Star Wars Republic Commando review

Xbox World discovers another excellent Star Wars game to complement the recent discovery of porcine aviators

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You can't die, as such; you'll be incapacitated and can call in a man to revive you, a brilliant touch that, as long as you keep your men up and active (rather than 'dead', as it were), means you effectively get extra lives. Sort of. It's superbly executed, either way.

But the squad command system by itself isn't what makes Republic Commando as decent as it is; it's also down to the atmosphere and brilliantly-established incidental details, which help immensely in making you feel that your team-mates are more than just digital cannon fodder.

Despite being clones, each trooper has his own personality, and while they're traditional and recognisable archetypes (Fixer is a bit wittier, nerdier and less macho than the taciturn and slighlty-unhinged Sev, for example) it's their very familiarity that grounds the game in a believable reality.

They talk an awful lot, too, bickering and joshing, and even congratulating you on being the biggest and the best commando around (which helps immensely in making you feel, as we said earlier, like a bad-ass).

The point is, while some lines are repeated and many are awfully cheesy (there's even one reference to "frickin' laser beams", would you believe), by giving your troopers personality, the game gains personality as a result.

And even when you're separated from your team-mates, the constant radio-chatter provides a background that lifts the game. Good stuff, you'll agree, and it's something that many faceless first-person shooters could learn from.

For all that it does well, though, Republic Commando can still be as frustrating as it is enjoyable. Your default laser rifle, for instance, is annoyingly hard to aim simply because of the pencil-thin beams it spits out, and many of the enemies are simply too tough.

The big super-droids and Geonosian Elites,can take a hell of a lot of punishment, and the game behaves cheap, at times, by throwing loads of super-hard enemies at you.

True, such situations lend themselves to plenty of mid-fight tactical decisions (do you pull your team back or order to them to go in all guns blazing?) but the frequency of such occasions gives the game an air of unwelcome repetition, at times.

While Halo 2's '30 seconds of fun' provides a template that is, in essence, just as repetitive, Republic Commando's fighting just isn't in the same league, tactically (even despite the command system).

And the guns aren't an inspiring bunch, even if they're well-paced as far as getting your hands on them is concerned. The anti-armour attachment, for example (basically a rocket launcher) makes an appearance just as you're about to put your foot through the telly due to all the mega-tough robots you've been fighting.

Finally, at the time of writing we weren't able to play the game over Xbox LIVE, but given the solid-but-unspectacular split-screen game we're expecting, it probably won't quite live up to you-know-what.

Despite its faults, however, Republic Commando is a thoroughly entertaining game and a spirit-lifting sign that LucasArts are now treating their golden goose with the respect it deserves. If you were to draw comparisons, it's equal parts Rainbow Six and Halo, but significantly isn't as engaging as either game.

However, if you're after a top-tier Star Wars title that satisfies your lust for shooting things into tiny bits, this will undoubtedly fit the bill nicely.

Star Wars Republic Commando is out now for Xbox

More info

DescriptionGet up-close and personal in this Star Wars shooter. How close? Close enough to be splattered with bug slime, alien guts and droid parts.
US censor rating"Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"",""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)