Star Wars games in which you play the role of a Jedi, whether it be an apprentice or a force-mature one, are by no means scarce. Star Wars: Republic Commando, however, is a Star Wars game that you don’t actually play a Jedi. So, is your character a soldier that is really an amnesiac Jedi (Knights of the Old Republic)? Or, is he an ex-Jedi that will eventually rekindle his love/hate relationship with the force (Jedi Knight II)? The answers to both questions is no. In Republic Commando, you play the role of, surprise, a republic commando. Joking aside, it’s actually a surprise to play a role other than a Jedi and it is exciting as well. The fact that the gamer can’t use a lightsaber or Force powers doesn’t make the Republic Commando experience less thrilling, however. Republic Commando is a game with a force of its own.
Almost any Star Wars game you choose has high quality graphics, and Republic Commando is no exception. The detail of your squad members is outstanding; you can see the action of a battle reflected on the armor of your commandos. Environmental elements like dirt and water can be appreciated on the armor. The enemies you encounter, whether they are Geonosian insects or intergalactic mercenaries, have meticulous graphical detail to them as well. The models are polished and distinguishable in this Star Wars universe. The environments are amazing as well. Even though there’s not much wandering about that you can do, you can still enjoy the alien worlds you do battle on. Every scenario is vivid and detailed, with the same quality as the character models. That’s just the graphics outside of the character you play. In Republic Commando, you literally see the world from the perspective of a Clone Wars soldier, whose vision is filtered through his visor. The visor view, reminiscent of so many FPSs, serves as a practical tool for which you can use not only to keep track of your ammo and health but mini-maps and squad commands as well. The visor also achieves in providing more depth to the game’s interactivity. An example of this is when fighting at close range, you will often get your enemies’ blood splattered on the visor. The blood looks realistic and also blocks your view. There are advantages and disadvantages to having such a detailed approach to the game’s view, but it ultimately provides a more immersive experience. Everything falls into its place; there are no visual loose ends. Graphically, Republic Commando stays true to the Star Wars trend of high quality videogames.
Is it really a Star Wars game without the sounds of battle? Although there are no lightsabers for you this time around, the sound of the weapons these commandos have at their disposal are menacing. Even without the lightsaber, combat is an enjoyable auditory experience. Weapons of any kind have to be loud in videogames (as they are in real life), and Republic Commando does to the Star Wars universe what Call of Duty did for WWII gaming: making the sounds not only part of the experience but also part of the gameplay. Most of the time, you and your squad have to be very careful not to make noises before engaging in an attack and pay attention to sounds that may hint the location of an enemy group or headquarters. The audio detail in Republic Commando makes, with the right speakers, an incredible experience.
This is where Republic Commando distances itself the most from the average Star Wars game. No other game from this universe has touched the squad-based action genre. That fact alone can be the catalyst for a great experience with this game. The gamer will have the typical commands of other squad action games: form up, breach, heal, etc. The squad-based design is top notch by the standards of the genre; it’s not a simulation at all, but it has all the elements that need to be there. Thankfully, the controls are responsive, and that leads to an even better gaming experience. The way your character responds to your commands is neither too slow nor too fast. The weight of an armored commando is reflected on the controller. It may be a hassle for some people that your commando doesn’t move like a ninja (or a Jedi, in this case), but that attention to detail makes this game a bit more realistic.
If you’re worried that your squad will suffer from the same disease that
affects others in the genre, don’t be, because your troops in Republic
Commando are not mindless robots. They obey your commands, but when you leave them alone they will look for cover and attack the enemy. And it will be done not at random but with an idea of what to do and when, just like real troopers would do. To follow commands and possess the creativity of independent action are two guidelines these commandos live by.
A major flaw in the gameplay is the multiplayer mode, which just doesn’t live up to today’s standards. It merely gets the job done. It seems as if the developers felt obliged to include a mulitplayer game, because it’s become such a norm. It’s true that not all games need, by force (no pun intended), to have a multiplayer option. However, Republic Commando demands a multiplayer mode, when even its single player mode is actually a multiplayer, in which the computer’s A.I. predominantly controls your teammates. There should have been a little more effort put into this area of Republic Commando.
GIVE A COMMANDO A CHANCE
Don’t be turned off by the Jedi-free element to this game. Republic Commando proves that the Star Wars universe has a lot more to offer, and ideas at LucasArts are still abundant. There are two games in recent times that have given Star Wars a facelift, and one of them is Republic Commando.