PSN Review: Renegade Ops



It takes a lot for a game to stand out amongst the crowd on download platforms, especially if it’s a dual-stick shooter. The exponential amount of fast-blasting, top-down, twin-stick games means that even if you aren’t already sick to death of them, then you’ll still need something new and original to convince you to throw down your hard-earned cash for yet another one. Against the odds, Renegade Ops manages to inject a fresh dose of originality into an increasingly tired genre, melding twin-stick shooter controls with a Micro Machines style driving game, fused with a little Jungle Strike and with the inventive chaos and destruction of Just Cause 2 thrown in for good measure.

The plot, such as it is, is pure B-movie cheese ripped straight from the dumbest G.I. Joe knock-off you’d find on a video store shelf in the 1980s, corny acting and all. A megalomaniacal nutjob named Inferno is plotting global domination, and only the crack mobile commando unit Renegade Ops have the brash, beardy brawn to handle the situation. Global diplomacy and covert operations aren’t their thing, so every obstacle that pops into their path is either crushed under their armoured assault jeeps or blown apart with missiles and gunfire. Picking one of the four Renegades (each with their own special weapon attack), you’ll slip behind the wheel and take on Inferno and his evil cohorts to save the world from tyranny and destruction by, well, pre-emptively destroying most of it with your gun-toting truck.
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Explosions, gunfire, vehicular homicide and ridiculous amounts of destructive chaos are the order of the day, and boy, is it fun. Renegade Ops gives you a smooth and incredibly simple car control scheme akin to that of Micro Machines – point in a direction and you’ll drive that way, spinning and drifting like a Halo Warthog as you see fit. The simple, fluid, arcadey car controls prove incredibly entertaining and especially handy since your car can be turned into a speeding tool of death and home renovation, firing hot lead in every direction, while almost any building you can see can be driven through. Sniper nest causing you trouble? Drive through it! Feel like taking a short cut? Plough through the shanty homes of poverty-stricken villagers! If you can’t drive through it, unleash cannons, rockets and EMP blasts upon them. The more stuff you blow up and shoot apart in quick succession, the more points you’ll earn and the quicker you’ll level up, pooling skill points into your ammo, health, amount of lives and so on.

You can gain XP bonuses by accomplishing secondary tasks (usually driving over cargo crates or picking up freed hostages and delivering them to a safe point), but the game almost dissuades you from those by assigning a time limit to the primary mission, which will usually amount to blowing up tanks, trains and helicopters. The simple drive-and-shoot nature of the gameplay makes for a fast and frantic pace; you’re constantly in motion and leaving a path of devastation in your wake, sliding around corners and through buildings, driving over weapon and health-pickups, mowing down infantry, and even grabbing yourself a chopper, where the game temporarily transforms into a loving remake of Jungle Strike. The sheer joy of relentless explosive chaos is made even more gleeful by the game’s gorgeous visuals, which rival almost any download title.
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Like any twin-stick shooter, there’s not a lot of depth beyond moving around shooting things. The simplistic gameplay does get a little repetitive after a while, and it’s not quite as much fun in single player, where juggling primary and secondary objectives can be tougher, but there’s more than enough inventive chaos and variety to keep you entertained through the lengthy 6 hour campaign, and it’s even better when playing two-player local or four-player online co-op. A beautiful-looking mass of explosions, gunfire, B-movie cheese and retro-throwback arcade fun, Renegade Ops injects an unexpected dose of originality into the twin-stick shooter pool and amounts to a rollicking slice of brainless, gleeful destruction.

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Renegade Ops is available to buy on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade now.