Review by magusx666
"An underrated game that suffers from a lack of advertising and unexciting environments, while excelling at gameplay and pacing."
When Rogue Trooper came out, it had very little "buzz." No one really seemed to care, even though it was a multi-platform game with pretty decent-looking gameplay. Its sales weren't very good and it quickly dwindled into obscurity. Being the obsessed nut-job that I am when it comes to gaming, I picked this title up, as I recall, on the day it came out. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and considered typing out a review for it, but got caught up in other games, more easily distracted by "fun" than "effort."
However, now that I've played through most every game I can think of and am going back through older games, I played through Rogue Trooper again over the past two days, and had a lot of fun. This game is very underrated and is worth looking into by anyone who has simply run out of games to play (you know it happens, even to the best of us). Besides, considering its fairly poor sales and whatnot, it should be fairly cheap, which is always a bonus for gamers. Now on to why I liked the game and what held it back from being outstanding.
It looks just fine. For the time, the graphics weren't incredible, but they did their job and weren't displeasing in any way. The only thing I wish they had done differently was to have added cel-shading. This game and the world it's on is from a comic book or graphic novel, and as such, rather than have "good" graphics, it could have had the same quality and added a stronger comic effect with cel-shading. Unfortunately, they did not, and the game only came off as looking "alright." I am not, however, a big stickler on graphics, as they are certainly enhancing to the experience, but not drastically important like the other features.
SOUND & MUSIC: 5/5
The voice acting, surprisingly enough for a fairly unsuccessful game, was very good. Every single voice was well-done and believable. The guns all sounded "gunny," and every other sound sounded however you might think it should. The music, though not by any means memorable to the extent of being able to hum it while not playing, was very nice. One song I recall enjoying a lot simply because it took the main theme song and altered it a bit, then made the bass line/rhythm consist of footsteps from marching, which was magnificent for the map it was on. I stopped playing for a moment just to take it all in. So sounds and music were great on a whole.
I typically haven't rated controls of games in the past, but it's becoming more and more evident that sometimes, a game will have many unnecessary controls, making it cluttered, or, especially in the case of multi-platform games, like this one, have very clunky or bad controls due to the game needing to incorporate different functions across different platforms. However, Rogue Trooper does not suffer from this, at least on the PC end. There are quite a few buttons you'll need to use, but they're all easy to remember and each serves a valuable purpose. Even better, the top-left corner of the screen displays any context-sensitive actions you can perform and what button you need to press to perform them. This game's controls are excellent.
The game's plot is certainly better than many games' plots, but it is by no means the next Second Sight or Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines. It's mostly just there, and follows the journey of four cloned GIs who are blue-skinned, looking like over-grown, buff, angry smurfs with mohawks. Each of them, within minutes of meeting them for the most part, will die and be added to your arsenal. The moment you get the first one (which is within five minutes of the game's beginning), you learn that a deceased soldier can have his memory and personality downloaded onto a chip imbedded in the back of his neck. That chip can be removed and stuck into a piece of gear, such as a helmet, gun, or backpack. The fact that there are three slots and three squad mates tells you they're dead meat from the get-go. You'll be eagerly awaiting each of their demises so that you can gain new abilities.
The game takes place entirely on a world called Nu Earth, which is war-torn and has become hazardous to live on. Breathable air is found only indoors and in special places, typically where officers can be found. Otherwise, all of your enemies wear breathing apparatus. You, Rogue Trooper, being a GI, however, have been created just for the purpose of combat on this planet, and are immune to virtually all poisons and toxins, meaning you don't have to wear any goofy-looking gear to survive the harsh environments.
Aside from your buddies systematically dying, which you eagerly await, the premise of the game's storyline is that you are dropped from orbit in little drop pods onto Nu Earth where you must fight a bunch of enemy soldiers who want to kill you, slangily called "Norts." Apparently, they were all alerted to your assault beforehand, and slaughter virtually every GI sent down to Nu Earth. Your goal for the rest of the game is to discover the identity of the traitor and get your revenge. That's it. Nothing really fancy, only a minor plot twist here and there. However, what little dialogue there is is well done and really brings out the best in the game's story. If not for some of the minor characters here and there, the game would've gotten boring, but it managed to bring up a few characters, regardless of their overall importance, often enough to make things interesting.
Sadly, despite the game's plot being "decent" and better than many other games' storylines, it's just not that great. It's not bad, cheesy, or boring, but just "there." The only thing I really liked about the story-telling was that on a couple of occasions, the story would be presented as news bulletins to the citizens on the side of the "evil army" you're fighting, where fun propaganda is spouted out left and right. You, the player, know just how false the information is and how desperate the evil army is, so it makes for some comical times.
This is where Rogue Trooper shines. As you start the game, you can roll to cross small gaps and get from cover to cover taking minimal damage, you can run around (pretty standard), fire your gun, zoom in for sniper shots, and press a button to press up against surfaces. You can blind-fire, lean out to shoot, and all the things that are pretty typical these days. However, once your squad starts dying, you'll be able to put a silencer on your gun, sneak up on enemies for stealth kills, collect "salvage" from enemies to upgrade your weapons and "buy" ammo for any gun of your choosing, etc.
So many new options open up to you once you start getting more and more upgrades. The game manages to present you with new upgrades at the start of virtually every level in a manner that you always feel equipped for the occasion and you never get bored with the game. On Normal difficulty (the lowest difficulty), the game is fairly easy most of the time. I would suggest it for a first-timer, particularly if you're just playing "for fun." Hard might be suggested for a challenge, but the game's enjoyable enough just on Normal.
CONCLUSION: (4 + 5 + 5 + 8 + 17) * 2 = 78%, 8/10
The game's pacing and actual gameplay are excellent. You'll never be bored in terms of what you're doing. You might be running around from cover to cover, popping out to take silenced headshots at the opposition one minute, sneaking around for stealth kills the next, on a rail-shooter like a flying craft or train the next, then finally laying down a sentry gun to take on an onslaught of enemies while hiding so that your gun does all the work and you claim the spoils. It's a really fun game that unfortunately has pretty dull environments and a lack-luster storyline that keep it from being excellent. If the storyline had been a bit deeper and the environments a little livelier, then this game could easily be a 9/10.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 12/03/07
Game Release: Rogue Trooper (US, 05/23/06)
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