Star Wars: Republic Commando Xbox Review
When it comes to Star Wars games there’s always one constant, and that’s the Jedi. If you aren’t one yourself you’ll be sure to see them popping up pretty frequently. This time around though they get to give their light sabres a rest and leave the action to a squad of clone troopers, but these aren’t your regular clone troopers. Can they cut it in the overcrowded world of First Person Shooters?
From the very beginning there’s only one word to describe this game and that’s beautiful. The guys over at LucasArts have done an outstanding job in bringing the Star Wars universe to life in this game. Wherever the game takes you, be it the desert world of Geonosis, an abandoned Republic starship or the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk, everything is wonderfully realised and rendered, adding to the authenticity of the Star Wars atmosphere. The good looks aren’t limited to the scenery either, all the characters, from the bad guys to the good, are rendered and animated perfectly, the majority being instantly recognisable, others not (but only because you’ve never seen them before).Explosions and lighting effects add to the graphical splendour and this game is truly a joy to behold. One thing’s for sure, war (either intergalactic or more earthbound) has never looked this good.
From the outset I have to say, this game really doesn’t offer us anything new, squad based FPS games aren’t exactly the latest thing, but what it does, it does exceptionally well. You control a squad of specially developed clone troopers, or Deltas as they’re called, sent on a series of special missions starting off at the beginning of the clone wars on Geonosis and ending just before the start of episode 3 on the Wookie planet of Kashyyyk. You control team leader Delta 38, also known as Boss, of who is an all rounder when it comes to death and destruction and has been specially bred for his leadership abilities. Accompanying Boss are his comrades Deltas 40 (Fixer), 07 (Sev) and 62 (Scorch). Fixer is the tech man specialising in computer hacking (or slicing as they call it) and code breaking and also second in command. Sev is the resident sniper and with his grim sense of humour takes great pleasure in his job. Finally Scorch is the demolitions expert and he’s the funny man.
Your clone troopers are equipped with a standard issue weapon, a blaster rifle, and rather than changing weapons it comes with some attachments that you can change for different jobs (reminiscent of Judge Dredd), there’s an explosive attachment, ideal for taking out those Super battle droids, and a sniper attachment for those long range kills. You are also issued with a blaster pistol as a last resort when all your other weapons are out of ammo, this isn’t as useless as first appears packing more punch than your blaster rifle in normal mode. Your team also carry various types of grenade (thermal, electrical and sonic) which are thrown with your left trigger (ala Halo), all have different effects and some are more useful against certain enemies than others. Electrical work better on druids, thermal better on organics and sonic works well on both. As well as your own weapons you’re also able to pick up enemy weapons by standing over them and pressing your ‘A’ button but you’re only able to carry one of these at a time (Halo again). There are a nice range of weapons left for you to pick up though, ranging from Geonosian Beam weapons through to Wookie Bowcasters, taking in all standard FPS weapon types (rocket launcher, shotgun etc) with a Star Wars theme.
In your defence you have a shield that will recharge after a while without any hits and a health bar which depletes when your shield is down. There are regularly placed med stations where you can recharge your (and your mens) health and when a man goes down you can revive them with 50% health, they can even revive you when you go down, so as long as you’ve got one man alive you might be down but you’re not out yet.
The squad control system is a lot simpler than in other games such as Rainbow Six, and works well, just point your sight at various pre ordained spots and an option to deploy your troops will be displayed on screen, just press the ‘A’ button to send a man to his post. There’s various types of posts to go to, to provide covering fire (either sniping, anti armour or grenade throwing), setting explosives, manning gun turrets, breaching doors, slicing consoles, reviving team mates and replenishing health are all available.
All the elements from other games work well together and with a relentless series of missions to go through it is an excellent if a little short single player game.
The multiplayer game is a little less impressive, appearing to be tacked on as an afterthought rather than an equal part to the game. Even so it still plays pretty well although the options are a little basic with only deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag and assault being available as game types. There is no lobby for the online game and you just jump in whenever you join a game. Despite it’s shortcomings it is still pretty good fun in short blasts and plays pretty much like Unreal Championship, which is no surprise really as the game uses the Unreal engine. The online game can support 16 players if you’ve got a big enough connection, otherwise you’re limited at eight players which is okay for some maps, but the majority of levels seem designed for more players being very large. Altogether the online play is fun in small doses on the right maps but doesn’t really measure up to games like Halo 2.
As to be expected from a Star Wars licence you get the original John Williams scores, sound effects and voice acting with Jango Fett actor Temeura Morrison voicing your character Boss. This all available in Dolby Surround sound and really adds to the already superb atmosphere.
The single player game is a little on the short side as I blasted my way through it in around 10 hours but it’s such a compelling game that it’ll seem less than that when you do it yourself. There is also little replay value as increasing difficulty levels add no extra objectives to the gameplay, but it’s a lot of fun while it lasts.
The multiplayer adds a bit, but it’s pretty much a bog standard FPS and won’t hold your attention for long sessions like some games.
Republic Commando continues the recent trend of good Star Wars games and although it’s quickly completed you’ll enjoy every minute of it. If you love Star Wars and like FPS games then you’ll love it.
8.8 out of 10