SEGA’s latest Xbox LIVE Arcade offering – Renegade Ops, was developed by Avalanche Studios and is action packed to say the least. As an isometric twin-stick arcade shooter, it seems all you have to do is follow the main objectives and shoot your way through each and every obstacle or being in your path! It offer’s varied gameplay choices through different characters and vehicles to control, but its graphical detail and over the top dialogue sure makes for a fun game you’d be disappointed not to experience.
Avalanche studios has created Renegade Ops using the power of the engine used in their previous retail game Just Cause, and it really shows in the level of detail in the jungle scenery, full-on destructible environments at every turn and not to mention ‘the’ best explosions you could possibly witness in any arcade game. From an isometric viewpoint the game plays out in miniature, but it has a very big feel about it as each chapter has maps of an impressive size; you are quickly thrown into the story and the controls are very simplistic, but trying to drive your vehicle in a straight line is somewhat of a feat. This isn’t a complaint, but it’s all very much rough and tumble, and plays like an 80’s Action Movie.
Starting with comic book cut-scenes, the story introduces you to Inferno – a leader who is intent on destroying cities across the world, no matter how big or small the population if there’s a war to be had he will most definitely be the cause! Renegade Ops plays out in the typical Good Vs. Evil mechanics where you take on the role of the good to save civilisations or at least cause as much havoc to disrupt Inferno’s plans to infiltrate the cities. General Bryant, who represents all that is good in the game formed the Renegades, who are a small team of characters each with their own armoured vehicle and unique special ability. The characters do not seem to have their own back-story, but the unique special abilities allow you to play with different tactics – Armand uses a Shield to completely negate enemy weapons, Diz uses EMP to completely shut down armies of nearby enemies, Roxy uses an Air Strike to blow up every enemy in sight within a matter of seconds, and finally, Gunnar uses a Heavy Gun for the ultimate in destruction!
Fortunately you can change your character at the start of each mission, so you can chop and change around to suit how you want to play through each of the nine available missions.
The gameplay itself is very simplistic; it literally is all about controlling your vehicles, using your special abilities and completing the missions to move onto the next. Your chosen character will drive though the rugged African themed landscapes twice over and still get lost if you venture around needlessly, but an on-screen directional arrow will guide you in the direction of your current main objective. For gamers wishing to acquire all of the Achievements, completing Secondary objectives will be guided by a second arrow and this often involves rescuing a set number of people, blowing up Tanks whilst also being firmly routed to your main objective – destroying enemy armies, their vehicles, other machinery and camps.
The Single player campaign mode will have you shoot through nine missions solo, but for optimal enjoyment purposes you can choose Split Screen two player mode on the same console with two controllers or opt for a four player co-operative game on Xbox LIVE. Whilst a Quick Match will join you in the first available online game found, creating your own Custom Match will only allow you to play on the Missions you have encountered. The story does not change in any way with more characters on screen, it simply allows up to four characters to shoot and destroy more or the surroundings – it really is a shooters paradise!
The game features the use of XP, Levelling Up and Upgrades depending upon your chosen difficulty level. XP is earned by dealing damage, gaining Killstreak Bonuses, Damage Streaks and completing objectives. Once enough XP has been earned your character will level up and gain Upgrade Points which can eventually be used for weapon and vehicle upgrades to offer even greater destruction in your quests.
Overall the game is very slick, enjoyable and likely to appeal to gamers who love rushing through games causing as much damage as they can, it has a very Micro-Machines feel to the vehicles which can be a bit tricky to control at times – and the over the top weaponry only adds to the enjoyment of destruction. Sometimes due to the nature of your missions, it’s easy to forget you are the good guys and it’s a shame you couldn’t play multiplayer from both sides of the story. If it wasn’t for the explosive scenery and detailed environments this game would seem a little less interesting. It’s not going to appeal to everyone, but certainly worthy of its 1200 MS Points price tag all the same.
Why not download the demo from the Xbox LIVE Arcade today and share your opinions in the comments box below?