The best thing to come out of the prequel trilogy.
The early 2000s were worrying times for Star Wars film fans. Episode 2 had been released in 2002 giving us the horrendously creepy young adult Anakin and the wonderful line “I don’t like sand, it’s course and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.” However for gamers, there was a game that included neither of these. Star Wars: Republic Commando, arguably the best FPS of the early 2000s.
You play as the leader of an elite four man squad of Clone commandos, fighting your way through various Star Wars locales. From the rust coloured sands of Geonosis, to the interior of a captured and seemingly abandoned republic frigate, to Kashyyk, the forest home of the 8ft tall Wookies.
Republic Commando introduces the player to a wider range of races and weapons than we had previously seen in the films. Each of the Commandos had their own personality, they all add to the narrative with their individual views on the objective. There’s Scorch who loves explosions and whose solution to the squad’s problems generally revolves around blowing them up. Sev, the character who is an expert in long range combat/stabbing things with a knife and is generally a bit creepy about death. And Fixer who loved the technical side of everything, from the weapons to the ‘slicing’ of consoles.
This is a big part of the enjoyment that came from Republic Commando, the large variance of weapons, it ranged from the Commandos’ standard issue modular rifle, to the Trandoshan ‘slug’ weapons which bear a resemblance to modern day guns and fire ammunition akin to bullets, to the iconic Wookie Bowcaster which has different firing styles depending on whether you charged up the weapon or not, all of which act differently to the last. This combined with the tight squad controls and smooth combat provides an ‘authentic’ experience.
Of course it’s not a perfect game, it has the AI issues that FPS games from that era often would and graphical glitches ranging from white rooms to multi-coloured Wookie fur. These however occurred at a low enough rate that they would not detract from the gameplay. Republic Commando is a game that controls wonderfully, has charismatic characters and offers a wide range of weapons and enemies that is often overlooked by many.
By Chris Body
Available on Amazon: Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC CD)