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Star Wars: Republic Commando Review

publisher: LucasArts
developer: LucasArts
genre: Action

PIII 1000, 256MB RAM, 64MB video card
ESRB rating: T

release date: Mar 01, 05
» All About Star Wars: Republic Commando on ActionTrip

I'm not a huge fan of the Star Wars universe. I don't gulp down every ounce of Star Wars info as if my life depended on it, I don't go to Star Wars conventions, and I don't get dangerously close to orgasm when I hear John Williams' famous score - a sure shot sign that you're a Star Wars fanatic.

That said, I don't particularly enjoy every Star Wars game just because it's a Star Wars game. On the contrary, I approach every Star Wars game with extra caution just *because* it's a Star Wars game. So you know that if I liked a game, it's not because I'm secretly fantasizing about Natalie Portman every night or because I dream of wielding a light saber (Oh so many jokes could be made here -Ed). I will like a Star Wars game only if it's a good game.

To be honest, I never really liked the Star Wars ethos, but that's only because most of my knowledge about it came from George Lucas' movies. Old George blew it somewhere along the way, turning a universe with such awesome potential into an infantile soap opera. Luckily, the folks at BioWare and Obsidian rescued the day with their KOTOR series, which deepened the Star Wars lore in the way that the movies never could. So, ironically, I find myself being a cautious fan of the universe as presented in video games, but a strong opponent of its movie counterparts. This conviction of mine was further strengthened with the release of Star Wars: Republic Commando - a surprisingly entertaining and technically advanced first person shooter set in the Star Wars universe.

If you are a lazy bastard and don't like to read, I'll tell you right away that Republic Commando is one awesome, addictive and most of all intense first person shooter game. There, if that hasn't dispersed any doubts you may've had about the game, I frankly don't know what will. You trust me, don't you?

There are a lot of things that this game does right, but most importantly, it manages to blend excellent 3D tech with some well thought-out and properly balanced gameplay. This one *has* gone through QA testing and the designers *have* spent a lot of time making sure that the action gradually picks up in pace as the story progresses and you become more and more enthralled with the game (Note to other developers: the QA process is a GOOD thing -ED).

Republic Commando manages to seamlessly blend excellent squad-based action and a very non-intrusive and natural control system with fun weapons, pretty visuals, very advanced AI and entertainingly destructive arsenal. And it does so without once showing a light saber... impressive.

Barring a few very minor glitches and maybe just one (yes one) incident where a squadmate didn't know what to do, the AI in this game behaved flawlessly for me. The game was conceived in such a way that each of the members of the delta squad has a unique personality. This is further amplified by the way they handle themselves in combat. Your squadmates know how to use cover properly, heal themselves and are sometimes really good at making decisions while you're down and out. Yes, in this game you can be gunned down and the action won't stop. Your team members will do their best to keep their asses alive and assist you in your time of need, creating an atmosphere of true camaraderie and more importantly, this sense of being involved in an actual military operation. Precious few games have managed to pull this off as effectively as Republic Commando and this is not an overstatement.

Likewise, the enemy AI is just as smart, helping to further immerse the player into the frantic combat. What got me even more into RC are the many neat touches that were included by the programmers, like the fact that you can shoot certain alien troopers in their jetpacks and they will explode, shooting the poor rocket man off into the ceiling, or the great way in which the melee combat was handled (your squadmates have some very inventive ways of dealing away with their enemies in hand to hand combat. Let's just say you had better bring a squeegee for your helmet visor after some of these encounters.).

There are something like 10 weapons in the game, and pretty much all of them are very unique and fun to use. I picked up a few overpowered weapons along the way, but the good news is that their use is situational and fairly limited, which just further proves the designers' commitment to play testing the game before it was released for duplication.

The nail biting, yet polished, action is powered by a very, very decent 3D engine that boasts a majority of the DirectX 9 effects you'd expect to see in cutting edge shooters of today. The characters are excellently animated, and the use of special effects is applied properly so that they dazzle at the most appropriate moments.

The musical score is very good and powerful sounding, but it did remind me of Halo on a number of instances. Come to think of it, there were many scenes in the game where I thought the developers borrowed some of that magic from Bungie's famous shooter. In my mind there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, as one, Republic Commando is unique enough for people to judge it on its own merits and two, if you're comparing a sci-fi shooter to Halo, then the development team must've done something right.

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8.8   Very Good

A seamless blend of good technology and lots of play testing results in a fun and exciting gameplay experience;

Single-player relatively short, railed levels, possibly needed a little more replay value.


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