16th Nov2017

‘Rogue Trooper Redux’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

rogue-trooper-screen

Originally released in 2006 and earning two BAFTA nominations for Best Character and Best Story, Rogue Trooper was one of the undiscovered gems of the PS2 – and for those gamers that played it, it still remains one of the best comic book, nay licensed, games on Sony’s console EVER.

Technically (literally, from a technological aspect) a precursor to Gears of War, Rogue Trooper Redux brings the same mix of stealth-action gameplay, cover-based combat and epic set pieces to the Nintendo Switch – and this edition enhances the original brilliant third-person action/adventure game with HD graphics, remodelled assets, new special effects and dynamic lighting, modern controls, extra difficulty settings, a revamped cover system and more; and given the there is literally nothing else like it on Nintendo’s hybrid console, Rogue Trooper Redux stands head and shoulders above the rest of the eShop crop.

For those unfamiliar with the 2000AD character, the titular Rogue Trooper is a genetic infantryman, bred only for war. Created in the 80s by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons, the comic strip told the story of our titular hero and his three companions; other infantry troopers whom are now deceased, whose personalities have been downloaded onto biochips and placed onto our heroes weapons/armour: and are named Gunnar (mounted on Rogue’s rifle), Bagman (on his backpack) and Helm (on his helmet). All three of whom also appear in the game, and help Rogue Trooper in his mission…

Introduced in various separate stages, the three biochips add extra gameplay mechanics to Rogue Trooper Redux – quickly expanding the game beyond it’s original, if somewhat basic, scope. In the case of Gunnar, literally.

The Gunnar biochip enhances your standard rifle and adds auto-targeting, sniping and more. Further upgrades allow you to add a silencer for more stealthy sniper kills (my favourite part of this game) and place your rifle, and Gunnar, down on the playing field as a gun emplacement – ideal to provide you cover whilst carrying out other portions of your mission(s). Meanwhile Bagman, once placed into your backpack, allows you to scavenge items (hitting Y to search dead bodies and items left on the ground) and use the “points” gained to build other items like ammo, med packs, grenades, etc., which is essential to your progress and yes, whilst the mechanic may be taken from RPGs, there’s never a moment in Rogue Trooper Redux where it feels like you’re grinding to get items, or spending too much time crafting them either – a couple of clicks and it’s all done! The third biochip, Helm, lives (obviously) in Rogue Trooper’s helmet. Whilst not as essential as the two other biochips, hence arriving later in the game, Helm gives you the ability to hack electronics – doors, weapon control panels etc. There are further upgrades the deeper into the game you get – including a fantastic hologram version of yourself you can use to distract enemies!

Surprisingly, much like Doom, which took a console title and moved it to a handheld format, Rogue Trooper Redux works REALLY well on the Switch. For this review I played predominantly in handheld mode rather than docked and even with the smaller screen size all aspects of the game worked to perfection – from being able to see enemies far away to killing said enemies via the sniper rifle in a “one-shot-one-kill” headshots only scenario (yes, I did like to make the game more difficult for myself by fighting this way lol); to sneaking around stealthily to avoid gun turrets or leaping from cover to cover; not a single part of the game felt hindered by the smaller screen. Where the Switch really excels however is in the sound – slap on some headphones and crank up the volume and you become supremely immersed in the world of Nu-Earth and in particular the banter between the titular Rogue Trooper and his biochip buddies!

If I did have any quibbles with Rogue Trooper Redux it’s with the aforementioned cover system. Whilst it’s super-easy to get into cover, move about from cover to cover, getting out of cover is very hit-and-miss; sometimes to the detriment of your enjoyment… and your characters health! I’ve read other mentions that the use of multiple buttons for various items, weapon changes and to implement med kits is somewhat confusing but I in my experience once you get used to which button does what, using the different commands becomes second nature.

The superb single-player campaign is strong enough to give the Switch version of Rogue Trooper Redux a solid recommend but add two extra game modes, ‘Stronghold’ and ‘Progression’, playable in both single and multi-player modes, and this becomes a must-buy for Nintendo Switch owners.

****½  4.5/5

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