Saturday, July 11, 2015

Star Wars: Republic Commando - 2/20 hours

Okay, so this is a good game. It's competently made. You are a soldier in the Republic's clone army, and along with your three teammates, you advance through the worlds of the the Star Wars universe, fighting the Separatist forces in a straightforward squad-shooter.

I'm only on the first world,  but so far it seems to have a nice difficulty balance. There are frequent healing stations, but they are difficult to use while your team is under fire, so there is a possibility of getting overwhelmed if your shooting and tactics are not good enough, but there is little resource management between battles to worry about. I've died a few times, and haven't had any super frustrating back-tracking to do, so the checkpoint system is probably pretty good as well.

The members of your squad have unique personalities and specialties (so I'm guessing they're old enough clones that they've had time to diverge significantly) and they work well together as a team. I've not yet had a situation where the AI has done something outrageously stupid. They've made some mistakes, but I can't honestly say that I wouldn't have done as bad or worse, were I playing their roles on a four human team. 

The command system is simple, but it appears to do exactly what it promises, so it really does feel like you're leading the squad. The AIs feel like other players you're directing, rather than activatable power-ups or extra limbs you have to personally control. The only real complaint I have about it is that things like ordering your sniper to take up a position or having your demolitions expert throw grenades are limited to certain specific points on the map, so sometimes it feels like the game is telegraphing the tactics it expects you to use.

But I think my biggest problem with this game is that it's not StarMade. I know it's a ridiculously unfair thing to lay on Republic Commando, which is a competently executed if not particularly ground-breaking shooter, but it's unfortunately the victim of bad timing. I'm plugging away at the game, blasting robots and insects, and all the while I'm thinking "it would look pretty cool if I mounted a gun under my spaceship . . ." and I have to shake myself into awareness of the present and remind myself that I'm holding off on playing StarMade until after the blog is complete (I figure, by then, it'll be pretty close to feature-complete itself and a much more in-depth experience).

Still, I wish this game were more complicated. That it gave me some kind of customization or character development that I could really sink my teeth into. There are times when "walk through a tube and kill everything you see" is exactly the sort of gameplay experience I want, but now is not one of those times.

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