Star Wars Republic Commando Review
A well-paced, albeit brief, single-player campaign will keep adrenaline junkies thrilled from the first dropship landing to the final dust-off.
- Thrilling campaign from start to finish
- Squad commands are fun and intuitive
- Excellent visuals and sound effects
- Good teammate AI.
- Campaign is short
- Multiplayer isn't that great.
When you think of Star Wars, the first two things that likely come to mind are probably Jedi and space combat in X-Wings and TIE fighters. So logically, a Star Wars game that features neither element would feel like it's missing something. Right? As it turns out, Star Wars Republic Commando's laserlike focus on squad-based, military-style combat makes it a refreshing change of pace for Star Wars games. Its well-paced, albeit brief, single-player campaign will keep adrenaline junkies thrilled from the first dropship landing to the final dust-off. A pedestrian and unimaginative multiplayer mode is the only notable flaw in a game that otherwise plays, looks, and sounds fantastic.
Star Wars Republic Commando, as the title suggests, puts you in the shoes of an elite trooper during the height of the Clone Wars. You don't have a proper name, aside from "Three-Eight," but nonetheless, you're tasked with commanding Delta squad on tough covert ops stretched across three different campaigns. The three other commandos of Delta are also numbered. They are: 07, 40, and 62. Despite the impersonal monikers, each member of your squad has a very unique and likable personality, and this comes across through the entertaining chatter each will dispense over the course of the game.
While you're a clone, like the millions of other republic soldiers, you and your squadmates have been trained to be a little better than the other photocopies of Jango Fett. This means you'll also be outfitted with better weapons and armor than the regular soldiers you'll be fighting with periodically through the campaign. You'll start out with a standard assault rifle, but over the course of the game, you'll be introduced to special attachments that turn this same weapon into a sniper rifle and a grenade launcher. You'll also be able to pick up weapons from fallen enemies, ranging from heavy repeating blasters to submachine guns to rocket launchers. Should you run low on ammo, there's a laser handgun that recharges and never runs out of shots. But what's more fun than this is getting up close and personal with melee attacks. Melee strikes are powerful, and they count as one-hit kills on most standard opponents. So even if you do have plentiful ammo, you'll find yourself frequently stabbing Geonosian bugs and Trandoshan mercenaries in the face, mainly because it's both fun and extremely effective. Rounding out your armament is an array of grenades, like thermal detonators for soft targets and electrostatic grenades for mechanical enemies.
The interface and gameplay conventions in Republic Commando borrow some of the best elements from excellent games like Metroid Prime, Halo, and Freedom Fighters. There a visor overlay onscreen, for example. This gives you useful information, such as the position and condition of your squadmates, instructions on your next objective, and the obligatory ammo counts and health meters. You can also switch to low-light mode to enhance dark areas. The helmet conceit isn't just an excuse to have all these meters onscreen, however. You'll get some nice graphical effects to remind you that your character does have a bit of glass in front of his face. So you'll see blood spatter on the visor when you engage in close combat. There are also situations where droids or jammers will cause static to appear on your screen, reducing visibility.
Like Halo, you and your squadmates are protected by personal shields that will deflect a certain amount of incoming damage. This lets you step into the line of fire for a while before forcing you to duck back into cover to wait for a recharge. Should you take any real damage, however, there are plentiful bacta stations scattered along your campaign routes that you and your squadmates can use to restore health. Their placement can feel contrived at times, such as on a separatist droid ship (Why, exactly, would droids need a substance designed to restore health to organic life-forms?), but the game even manages to poke fun at itself there. From time to time, your teammates will remark, "Whoever left that bacta station there deserves a medal!" In the event that one of your squadmates goes down, he or she's never dead...just incapacitated. You or one of your other squad members can revive your fallen comrade with a device that acts much like a defibrillator, shocking the person up off the ground and returning the person's health status to half. What's great is that the game doesn't end if your own character gets incapacitated. Your screen goes blurry and red--and you can't move--but as long as at least one of your teammates is still up, you can command him to revive you.
Despite that creative aspect to the game, Republic Commando's most important design conceit is your ability to command your squad. There's a single command button to keep things simple, and it can be used on contextually sensitive areas on the battlefield. These include rock piles or debris that can be used as protected sniping positions. Or you may direct a teammate to hack a computer console to open a door or shut off automated defenses. Turrets can be manned by you or your squadmates, and you can also have your team breach doors or blow holes in walls with explosives. You'll also command your teammates to make use of bacta stations or revive fallen comrades on the field. There are also other commands that let you both direct your squad to concentrate fire on a single enemy or form up. The squad command controls work great on either platform, with the PC version getting some commands mapped to function keys for easy access.
It's comforting to note that the inclusion of these squad commands doesn't mean your teammates act like idiots without you ordering them around. On the contrary, they are fairly intelligent about following you around, finding their own cover, and, most importantly, killing the enemy as you encounter him. Certainly, taking advantage of your squad commands and asking your teammates to man turrets or sniping positions makes every encounter easier. But in many cases, you can get by without doing so, at least on the medium difficultly level.
- Player Reviews: 250
- Game Universe:
- Star Wars Episode I: Racer (GBC, N64, DC, MAC),
- Star Wars: Yoda Stories (PC, GBC),
- Star Wars: Demolition (DC, PS),
- Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC, GC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Starfighter (PC, PS2),
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (PS2, GC),
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars Galaxies (PS2, XBOX)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
16 Players Online