Renegade Ops is a welcome reminder of just what games used to be like. For a start, thereâ€™s the top-down view of your little armoured car blowing up endless waves of enemies. You collect power-ups, have limited lives and get into some good old-fashioned boss fights.
While thatâ€™s all good, whatâ€™s more important is that Renegade Ops is a real blast. Developed by Avalanche Studios, the Swedish company behind Just Cause 2, Renegade Ops is fast paced, packed full of action, and you get to blow the crap out of just about everything.
Taking place in a lush South American jungle, Gung-ho General Bryant has had enough of megalomaniac Infernoâ€™s insane rampage of death a destruction. So, enlisting a crack team of four like-minded soldiers, Bryant vows to stop Inferno at any cost. What follows is nine levels of armoured vehicles, air-strikes, flame-throwers and explosions galore.
At the beginning of each level you get a short comic-book intro that basically says, â€˜you are here, start shootingâ€™. You choose one of four characters that drive an armoured vehicle equipped with its own unique ability. Armand has a shield, while Gunnar has a heavy cannon. Diz, on the other hand, can generate an electro-magnetic pulse, and Roxy can call in an air-strike.
The unique abilities are activated with the L1 trigger while you steer with the left stick. Pressing x gives you a burst of speed, and aiming and shooting is handled with the right stick. Steering can sometimes be a bit tricky, especially with the map orientation changing in relation to the direction of your car and the odd building or tree blocking your view. However, the gameâ€™s pretty kind when it comes to crashing. If you end up upside-down, your car will quickly right itself. And, if you drive off a cliff, after a few seconds you will re-spawn on the road, all ready to go again [Now that is mantrol - Ed.]
The liberal amounts of health, weapon upgrades, and ammo thatâ€™s dropped every time you blow something up, also helps to keep you going. Not that ammo is ever really a problem, because your machine gun comes with an unlimited supply. While this basic weapon is more than enough to handle foot soldiers, jeeps and the occasional mobile rocket launcher, once the tanks and helicopters turn up, a bit more firepower is needed. And, if there is one thing that Renegade Ops is not short of, itâ€™s firepower.
While playing you gather upgrades that take your basic gun from fairly lightweight rounds to multiple, large calibre rounds that pack a very satisfying thump. Also, on every level you can find flamethrowers, rocket-launchers, and railguns which you can use as alternative weapons.
Despite only being able to carry one alternative weapon at a time, spewing fiery death or taking out a tank with one shot from the railgun makes the life of a vengeful armoured mercenary that much easier. However, keep an eye on your life-bar and keep collecting health pickups because, if you lose a life, you lose your alternate weapon and your machine gun upgrades.
When you choose your mercenary, you also get the chance to choose your difficulty. If you go with the easiest difficulty you get unlimited lives, but you wonâ€™t be able to earn any experience points. This makes everything pretty easy and youâ€™ll be able to race through the story in an afternoon.
Choosing â€˜normalâ€™ or â€˜hardcoreâ€™ difficulty not only amps up the damage, but also limits your lives and allows you to collect and spend upgrade points. With your points you can unlock eighteen different upgrades for each character.
So Roxyâ€™s air-strike can target enemies rather then just randomly blast an area or Dizâ€™s EMP will not only disable tanks but will also cause damage and bring down missiles. However, lose all your lives and youâ€™re dead. Then itâ€™s all the way back to the start of the level.
In the end, having to replay levels from the beginning may be the only thing that will make Renegade Ops last much longer then a weekend. Itâ€™s a pretty short experience. And trying to work your way up the hardcore online rankings may be the only incentive to return to the game.
The split-screen multiplayer is fun, especially when you find the helicopters and get to attack from the air and ground. There have also been a few reports of issues with the online multiplayer co-op, but I wouldnâ€™t know, because I couldnâ€™t get connected.
Online issues aside, Renegade Ops is more explosive fun than a weekend of Michael Bay movies and Mythbuster re-runs. There are missile silos to destroy, prisoners to rescue and a lot of tanks. As well as aircraft carriers, nukes as well as some good old-fashioned bloody revenge.
Okay, so itâ€™s short and a bit repetitive, but you do get to blow a hell of a lot of stuff up.