Saturday, October 17, 2009

QuickBlog: Republic Commando

8.0 - [Excellent]

Gameplay: 8
Visuals: 8
Music: 9
Sound: 9
Value: 6

Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: LucasArts
Multiplayer: Offline versus, online versus (online is PC only, if it's still up and running)
Console(s): Xbox, PC
Reviewed on: Xbox
ESRB rating: T (Blood and Gore, Violence)
BMR rating: T (Blood and Gore, Violence, Mild Language)

Good Points:

Excellent voice acting - Memorable characters - Exciting action - Atmospheric sound and visual design - Awesome music - Intelligent AI - Easy-to-use and effective squad commands - Fun weapons

Not So Good Points:

Short campaign - Lame multiplayer - Occasional bugs and glitches - Really needs a sequel (I'm not sure if this one can count, but it's true)

When a game takes on a license, be it a popular movie, book, or epic poem (the latter of which is not unheard of, albeit less common), the first thing to go is usually the quality. Whether it's because of a tight deadline or a publisher in it to make some easy cash, even the most competent products can feel generic and uninspired. This is not the case with LucasArts' Star Wars-themed first-person shooter, which is easily one of the finest Star Wars games to date. You play as Delta Three-Eight (also known as "Boss"), the leader of an elite squad of clone troopers called Delta Squad. Three fellow members of the team will accompany you throughout the game, each with their own unique and memorable personality. First up is Scorch, the wise-cracking comic relief figure of the crew who happens to be extremely good at rigging explosives and watching them blow up. Sev, the gravelly-voiced sniper with a grim sense of humor, can always be counted on to make the shot that counts. Lastly, there's Fixer, the most clone-like of the squad due to his sensible and loyal nature, who can naturally slice or repair anything mechanical. All the characters are voice acted excellently. In fact, Temuera Morrison (the voice of the Jango Fett and the clones from the Star Wars movies) plays the role of the Boss, which adds some wonderful authenticity. You'll get to know and love each member, which is surely a highlight of the game.

Battles require thought, skill, and a whole lot of adrenaline.

The storyline takes place between Episodes II and III from the Star Wars saga and weaves an interesting though fairly straightforward tale. The action is intense and very satisfying, with cool enemy design, smart AI, and a number of weapons and tactics available for you to use. Perhaps the greatest weapon in the game is this super-awesome blade that shoots out from your wrist at a moment's notice. Knifing the heads off battle droids never gets old. You can command your teammates to perform certain maneuvers as you navigate the dangerous levels, which is vital for keeping Delta Squad alive and the bad guys dead. The game takes an obvious cue from Halo, complete with a shield-based health system, a haunting chorus as a major musical theme, and other similar elements. However, Republic Commando doesn't come off as a copycat with no fresh ideas; it really feels like its own experience. The blend of John Williams' traditional Star Wars music strikes a perfect balance with Republic Commando's own score, and stays that way with the character design and sound effects. Even though it's based on Star Wars, the liberties they took with the troopers and the gritty, darker artistic style sets it apart in a very, very good way. The game is moody, thrilling, and filled with fascinating details that take advantage of the Xbox's hardware. It's too bad that the multiplayer is rather unexciting and that the game is so short. Of course, the whole package isn't glitch-free, but it's a blast the first way through and still a really good time to replay. If you're looking for a Star Wars fix, or just a great first-person shooter, look no further than Republic Commando.

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