You are the last Genetic Infantryman. Bred to end a perpetual war between the Norts and Southers, these genetically engineered soldiers were created to survive the harsh climates of Nu-Earth, a planet that has become the battleground for the endless conflict. Deployed in an airborne assault to surprise their enemy, they were betrayed when a traitor leaked the plans for the attack which resulted in their merciless slaughter – an event that became known as the Quartz Zone massacre.
Long before we relied on roadie runs to move into cover in Gears of War, it was Rebellion that was a pioneer in the third-person action genre with Rogue Trooper – which had been adapted from the 2000 AD comic strip. Some may have played it way back in 2006 on PlayStation 2, Xbox, or PC, and others may have first taken their chance to blast their way across Nu-Earth on Wii when that version released in 2009. But, whether it is a game that you have experienced before or not, it now makes an explosive return in Rogue Trooper Redux on Nintendo Switch.
You play as Rogue, a blue-skinned soldier who, after his entire squad is decimated when their drop point location is leaked to the enemy, sets out to uncover the Traitor General that was responsible for the betrayal and exact his revenge. Every GI has a biochip implanted inside their skull that holds their personality traits, memories, and consciousness, and, once they die, these can be inserted in a weapon or equipment slot where they can continue to help out their comrades.
That soon sees Rogue insert Gunnar’s biochip in his rifle, Bagman’s in his backpack, and Helm’s in his helmet, a design choice that, true to the source material, lends him a tactical advantage on the battlefield. Whether that be auto-targeting to aid your precision in riddling the bodies of your enemies with bullets, manufacturing ammunition, grenades, health packs and upgrades from salvage that you can gather from their lifeless corpses, hacking keypads to open doors, or creating holographs as a distraction.
It doesn’t stop there, either, with Rogue Trooper Redux soon presenting you with the chance to destroy gate locks or control panels with micro-mines, sneaking up behind your enemies to perform a Kill-Move for bonus salvage points, deploying Gunnar as a sentry gun, or using blueprints to upgrade your weapons with enhanced firepower. Everything that underpins the game, understandably, exists to make it more entertaining, and it is easily where it lands the most success.
This constant stream of gameplay mechanics can still allow Rogue Trooper Redux to feel remarkably fresh given its relatively old age, even if, sadly, some still don’t work as well as intended. In many ways, though, it was a game ahead of its time, and I’m surprised that some ideas haven’t been iterated on in the genre.
Online play will let you create a strike team with up to four players to experience the events that had led up to the main campaign. There are five maps to play on, with three used for the Progressive mode that will see you work together to reach safety with the other two maps used for the Stronghold mode, that tasks you with defending your position against increasingly tricky waves of enemies. The chance to directly join friends is welcome, especially as there doesn’t seem to be that large a community generally playing online in public matches.
For all the effort that developer TickTock Games has been made to remaster the game, the promise that it has remodelled assets, dynamic lighting, enhanced geometry, new special effects, and other improvements thrown at it still sees Rogue Trooper Redux look decidedly average at best, and even more so on Nintendo Switch.
The lingering question is why does Rogue Trooper Redux exist, then? The chemical-blasted wastes of Nu-Earth are a dull place to survive in, and, aside from some surprisingly strong mechanics, it’s hard to ever summon enough enthusiasm about a game that has been antiquated compared to what we now expect from today’s games. That means that it is a game that is best left to fans of the comic strip, leaving us with the hope that it is part of a grander plan that Rebellion has prepared to see the one-man army return to gun down his enemies in a more modernised take on the genre.