Renegade Ops Review
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Have you ever played a Saturday morning cartoon? Something so wrought with melodrama and hyperbole that you can’t help but feel all warm and tingly? Enter Renegade Ops, developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Sega. This game exists to please all you children of the ‘90s and it does a great job of it, letting gamers re-live their memories of early Saturday mornings in glorious HD.
The game starts with the villain, Inferno, wreaking havoc on some remote village. The U.N is hesitant to stop him through force and begins diplomatic talks. General Bryant, sick of all this inaction, leaves his military post and creates… The Renegade Ops!
You’re given the choice to play as one of four quirky characters, each with their own abilities. Armand has a shield, Roxy can call an air strike, Diz creates an EMP to destroy small electronics, and Gunnar has a powerful gun he can whip out to do more damage. The characters all have their own unique look and fit well into the overall visual theme. The game looks like a moving modern cartoon. If you were to take Extreme Ghostbusters and mix it with the A Team, you’d probably get something very similar to Renegade Ops. With any game, presentation is a very important aspect, and Renegade Ops delivers in a huge way. It looks fantastic, and plays just the same.
The gameplay is fast and fun. It’s a dual-stick shooter akin to Geometry Wars or Smash TV, for those of you familiar with them. The left stick controls the direction of your vehicle, and the right stick controls the direction of your gun fire. The control scheme is very intuitive and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought; it really works for this game. The only problem I’ve encountered with the controls is when you’re surrounded by tons of enemies and you find yourself in a tight space. These situations are extra problematic as there is no reversing, so it may take a while to finally nudge your car out. This can be really frustrating, especially when you are being pelted by swarms of bullets. It’s an issue I’m surprised Avalanche did not address, but things like this don’t happen too often so it’s definitely not a deal breaker when everything else is fantastic.
The weapons you can pick up in the game are fairly varied and create a fun experience. Things like rockets, rail guns, flamethrowers, and machine guns really drive home the over-the-top fun that Renegade Ops delivers. Everything is designed to explode, and every single item you collect helps that happen. I really wish there were more weapons available, as the lack of constant upgrades make the weapons feel stagnant, even if the types of weapons you get are varied. You can upgrade your standard machine gun three levels, but other than that, there isn’t much to upgrade – which is a shame. Avalanche Studios: I want more explosion juice; make this happen! Along with weapons, you can also change your vehicle at certain spots in the game. Some missions require you to drive a large tractor, while others task you to blow up a ship with a helicopter. Each new vehicle drives slightly different, but never terribly. I am really impressed at the variety Avalanche studios was able to pump into a downloadable game.
As a child of the ‘90s, I can really appreciate the over-the-top story and presentation of Renegade Ops. It’s a parody of the action genre that isn’t exactly funny; it just takes it to the extreme and revels in it. The lack of animation in the cut scenes certainly leaves something to be desired in the story telling, but overall, the game is a tight experience that grabs you from start to finish. The game supports a wide variety of mechanics which have comfortable controls. It’s a game that gets so many things right it’s hard not to recommend. Pick it up on the PSN or XBLA and play it early Saturday morning in your pajamas, while eating a bowl of Captain Crunch. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it.
Renegade Ops gets a 4/5
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