E3 06: Rogue Trooper Hands-On - Single-Player, Combat, and Blue-Skinned Soldiers
We check out the PC version of Rogue Trooper, the upcoming third-person shooter based on the comic book of the same name.
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Rogue Trooper is an upcoming third-person action game based on the comic book of the same name by publisher 2000AD, the same publisher responsible for Judge Dredd and, well, 2000AD. And that fact goes a long way to explaining many of the unusual features of Rogue Trooper, the video game, such as the fact that you control a shirtless, blue-skinned, muscleman clad only in camouflage pants and a helmet and armed with an array of ridiculously over-the-top weapons. This is a game that feels like it's inspired by a comic book. Rogue Trooper, the comic, is apparently big in Europe, but it also has its share of American fans, and so Eidos and developer Rebellion are looking to please the masses with this adaptation of the comic.
If you've never heard of the comic, the game introduces you to many of the concepts of the universe quickly. Basically, you play as Rogue, a member of a genetically-engineered, blue-skinned army that's designed to fight on the toxic planet of Nu-Earth. (Apparently, these guys are so tough that they don't need to wear armor, or even shirts.) After "dropping" in from orbit in his assault pod, Rogue has to battle the Nort forces alongside his comrades.
The trouble is that the rest of Rogue's four-man squad keeps on dying around him. Not to worry, though, because Rogue simply yanks out their personalities (which are thankfully embedded on a biochip) and plugs them into his gear, so, in essence, his gear talks back to him with attitude. Rogue is equipped with a wide variety of equipment, from an assault rifle (possessed by Gunnar) that doubles as a sniper rifle to a backpack (possessed by Bagman) that can take material salvaged from dead bodies and scrap piles and convert them into ammunition and med kits. What's more, Rogue can uncover blueprints throughout the game that let Bagman create new types of weapons and gear, such as scrambler grenades, which temporarily knock out certain enemies. Then there's Helm, who possesses Rogue's computerized helmet. Needless to say, toting along all these personalities provides plenty of comic relief, as Rogue's equipment has all sorts of interesting things to say.
The gameplay seems fairly familiar if you've played many third-person shooters, as you basically move from point A to point B and blast any hostiles you encounter. It's not all run-and-gun, though, as the game encourages you to use cover much of the time. Rogue can "hug" a wall for cover, peeking over the side or standing up to shoot at targets or toss out grenades. Also, he can fire blind, where he simply pokes his rifle around a corner and fires indiscriminately at the enemy. Rogue can also pick up and use various enemy weapons, such as the lazooka rocket launcher and the fragment mortar, as well as jump into enemy turrets to blast fighters out of the sky. We encountered a number of different foes throughout the opening levels of the game, ranging from Nort soldiers to tanks to homing explosive drones to portable pill boxes that are dropped from the sky.
Rogue Trooper will feature a four-player cooperative mode that lets each player take on the role of one of the members in Rogue's four-man squad. The PC version of Rogue Trooper looks to be a fairly straightforward port of the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions of the game, though it does benefit from a cleaner, sharper presentation thanks to the higher resolutions supported on the PC. Otherwise, everything else feels like it was designed for a console and a gamepad. Of course, you can still use the keyboard and mouse to control your character, but you could always plug in a PC gamepad, as well. The PC version of Rogue Trooper is set to ship alongside all the other versions in May.