Got to be honest here, when I first heard that Rebellion were to do a remastered version of Rogue Trooper I was a little bit surprised but the happy kind of surprised. Growing up I really loved the 2000 AD comic book universe with Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper my top two personal favourites. Up until 2006 when Rogue Trooper originally came out all I had to enjoy was the Amiga version so at the time, so getting a true video game adaptation back then blew me away. Now in 2017 it has been brought back with some gameplay refinements and a new visual look but it is still 11 years since that release, and sadly it feels how a ten year old game would feel to play.
Set on the planet Nu-Earth, where a never ending war between the Norts and Southers is being fought, a war that has cost the lives of millions as all manner of chemical and biological weapons have been use. This has led to catastrophic poisoning of the planet, and the troops of both sides now live in enclosed cities and can only travel outside by wearing bio-suit protection. The Southers have developed a race of warriors who are immune to the deadly atmosphere through genetic engineering known as the Genetic Infantry. The GI’s are deployed in an airborne assault, but a traitor has betrayed the secret of the G.I.s to the Norts and they are massacred during the drop which is then known as the Quartz Zone Massacre.
Our hero Rogue, the only surviving G.I. decides to go AWOL to track down the Traitor General responsible and get revenge for his fallen GI’s. Rogue is not alone however, as each GI is fitted with a bio-chip which contains their personality and memories after they die for a short time and so Rogue ends up becoming a one man squad as his squad buddies, Helm, Gunnar and Bagman who strangely and almost as though it was destined for them, are inserted into Rogue’s rifle, backpack and helmet enhancing each to aid Rogue in Battle.
Rogue Trooper is a third person shooter taking players to various areas of the planet Nu Earth as Rogue tries to uncover and track down the traitor who betrayed the GI. For this remastered version a new auto cover mode as been added where Rogue will clip to cover for protection but enables him to fire from that cover. Well that is how it is supposed to work however I found that this new mechanic was rather hit and miss after going into cover sometimes it refused to let me shoot from it forcing me to break cover just to fire at enemies. The over shoulder camera can get very confused as well when crouching in cover with it not able to see where you need it to. Hit detection is also an issue with some enemies requiring an almost full clip to take them down yet another enemy of the same time would go down with just a few hits, focusing on headshots is the best way but overall just makes the shooting feel clumsy, especially when using the weapons you pick up later in the game.
It does have some interesting ideas however such as Gunnar can be placed as a sentry gun to serve as a trap or distraction allowing Rogue to flank an enemy position for a stealth take down. That is if Gunnar can actually hit anything as at times once positioned he couldn’t hit a barn door with his firing which is great as a distraction but fairly rubbish if you actually plan to take out enemies with the sentry. I also found the stealth takedowns lacked the impact the sudden animation scene wanted to give it and melee attacks were just comical throughout with minimal ragdoll physics on the enemy body following the thud noise after being hit with the butt of your gun. But they other two Bio-chipped kit did actually come in handy with Bagman being the MVP of the squad for me. Bagman will reload your gun, apply a med kit when needed but the best ability by far is how it can create ammo, grenades, med-kits and upgrades for your gear from the salvage Rogue can collect from fallen enemies. Depending on how you want to play either all guns blazing or perhaps more stealthy, deciding what to spend your salvage on especially when it comes to picking an upgrade can be the difference between running out of ammo or med-kits right when the fighting kicks up a notch. Helm is able to hack devices but also provides a mini radar and ability to send out holographic decoys. A clever twist is that during hacking is that Rogue must take off his helmet and so loses the mini radar which seems strange for a genetically grown super soldier with advances bio chip technology in his kit only lack any form of WiFi connectivity.
The real focus of this remaster is really in the visuals rather than smoothing over any of the original gameplay issues and niggles and the game is better for it when you compare it to the original. Colours and lighting are enhanced and the character models have benefited from this with Rogue looking better than ever. Cut-scenes have been remade with the new engine but even with all the updated visuals the game still looks clunky and aged here in 2017. That really is my main problem with this as a remaster, yes the original has been brought up to date visually but the gameplay feels sadly very dated and the unique elements that work the best struggle to stand out against all the faults. I do wish that instead of a new makeover, Rebellion had remade this from the ground up and really brought it into 2017 as a new game. There is so much in this game that could be used as the foundation for a new game but instead it really just feels like a very old game that has been spruced up.
The story is enjoyable and from a nostalgia perspective, Rogue Trooper Redux still holds up today. But sadly it never feels like anything more than just a ten year old game made prettier. The gameplay at times is still as fun as it was but it shows its age now and having played the original, I hoped for more refinement in the gameplay because it needed it. Great work has been done in the visuals but the animation looks dated and the problems and niggles have not aged well at all. With the online modes and trip down memory lane for anyone who does remember the original, it is certainly fun to experience again for nostalgia but I wanted more from this and didn’t get it.
Worth picking up in the sales down the road but right now the trip down memory lane is not quite worth the asking price.