Review: Renegade Ops (XBLA)

Review: Renegade Ops (XBLA)

A supervillain named Inferno is threatening the world, and the United Nations wants to negotiate, against the will of General Bryant. Facing the grim reality of the cowardice of politicians, General Bryant does the only sane thing there is to do; he forms a group of operatives who will work outside of the law to take down the threat that Inferno is presenting. These uncontrolled operatives, or Renegade Ops, if you will, fall in line behind the previous General Bryant, and get to work!

Renegade Ops is a twin-stick shooter, something that I always approach with trepidation. This game is one of the games that makes twin-stick shooting work. Mechanically, it’s fantastic, with the only problem being occasional cases of the controls being overly sensitive. This would be a non-issue if sensitivity could be adjusted in the settings, but alas, it cannot. There will be times when your vehicle will lose control because of this issue, but it is easily recovered from, so the effect is minor.¬†Multiplayer consists of local two player splitscreen and online four player co-op.

There are four characters available to play as: Armand, Diz, Roxy, and Gunnar. Each character’s vehicle operates almost identical to the others, aside from the special ability each possesses. Armand’s vehicle can generate a shield that absorbs and deflects damage for a limited period of time. Diz’s vehicle generates an EMP that temporarily disables all electronics, vehicles, weapons, etc. within its range. Roxy’s vehicle calls down an air strike, bombarding all enemies within a certain range with missiles. Gunnar’s vehicle deploys a massive heavy gun that fires on enemies within its range. Each special ability can be leveled up through the game’s skill tree system, which consists of three trees: Defense, Offense, and Tactics. Defense and Offense are identical for each vehicle, while Tactics provides leveling for your vehicle’s special ability. Rather than being able to activate all the upgrades you unlock, however, you are only allowed to equip two to start, which later gets upgraded to four. This makes choosing, and swapping, your equipped upgrades instrumental in determining your play style.

This game also does something that comes with difficulty to most downloadable games: it impresses me with its design and beauty. Of course, for a game coming from Just Cause 2 developers Avalanche Studios, one should expect no less. The lush jungles, beautiful beaches, and towering mountains of Panau are a definite inspiration for the environments of Renegade Ops. The open world is tempered by some geographic obstacles (cliffs, etc.), but for the most part is highly navigable.

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Renegade Ops takes the twin-stick shooting mechanic that I have such a hard time appreciating, and makes me appreciate it within the context of the game. Its ability to get me to happily play a game using a mechanic I naturally dislike is a testament to its wonderful implementation and design. The game is beautiful, fun to play, and filled with corny 80’s action movie dialogue and plot. At 1,200MSP/$14.99, you would be doing yourself a disservice by passing this up.

Review

ProsCons
Great skill tree system
Good variety with playable characters
At times, the controls are too sensitive
Rating
95 out of 100

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