Star Wars: Republic Commando

-LucasArts (2005)

 

Summary:

There's clones that shoot and blow stuff up. And then there's some Wookies, and then you have some Lizard-men, and then there's a lot of evil kill-bots mixed in for good measure. Sounds like a good plot to me!

My Thoughts:

Luckily, the Wookies are on your side.

Republic Commando puts you in the plastic boots of an elite clone trooper who commands a small commando (duh) squad. Republic Commando begins during the big battle on Geonosis in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. While all the action is happening up top, you and your troopers are causing havoc in the bowels of the Geonosian droid factory. Later on, the game will have you fighting in some familiar and some entirely new locals. You can tell right away that this isn't your ordinary Star Wars game. The designers changed the look of the characters ever so slightly to make it more beefy. It really works, and gives it a much tougher feel than any Star Wars game I’ve played. The villains seem 10 times more frightening because of the moody atmosphere and the way they are depicted. I can understand why the Super Battle Droid is called super now; the thing is like a robotic Frankenstein's monster.
As for the good guys, you and your squad look great and the Wookies look like they popped right out of an episode of He-Man. Even Ewoks look ten times more powerful now. Relax! Republic Commando is both Gungan and Ewok free.

There's no doubt that Republic Commando will be compared to king of Xbox first person shooters, Halo 2. Not only does it seem like every first person shooter in existence is compared to Halo in some fashion these days, but Republic Commando also has a few similarities to it. Aside from control scheme, you have an over-shield that's much the same as the Master Chief's. There's also a reliance on grenades that seems familiar and a melee attack that smells of Halo to boot. But, that's where the similarities end. In no way can Republic Commando hold a candle to either one of the Halos, but that doesn't make it a bad game. It just doesn't make it an awesome game if you go by the Halo benchmark.

Show evil robots who's boss.

Like a few first person shooters, you get to command a small squad using tactical commands. The difference with Republic Commando is that the commands are given in a very easy to use interface. Think of it as Rainbow Six light. The commands you give aren't that complex, such as picking out covering fire positions and shouting out door breach maneuvers. The way these commands are given is either by pointing towards a box or door that shows an image of what you can do with it or by shouting some simple commands like, “Form up,” using the D pad. They are all pretty easy and fun to use in a firefight. Your clone trooper squad adds a great amount of fun factor to this game, and even provides a lot of witty dialogue. I didn't know what to make of the characters at first, but over time grew to really care about them. Sometimes their witty comments get a little old the fifteenth time you hear them, but never so old that you want to turn the sound off.

The weapon variety is awesome. Your main rifle very much resembles the highly cool stormtrooper rifle as seen in the original trilogy, but it fires much faster and is modular. The gun can convert into two other weapons using attachments. In seconds you’ll find an anti-armor gun, and a sniper rifle in your hands making up the holy trinity of your core weapons. Later, other weapons become available such as the Wookie bow-caster or the really awesome Trandoshan weapons.  You can only carry one of these extra weapons at a time, so it adds a bit of strategy to the gameplay.

On the whole, the A.I. is very intelligent. Commando would have been a total stinker if your troops would have been retarded. Fortunately, there were only a few times that I had to yell at the screen because of dumb actions on their part. The enemy A.I. is pretty decent, although I did have a few instances where they didn't seem to be facing in the right direction until I shot at them several times. The worst A.I. in the game belongs to the ally Wookies, who look damn cool and perform some awesome melee attacks, but run right into enemy fire for no reason, or stand in front of a box that I need to blow up.

No sci-fi epic is complete without lizard men!

The graphics are true last generation excellent Xbox graphics. They look great and are comparable to Halo 2 in terms of visual sweetness, without all those horrible graphical overlay problems that Halo 2 had. The design of the levels and the characters is spectacular and the look of the weapons is amazing. The main problem with level design ties in with one of my qualms with the game itself. I found many of the levels repetitive, since you fight for a long time in only a couple of locations. That's not to say that the level designs were overly bad, but they did get a little old. I think I'm spoiled when it comes to Star Wars games since they usually try to pack ten locations into one game. There are about four main locations in Republic Commando and that's it. The levels that are in the game are really fun though, and there’s enough objective variety to keep you entertained.

My main problem with Republic Commando is the shortness of the campaign. If I had made a strong effort, I could have beaten the game in only one or two days on the normal difficulty. This difficulty was not where I really would have liked it to be, either. At first I found the game extremely easy, even on the hard mode, but that was only for the first few levels. That's a lot coming from me, a gamer who has a hard time on most games on the normal difficulty. Once I got to a derelict spaceship full of Trandoshans it got extremely hard for some parts, but pretty average at others. The rest of Commando is pretty much like that. If you are experienced with first person shooters, I wouldn't expect Republic Commando to offer much of a challenge.

The sound was on par with the graphics, although there were a few times I had some technical glitches with the 5.1 Dolby mix. Still, the mix helped immerse me in the action and more than a few times helped me hear when enemies were behind me, which is always a great bonus.

Overall, Republic Commando is a really fun game. It will definitely appeal more to Star Wars fans, but fans of first person shooters should get a good time out of this as well. Here’s hoping for a sequel that’s even better.

Multiplayer:

If you want a good Xbox Live experience, Republic Commando is not your game. The interface is exactly like a generation one Live game like MechAssault. The levels are really ugly looking graphically, yet I can see where this might be addicting for those wanting just a little more hot Clone on Trandoshan action.

Score: 8.5

-Paul

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