Rogue Trooper Redux

Remastering classics has become a bit of a trend as of late, whether its remastering games released on previous console generations for current gen, or releasing ultra-high definition graphical overhauls for games only a few years old. Rogue Trooper Redux is one of the former, a game originally released way back in 2006 for the PC, PS2 and Xbox which has now been remastered for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

For those who never had the chance to play it in its original glory, the game is based on the British 2000AD science fiction comic strip by Dave Gibbons and Gerry Finley-Dayin in which you play as a genetically engineered soldier named Rogue. Rogue has been specifically bred to survive the harsh environment of Nu-earth, where the air is toxic to all but he and his blue skinned companions. As Rogue, you fight for the Southers one faction that has been at war with the Norts for a very long time. The game is played via third person and combines run and gun combat, with stealth and crafting elements.

The action starts quickly as you and three other squad mates are dropped into the middle of a firefight, where one by one each of them is killed off by the insidious Norts. Thankfully death is only temporary as long as a biochip, which is installed in each solider, can be removed and placed into specialized slots on a surviving soldier within 60 seconds. This process not only adds functionality to the item it is placed in but also transfers the consciousness and personality of each soldier along with it. Therefore while the physical body of the soldier may be dead, his abilities and zest for the fight live on in the biochip.

Your team consists of Gunner, who after his death ends up as a biochip in Rogue’s gun; Bagman, who ends up in Rogue’s backpack; and Helm, which as you probably have guessed, in Rogue’s helmet. Interestingly the names of each member seemed to foreshadow what they ultimately would become, so much for subtlety. Even though your squad is wiped out in the first chapter (spoiler alert), you never feel truly alone in your mission because your squad mates will continue to chat and talk to you even when they are biochips. So while Rogue may be alone…he’s never lonely. This did make me wonder while playing what would happen if Rogue died, are his friends stuck as biochips the rest of their days?

Installing the biochip in each of the three items unlocks special abilities that help Rogue complete his mission. With Gunner installed, Rogue’s weapon can become an automated turret that can be placed in front of doors or in hallways to stop advancing enemies. Bagman allows for creation of ammo, grenades and upgrading weapons. Finally, there is Helm, who can create a holographic image to draw fire away from Rogue or hack the various doors and computer panels across the levels.

Throughout the game you will collect “salvage” from defeated enemies or junk piles scattered throughout the map. Salvage is used to create everything from your health packs, to ammunition and upgrades. This means you will spend much of your time searching every enemy you have killed to ensure that you have acquired as much salvage as possible. Stealth kills yield more salvage from an enemy than running up and gunning them down, so there is additional incentives to be as stealthy as possible. This also means you need to carefully consider what you spend your hard earned salvage on. Do you build additional health packs, do you increase your sniper ammo, do you want to upgrade your shotgun? These are all things you’ll need to consider as you play through each level. With the exception of your pistol, which provides slow but unlimited firepower, everything else must be purchased with salvage.

The battles themselves are typical fare for a third person shooter. Numerous waves of enemies will have to be dealt with, whether by utilizing stealth to sneak up and perform a one hit kill, or to take them on with your trusty machine gun. There are vehicle based levels as well which has Rogue fighting from a train or flying through a cave, which was a nice way to add some variety to the game.

Rogue Trooper Redux has received a significant graphical facelift. Comparing the original on PC to the new and improved is like night and day. The characters are significantly less blocky, much more detailed, and the dynamic lighting improves the visual in almost every way. It’s definitely a testament to how far things have come in the past 11 years. I went back and played through the first level of the original, just for a comparison, and I can say that a lot of time and work was put in to making it look and feel like a modern game. The controls are tight, and the game plays well both with mouse/keyboard or the gamepad of your choice.

There are of course some issues I had with the game. The cover system, while improved from the original, does still struggle at times. Running up to a wall or structure should place you into cover, but many times I would run up to a structure expecting to hide behind it only to end up standing there being pummeled by the enemy. Unfortunately, the time I did successfully get into cover was hampered by getting stuck trying to get out of cover. It isn’t so bad as to break the experience, but there are plenty of times where I avoided cover completely and just went gunning straight ahead. Climbing could also prove a bit frustrating, as sometimes you have to find the exact spot on a wall in order to successfully climb it.

The crafting mechanics behind making your ammo and upgrades may turn some folks off. It’s easy to not plan ahead before going into battle, only to run out of ammo or health kits. You can easily remedy this by opening your bag and crafting them, but this can take some of the immersion away and can interrupt a perfectly good fire fight. You will learn, as I did, to ensure you are stocked up as much as possible in between fights to avoid this. For those expecting a long story driven game, you will likely be disappointed as the game is very short and can be completed in 5 to 6 hours.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with Rogue Trooper Redux. I never had the opportunity to play it when it first came out and with the graphical update it hides its age fairly well. The game is set in an interesting universe, and the firefights are fast and furious. The game also offers a 2-4 player co-op mode so that you can play alongside your friends. If you played the original and are looking to go back and replay it, this is the version I’d recommend. If you’ve never played it before, it’s worth a look. It may not handle as well as a current generation third person shooter, but issues aside it’s worth the journey.

What I liked : Graphical overhaul, Interesting characters, Shooting enemy air tanks and watching them explode

What I liked less: Short, Cover system issues

4 out of 5 stars