Star Wars: Republic Commando Review – Strategic FPS

    Title: Star Wars: Republic Commando
    Developer: Aspyr
    Release Date: April 6, 2021
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Asypr
    Genre: FPS

Star Wars is one of the highest-grossing multimedia franchises in the world. In the early 2000’s the prequel films began to release, and several video game tie-ins found their way to market, many of which were surprisingly not bad. Which makes sense when you realize LucasArts did develop good video games rather consistently.

Over the last few years, nearly 20 later, Aspyr Media has been porting these titles to modern consoles. The latest being the 2005 LucasArts first-person shooter title, Star Wars: Republic Commando. Originally released on Xbox and PC, Republic Commando can now be found remastered on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

Star Wars: Republic Commando stars a squadron of elite clone troopers known as the Delta Squad. You play as RC-1138, or Boss, the squad leader, assisted by three others, RC-1262 known as Scorch, RC-1140, who goes by Fixer, and RC-1207, named Sev. Your goal is to go on missions and shoot bad guys.

I mean, there are some more details in there. Still, those are only useful if you pay close attention to the Star Wars Legends canon in regards to the Clone Wars, which otherwise come across as random and nonsensical names that will never be given proper context within this game. Don’t sweat the details, though, because they aren’t remotely connected to the core of this experience.

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Republic Commando is a first-person shooter with some extra tactical elements. Your primary weapon is the DC-17, a sort of assault rifle-like weapon, which will gain additional attachments allowing it to function like other weapons, each with its own ammo supply. If you run out of bullets, you’ll switch to a blaster, which is weaker but has infinite ammunition. It’s a safer option than melee attacks unless you’re crazy like me and try to stab everything.

You’ve also got multiple types of grenades that will suit different situations. Your current health can be found on the lower portion of the heads-up display, which operates similarly to titles like Halo, with recharging shields but health that doesn’t.

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Your AI teammates are going to be invaluable companions for the duration of the game on multiple levels. Firstly, because the gameplay requires it. You see, Boss doesn’t have a whole lot of health, and he doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage either. The AI is smart enough to put in the work, too, provided you actually tell them to.

By pressing the X button on the PlayStation, you can bring up the formation button, which will direct how you want your teammates to act at that moment. There are also various context-sensitive commands for setting up allies with cover, leading them to healing stations or general plot progression.

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They’re invaluable because they’re who you’re really here for. No one (bar diehard Star Wars fans) is going to care who Sun Fac, the chief lieutenant of Geonosian Archduke Poggle the Lesser and one of the members of the Separatist Council, is. We care about trooper RC-1262, Scorch, blowing up the doors on the way to kill him, though, because he says goofy lines and has a kill-count rivalry with the equally enjoyable RC-1207, Sev, who is a crazed fiend who talks about how much enjoyment he gets from landing a plasma bolt in a mob’s skull but exaggerates it just to unnerve Scorch.

I have never played an FPS with a party that has been this much fun before. Do be careful, though, as this game has friendly fire on at all times, so you might end up putting a plasma bolt in Sev’s head by mistake if you hang too far back and he gets in the way of your shot.

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More diehard fans will note that this remaster does not have the multiplayer mode, but I really think it’s not exactly a necessary feature. This style of game really doesn’t lend itself well to modes like team deathmatch, capture the flag, or free for all like the original title had.

The original sequel hook ending is still entirely intact, so if you want to see more of these characters, you won’t likely be seeing them in any future games. Still, you will be able to see them in several spin-off materials such as novels if you really feel so inclined.

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Star Wars: Republic Commando is a slower-paced, more strategic first-person shooter that is somehow more about unit positioning and character banter than it is about blasting through enemies. There’s still plenty of action to be found, but it’s really the crew who carry this Star Wars adventure to an overall enjoyable experience. I’d say that makes it a story well told packed for a new generation of gamers.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Pyre Kavanagh

Senior Editor - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so they can buy more murder mysteries. @PyreLoop on twitter