Review: Star Wars: Republic Commando

Star Wars: Republic Commando

Platform: PC (also on Xbox)
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Players: 1 (+15 on multiplayer)

Good first-person shooters are hard to find. Think about the good ones out there. Quake. Counter-Strike. Games that are basically just revamped graphics on programming from over five years ago, which is ancient in videogame time. Star Wars isn’t exactly a virgin concept for FPS titles (remember Dark Forces?) but it’s new, and what the fuck, it’s not like there already are a bunch of other Star Wars games, right? Oh wait.

Republic Commando puts you in the world as a clone soldier with three other computer controlled clones, which is your basic sci-fi geeks masturbatory tactical FPS squad fantasy world! It’s currently between the movies Episode II and the upcoming Episode III, which was, ahem, the Clone Wars, so guess what you get to do? Wipe out whoever your told to, pretty much. Whether it’s a shooting a Trandoshan mercenary in the face or trying to knife the annoying Geonosian insect things, there’s lots of things to kill and, unfortunately, lots of ammo (bringing a lot of ‘spray/pray’ action to the game.

As you can see from the shots, your basic view is through a helmet. I know, it’s pretty exciting. The ‘helmet’ is also it’s own screen, and various technical and supply information will pop up on the corners. It’s also great fun if you shank someone in 1-1 and blood visibly sprays on your helmet, like a windshield. Yay! Viewing the world from inside a helmet might not otherwise be too exciting, and the in-game visuals aren’t interesting enough to dream of a clearer view. The sound, however, is very crisp and dynamic, definitely carrying the game well (like a Half Life 2).

You’ve seen enough Star Wars flicks to know that clones get killed right? Wrong. In this world, you don’t really die. Oh, you’ll get cut down, but your more incapacitated then actually dead. Once you take too much damage, you’ll collapse in a heap, but visuals (with a red tint) will continue. A call to a teammate brings him over, he zaps ya with an instrument and you’re back in the game. Strange, eh? And to make it even easier, you can save anywhere, so if you’ve got the time, you’ll beat the game, one way or the other. Cool, but almost too lenient.

Linear is the word to describe the gameplay… not too much choice in how to go about an enemy or thru a clutch point, which is annoying of course, but still handled well by the developers. You’ll be assisted from different ‘clone’ mates to overcome particular hurdles, but for the most part, it’s pretty direct. AI is, well, AI, I found it pretty easy to kill just about anyone without too much hassle. With that and the hard-to-die feature, it’s really quite an easy task to blow thru this game. A handful of levels per world (three total) is a breeze.

You’d think, what with the immense possibilities, you’d see some excellent online multiplayer gameplay (like a Clone Wars or better), but no, that’s not really the case. I was hoping for coop mode! Why the fuck is that not there? 2-4 players running thru the game would have been great fun, much better the the supplied clones on singer-player. The other modes are your usual FPS crap: capture the flag, deathmatch, team deathmatch and “assault mode” which is a derivative of CTF. These would be cool if the maps weren’t just sections of levels in the single player… yawn.

Overall, a above average (hey, it’s better then Force Commander!) Star Wars title. If you’re just itching for some action, it’s worthy of a play, but will most likely be another one-time only game to add to your library.