“One of the more tenured IPs in the 2000AD canon, Rogue Trooper examines the futility of war by putting the reader in the middle of a seemingly never-ending conflict between the Southers and the Norts, that has rendered Earth uninhabitable to humanity and necessitated the creation of Genetic Infantrymen (GIs). These lab-grown soldiers, able to endure Nu-Earth’s now-toxic atmosphere, are the Souther Army’s best hope of finally defeating the Norts and putting an end to the war.”
by Joe Orchard
One of the more tenured IPs in the 2000AD canon, Rogue Trooper examines the futility of war by putting the reader in the middle of a seemingly never-ending conflict between the Southers and the Norts, that has rendered Earth uninhabitable to humanity and necessitated the creation of Genetic Infantrymen (GIs). These lab-grown soldiers, able to endure Nu-Earth’s now-toxic atmosphere, are the Souther Army’s best hope of finally defeating the Norts and putting an end to the war.
Rogue Trooper Redux puts you in the boots of the eponymous Rogue as he and his fellow GIs plummet to the surface of Nu-Earth and straight into the midst of battle. It soon transpires that the Southers have been betrayed, and what should have been an easy victory quickly turns into a massacre, as the GIs are cut down in their droves by the Nort forces, leaving Rogue as the only survivor and starting him down a path towards revenge. Deserting the Southers, Rogue now has only one mission: to track down the Traitor General who was responsible for the death of his comrades and put him down.
Fortunately for Rogue he is not completely alone. As each of his squad mates falls to the enemy he is able to remove their biochips (technology that essentially stores a dying GI’s personality to a flash drive) and install them into his gear; Gunnar in his rifle, Bagman in his backpack and Helm in his helmet. The guys aren’t just here to see the sights, either, as each one empowers Rogue with special abilities. Gunnar enables auto-aim, and can turn Rogue’s rifle into an automated gun turret, Bagman can plant mines, make ammunition, medpacks and weapon upgrades out of salvaged material, and Helm provides use of a handy radar, can project holograms to distract enemies and can hack doors and consoles. They also keep Rogue company, supplying banter which, though completely inane, is not doled out so frequently as to become unbearable. It’s a neat integration of the source material into the game’s mechanics and really shows the developers’ desire to provide an authentic interpretation of Rogue Trooper in this medium.
From the outset, it is clear that the game is very much a case of ‘what you see is what you get’. You start off gunning down wave after wave of Nort infantry and that is what you’ll be doing for pretty much the entirety of the game. There are occasional attempts at integrating stealth sections, but these frequently devolve into yet another round of ‘Who Can Do the Best Shooting?’. The enemies themselves are fairly dopey, occasionally lobbing the odd grenade in an attempt to flush you out of cover, but more often walking blithely forward, offering easy target practice. Throw in a couple of on-rails vehicular sections, and that is just about it, which is a shame. The game provides you with so many tools – mines, turrets, decoy holograms, multiple kinds of artillery and grenades – but rarely demands that you do anything other than walk forward, find cover, shoot guy in face and repeat. Yes, you do have the option to be more creative, and it can be satisfying, but when the most efficient way to progress is also the most straightforward it removes much of the impetus to experiment. This is compounded by the game’s control scheme, which gives you just one button to cycle through your various weapons. This is irritating in the early game, but later on when you have several options to choose from, it is positively maddening, particularly during more intense firefights. It’s one area in which Rogue Trooper Redux shows its age.
Visually, Rogue Trooper Redux is a little rough around the edges. There are some murky textures here and there, but this is not a remake. It’s a 15-year-old game that’s been given a spit shine and honestly, that’s just fine. Taken in the context of a remastered PS2-era title, Rogue Trooper Redux, doesn’t look bad at all.
Fans of Rogue Trooper will no doubt find something to enjoy here. The game’s original release was a fun, if flawed, shooter that managed to provide a faithful interpretation of a 2000AD staple. If you enjoyed the original, I’m certain you’ll find little here to tarnish your nostalgia. If you didn’t experience Rogue Trooper the first time around there’s some fun to be had, so long as you go into it in the knowledge that, for all the extra pixels that have been shoved in, you are still very much playing a 15-year-old game in a genre that has moved on considerably in the interim.