In a video games market that is saturated with self-serious Call of Duty action shooters, people nowadays are yearning for perhaps a more low-key, cheesy experience. Rogue Trooper Redux, by English developer Rebellion, promises to offer just that on Nintendo’s new hybrid console. Based off a quirky comic book series by the same name, Rogue Trooper was first released on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 a little over a decade ago and was met with high praise. Rogue Trooper Redux is a recently remastered version of the cult classic, taking us back to Nu-Earth and the senseless warfare that our heroic Genetic Infantrymen must face.
To start with, Rogue Trooper Redux tells the story of Rogue, one of several Genetic Infantrymen who were bio-engineered to live in a bleak, post-apocalyptic future in which the atmosphere is so poisonous that mere humans cannot hope to survive. You, as Rogue, are tasked with fighting against the malicious regime who were responsible for such devastation, the Norts. On top of that, your gun, helmet, and backpack each has a microchip implanted inside of them that carries the soul of a fallen comrade. Crazy stuff, I know. The story is faithfully adapted from the comic into a campaign of 13 missions, The voice acting is excellent throughout the missions, especially the regular quips from your ghost-chip buddies, Gunnar, Helm, and Bagman. The foes that you face sound satisfyingly corny, and the weapon sound effects have that oomph to them that make mowing down those dastardly villains all the more rewarding.
The gameplay is still as solid as ever, although some of the cover-based mechanics may feel a bit clunky due to not having aged that well. The original Rogue Trooper was a trailblazing tactical shooter at the time it was released, delivering more intuitive cover-based shooting than the original Gears of War. Over the past decade however, vast improvements such as seamless snapping to cover have been made, and thus Rogue Trooper does feel outdated in certain areas. The AI for example could also use some work: I found the campaign to actually not be that difficult due to me being able to hide behind cover and pick off Norts or even have them kill each other in the crossfire.
The three built-in microchips offer a unique spin on traditional shooter mechanics. Gunnar can morph a weapon into an auto-firing turret, which can prove useful in situations in which you are being overwhelmed by Nort enemies. Helm will occasionally offer some tactical tips on the battlefield as well as distract enemies so that you can find safe cover. And Bagman, as you can probably tell by his well thought-out name, manages your inventory and allows you to create ammo out of the salvage you collect as you traverse various lands. It’s a neat little feature that adds a micromanagement element to the game that keeps things interesting.
Stronghold and Progressive are two additional modes outside of the campaign that provide a certain replayability aspect. In Stronghold, the objective is to defend your base against horde after horde of Nort enemies, while in Progressive, the objective is to discover a path to a safe zone. These modes are there for nothing other than to offer you some extra challenge, which may seem a bit disappointing depending on how you look at it. However, online multiplayer allows you to play Stronghold and Progressive matches together with friends or strangers. Unfortunately there is no local multiplayer available, which should be a given in this day and age.
Rogue Trooper Redux rightfully earns his status as a “remastered” version with its impressively updated visuals. Nu-Earth is back with full HD textures and resolution. Lighting and shadowing effects are also improved, further polishing the comic-book aesthetic without actively undermining it. Detailed wrinkles and muscles lines on Rogue also deserve commending. The overall presentation wasn’t flawless however. Some of the map environments can be repetitive with the same dull shades of color appearing everywhere. The menus aren’t as polished or intuitive as they could have been as well, especially when trying to scroll through various options.
Overall, Rogue Trooper Redux offers a wacky blast from the past with essentially a new coat of paint on it. The controls are easy to pick up for anyone familiar with the shooter genre, and the game feels especially nice on handheld mode. Despite some nitpicks, I still had a good solid time with it and at a reasonable $24.99, the eccentric story and stealth shooting mechanics provide a breath of fresh air from your typical AAA shooter on the market.
Take a Look at the Rogue Trooper Redux 101 Trailer:
ROGUE TROOPER REDUX is available for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.