Shooting games have come on leaps and bounds recently. First-person, third-person neither matter as the quality has improved vastly. Yet a massive leap in performance sees a surge in mediocre games. The market becomes awash with developers trying to get their piece of the pie. Thus, it’s challenging for a gamer to find decent titles from the mundane. Triple-A games are always a safe bet, but they rarely move away from their reliable and much-loved formula, so when I was offered Rogue Company I was intrigued.
Developed by First Watch Games and published by Hi Rez Studios, this free-to-play third-person shooter aims to offer a unique experience in a much loved, yet congested market place. You may scream at the thought of another free-to-play product sneaking its way into the game store, I normally do as microtransactions are the Devil’s work. However, this genre lends itself to the culture well and in this case, at least, the extra items are mainly cosmetic so offer no in-game advantage.
COD and Apex Legends.
When your closest rivals are; COD Warzone and Apex Legends, you’re going to have to do something special to stand out. I think they’ve done exactly that! This 4V4 shooter prides itself on its no nonsense, simple approach that allows gamers to crack on and play immediately. Having played a fair amount of shooters in the past, I instantly noted how accessible everything was. Player stats, character selection, game choice and the store were all available at the click of a button. It was refreshing that everything was so easy to find.
Unlike COD, Rogue Company doesn’t rely on a class system. You must select between 1 of 17 agents known as rogues. Each has a unique loadout and plays a specific role in each fight you compete in. There is no right or wrong when it comes to your selection, it’s just gameplay style and character preference. Each has its own progress tree known as “Mastery” the more you use them, the more XP they earn, and the quicker they progress. It’s brilliantly straightforward and matches the simplicity of the UI.
It’s all about the game modes.
Ease of access, detailed stats and great character choices are all good, but they mean nothing without great game modes. Luckily, Rogue Company has a small, yet fantastic match-list waiting to be explored. At the time of playing there were 3 categories and 4 game modes; Limited time games, Verses and Ranked. Countdown, Demolition, Strikeout and Extraction.
Limited time and Verses.
This is where you’ll spend all your early gaming time. A wide range of player ability can be seen at this level, and all game modes are open to play. Each follows a classic shooter approach; Demolition is Search and Destroy, Strikeout is Team Death Match, Extraction is domination and Countdown is all about holding a bomb.
This is where the big boys and girls play. With an entry restriction of level 30, this isn’t for noobs. A different mode is added to this at regular intervals, and this allows you to test yourself against the best global players.
Some new Mechanics, some old!
What I loved about this was the requirement to communicate clearly with your 3 teammates. Great comms make a difference, and teamwork was the winning element. With only 12 lives available per run, failure to speak ruins your chances greatly. Everyone loves being the all-action hero, but a slower approach is required. Lives can be saved by reviving downed teammates and this is as important as shooting the opposition.
For older gamers, or fans of Esports, you’ll recognise a key mechanism from Counter Strike, and that’s your ability to alter your loadout between games. Money is earned per round for; assists, kills, objectives and the win. Money buys; perks, primary weapons, gadgets, grenades and upgrades. This was a superb way to make each character unique with a reward for succeeding in each match. There could be an argument that this benefits the better player, but everyone is awarded some form of cash, so new equipment isn’t unobtainable at the start of each round.
It wouldn’t be free-to-play if there wasn’t an in-game currency. “Rogue Bucks” allow you to boost ranks, gain cosmetics and kit out your character with garish skins. It’s mostly cosmetic so doesn’t impact the gameplay, and anything that can be purchased with “Rogue Bucks” can be brought with Reputation Points. These are earned through natural progression, but items take a little longer to unlock. There is also a battle pass to keep the hardcore fans interested.
It runs like a dream.
I’ve not played this on anything apart from the Series X, but boy does it run great. Its transition from menu to menu is slick, loading times are nominal, and it plays better than many triple-A titles. But it doesn’t stop there! The graphics are great, character models are brilliantly designed and move fantastically, and each map looks interesting and contains many details. Talking of details, no area was missed by the keen eye of the developers. The weapons look great and the walk-in cinematic look amazing. In short, it’s a free game with a premium presentation.
This quality flows through the audio with an amazing soundtrack that creates a high-tempo and aggressive atmosphere. The music is great, but what I want is ear-piercing shots and thumping bangs, and this is exactly what I got. The sound effects range from; the delicate pattering of feet to skull shaking explosions. It’s awesome and sucks you right into the action.
Tutorials and addictions.
If you’ve played any shooting game in the last 5 years, you’ll feel at ease with this. However, if you need to brush up on your skills, a full tutorial that lasts around 10 minutes walks you through all the fundamentals. This is also available for each game mode alongside a gun range and a private lobby. All bases have been covered, and this easy to control shooter is easy to pick up and a joy to play.
Rogue Company is like Pringles! “Once you pop, you can’t stop!” It’s addictive as hell, and the phrase “just one more go” will be muttered repeatedly. Like every shooter ever released, the replay valve is based on your friendship group and your love of the game. If you have a good team, you’ll play this for hours. Chuck in the battle pass, character progression, cosmetics and the ranked matches, and you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.
A pleasant surprise.
I genuinely didn’t know what to expect when I loaded into another free-to-play game. I had my concerns it would be clunky, look ugly and would force me to spend real money. Gladly, none of these things happened, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had with this genre for a long time. I recommend you download a copy here as you have nothing to lose! Rogue Company is a slick, well designed third-person shooter. It’s brilliance puts a lot of its peers to shame! You should grab your rogue and join the fight……. Now!