Monday, 4 January 2010

PC Game Review - Star Wars: Republic Commando

Star Wars: Republic Commando opens up the door to a hitherto little explored set of characters in the Star Wars universe. Whereas we might think of the Stormtroopers as a group of disposable cloned warriors (which is, in truth, how they're usually portrayed), this puts you in the role of a commando, the leader of Delta Squad - not your everyday, run-of-the-mill clone. Together with your three team members, each of whom has a particular speciality, you will perform daring missions (while those pesky Jedi will get all the media coverage).

Republic Commando is basically a squad-based first person shooter; you only directly control your own character, but you can ask squad members or the squad as a whole to perform particular actions. The squad interface is very simple and easy to get used to; this does perhaps limit the strategic options for deployment, but considering that you'll be spending most of your time trying to stay alive yourself, that's not really a problem. It does add an extra element to the FPS genre, while blending FPS with a certain amount of real-time strategy much more successfully than the Battlefront game - at least, I personally found it much better (though Star Wars Battlefront does have its own legion of fans).

The game play is good and pretty intense; even in Easy mode I found it a pretty tough challenge most of the time. That's probably largely because I rarely play FPS games, but it would give any seasoned shooter fan a run for their money in Hard mode. The game is fairly linear - almost no scope for exploration, though there are a few goodies to be found in slightly less obvious places. There is often a direction indicator pointing to your next mission objective, so it's basically a case of getting from one place to another, while working out how to outwit your enemies along the way (though there are occasions where it could be possible to get lost if you really don't pay attention). There are droids and bugs (I'm talking massive insectoid creatures not fly-swatting, you understand) aplenty to hinder you from completing your missions. The game seems a bit more violent than other Star Wars games I've played, or perhaps just more gory. (It's rated 12+ for violence and some language).

Some parts of the game have the squad together acting as a unit, at other times you need to split up - this doesn't necessarily mean that you won't have to go and assist your teammate though. There's a good balance to the main mission, always something different happening or a different way of doing things. There are a fairly wide range of weapons and explosives on hand to keep FPS fans happy. All in all, it's very solid in terms of game play but perhaps a little limited in scope. There is a multiplayer version that would no doubt add a lot to the game's longevity, but personally this isn't a style of game that I'm remotely interested in playing as an online multiplayer, so I'm afraid I can't really give an opinion of it.

The thing that really impressed me about the game (though the game play is good in itself) was the presentation. Right from the opening sequence where you are "born" and introduced to the world and what your life will be by one of the Kaminoans, the race who genetically developed the clone trooper race. From there you are plunged into battle in a pivotal encounter in The Clone Wars, and the graphics are very good throughout, with some cool effects, such as your vision being unfocused when you've just been revived. It all looks great and sounds even better - superb music and top notch sound effects / voice acting. One fun aspect of the game is that your squad talk to you and sometimes each other - there's enough variety in this for it not to get annoying, and it's often amusing trying to work out just how sarcastic your teammates are being. "Sir, your marksmanship is an inspiration to us all" by the funny guy of the group and "what are you shooting at?" by the gruff one when your shooting is good / bad never get old.

All in all, Star Wars: Republic Commando is a very solid game, perhaps a little uninspiring in terms of variety and originality, but it does what it does very well and the aesthetics allow you to get immersed in the game world. FPS fans and Star Wars geeks will obviously get more out of it than others. I'm more the latter, of course. It's also easy to pick this up cheaply nowadays - I got mine pre-owned for £3.99 from GameStation.

Minimum / Recommended System Specs:
CPU: Pentium III 1 GHz / Pentium IV 2+ GHz
RAM: 256 MB / 512 MBVPU: 64 MB 128Mb
DirectX: 9.0
Ran perfectly on my Packard Bell iPower X9810 (GeForce 9800Gt, 4Gb RAM, Dual-Core CPU) running Vista 64-Bit. Didn't even need patching - virtually unhead of for a LucasArts game!

Rating: 8/10

Star Wars Links:

Star Wars Games for PC:

LEGO Star Wars
LEGO Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces & Mysteries of the Sith
Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords
Jedi Academy
Star Wars: Battlefront 2

Star Wars Games for Other Systems:

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga for Nintendo WII

Star Wars Movies:

Star Wars: Revelations
Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Episode IV - New Hope
Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

CaptainD's PC Gaming Blog


EEbEE said...

Co'op multiplayer?

sounds like this would be fun playing with some buddies over the LAN

CaptainD said...

If this is your sort of game, I have no doubt that the multiplayer would be great fun. (Feel free to let me know and I'll give you a guest post on the blog! :-D)

EEbEE said...

I have always wanted to review a game...

suppose i did a post for a game of a genre that you tend to avoid, would you be keen to give me a guest post on your (queue sucking up) awesome blog!!!

or were you kidding just now...

CaptainD said...

Hmm... did you have anything particular in mind? I have no objection to reviews of a game in a genre I'd usually avoid, but I wouldn't be keen on having reviews of certain games that people might deem offensive.

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