Published on September 22nd, 2011 | by Cameron Woolsey
Renegade Ops Review
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Developer: Avalanche Studios
MSRP: $15 (1200 MSP)
Release Date: Sept. 14, 2011
A game like Renegade Ops is made for the people who are just tired of this whole “video games must have dramatic stories” nonsense that has arisen within the industry this past decade. These days, one can barely look at an aisle of games that does not feature some kind of compelling story with damaged, emotional heroes and sympathetic villains. Renegade Ops says that’s a load of crap and offers to blow it all to hell with the biggest arsenal it can muster. The game is the embodiment of a summer flick and has a story that is inconsequential, cheesy, utterly predictable and sometimes just a tad ludicrous. The game is a top-down twin stick shooter that can be played solo or with up to three others online. The story is light, but the action is plentiful and addicting.
The story is presented in a comic book style with panels and dubbed over voice-acting. The story itself is a cut-and-dry action tale with ridiculous plot, two-dimensional characters, a cackling super villain and predictable outcomes. Don’t expect anything Oscar-worthy here folks, the story simply exists as motivation to drive around and shoot bad guys. But here’s the rundown for those interested: a super villain who goes by the name Inferno uses a WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) to destroy Paris. He doesn’t demand much, except for the complete and utter submission of the world’s nations. The world’s nations take a passive stance, but a man named General Bryant believes the only way to stop Inferno is to take the fight directly to him. The nations disagree, so Bryant resigns his position and creates a rogue military group called the Renegade Ops. Together, they fight against the forces of Inferno.
The Renegade Ops consists of four characters, Armand, Roxy, Diz and Gunnar. Each character has his/her own unique special ability. Armand can create an impenetrable shield, Roxy can summon an air strike around her, Diz can generate an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) blast and Gunnar can use a giant cannon. Besides special abilities, each vehicle is equipped with a machine gun by default. When playing a level, secondary weapons can be picked up and used as well such as the rocket launcher, flame thrower or rail gun. Enemies drop items when destroyed such as health boxes, secondary weapons, ammo crates or even upgrades to the machine gun to make it more powerful.
The game can be played solo but it is much better when played online. Each character’s ability can be used strategically, making bigger and tougher enemies easy prey when players use the abilities in conjunction. For example, Diz can stop a large group of enemies with her EMP, allowing Roxy to get in close and call an air strike.
If you do plan on playing this game alone, I suggest doing so with friends. A lot of gamers I played with online had a habit of going ahead of the rest and taking out enemies on their own. They then swept up all of the drop items, even when they didn’t need them. This was actually a fairly common occurrence. People would pick up health even when their health bar is full, while I’m pushing a burning tire down the street. This is really not a point against the game itself. People are jerks.
The game was developed by Avalanche Studios, the makers of Just Cause and Just Cause 2. The team repurposed the graphics engine that powers Just Cause 2 for Renegade Ops and the affect is nothing short of amazing. The game is graphically stunning. Each level is a completely unique environment brimming with large and small detail that creates a believable and beautiful world. From grass and bushes moving as vehicles pass over, to clouds and mist floating, to the realistic way dirt flies as you hit the boost button, everything about the game looks incredible and reacts as expected to the vehicles and the destruction the environment surrounds.
For every stunt pulled off, special item collected, and enemy silenced with loud weaponry, the game doles out experience points. After enough experience is collected the character levels up and players are granted upgrade points to well, upgrade their vehicle. The points can be spent on abilities that are split up in three categories: defense, offense and tactical. For defense, gamers can spend points on abilities like more armor or more health drops for every enemy destroyed.
Offense abilities include such upgrades like starting the game with a rocket launcher or having more ammo slots for the secondary weapon. Tactical upgrades deal with the character’s special ability, and the features upgrade either makes the cool down take less time, or increase the ability’s effectiveness. There are a lot of upgrades to consider but only three slots are available at a time. Choosing the right upgrade will come with more experience with the game
The gameplay is the heart of Renegade Ops and it is fast, addicting and wickedly satisfying. Every bullet fired and enemy detonated brought with it a weight of satisfaction that goes beyond what many action games, even some of the full releases, are able to pull off. To put it simply, the game is a ton of fun. It’s better to play with others online but even by yourself the game holds up on its own and is entertaining without using co-op as a crutch to make a more enjoyable experience. From shooting to even just driving around, everything feels finely-tuned and designed for playability. Even when the game allows you to take to the skies in a chopper, it is still tight and responsive.
The only real gripe I can put on Renegade Ops is the price. The game took me around 4-5 hours to beat with a group of people online. For the price of USD 15, the game may not offer enough for everyone to consider a purchase. Completionists will love going back and leveling up every character to the max, but for the casual action game fan I would suggest holding off until a possible future sale.
Renegade Ops is like if someone smelted the rock-hard essence of every Schwarzenegger and Stallone action movie from the ‘80s and repurposed the volatile material into four small vehicles with really big weapons, but thankfully these characters lack speech impediments. There is so much random crap blowing up the game could be registered as explosion porn. This is the game Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich play cooperatively on their days off. Renegade Ops is a symphony of guns, rockets and explosions with no real substance. And that’s what makes it so damn fun. It might not be the smartest game around, but for those who want to run around with friends and blow up huge enemies and drive through buildings across unique environments, Renegade Ops delivers the payload.
+ Satisfying gameplay
+ Beautiful graphics
+ Fun co-op
– Cornball storyline