After playing Republic Commando recently, I can honestly say it's definitely an underrated gem of a Star Wars game. No, it's not as good as the Battlefront and KOTR games, but this game isn't too far behind them either. In some areas, it's better. In others? Not so much. Anyhow, let's start with the things this game definitely excelled at.
#1: The combat system.
This is by far one of the game's strongest parts. If you crossed Halo with Star Wars, you'd get something like this. The combat is very solid and engaging, keeping on your toes at pretty much at all times during a skirmish. You can't take it easy and not expect some repercussions.
#2: The commandos revive each other when one falls
Considering how brutally difficult this game can be at times, it was definitely a needed feature. So now, as long as not all of your A.I comrades are incapacitated, one will come to revive you, giving you another chance to get back in the fight and not have to start over.
Sadly, not all of the missions have this. You'll have some missions you'll be all by yourself, so if you get killed, it's a real pain in the butt to redo. Thankfully, they are in the minority when it comes to your missions, so it's bearable if you know what you're doing.
#3: Weapon variety.
While not perfect, I love how many different types of weapons you can use, from a regular blaster, a sniper rifle, a grenade/rocket launcher, shotgun, bowcaster, several machines guns, including one that's freakin awesome to use. It's really nice to see all the different weapons you can use on your campaign. Heck, it even has 4 different types of grenades as well. By far one of the games' best features.
Granted, there is one big problem with this weapon system, but I'll get into that later.
#4: The commandos' personality
Yea, I have to give credit where credit is due. Your comrades are very colorful and fun to be around at times. Sure, the dialogue they say can get repetitive and stale, but for the most part, they are very enjoyable to go on a mission with. By far, my favorite was Sev. The others were really good, but I just love how his dark humor and lust for battle. I don't know. There's just something very intriguing about a comrade who's that much of a hardcore warrior.
#5: The story
While not as deep and detailed as other Star Wars games, this story kept my attention from start to finish. It was that engaging. If there's anything lacking in the story, it's the fact it was too short and left on a cliffhanger. While a sequel would be nice to see it all get resolved, I wouldn't want one unless it was in the hands of the right developers, which I highly doubt it would be at this point.
And that's not including other good things like the strategies you can give your comrades to help defeating enemies, the melee attack you have, even if it could have been something a bit more cool than a puny knife. But anyhow, moving on, time to mention the stuff this game definitely could have done better.
#1: No co-op in the campaign. Yea, I actually thought it had one in the XBOX version at least when I bought it, but no, it's only for the multiplayer battle mode sadly. While it's not bad on its own, it definitely lacks compared to the campaign. Why they didn't make it so you could have at least one human teammate to assist you in this? I don't know, but it's a real shame because a 2-4 co-op mode would have given this game so much replayabilty.
#2: Enemies take too many hits to kill
While it does depend on your weapon how effective you are at killing enemies, your main blaster sucks to put it lightly. You'll be going through rounds like crazy just to kill a handful of droids, geonosians and trandoshans. I understand wanting to mix up combat by having it so you can't rely on one weapon the whole time, but did they have to make enemies this hard to put down? I don't know. It almost feels like they did this to pad the game out longer. And that brings me to my next issue.
#3: Ammo can be very scarce at times.
While it could have been worse I suppose, this game is not exactly that forgiving either when it comes to ammo pickup. Oh sure, it'll give you SOME back every now and then, but not even close to what you need considering how strong some enemies can be. I understand wanting to you strategize more when it comes to certain weapons, but c'mon... you will definitely be starving for ammo at times. Let me tell you.
#4: The healing system.
While the bacta healing machines are plentiful for the most part, they are not exactly what you would call completely helpful either. Sure, when you're alone with your comrades, it won't affect you, but if you need health badly and go to a machine with some baddies still around, you have to hold down a button to heal, but you can't fight back while you heal, so they can pretty much kill you while you're doing that. Not exactly what I would call fair. Battlefront 2(2005) did this so much better by having it so you could heal and still fight at the same time. All this does is make you a target if you're by yourself and have to heal up.
#5: The weapon system.
I know, I praise the weapon variety, and yet at the same time, the weapon system REALLY leaves alot to be desired. For starters, three of the four weapons you hold are by default attachments of your blaster, whether the sniper addon or the grenade launcher. So, the only weapon you can swap in and out is the fourth one. Honestly, I found that really stupid. I mean, yea, I could understand having it so you have to have a sniper rifle considering you need it for long range attacks at times, but the rest should be customizable considering how the others you can get are similar, whether it be the Wookie rocket launcher, the machine guns, the bowcaster and shotgun. This game badly needed an inventory system where you could keep several weapons in reserve, or at least 1-2 at most if that would make the game too easy.
Oh yea, and that's not including its most glaring flaw: Certain weapons cannot be used or stored after 1-3 missions where you found it in the first place. So if you decide to save your machine gun, shotgun or bowcaster for another mission, well, too bad! You're out of luck. The game automatically removes it from your weapon stash, even if you had rounds left to spare.
Seriously, game?! How is that even remotely fair? Yea, I know some will argue you shouldn't have any rounds left considering how tough the enemies can be and will need to use them all to pass to the next checkpoint, but that's beside the point. A weapon should carry over as long as it still has rounds left. This is completely terrible programming on the developers part. Why they did this, I have no idea, but there is no excuse for it whatsoever.
The weapons' system in this game by far is one of its weakest parts. It badly needed alot more time and development put into it. Me personally, this game should've had a credits and upgrade system where you can customize your weapons in a shop during an intermission section and give them upgrades to make them much more powerful. I hate to bring up Battlefront 2 again for this review, but it again did this better. They at least had unlockable weapons that were much more potent, something Republic Commando desperately needed considering how hard it can be at times. At the very least, it should've had an Elite Rifle you could unlock after beating the game once to replace your standard one and make a second playthrough more interesting.
But no, it wasn't meant to be I guess.
In conclusion, despite these flaws, I would be lying if I said Republic Commando isn't a very good Star Wars game. It definitely deserve alot of the praise it gets, but it's just a shame for all the gems this game gave us, it still could have given us so much more as well. If anything, this game was barely scratching the surface of its true potential. Oh well, I guess that's life for ya.
So yea, I give this game a minimum of 6.5, but because this is the XBOX version, I give it a 7 because at least you can do the multiplayer mode offline. Sure, not the best, but at least it's better than the buggy online one on Steam. Seriously, when are they going to fix those servers? It's so irritating that good games like Battlefront 2(2005) and Republic Commando have a solid multiplayer mode, but cannot play with people online due to issues. -.-