I try to play all games comic book related. With the exception of the excellent Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and X-Men Legends franchise (all from Raven Software), and the Spider-Man movie games, most comic book video games are lackluster. Or blow chunks (ahem, virtually anything Batman).
Not only am I a fan of comics, I've got an affinity for Brit comics, and a lot of the good ones come from 2000AD, like Rogue Trooper. I've been meaning to play the Rebellion-developed, Eidos-published game (based on the comic) for some time. Since the game is playable on the Xbox 360, I recently rented a copy to put it through its paces.
Rogue Trooper shipped in May of 2006 for the original Xbox (and PC and PS2), and this is a gem of a game that's not getting enough recognition.
This is probably largely due to being a last-gen release 6 months after the launch of the Xbox 360, and in the pre-furor of the PS3 and Nintendo Wii. But I'm bummed this game and development team probably won't get its/their due.
I lost track of time and was up until 5 a.m. playing this game. This hasn't happened in I don't know how long.
The game is a third-person shooter with some surprising depth and mechanics, great last-gen graphics (and better than some of the now-gen), a compelling story that moves the action forward, good voice acting, and stays true to the source material.
Rather than just running and gunning, you'll quickly leverage skills from your fallen comrades (a la their personality and affinities built into rescued and -- uh, liberated -- bio-chips) to spice up the game. You can also collect salvage to build weapons, buy upgrades, and replenish supplies, giving it an almost RPG(ish) (lite) mechanic.
But the big thing -- and here's something that will probably get me some nastigrams -- it's like Gears of War, the Xbox 360 powerhouse that's the biggest franchise (and exclusive) on that console.
Seriously, Rogue Trooper is like Gears of War. Not that I'd necessarily pick the former over the latter, but the similarities are suprising.
Check it out:
Vault over stuff? Check. Use cover? Check. Blind fire? Check. Grenade-arc mechanic? Check. Even crouching and running in Rogue Trooper is like the roadie run in Gears of War (but with out the cool shaky cam dealy). Weird.
The multiplayer (offline, system link, and Xbox Live) is pretty limited, but really fun. There are only two cooperative game types -- basically variations on Assault (get from one end of the valley to the other to control the landing platform, in the allotted time with the allotted lives) and Defend (protect the wounded G.I. in the allotted blah blah blah). But these two variations are pretty intense, have some decent configuration options, and you can easily invite a friend to play online (ahem, Gears?).
There is no adversarial online, which is a bummer, because this game is ripe for it. There's also no online or offline co-op for the story, which is too bad, because (again), the game is ripe for it (but hey, Bungie badly stubbed out the online co-op for Halo 2, so at least Rebellion's exclusion is more graceful). Actually, there's a lot in this game other titles should learn from.
Like the HUD system. If you're not going to be minimalist (like Gears, which I like), Rogue Trooper's HUD/interface/selection widgets are pretty slick, intuitive, and I found myself not thinking about them as I switched and blasted frantically online or off. That's a good sign.
I recommend Rogue Trooper. If you find it in the bargain bin or on the rental shelf, do yourself a favor and put a few hours into it -- this is one of those pleasant gaming surprises.