I eased myself into 2018 by becoming a renegade and blowing up everything humanly possible.
SOMETIMES you just want to shoot people and watch stuff explode. Renegade Ops does both those things with aplomb. You control a car, a one of the titular renegades, through nine (twelve if you have the DLC) levels as you kill countless hordes of goons, rescue civilians and blow up just about everything in order to stop the insane arch-villain Inferno from taking over the world. It isn’t deep or clever, but Renegade Ops is an absolute boat-load of fun to play.
Renegade Ops is a dual-joystick shooter, which means that you use the right thumb-stick to move and the left to shoot in a direction. How is the shooting, I hear you cry out? Well, luckily since it is the only thing you do in the game, it is very good. The main machine gun feels hefty as it has big bullets streaking out from the barrel, a satisfying noise when you hit something and makes a robust sound (especially at level three) when it is fired. There are also secondary weapons like a flame thrower and rocket launchers. These are loads of fun to shoot as they are exceedingly powerful, especially when you combine them with your machine gun. For example, tanks have a weak spot that becomes evident if you shoot at it enough. If you fire at the exposed area with a rocket launcher, it does serious damage (enough to kill it out right normally). It is very gratifying. It is just a fun playing game.
There are a lot of characters to choose from and each has their own special ability. One has an EMP that stops enemies from shooting in an area, another is temporarily invincible and a third spits fire around the vehicle as it drives about. They all bow down to the monster that is Roxy; a character whose special ability is an air strike that unleashes a rain of fiery death at a pull of a trigger. It is incredibly satisfying to blow up everything. It does so much damage, it almost fells broken. This plays into the skill-tree as well, whenever you level up (by killing things and doing objectives) in the game you can eventually choose abilities that will make your buggy harder to kill or, more importantly, allows you to unleash more air strikes that do even more damage over a larger area.
There isn’t much else to do in the game beyond shoot people and collect some stuff. But there is something that does have a bit of depth to it. There is a combo meter that goes up providing you do enough damage in quick succession. It is surprisingly difficult to get a big enough combo because, well, everything dies very quickly. The points you get add to your overall experience and allows you to level up quicker. It is a cool system that gives you incentive to uncovering weaknesses and shooting them with big weapons.
Graphically, Renegade Ops is a pretty good-looking game. It is colourful with a lot of environmental variety as you go from Jungle, to Aztec ruins, a desert, an industrial complex and so on. But the explosions. God damn the explosions! They literally some of the best I have ever seen in a video-game. They are voluminous, bright and they have a deep bass that makes every single one sound and look incredible. It is perhaps the best thing about this game, and the sole reason everyone should play as Roxy to begin with.
There are a couple of problems, however. The physics of your buggy are very good as they feel weighty and are generally fun to drive. But it is too easy to tip over or get yourself caught and, it turns out, the buggies aren’t invincible when this happens. I died a few too many times due to the physics not going my way and taking a rocket to the face. Also, the difficulty is a bit flat. You level up people and their special abilities are powerful, but (and I tested this) a level one character plays and feels exactly the same as a level 40. I went in to the penultimate level with a level one person and did just as well as I would have done with a level forty character. Which is a bit of a shame, since levelling up is an important aspect of the game. These are, pretty minor issues, however and they don’t ruin the game in any capacity.
Renegade Ops is a fantastic game, for what it is. It never over stays its welcome and is constantly fun throughout its short run-time. It is a one, maybe two, trick pony but it does those tricks almost to perfection. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Next time on Breaking Down the Backlog: Dead Space