What the world needs right now is another team-based PvP shooter, and luckily that’s exactly what Hi-Rez Studios have brought to the table with the release of Rogue Company. Now, as this game is currently in Early Access form, a review at this point would be premature, so what I’m hoping to do is give you a flavour of just what Rogue Company on Xbox One is all about, without giving away too much in the way of personal thoughts. We’ll see how successful I am at that, shall we? Good job I’m not naturally opinionated, eh?
What Rogue Company boils down to, at the moment in Founder’s Pack form, is a 4v4 team-based shooting game. There are only two game modes on offer at the moment: Demolition and Strikeout. The two modes are very different though, each with differing mechanics.
The basic game mode, Strikeout, is a cross between Team Deathmatch and a nod to Battlefield’s Conquest. In the centre of the map, there is a point that your team has to occupy, and doing so will allow your side to hack the objective. This then allows you to reduce the enemy respawn tickets over time, as well as any that are lost by shooting enemies. Once all the tickets are depleted, when the whole team is wiped out, the game is over. This game mode works as a best of three, and is perfect for a quick blast or if you don’t want to play with any tactical awareness whatsoever.
Demolition is a nod to the classic Counter-Strike gameplay, with two objectives on a map, one team tasked with planting a bomb, and the other attempting to stop them from planting the bomb, defusing it if they can. Obviously, wiping out the other team is also a viable course of action and it’s here that I start to get annoyed with the vast majority of the team mates I’ve encountered, as in standard online multiplayer fashion they all seem to think they are playing Team Deathmatch. One person on the attacking team is tasked with carrying the bomb, and the number of times I’ve checked the mini map and seen this player as far away from an objective as it’s possible to get, and then dying and dropping the bomb, is beyond reckoning. We then have to fight our way to the bomb, grab it and then try to get back to the objective, which is a lot easier said than done.
Rogue Company plays out from a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective, and I have to say, even at this early stage, it looks good. The graphics are lovely and clear, the enemies are easy to see, and the gunplay feels just right, particularly as you level up in each game.
Yes, each time a new stage starts, your chosen Rogue starts off with a pistol and some harsh language to bring the pain. Performing certain actions in-game, such as downing enemies, planting the bomb etc earns you more cash, and these funds can be spent in between rounds to buy new weapons and perks, or even to upgrade the weapons you have. Obviously having a better gun or faster reloads helps you stay alive longer, and with each Rogue having not only different weapons but a variety of perks to play with, finding a playstyle that suits you is a snap. I personally like Dima, as he is quite tanky and has an assault rifle, and his special ability is pretty cool as well. Yes, just like in Overwatch (a comparison that is more than fair, believe me), every Rogue has a special ability that can be charged up and unleashed, ranging from Dima’s MIRV launcher, which is awesome for attacking an enemy-held point, to Saints’ revive drone – a machine that lets an injured teammate be revived from any where on the map. Yes, as you shoot the enemy, they get downed first of all, and if you don’t finish them they can be revived and put back into the fight, a lot like the system in Gears of War. Pro tip: keep shooting until you see “Eliminated” flash up on the screen!
There are many Rogues to choose from here with Rogue Company in Founder’s Pack form, with extra ones being unlocked when you have earned enough reputation through your actions in games. They are split into archetypes too, much like that other multiplayer team-based shooter, with Defenders, Breachers, Support and more to choose from. Finding a role that you are happy with is fairly easy, as there is a whole host of flexibility built into the roles; you should be able to find a good fit. It’s also a case of making sure you are happy with the weapons your chosen Rogue uses. As an example, Saints’ assault rifle has such a huge sight on it that I can’t even shoot anyone. Luckily, there is a practice mode built in against bots that will let you try out each character without the risk to life and limb that playing with real people causes.
So, Rogue Company looks great so far, and it plays well, but as it’s an Early Access you’d expect some issues, and to be fair to Hi-Rez Studios there are not as many as I was expecting. Bar sudden dashboardings or the inability to find a server (I’m going to be charitable and say it was due to unforeseen demand), the funniest glitch I’ve seen is in one round where the game didn’t allow us to choose characters for some reason. When the round started, everyone was Dallas, and nobody had a gun. As you can imagine, there was much hilarity as eight characters all looking identical met in the centre of the map and kind of stood around sheepishly, not able to do anything except run about. Luckily, the next match it was back to business as usual.
There also needs to be an easy way to mute the rest of the players, as nothing pleases the wife more than a stranger swearing up a storm through the TV, with no indication of who it is. Also, as this is a cross-play title, you do often come up against PC players, and you’ll know when you do as they will kill you in about 0.1 milliseconds, with their laser-like keyboard and mouse controls. Still, for now Rogue Company all seems to play very nicely indeed, and so far I’m impressed and very much looking forward to seeing where it goes as we head towards a full launch on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC
Stay tuned for the review in a while, once it launches as a free-to-play title for everyone.
Huge thanks go out to Hi-Rez Studios for providing us access to Rogue Company on Xbox One. If you would like to know more about the game, check out our exclusive interview with the team behind it. And if you’re looking to grab a copy for yourself, the Xbox Store or your own personal favourite store will sort you out with the Founders Pack.