What were some of your favorite childhood toys? I remember playing with Hot Wheels, Micro Machines and G.I. Joe action figures. Good times. Now imagine if someone took all that and put it together into a downloadable game, what would you get? An explosively good time. Renegade Ops, the latest game from Sega and Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios, is a blast to play, giving us pure, gratuitous violence while also providing a nice amount of depth.
Renegade Ops is a overhead twin-stick shooter, putting you in the role of one of four playable characters who are out to stop a man named Inferno, a madman bent on burning and destroying everything in his way (although you probably already figured this out based on his name). You’ll engage him throughout a series of stages, doing everything from stopping him from destroying a village to preventing a nuclear device from going off. Obviously, this game is focused on being as over the top as possible and doesn’t take itself too seriously. This works to its favor, giving the game a certain charm, no matter how ludicrous or cheesy things get. The story is presented through comic-style cutscenes and dialogue. Both do a good job of conveying what is going in.
Another reason why this game is such a joy to play are its controls. The cars in this game have low traction, meaning that you’ll be able to turn them around or spin them with relative ease. Being that this is a twin-stick shooter, while you spin your car around you can also shoot at any incoming enemies. Join both of these together and you have greatness. The ease of both shooting and driving combined allow you to skillfully run laps around unsuspecting enemies and deliver a payload of bullets to them while receiving minimal damage. Each one of these cars can be upgraded on the go, with enemies dropping machine gun upgrades randomly, which amplify your main weapon’s power, and also dropping special secondary weapons such as rockets and flamethrowers, which deal massive damage to the enemies. And if that isn’t enough, each car has a special ability, from having a deployable turret to calling in an airstrike. In addition to this, the game features a three-row skill tree, with the rows focusing on defense, secondary fire, and special ability. Each one of the four cars has one row that is exclusive to them. All this allows the game to have a high replay value, seeing as every car has its own special ability and own set of upgrades. Believe me, you’ll want to try them all out.
Also, the game looks gorgeous considering it’s a downloadable game. It’s powered by the same engine that ran Just Cause 2, and it lends itself pretty well to a top-down view. The levels are highly detailed and there’s a good amount of verticality to them. And don’t even get me started on the explosions. Almost everything in this game is either destroyable or blows up, and every explosion pops out of the screen, giving it a sense of power, making you believe that with every shot you fire, you’re doing some serious damage. Oh, and while you’re playing, run into a house or building and see what happens. Awesome.
The main game isn’t exactly long, but there are two things that greatly expand on the time you’ll spend with this game: secondary objectives and multiplayers. In the nine-mission campaign, you’ll always have a main objective, which is times to keep things moving along. While doing these, optional side missions will pop up, things like saving civilians or bringing them ammo. Although these are not required, the provide a good amount of points and experience, while also adding more things to do in each given stage. You’ll probably want to go back and complete each objective, main and secondary alike, and you can either do this alone or with up to three other friends, making the experience even more over the top and frantic. My only gripe with this mode is how it handles the deaths of teammates. Usually in co-op games, you have the ability to revive your teammates, and in a game that focuses on skill trees, it’s weird that their isn’t any way to revive your friends or learn a skill that helps you do such a thing. If anyone dies, they’re stuck watching the rest play until the stage is finished. This does add a level of difficulty and intensity to the levels that is most welcome, but it also provides frustration to the players.
Renegade Ops succeeds because of its simplicity and focus on one goal: blowing up as much stuff as possible while ensuring you have a good time. With single player, multiplayer, 4 different characters and skill trees, the game is well worth the $15 price tag. If you’re a fan of making things go boom, you’ll want to get a piece of this action.
PSN Fans Rating
Solid: Explosive action and tight controls provide a lot of replay value and pure fun.
Squalid: Lack or revive in co-op may frustrate some players.
Overall Score: 5 out of 5
Renegade Ops was developed by Avalanche Studios and published by SEGA. It was released on September 14, 2011 and retails for $15, or $12 for PlayStation Plus members. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.