Rogue Trooper Redux is a third-person cover-based action shooter available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Rogue Trooper Redux is a remake of a PS2 game which originally released in 2006. Prior to the 2006 videogame; Rogue Trooper’s origins in the videogame industry date as far back as 1986 when Piranha Software developed an isometric shooter for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, while Krisalis Software developed a fusion of platforming and first-person vehicular gameplay for the Amiga and Atari ST in 1990. Rogue Trooper tells the story of a 2000 AD character named Rogue that was created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons; making a debut appearance in issue 228 of the 2000 AD comic book in 1981. Rogue Trooper received its best known videogame adaptation by Sniper Elite series creator Rebellion who has a partnership with the iconic comic book publisher 2000 AD having earlier developed Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death in 2003. Can Rogue Trooper Redux capture the quality of the original game for two generations worth of technical advancement?
The story revolves around a war between two opposing factions on a planet named Nu-Earth as it is a significant strategic position due to the discovery of black holes having the capability to be utilised as warp gates between multiple areas of a galaxy. Unfortunately, given that Nu-Earth is within the orbit of a black hole and two suns; a brutal war has ravaged what was once a tranquil paradise, descending into a polluted toxic wasteland in which war has raged between GIs and Norts for 20 long years.
Rogue Trooper Redux’s core feature is undoubtedly its story campaign which spans 13 large scale single player missions. There are two additional game modes beyond the story campaign including Stronghold mode in which the player and an A.I. controlled ally must hold their position and survive in the process by defending their base against wave after wave of enemies, while Progressive mode tasks the player with pushing through just as many enemies in order to guarantee your character’s escape the current environment. Stronghold has two maps, while Progressive has three separate maps in addition to both modes having the customisable options of mirroring the world, a time limit of 5 to 15 minutes, anywhere between 4 to 16 lives, 4 characters to choose from and 4 underslung weapons to select from.
Character design is quite impressive as the player’s lead character named Rogue is always forming a partnership with his fellow GIs as a band of brothers who have each other’s backs. GI character design is interesting as in the story they were designed to be physically capable of combat within the poor living conditions of Nu-Earth’s surface.
Enemy design has a wide range of diversity including infantry Norts that have to wear breathing apparatus to be able to walk on the surface of Nu-Earth, although the venting of the air through the back of their suits gives away their position even when they are in cover and Nort Tactical Armour that are hulking in size with heavy armour that can take a lot of damage and shoots rapid fire weaponry. There are also mechanical enemies such as decapitators that are essentially drones programmed to hone in on the locations of GIs and explode on contact; clusters of sentry gun equipped pillboxes; and drill probes that transports groups of Norts from underground to the surface through automated self guidance which is capable of surprising GIs with not only a large group of enemies, but also the massive drill at the front of the vehicle. There are vehicles that are piloted by infantry such as attack hoppas that provide fast paced aerial assaults by firing rockets at GIs, alongside heavy tanks capable of crushing anything caught in its path in addition to firing half a tonne shells accompanied by smaller turrets and secondary weapons; and armoured patrol boats that fire upon anyone who is not supposed to be in the water. There are further enemies such as Nort captains and commanders that gradually show how much they hate GIs and more enemies besides.
Rogue has enough weaponry at his disposal to defeat the Norts initially including a powerful primary weapon and a pistol as a secondary weapon, although further weaponry can be manufactured using blueprints such as a shotgun, a beam rifle and more besides. Frag grenades are capable of defeating multiple nearby Norts, while scrambler grenades are utilised to short circuit mechanical enemies through an electromagnet pulse, alongside micro mines that are capable of destroying circuitry powering enemy turrets or security doors. Turret emplacements can be utilised to destroy nearby tanks or a large group of enemies with some turrets such as rapid fire machinegun emplacements even temporarily switching to a first-person perspective.
As Rogue witnesses his friends die around him in battle; he can remove each of their biochips in order to implant them within his equipment resulting in their respective biochips being preserved to eventually be placed in a different body to continue battling for the GIs, although in the meantime finding a new purpose by providing Rogue with new abilities such as Gunnar being implanted into your primary weapon which turns Rogue’s primary weapon into an optional sniper rifle that can be detached and positioned on the ground to form a rapid fire sentry gun. Elsewhere, Bagman controls your inventory to manufacture items and upgrades from salvage which in turn is essentially an in-game currency that can be looted from the bodies of soldiers, performing kill moves on pillboxes and broken machinery as well as salvage points. Meanwhile, Helm’s biochip is installed in Rogue’s helmet, enabling Rogue to override security doors and play tricks on Norts to throw them off Rogue’s real position by deploying a holodecoy.
Environment design is varied in the sense of it producing an atmosphere of a planet that was once beautiful with inhabitants and wildlife, but has become dangerously polluted to such a point that wildlife and creatures are mutations of their former selves, while the seas are hazardous and everywhere is a violent war zone. Environments have many structures scattered throughout which works in perfect harmony with the cover system; therefore allowing players to aim or blind fire from behind an object or structure.
There is an element of tactics when choosing how to approach a single enemy or a group of enemies by going in all guns blazing through the run and gun tactic or even setting up a sentry turret to assist you in defeating enemies, while utilising structures and objects as cover to stealthily sneak up in a crouched position on an enemy to perform a melee focused kill move from behind.
Extras includes credits, in-game cinematics that are unlocked as you progress through the story and most interesting of all is the Nu-Earth encyclopaedia which contains unlockable pictures, informative description, artwork and a comic book page for numerous important elements of the story within a variety of categories such as classified data entries, characters, southers, mechanical and norts as rewards for achieving such objectives as obtaining a particular level or attaining a certain quantity of salvage.
It is disappointing to not see Rebellion making their debut on Vita with Rogue Trooper Redux given Rebellion’s quantity of positive output on PSP including ports of 007: From Russia With Love, Dead to Rights: Reckoning, Gun: Showdown, The Simpsons Game and more besides in addition to developing PSP exclusives such as Miami Vice: The Game and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, alongside a multitude of quality Star Wars Battlefront games, although remote play provides a small consolation in comparison. Rogue Trooper Redux’s remote play performance is on par with the graphics, audio and general performance of the PS4 version. Despite Rebellion’s Sniper Elite 4 having fully optimised remote play controls to the point of achieving such a level of attention to detail that the control layout diagrams reflect the Vita’s controls instead of that of the DualShock 4 controller; Rogue Trooper Redux’s remote play controls are not optimised at all. The lack of any remote play control scheme optimisation results in firing your weaponry being mapped by default to the top right of the rear touch pad, while aiming is mapped to the top left of the rear touch pad, entering the scope is mapped to the bottom right of the rear touch pad and crouching is mapped to the bottom left of the rear touch pad, alongside opening the digipad naturally moving from tapping the DualShock 4’s touch pad to the Vita’s touch screen. Rogue Trooper Redux is still playable during remote play, although it would have been a more comfortable remote play experience if the control scheme had been re-mapped for firing weaponry and aiming to R and L respectively, while moving the scope gyro-stabiliser and micro mine from R and L to the bottom right and left of the touch screen respectively.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to fire your weapon; holding L2 for bio-chip assisted aiming; pressing R1 to enable the scope gyro-stabiliser; pressing L1 to use a micro mine; pressing square to interact with objects, turret emplacements and scavenging salvage; pressing X to dive, climb, vault over cover structures or jump; pressing triangle to cycle weaponry; pressing O to view the bio-chips menu; pressing up or down on the d-pad to zoom the weapon scope in or out; pressing down on the d-pad to select an underslung weapon; pressing left on the d-pad to select a grenade; pressing right on the d-pad to use a medi-pak; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to walk or run; pressing L3 to crouch; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to look around; pressing R3 to enter the sniper scope; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad to display the digipad containing the map and weapon upgrades, while vibration reflects the recoil of your primary or secondary weapons, alongside when Norts and mechanical enemies hit Rogue with their weaponry. There is no light bar support which could have displayed Rogue’s health in the form of an alternative HUD with a bright shade of green for full or almost full health descending into flashing dark red when Rogue has 10% or less health.
Graphically, the original Rogue Trooper on PS2 was pretty good upon its release in 2006 and is certainly still playable, but Redux provides a full remaster of all gameplay and cinematic cutscenes; resulting in impressive character and enemy models, weapons and environments during gameplay and cutscenes performing at a consistent 30 frames-per-second. PS4 Pro support includes 1080p super-sampling for a smoother fidelity, although there is no sign of 4K support on PS4 Pro or HDR on PS4 or PS4 Pro which would have taken Rogue Trooper’s remaster to an even greater level of quality.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, single player menus, online multiplayer menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Menu backgrounds focus on the birth of genetically enhanced soldiers in a research laboratory.
Redux retains Rogue Troopers’ voice-overs comprising of a talented voice-over cast including Russell Bentley, Rupert Degas, Nigel Greaves, Nick Haverson, Emma Tate and Jay Simon that bring life to their respective heroes and villains. Sound effects include Rogue manoeuvring through environments, firing his weapons at enemies, reloading his weapons, constructing a sentry gun, manning a turret emplacement, enemies breathing through their biosuits, enemies firing their weaponry at Rogue, the war being fought throughout Nu-Earth and more besides; accompanied by atmospheric music during combat. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which could have produced voice-overs from Rogue’s friends during gameplay.
The trophy list includes 34 trophies with 17 bronze trophies, 11 silver trophies, 5 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. 4 bronze trophies, 6 silver trophies and 3 gold trophies can be earned naturally by completing the entire story campaign on normal difficulty. Easier trophies include the Centurion Killer bronze trophy for killing 100 enemies in any mode and the Young Scavenger bronze trophy for collecting 25,000 salvage. Harder trophies include the 2000 AD Collector gold trophy for unlocking all encyclopaedia entries and the Lethal Shot bronze trophy for scoring 90% accuracy in any single player mission. There are 7 online multiplayer trophies including The Host gold trophy for hosting 5 online games through to completion; the Long Haul Stronghold bronze trophy for completing a stronghold match; the Accidental Killer bronze trophy for killing an ally; the Life is Precious bronze trophy for completing an online progressive game while losing less than 4 lives; the Range Attacker bronze trophy for getting 10 grenade kills in an online game; the Speedy bronze trophy for completing a progressive online game within 5 minutes; and the Not Letting Anyone Down bronze trophy for scoring 5,000 points or more in an online game. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 15 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are three difficulty levels including easy, normal and hard with the major differences being more aggressive enemies that inflict more damage, while needing to receive more damage before they can be defeated. There was mention of a legend difficulty level being introduced in Redux during development, although there is seemingly no clear indication of it actually making it into the final version of the game.
Online multiplayer is a re-worked version of stronghold and progressive modes which supports 2 to 4 players in co-operative gameplay albeit with a competitive edge to the gameplay as every player competes for the highest score by defeating incoming enemies. As the online multiplayer is focused on co-operative gameplay; it would have been a positive step forward to see co-operative multiplayer expand into being a drop-in/drop-out experience throughout the story campaign, alongside new competitive modes included such as deathmatch, last man standing, capture the flag and even modes that would be more original to Rogue Trooper including every player battling to scavenge the largest quantity of salvage. However, it could be stated that the multiplayer component of Rogue Trooper’s remaster is technically a step backwards as despite it being two entire console generations later; split-screen offline co-operative multiplayer for two players that featured in the original release in 2006 has been removed.
Rogue Trooper Redux’s replayability stems from a story campaign containing 13 lengthy missions and two additional game modes, interesting gameplay mechanics such as Rogue’s usage of his friend’s biochips for new abilities, a variety of run and gun or stealthily strategic approaches to defeating enemies, three difficulty levels and online co-operative multiplayer for 2 to 4 players, although the removal of split-screen co-operative multiplayer from the original release does not exactly do it any favours.
- Title: Rogue Trooper Redux
- Developer: Rebellion
- Publisher: Rebellion
- System: PS4
- Format: Retail/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1/2-4 (Online Co-operative Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 10.14GB (Version 1.05)