Renegade Ops is a PSN and XBLA downloadable game from publishers Sega (that gave us classics from Shenmue to Yakuza) and Avalanche Studios (the developers of Just Cause 1 & 2) which comes complete with a storyline that lacks imagination and originality so when I had been given this game to review I had serious doubts, but my doubts were soon put to bed with a hot cup of cocoa.
Renegade Ops is an over the top, full on and in your face top down twin stick shooter and guess what? It’s surprisingly good, undeniably addictive and sprinkled with more than touch nostalgia.
General Bryant is not having a good day. Why? I hear you ask. Well, it’s because a madman known as Inferno is holding the world to ransom with his nuclear arsenal. The Council (the games interpretation of UN leaders) wants to negotiate but General Bryant wants action and is dead set against pussyfooting around this nutter so he decides to hand in his medals, resign and put a stop to Inferno with brute force.
Bryant puts together a crack team of four specialists known as Renegade Ops then heads out on a path of wanton destruction and carnage on his quest to save the world by any means necessary.
The cut scenes are done in the tried and tested comic book styling which in a way adds to the games retro feel (no frills here, just good old fashion game play).
You get to choose from one of four clichéd characters Armand (Ability-Shield), Diz (Ability-EMP), Roxy (Ability- Air Strikes) and Gunner (Ability Heavy Guns) but once you start the game you will not play as the character themselves, instead you will only play as their vehicle in this top down perspective adventure.
Each character’s vehicle starts out with a standard mounted machine gun as you crash, jump and wheel spin your way through each of the campaigns.
Your machine guns can be upgraded to a rail gun, flamethrower and more.
As you level up you earns points which you can spend on upgrades for your vehicle. These upgrades include health increases and extra lives and you can eventually unlock up to 18 upgrades for each of your renegade’s vehicle.
As you can only have a few weapons equipped at any one time, before each mission you will have to do some brain work and plan ahead by customizing your wheels for either offensive or defensive capabilities as on some of the later missions, your choices can and will be the difference between success and failure.
As you speed around the immensely detailed game world kicking up dust clouds as you try to out maneuver onslaughts of the heavy gunfire and missiles, you’ll start to realize Renegade Ops feels absolutely perfect. The game engine adds the right amount of feel, power and agility to your renegade’s vehicle thus making the gameplay simply pleasurable and not to mention the satisfaction of seeing stuff blow up which reminds me of the complete joy I felt the first time I played the game Mercenaries on the original Xbox.
There’s also a two player split action and a four player co-op mode but be warned when you go online some bugs mar the experience but there is still plenty of fun to be had when you take on these missions with up to three other players.
I did enjoy driving at breakneck speed through exotic locations whilst dishing out death and destruction to the baddies in Renegade Ops.
Playing Renegade Ops reminded me of the reasons I started playing games all those years ago.
The story in Renegade Ops will not win any awards in the originality department, the missions will get repetitive and the grating voice of General Bryant barking out orders during the game is without doubt annoying, but what Avalanche Studios has done here is to pack Renegade Ops with everything a good game should have: solid gameplay, leveling up, great graphics (for a PSN and XBLA title), destructible environments, fantastic price and addict ability. If a game has these ingredients then a story can be as contrived as it wants to be and the paying gamer will always come back for more.
Renegade Ops is an entertaining five hours of retro action spread over the nine missions which leaves you starry eyed and all nostalgic.