Explosions, burning buildings, insane weapons and bags of targets. All are the grist of any half decent shooter. Renegade Ops has them all; however, why does it fail to really fire?
This is a very standard twin stick shooter available from on Xbox Live. The back story — such as it is — revolves around a nutter calling himself Inferno, his monstrous weapons of destruction and his burning desire to toast the cities of the world. Add a crazed military hero and his team and you then have the stuff of comic books. Funnily enough, the story is delivered in a comic book style — But if it was a physical comic book story then it would be likely to be one you would find in the sales bin.
So story aside then, the basics of the game is about racing around a map from a top down view, blowing up everything that gets in your way while at the same time completing various quests. The terrain is done well with a lot of detail, however at times there is too much. It is very easy to lose sight of it under trees or overhangs. The downside of this is that you lose your orientation, which can be disastrous if you are in combat. The upside is that just about all the structures are destroyable. You can recklessly run into building, towers, drums, and enemy soldiers. They all collapse or scream under the tires of your vehicle.
The amount of enemies seems at times relentless. There are annoying infantry, zippy jeeps, tanks and rocket-firing vehicles. Most annoying are the mortars that drop fiery death from across the map, and the only way to take them out is to get in close.
Your vehicle can vary from a wheeled LAV type to a helicopter. The former is where the game just feels wrong and becomes a chore rather than fun. It drives like a bath tub in sea of blancmange. You don't speed around a corner; you sort of wallow. This can be very frustrating on the tight maps and has you desperately trying to navigate your tub back onto the road.
The missions/quests range from simple “go to point A and kill stuff” to rescue missions. By far the most annoying are the chase and timed missions. It can be hellishly frustrating trying to chase a vehicle that has a perfect turning circle when your tub has wooden wheels and a piece rope to steer. Invariably these are always missions that have very little leeway for mistakes. Frankly the game would be a lot more fun without the timing aspect altogether.
There are some high points though. The night missions can be a welcome change, while the attack on the battleship while in a helicopter is awesome (it is more responsive than your bath tub; however, you have to go around large hills and objects rather than over them). These high points, though, are few and far between.
Combat is crazy, with enemies plowing in from all sides, fixed gun and rocket positions and mortars dropping as well. You have the ability to to shield yourself for a brief period of time to stop the bigger incoming blasts, but invariably you take damage. This is repaired by picking up health gems dropped from eliminated enemies. They also drop power ups for your weapons. These include multiple barrel machine guns, rockets and — our favorite — the unfeasibly long ranged flame thrower.
The game really only becomes tolerable if you play it in either two player co-op mode or online with four players. At least this way you have a chance to complete some of the optional missions and co-operate in some of the bigger battles.
The problem with this game is that it does not really fire. In fact, its control system and timed missions make it a frustrating game to play. If you really like mindless destruction and are accomplished at driving a tub, then fill your boots. But we want to spend our time being entertained, not wrestling a bathroom appliance.