Coming to PS4 (version tested), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on October 17
First released for PS2, Xbox, and Nintendo Wii back in 2006, Rogue Trooper has received a surprisingly robust cult following thanks to its bleak industrial setting and fittingly tongue-in-cheek storytelling. Now the ageing shooter has been remastered for modern consoles, with updated visuals and controls. Coming from the same 2000AD comic universe as Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper Redux is a flawed yet charming trip down memory lane.
Pre-order Rogue Trooper Redux from Amazon UK
You play as Rogue, a super-soldier created with one purpose in mind: war. Rogue is genetically superior, with his glistening abs, increased intelligence and an extreme proficiency with firearms. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prepare you or your squad mates for the hell that waits upon Nu-Earth – the main playing field of Rogue Trooper Redux. Rogue’s brethren are immediately wiped out, left with nothing but biochips that can be inserted directly into the player’s equipment for a range of shenanigans.
This is one of the core ideas that helps Rogue Trooper Redux be something other than a generic third-person shooter. Despite your squad mates not having a physical presence, they’ll still partake in silly banter and provide tips; their souls reside in assault rifles, helmets and other parts of the usual military arsenal. One of my friends – now inside my rifle – could be left by an open door, keeping an eye out for reinforcements while simultaneously picking them off as a mobile turret. It’s a shame the AI is so brain-dead that it will often stumble into the oncoming fire anyway.
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The opening levels of Rogue Trooper Redux have been lovingly restored for modern systems. Although clearly still an experience from 2006, both in terms of visuals and mechanics, a modern coat of paint goes a long way to making it feel at home so many years later.
Character models are sharp and detailed, while environments emit a gnarly, post-apocalyptic atmosphere that drenches nearly every scene in a palpable sense of dread. It’s also a tiny bit cheesy, with the main villain feeling like they were pulled straight from a classic B movie.
While its shooting can still feel archaic compared to the likes of Gears of War or Uncharted, Rebellion has made some noticeable improvements that make it more straightforward to play. The cover system has been completely revamped, making it far easier to duck behind nearby walls and hide away from enemy fire. Unfortunately, blindly firing from cover is grossly inaccurate, with Rogue seemingly incapable of aiming without his eyes firmly cemented on a target.
Starting with an assault rifle and pistol, Rogue’s repertoire of destruction grows with each passing level. I soon found myself in possession of a powerful shotgun and utterly devastating mortar launcher for wiping out heavier enemy units. These new additions are introduced at an ideal pace throughout the opening stages, ensuring that things stay fresh as the same generic baddies march toward you like brain-dead cannon fodder.
Salvage is a crafting material that can be found in each stage and on the corpses of defeated soldiers. This can be used to craft armour, upgrade weapons and add new abilities to your arsenal. It’s simplistic but effective, and made me feel like Rogue was growing stronger with each subsequent tweak I made to his load-out. Having to constantly stay on top of crafting ammo and med-kits also lends an aura of strategic urgency to the more intense firefights.
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Rogue Trooper makes some admirable attempts at stealth – but, sadly, it doesn’t feel as effective as just blasting soldiers away the second I see them. Rogue moves far too slowly to make sneaking about seem like a truly viable option. It arduously interrupts the flow of an otherwise bombastic third-person shooter. One exception to this rule is turrets and alarm systems that are capable of spotting the player from afar. Taking these out without being noticed is fun, especially when emerging triumphant and completely unscathed.
The predictable flow of running and gunning is occasionally shaken up by a stationary turret section or two. Here you’ll be tasked with wiping out an oncoming tank or preventing a barrage of soldiers from storming your current position. Watching your foes comedically fly about the screen in response to gunfire is unintentionally hilarious, and never failed to crack me up. Sniping from afar results in a similar display of slapstick acrobatics that gives Rogue Trooper Redux a strange yet lovable charm.
Rogue Trooper Redux will also support online co-op for two to four troopers alongside other multiplayer options. While I didn’t have the chance to try this out extensively, this seems like a shooter that would fare well with multiple players plotting an assault on enemy strongholds. That is, if the artificial intelligence doesn’t stand there oblivious to your every move like I experienced on several occasions.
Despite proving innovative over a decade ago by providing the player with multiple avenues of approaching each situation, Rogue Trooper Redux simply can’t stand up against its contemporaries without falling apart at the seams.
However, it remains an entertaining third-person shooter that I’m eager to see through to completion. The visuals have been faithfully remastered in a way that helps the world of Nu-Earth feel vividly imaginative as you blast your way through dozens of Nort soldiers.
Pre-order Rogue Trooper Redux from Amazon UK
For those who played and enjoyed the original back in 2006, this is an excellent remaster with decent improvements and online modes to look forward to.