Currently Playing: Renegade Ops (22/09/11)

Developer: Avalanche Studios

Publisher: Sega

Engine: Avalanche Engine 2.0 - Havok (physics engine)

Platforms: Microsoft Windows (Steamworks), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Release date: September 13 (PSN), September 14 (XBLA), September 2011 (Steam)

Genre: Shooter - Driving

Modes: Single player, Multiplayer

Rating: PEGI: 12

A few days ago I created my first list, a summary of this year's games that I aim to play and complete and review. A huge task and, while there are many, many games to play in 2011, we all know worthy causes require determination and determination I certainly have.

To mark my progress of each game I will be publishing a series called 'Currently Playing', starting today, which will mark when I move on to a new title from the list. Once I've completed a game, I'll add a strikethrough to it on the list and move on. Post-finish, I aim to will publish reviews on each game. This will be at least a summary, and at the most a 'proper' review. Which is published will depend on time, what's coming up for me to play etc. This period of reviewing will be titled 'Currently Reviewing'. You like?

Anyway, with the introduction out of the way let me introduce you to the Current Playing debutant: Renegade Ops. Developed by the team that produced Just Cause this top-down, dual-analog shooter contains the many idiosyncrasies and all of the stupidity of the aforementioned franchise. Combine this with a skill tree that encourages you to blow more shit up, gorgeous graphics (if not the occasional hitch) and an explosive online multiplayer mode and you have a recipe that is delicious from the first act to the last. Imagine Jungle Strike, Jackal and Just Cause blended together and you will have a good idea of what to expect.

My aim with Ops was to do it on the hardest difficulty - Hardcore - from the first moment. For a while this worked -- by a while I mean two missions. Failing to progress alone I tried with with other players. Again, I failed. At first I chalked this down to not having better upgrades such as more health, lives or ammo, though after applying these upgrades I was met with horror: my upgrades vanished. They literally vanished. Twice. This meant despite being Level 39 I had no upgrades, I couldn't level up because I was a high level and therefore was getting my ass kicked on Hardcore all of the time.

Despite being determined to start and finish on Hardcore, I could not. I had to drop down to Normal. Gears of War 3 meant population numbers dropped considerably and games could not be found, so I had become a lone wolf. The result was that I did the third mission easily - too easily - and continued on.

So this is where I am at: four missions in, an upgrade-removing bug later and all alone thanks to a Locust invasion. I'm not complaining, though: the game is good. Very good. Sometimes, though, a bit of fortune can go a long way.