Sunday, May 31, 2009

Star Wars: Republic Commando (Xbox) Completed for the 5th Time

It sure took me a while, roughly a year and a half, but I finally got around to finishing my 5th playthrough of Star Wars: Republic Commando (Xbox). Since Star Wars: Republic Commando was a lower priority in the face of many newer games, this didn't bother me, and it's still every bit as fun and intense as the first time I went through it.

This time, however, I played it on my Xbox 360, and I must say the emulation software did a very good job. The most notable emulation glitch would be the rainbow coloured textures on some shiny surfaces, most evident on the Core Ship in the game's first Act. I actually found these messed up textures gave me a bit of a headache, but thankfully that's over quickly, and the rest of the game is really holding up well even by today's standards. Sure, it's no Gears of War 2, but the art design, lighting, and even texture quality are still very detailed and nice to look at, and that says a lot about the Unreal Engine since this is a 4 year old original Xbox game. It was also great to be able to play Star Wars: Republic Commando in widescreen, since it is one of the few original Xbox games that supported this.

The game's audio emulated properly as well, save for a few minor bugs on Kashyyyk where Boss' audio would be completely muted at a level's start. This seemed to resolve itself as you played, but it was too bad as you missed some of the dialogue between the squad.

And still, even after all this time, it's the banter between Delta Squad itself that makes the game such a charmer. The unique personalities of each Clone Commando, and how much time you spend with them, really attaches you to the game and has you caring about these special forces soldiers who have no choice but to fight this war. You really do feel like you're leading a squad of the best of the best, and their AI handles very well, with each member supporting you and effectively taking on enemy targets the majority of the time.

The gameplay is as crisp as ever, and controlling your squad is a snap. The weapons are plentiful and mainly standard fair for shooters, and the use of off-hand grenades, or Detonators, made them all the more useful in a pinch. The pre-determined positions make location assignments quick and painless, and the development team did a solid job of incorporating basic squad elements into a standard shooter.

Really, Star Wars: Republic Commando is an all-around excellent single player shooter, and a great original Xbox title. It's all the more the shame that LucasArts never developed a sequel, as a Star Wars: Imperial Commando would sure be a blast to play, even if it featured a different squad.

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