if your troopers are in a tough situation then they will likely all die without your help. Although, you always have the option of ordering them to abandon their positions so they may revive you. Your three other soldiers following you automatically, but they do sometimes advance on their own if they detect enemies. The commanding of your squad has to do with cover, breaching doors and tactics. There is all kinds of cover in the game, sometimes even the body of a Wookie may be used for cover, and you command a soldier to take cover with hud highlights that show you where cover is available. Normally each squad member only uses his laser rifle, the generic main weapon of the game, but they have access to sniper rifles, rocket launchers and grenades through cover. Each type of cover will tell you what type of weapon the soldier will use behind it. For example a position may highlight, show a hologram of one of your soldiers behind it, and say "anti-armor position". It's a simple system but one that works surprisingly well. Even with a engine this old, your squad mates generally make good use of their cover and when they are flanked they focus on that enemy. It feels great to get a hallway, or large open room with a bunch of possible cover positions, get them manned and  watch as your squad tears through enemies faster than you ever could on your own.

The FPS aspect of Republic Commando is pretty much what you would expect from any FPS with a bit of polish, except there is no regenerating health. You actually have to find health station's that you and your squad must use to regenerate your health, crazy concept huh. Every gun has some kind of zoom in function, a few of which have iron sights, and you have a fairly wide array of weapons available to you through the campaign. You always start each mission with your pistol, the unlimited ammo last defense weapon, and a laser rifle. Throughout the game you get to use sniper rifles, rocket launchers, trandoshan shotguns, trandoshan miniguns, wookie bowcasters, wookie rocket launchers and a couple of other weapons. Ammo is a little stingy in this game, which is nice to see, so you are always on the lookout for more ammo packs (each weapon has it's own type of ammo pack) and grenades. There are various types of grenades, all having their own uses, between grenades and weapons there are quite a few ways to fight enemies. There also is melee, something that they put time into with your squad mates. When yoru squad mates enter melee with enemies they often enter into an animation of struggle, something that feels right at home for newer FPS games. During the struggle you can actually kill the enemy, relieving your teammate, or you can just watch the expertly crafted animations. One of the best parts of melee is that it's quick and brutal, against your and against you. If you miss your enemy in melee combat and they hit you instead it will do a significant amount of damage, usually half of your health. The whole FPS aspect of the game is really familiar, for most every gamer, but it's different enough to keep the game feeling unique, especially when you take into consideration of it's release date.

Republic Commando Part 1 by ReSan69

Last Comments
If you can't tell, I am a bit fond of Republic Commando. It does a lot right and I'm a bit upset that I never played it back when it came out. The graphics are certainly aged, but they still present some impressive landscapes and textures. The gameplay is repetitive, mainly when it has you going room by room and hall by hall, but you are generally rewarded for it by getting to participate in some big battles that feel dynamic, challenging and exciting. The sound and graphics are Republic Commando were all top notch for the time, the sound is still good, but the same complaints about the game still remain. Republic Commando is back up to $10 on steam, but next time it goes on sale, probably Christmas or Thanksgiving, you should give it a chance. For how cheap it was and will be again, you get an enjoyable experience that makes you long for more of the Star Wars universe, it even does this without any inclusion of Jedi and that's a big deal. Thanks for reading and check back later for a news heavy day.

 Violent Score: 8 (out of 10)

-Written by Sean Cargle


Post a Comment