One Hit Wonder
The game definitely looks sharp. It's not the best game in terms of graphics on the PC, but it definitely gets the job done. Star Wars fans will rejoice at how well they have brought the world to life in this game. It's a fresh look to a Star Wars game by not having X-wings or lightsabers taking up the majority of the experience. The game has a gritty look and feel to it, which is welcome. The textures are smooth and the animations are exceptional.
The main innovation in this game is the ease of control. As a commander of your squad, quick decisions are what decide whether your men live or die. In games such as Ghost Recon, you had to pause the game, open a map, mark a way point, connect a line of attack, then send a signal to move. In Republic Commando, you press F. Yeah, that's it. Whenever there's something you or your squad can use, placing your reticle over it will show a holograhpic image of what it is used for. Simply target it, hit F and one of your guys will make use of it. Whether it's a prime sniper position, breaching a door, setting a decoy, or whatever. The game makes excellent use of the F key. As for everything else, it feels very much like Halo with various weapons and a deadly close range melee smack. One cool thing though is your main gun. This one gun is primarily all you'll need through the course of the game. Different accessories and attachments can be inserted, flipped over, screwed on or whatever to your main gun to change it into anything you can imagine.
Much like most Star Wars games, the music is top notch. What's great about good background music is that it goes unnoticed. It simply blends in with the rest of the experience. The voice work is also quite good. Although you are indeed clones of Jango Fett, the Delta squad have been trained even further and each of your guys have their own distinct personalities that develop as you progress. It's amazing how you actually start to care about guys who have no names. The sound effects are what you would expect from something with "Star Wars" on the box, and that's a good thing.
This is the game's only flaw. While the action is nonstop and exciting, it is a bit short. You can blast through the three campaigns (Geonosis, starship, Kashyyyk) in about 10 hours depending on your skill. The game does offer a multiplayer component but there's nothing flashy about it. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag...all the basic food groups. It's not bad, but it's not going to take the place of your current favorite MP game. The game is also linear in the same way that Call of Duty's scripted single player mode is, which means that playing through it again, while fun, won't offer any new surprises.
As stated before, Star Wars fans are gonna love this game. For one, it's the first FPS Star Wars game since Dark Forces. Secondly, it's the first game to feature content from Episode III. Thirdly, it's a damn good game. And that's why people who aren't massive Star Wars fans will enjoy it. Republic Commando breathes new life into squad-based FPS games. Why no one has figured out how to make things this easily accessable by this point is beyond me. My only real complaint about the commands is that they could've been more strategical rather than sometimes feeling like something you should use simply because it's available, not because it's necessary. But it's a step in the right direction. The melding of pieces from excellent games plus a few pieces of its own and an excellent presentation makes Republic Commando, while short, a definitely fun game.
*** This review was written for Flamevault.com shortly after the release of the game. ***