I never played this game back when Rebellion developed it and Eidos Interactive published it on the PlayStation 2/Xbox in 2006. Without knowing the history, the game looked like it was pulled from a 10-year old’s imagination and put together with terrible dialogue and brutish warmongering driving the comic book-like story. This is all from the surface and from an uninformed view in regards to the history of the characters/story/title.
To make you (and me) informed, let’s dig into the history.
Rogue Troopers sprung from a 1981 British comic book by the same name and with some relation to Judge Dredd (haven’t had the chance to do more research to find out how/why). The story revolves genetically created soldiers with an immunity against every type of environmental situation. They are solely bred to fight in wars against any type of enemy and in any location. In addition, when one trooper goes down, their chips (located in the back of their necks) are pulled and put into weaponry and any other electronic gadget that will help them continue living on. The chips then make whatever object they’re embedded in a talking masterpiece of fun. This is an aspect carried over into the game.
Certainly an interesting past and definitely popular enough for the comic to be translated into video game form by U.K.-based developer Rebellion, then brought back recently by developer TickTock Games to give everyone who loved the original game a good dose of nostalgia. Folks, you would have to be one of those gamers to appreciate what TickTock Games has done in 2017 with the title in Rogue Troopers Redux, a remastering of sorts.
The core gameplay in Rogue Troopers Redux is simple — point/shoot/progress (PSP). You play as one of the blue troopers storming enemy bases and pretty much killing everything you possibly can along the way. Again, it’s a remedial form of gameplay that doesn’t take much effort or thought to complete, which is sometimes a good thing in the action genre. It certainly harkens back to simpler times for action titles, when the Ikari Warriors and Bionic Commando ruled the earth, and the biggest worries were not forgetting to pick up upgrades to make the experience more powerful. Much like those games, you also move through a variety of terrain to take down enemies and different enemies that are somewhat creative.
Beyond that gameplay, the game has a decent variety of weapons to choose from, with the sniper rifle being my favorite, as well as some mix-match material to help make the gameplay a little bit more interesting. The variety of weapons and stationary guns you get to interact with make this experience a little bit deeper than it should be. You will find flack guns early on, to take down planes, and stationery machine guns to take down a multitude of enemies quickly. You can’t take either with you, but they do offer up more choices than just simple point/shoot.
Speaking of which, the crux of the gameplay lies within the cover/shoot mentality. Shooting works just fine, as vaguely described above, but the cover is just absolutely not good. No matter how you approach an enemy, no matter how well you go Metal Gear Solid on your stealth tactics, the enemy activation area is always on and enemies will always find you out, even if they didn’t initially see you. It’s annoying and makes the point of an action/cover game null and void. Is this forgivable? Of course, because you will want to run/gun during the game. You wouldn’t be picking up TickTock Game’s Rogue Trooper Redux because you were hoping to have crazy complicated stealth options to slip through the game undetected while still be merciless. Nope, you’re purchasing this seemingly one-dimensional title to shoot some shit. And then shoot more shit. And even more shit. That’s what this action title features and you will enjoy it, if you’re expecting it.
I was hoping for some stupid/fun action and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. It was everything I thought it might be and nothing more than that or what was promised. It’s a 10+ hour adventure for me that reminds me of how simplistic action games can get, while still maintaining a sense of self and a sense of fun. Again, it harkens back to simpler times in the video game industry and doesn’t try to be more than what it is.
Having said all this, my biggest gripe about the Nintendo Switch version of this game is the loosey-goosey controls. While I’m sure the PS4/XB1 versions of this game are just fine in the controls department, the Nintendo Switch proves that, much like the Wii U and the Wii, there is just no place for it when it comes to action titles that require analog sticks to aim/fire. It just feels awkward and a little bit too difficult to get properly down trying to line-up one’s crosshair on enemies. It took me a good 2-3 seconds, at minimum, to kill each enemy. I don’t blame the developer for this, by the way, as the analog sticks on the Switch aren’t the greatest. Less console diverse Nintendo fanboys will disagree with that assessment, as I’m sure they have no extensive experience with typical analog sticks, but trust me on this — Nintendo doesn’t know how to make analog sticks properly. I had a dickens of a time trying to play Street Fighter II with these sticks and a horrid time trying to get Link to do what I wanted in Breath of the Wild due with these sticks. To be quite honest, the sticks are too small for adult thumbs, which means that there is a lot of room for error when you’re trying to steadily aim a gun. Even the best feeling controller in the world, the Gamecube controller, didn’t know what to do with analog sticks. Anyway, long story short, the aiming system in the game just feels a bit off and not at all comfortable. When you are mentally aware of your controller during gameplay, then there is something seriously wrong with your controller. The Switch’s tiny sticks simply don’t work with Rogue Trooper Redux very well. If you’re intent on revisiting this 2006 title from Rebellion and TickTock Games, then you might be better off trying it on a PS4/Xbox One. The controls are infinitely better, which makes for a much more enriching experience in a simple action title like this.
Now, on the brighter side of the game’s release, the graphics have been improved since 2006 (thank God) and look somewhat up-to-date. While you won’t find any Horizon Zero Dawn type structure here, you will find plenty of improved modeling and textures for the characters and maps. Everything is upgraded from the original title visually, though the linear structure of the game won’t lend much exploration into some of the prettier environments, which makes some of those upgrades a bit lost on the gaming experience. Regardless, it’s still a nice visual improvement and one that is still entertaining to the eye.