The date is 08/09/2011. At 1800 hours I’m marching to the Thames to board the HMS Belfast. Sega have invited us to a press event to get some hands on experience with their latest Xbox Live Arcade title, Renegade Ops. Despite living the furthest from this location, I’m the only XSR staff member aboard. That’s dedication for you.
Having not seen this game in action before, I had no idea what to expect. An RTS? A 3rd person shooter? It could be anything at all. When I stepped into the Wardroom I saw Renegade Ops for the first time on the screens of 10 Xbox 360 stations set up to demo the game. I was greeted with a beautiful looking isometric view of a lush jungle steadily being destroyed by machine guns and rockets. Surprisingly enough, I wasn’t expecting it to be an Arcade title. My only prior experience with the game was a couple of shots of the comic book style artwork of the characters. Since this event was hosted on a boat (a large one at that), I was half expecting some sort of naval history based RTS over all else.
Renegade Ops is a top down shooter, using a strong, well-established control scheme (Dual-analog sticks) in order to control movement and weapons. It combines this solid gameplay with stunning visuals and a modified Farcry engine in order to bring a brilliant experience for a top down shooter.
There’s 4 characters to control, each with their own unique special attack and skill trees to improve their performance and attacks whilst on the battlefield.
From the available demo, there was a lot of fast-paced gameplay and action sequences packed into just one level. We haven’t seen a lot of the game yet, but with the first level alone being nearly 30 minutes long, we would expect a lot more content in the full game. We didn’t even get to play around with the skill trees.
The story is delivered with comic book artwork cutscenes and interjections during missions. It reminded me of Dynasty Warrior, with characters giving you mission updates on the fly and dropping personal comments from time to time. It definitely helps to give you a sense of immersion.
If you want my personal opinion, it’s got a -lot- of potential. It’s better looking than most of the top down shooters out there, it’s not tied to any existing franchise and there’s the possibilities of sequels/franchising.
The thing that worries me the most is the price to content ratio. It could be expensive and not worth a purchase. It could be cheap but not contain enough content to warrant buying it. Some rather careful eavesdropping (By which I mean I asked the Sega representatives) unearthed that it’s final price is going to be 1200 Microsoft Points. That averages out at less than £15.