Well on a whim I rented REpublic Commando the other night and began playing it before I buy it on PC. So far, my review's a mixed feeling on the game. If this is how First Person Shooters are going though, count me as disappointed then.
-AI in this game's surprisingly decent... Enemies duck and dodge, they hide, and in general they're smarter than in most games. Far superior to HALO 1 or 2, and generally superior to most FPS games I think, but the clones still do some dumb **** from time to time which is frustrating... Running ahead of you, getting stuck places, running in front of you during a firefight. AI's just not quite up to par with other games like Call of Duty yet.
-Levels are nicely designed and make sense, but they're incredibly linear which is a step backwards. There's few "side halls" that are dead ends and things, and to me those are the little details that can make a game more real in the mind of the gamer. For instance, Dark Forces would put a latrine as a side room in the middle of a base. Why? Because in real life Stormtroopers need to take a piss like the rest of us and it would exist...
Some levels have blocked off routes, namely the Acclamator Class Destroyer level, and that's good, but the game lacked many accessible "dead ends" which would've greatly helped it feel more gritty and real. The levels are designed well though and don't feel illogical or unrealistic with high ledges that you can't reach but somehow an enemy is on it... That kinda crap.
-The graphics are fine... I'm not fond of the game sort of taking liberties with alien design though. They have Trandoshans as almost a cross between apes and lizards rather than the thin look Bossk implied to us in ESB, and so they basically rewrote movie canon for their own use. That irks me and it's simply laziness on the part of the game designers to make a new enemy or to make the Trandoshans unique/interesting as they are rather than just change their physics all together.
Another enemy I found annoying that they changed is the Geonosians. They don't look like ugly, thin, frail bugs... Instead the game beefed them up graphically speaking, and that's unnecessary.
Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.
Beyond that, the graphics of the game are great, gritty, realistic... If the enemies were too the game's visuals would be flawless I think.
-Enemies TOO TOUGH!!! I don't know what the hell the game developers were thinking, but they made every enemy damn near impossible to kill. Absolutely stupid.
Now, I'm a gamer so this isn't just me picking the game apart and saying, "Wah! This is too hard!" or anything. Far from it... I like difficulty.
The proplem is they made every enemy unrealistically difficult to kill. The movies show how tough something is to destroy and this game just does NO justice to the films. Should a Trandoshan (unarmored and with only knives) be as tough to kill as a heavily armored person is in another more well done FPS? I don't think so.
The Super Battledroids should be tougher to destroy than battledroids, but should they take a Clone emptying 3 or 4 clips before he actually kills one? WTF!? Stupid... In the movie they'd take 10 shots at most... AT MOST! In the game you're practically dry on ammo before one's dead and it's ripped you a new one in the process.
Battledroids even take more than 2 shots sometimes. What's up with that? In the movie they drop like flies, so I think the game developers should've just had more attack you rather than make them tougher (not to mention they too are not like the the films but rather they look black and tough to see... Where's red or cream color for them? Why not give them "Commanders" that when you shoot an OOM-9 one the others flee or become less coordinated, ya know? Think Developers, think!).
The SBD's and Trandoshans are truly the last straw, but then the spider droid is like fighting a huge tank instead of it being nothing more than just another larger/tougher droid. It's super tough and only anti-armor can take it out... Silliness, and the films showed otherwise so just set the characters up like the films and leave it at that, don't get creative!
-Dialogue/Sound... I put dialogue first because it is the most noticeable sound actually. And it's funny and interesting to hear... Lots of static-filled conversation, characters chattering, etc... Sound effects are good and realistic... It's everything you'd expect from a SW game so I'm content there.
-Gameplay/Controls... Very good layout, and even with all the commands and such the X-Box controller made it relatively simple. It's no Tom Clancy game though, I'll say that. It's nowhere near the complexity of a Ghost REcon or Rainbow Six... That sort of sucks actually given that both really would make for a great Star Wars game if they were to mimic that style.
Unfortunately, Rep. Commando is more an improvement on HALO than it is an attempt at a real squad-based combat shooter like Ghost Recon. I think the latter (with more realistic enemies) would've been greatly superior. That's me though. To me, HALO's nothing but a watered down game that doesn't revolutionize FPS gaming in the slightest. If anything it dumbs it down for a broader audience is all.
Rep. Commando improves on the ideas HALO sets forth, but with Ghost Recon available to mimic I think you go with more the older crowd than trying to make everyone happy.
-Storyline... Great really. Very interesting, but very low on cutscenes to advance it. I love animations and cutscenes to keep a story cohesive so I'd label that a criticism, but these Clones missions are great and lead you through the Clone Wars well enough. This game could just do more to expand upon that... Show in elaborate scenes WHY you're doing what you're doing, etc...
And with that, I'll wrap up the review...
It's an ok game... Good in its own ways, but it's not the "blockbuster" I would've expected it to be... It didn't take Star Wars FPS gaming to a whole new level, and it really didnt' even try to make itself fit firmly into the EU other than its storyline is good enough that it fits in the time between AOTC and ROTS.
I'd say that this is a rent it and wait for a decrease in price at best... I'll likely do just that because I'm thinking replay on this is gonna be minimal.
I'm not happy with the game entirely, and a lot of my anger revolves around how they made the enemies A) not look like they do in the films established canon, and B) the enemies are EXTRAORDINARILY difficult to fight. Not to the point that the game is impossible, but to the point that I find the game to be a nuisance since you should be just breezing through some areas. There's instaces where more enemies rather than stronger enemies would be the better balance to the game, rather than the other way around.
The game's designers were trying tooooooo hard to cater to the "HALO" crowd. To me, trying to make 15 year old boys happy (sorry to the adults who do like HALO, I'm not trying to be offensive but it's pretty well known that there's a difference in crowds between those who like Call of Duty or Ghost REcon, and then those who like HALO) over trying to make a game that does the Star Wars films justice.
To me this is a little like Castle Wolfenstein... Beefing up Germans and things to make a WW2 shooter when WW2 itself should give you plenty of material to make a game with on your own... Though RtCW wasn't a bad game and had a better balance to it than Rep Commando does.
That's my wrap on this... I'm gonna be holding off on buying it now. Glad I didn't go bust my ass upgrading my PC to get a copy (though I feel sure it plays better on PC where control is more fluid, fast, and accurate) of Republic Commando though. It's not all it boasts in my book, and it'llb e something I wind up buying just because I like a full library of SW video games on hand.