- Beautiful visual presentation paired with over-the-top comic cinematics.
- Great multiplayer title with as much or as little a time-commitment as you want to give it.
- The idea of limited lives before a game over screen is old, outdated, and hampers the experience slightly.
Game Review: Renegade Ops (PSN)
Release: September 13th, 2011
Genre: Dual-stick shooter
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Available Platforms: PSN, 360
Players: 1 – 4
ESRB Rating: Teen
Renegade Ops places you in control of one of four mercenaries as you fight to take down a madman bent on mass destruction. At first glance (especially considering the games generic title), it may not seem like much to write home about, but don’t judge this book by it’s cover. Renegade Ops is the most fun you’ll have on the downloadable front this fall.
Putting the engine and assets to further use from Just Cause 2, Avalanche Studios have created a visually striking dual-joystick action title that handles as smooth as butter. Your character controls an all-terrain vehicle over lush jungle and tropical landscapes with the left stick as you shoot down enemy vehicles with the right. The vehicle handling is quick and responsive, bringing to mind Halo, Jackal, and the early top-down GTA’s. There’s a boost button to speed things along, powerful secondary weapons, and upgrades to your main weapon.
To keep these elements from becoming boring and repetitive, there’s a leveling system built into the game, and a skill tree that can be reassigned before the start of each mission. This allows for much-needed customization, as each mission is going to call for different attack and defense bonuses. The solo campaign is solid and entertaining, but it goes without saying this is a title best enjoyed with a group of friends. The sheer amount of chaos and explosions on screen at any given time rival most major retail releases, and the more people in the game, the more ridiculous the action gets.
The game really shines in terms of its visual presentation, and it’s fun factor. Renegade Ops just feels and looks great. There’s a level of polish to the visual fidelity that’s made all the more surprising by how far pulled back the camera is from the action. The world feels like a living sandbox you’re razing to the ground. That you cause all of that massive destruction through tight precision driving controls and excellent weapon and explosion effects just makes seeing the fruit of your labor all the more satisfying. Put simply, things blow up real good in this game, not unlike Just Cause 2.
There is a “but,” however, and it can serve as a stiff barrier to entry. The game is formatted like a traditional arcade title. Meaning, you get five lives, and when they’re gone, you’re booted back to the main menu. You retain your progression, but the fact remains that you have to start whatever level you’re playing through from the beginning. When it comes to smaller downloadable games like this one, their biggest appeal is the compulsion to keep playing. The worst thing you can do is give the player a reason to stop playing. Having to dive back in from the very beginning of a level was enough motivation for me to put down the controller several times over during the review process.
All things considered, Renegade Ops is a downloadable title you owe it to yourself to play. Avalanche Studios have refined the dual-stick shooter, and pushed it into interesting new grounds. If you’re looking for action on a small scale, you can do no better.
9 out of 10