Rebellion Brings Rogue Trooper Redux Back to Life, Ready or Not [E3 2017 Preview]

It’s been a long decade since the heyday of cover shooters, and some say it’s still here, with third-person, cover-shooting mechanics present even in games that don’t feature them as their primary form of gameplay. Many people see Gears of War as the pioneer of this genre, and, indeed, Epic Games’ sci-fi shooter did blast it into popularity, but go back a few months and you’ll find a cult classic by the name of Rogue Trooper. And, ready or not, Rebellion is bringing Rogue Trooper back to life in the modern day with Rogue Trooper Redux.

“I like to think we were inspired by the same things,” Rich May, lead programmer at Rebellion, said.

Rogue Trooper Redux follows a protagonist straight out of the old comic book series 2000 AD, the same series that spawned Judge Dredd, which has obvious relationship with Gears of War, so May is not wrong. So while the revolution of third-person cover-shooters may have started with Rogue Trooper and similar games in its time, whether or not that will appropriately translate to the modern day is another question entirely.

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Rogue Trooper Redux starts this journey off admirably. While not a complete, from-the-ground-up remake ala Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, Rebellion has outfitted the retro shooter with brand new character models and brand new textures. This isn’t a simple flatten-and-resell job. In that respect, the visuals look great, but the shooting and explosion effects either didn’t get the proper update or were beyond the assistance of simple updating – I’d wager on the latter.

They’ve also updated the control scheme for Rogue Trooper Redux to make it more in-line with modern shooters. The original game required you to press and hold a button to attach to cover. As games have progressed to just snapping your character to cover once you’re near it, so too did Rogue Trooper Redux. May told GameRevolution that he has been pushing for the option to select the classic control scheme, but there is much controversy among the studio about this.

Rogue Trooper still has its campaign mode, of course, and a variety of multiplayer game modes such as a co-op wave survival, so you’ll still be able to play as Rogue killing hordes of bad guys, whom the developer’s describe as classic villains with “no redeeming qualities.” This might be simplistic story telling, but it’s true to the source material and there’s certainly a place for that “kill all bad guys” mentality in video games.

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But, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this may not be the smoothest transition. While it was just the tutorial level, the standard cover, shoot, cover, shoot, cover, shoot, etcetera, got old really quickly. More than that, I had trouble shooting over cover on several occasions when the bullets would instead clip off the top hitbox of the cover. Granted, there’s plenty of time for them to fix these things, so I would stop well shy of writing off Rogue One Redux on this alone.

Also, like any indie game from the early 2000’s, voice acting is going to leave something to be desire. Maybe this 80s action/sci-fi genre is ripe for over-acted cheesy voice lines, but it was certainly distracting for a game that seems to have such serious ambitions.

They’re hoping to release Rogue Trooper Redux sometime this year, and it’s important to note that the E3 build was pre-beta, so I’m certain they are still working out the kinks. We’ll just have to see how it translates to a finished product. Impressively enough, Rogue Trooper Redux is coming to PC, Xbox One, PS4 and even the Nintendo Switch.